World Class New Zealanders are high achieving New Zealanders who are making their mark on the world and defining NZ’s image internationally. These Kiwis are all outstanding and have worked hard for their international success. Kea sat down with World Class New Zealander Privahini Bradoo for a Q&A about her journey, being a New Zealander and what advice she has for New Zealanders going forward.
Privahini has built a career in the USA as a successful entrepreneur, with a passion for merging science and business.
Moving to New Zealand at 16 Privahini enrolled in the University of Auckland, studying Biomedical Science and completed her PhD in Neurogenetics and Drug Discovery – in the process, discovering a new family of genes involved in the survival and repair of brain cells in mice. During her time there she also established Spark (now Velocity) an entrepreneurial initiative to assist students in start-up ventures and Chiasma, building links between the academic biotech community, and the biotech industry.
Privahini won the highly competitive $100,000 Fulbright Platinum Entrepreneurship Fellow scholarship, allowing her to study her MBA at Harvard Business School. Privahini opted to step into the commercial world as an entrepreneur - working for several start-ups heavily focused on clean-tech. She went on to work in Business Development for
Mascoma Corp, developing biofuel; at Lanzatech Inc, producing low cost alternative fuels; and then at Microvi Biotech Inc., providing low-cost, zero-waste, advanced water treatment solutions.
While making her mark in Silicon Valley, Privahini was appointed as a faculty advisor for Singularity University where she met Bryce Goodman. The pair established BlueOak in 2010. Prihavini presented the company at the first ever White House Demo Day for entrepreneurs, with Barack Obama. The company also won the Harvard Alumni New Venture Competition at Google’s Solve for X Conference, raising $35 million in start-up capital.
As CEO, BlueOak’s vision has been to revolutionise how we treat end-of-life electronics: converting the e-waste of today into a sustainable source of critical metals and rare earths for the technologies of tomorrow.
Privahini was recognised by the World Economic Forum as one of the world’s most influential people under 40 years old, and was also named one of Women 2.0’s ‘Founders to Watch’ in Silicon Valley. Unlimited magazine placed Privahini in the Top 10 Influencers of New Zealand list, she also won the Distinguished Young Alumni Award from the University of Auckland. Since then, her work has led her to become a Young Global Leader at the World Economic Forum.