Overview & scope
At Icehouse Ventures our mission is to back the bravest kiwi founders launching global companies from Aotearoa-New Zealand. We do that by leveraging and empowering our community to grow a thriving, creative and supportive Aotearoa-New Zealand startup ecosystem. This amplifies and exploits the natural and obvious benefits of working collaboratively: greater deal flow, capital, expertise, networks and influence. These benefits only eventuate when our community shares common values and make a mutual commitment to collaboration.
To advance these goals, we require the community associated with Icehouse Ventures (including employees, contractors, investors (both fund investors and co-investors), founders, mentors, advisors, volunteers, speakers and attendees at our events) conduct themselves with the highest levels of integrity, ethics and behaviour when these stakeholders are in an environment associated with Icehouse Ventures (including offices, shared working spaces, work events, off-sites, conferences, video calls, email communication, social media posts, investor evenings, Showcase, Demo Day, founder retreats, workshops, office hours, and other social events).
The purpose of this Code is to establish a baseline level of conduct that must be met by all Icehouse Ventures community members. Your attendance and participation in the Icehouse Ventures community indicates your agreement to abide by this Code. You acknowledge and agree that membership of the Icehouse Ventures community is a privilege that may be revoked by Icehouse Ventures for non-compliance with this Code.Make an anonymous report, here.
Icehouse Ventures expects all community members to (1) embrace diversity, (2) engage with fellow members with respect and compassion, (3) be active and collaborative to achieve our shared vision, (4) act with integrity, transparency and professionalism, and (5) recognise and support principles of the Treaty of Waitangi. These expectations mean:
1. Embrace Diversity – diversity is a strength
- Icehouse Ventures has zero-tolerance for any form of negative discrimination or harassment of marginalised groups including groups defined by race, ethnicity, gender, age, sexuality, family-status, or religion.
- In addition to zero-tolerance of negative behaviour or statements, we encourage our community members to exemplify positive behaviour and statements embracing diversity.
2. Respect & Compassion – accountability
- Community members are expected to engage with their fellow members with respect and compassion.
- Community members are expected to communicate and engage expeditiously, respecting others’ time, while having compassion for others’ professional commitments or personal circumstances.
- Community members are expected to tolerate and acknowledge that our activities lend themselves to significant uncertainty and high-stakes for those involved, resulting in strongly-held but differing opinions. The delineation between opinions and statements of fact should be acknowledged and respected. While others may provide input, advice, support and connections it is founders, their teams and their boards who are accountable and responsible for their startup and their decisions should be respected without undue external pressure or influence.
- Investors’ success is reliant upon the entrepreneurs they invest in. Accordingly, investors are expected to recognise their position of influence and to respect, support and act with compassion towards the well-being of entrepreneurs, whatever that looks like to the individual entrepreneur. This includes empowering their self-determination over the direction of their business, which may include pivoting, shutting down or leaving their startup.
3. Active & Collaborative - participation in the community
- Community members are encouraged to be active and collaborative with fellow members to enable the achievement of our collective vision and strategic priorities, including by introducing quality entrepreneurs, inviting prospective investors to events, participating in due diligence, providing ongoing support to enable the success of entrepreneurs we have invested in, and by investing their capital (in the case of investors).
- Community members are encouraged to be collaborative by sharing their insights or expertise as pertinent to the success of their fellow community members and by avoiding statements and actions detrimental to the success of other community members even when such actions or statements may be personally beneficial.
4. Integrity, Transparency & Professionalism – acting in good faith
- Community members are expected to act with integrity, transparency and professionalism in their engagement with their fellow members including investors, entrepreneurs and co-investors.
- Community members are expected to keep all information they receive as a member strictly confidential. Icehouse Ventures considers any failure to respect confidentiality to be a material breach of this Code.
- Community members are expected to communicate any actual or potential conflicts of interest transparently, particularly as they relate to any specific transaction. Community members are expected to act in good faith, communicate clearly with meaningful and honest feedback and intentions, and to keep promises and commitments made to their fellow members including to investors, to entrepreneurs, and to co-investors. This includes communicating and sharing information in a manner that is accurate, truthful, fair and not misleading.
- We recognise that the power relationship between investors and the founders they invest in may be heavily weighted in favour of the investor. This imbalance of power can create the potential for abuse or harm by the investor. We encourage investors to take this imbalance of power into account in all of their interactions with founders and that investors be careful to avoid using their power to coerce the founder, intentionally or unintentionally.
5. Te Tiriti o Waitangi – recognising NewZealand’s bi-cultural partnership
- Community members are expected to recognise the importance of Te Tiriti o Waitangi in New Zealand’s social and political context.
- In particular, community members should support the self-actualisation and rangatiratanga of Māori through support for tikanga Māori, being the set of customs, beliefs, principles and traditions which inform the Māori worldview, or mātauranga Māori.
- Commensurate with the support for tikanga, Icehouse Ventures and community members undertake to pursue the Treaty principle of Equity, with the intention that Māori founders and businesses have equitable access to investment and business support.
Icehouse Ventures is committed to providing events that are welcoming and safe for all participants, are free from unlawful discrimination and harassment, where all participants are treated with dignity and respect. All participants at Icehouse Ventures events must abide by the following:
1. Be excellent to each other
We want our events to be a positive experience for everyone regardless of gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disabilities, neurodiversity, physical appearance, body size, ethnicity, nationality, race, age, religion, or other protected category. Treat everyone with respect. Participate while acknowledging that everyone deserves to be here - and each of us has the right to enjoy our experience without fear of harassment, discrimination, or condescension, whether blatant or via micro-aggressions. Jokes shouldn’t demean others. Consider what you are saying and how it would feel if it were said to or about you.
2. Zero tolerance of harassment
Harassment includes: verbal language that reinforces social structures of domination related to gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disabilities, neurodiversity, physical appearance, body size, ethnicity, nationality, race, age, religion, or other protected category; sexual imagery in public spaces; deliberate intimidation; stalking; following; harassing photography or recording; sustained disruption of talks or other events; offensive verbal language; inappropriate physical contact; and unwelcome sexual attention. Participants asked to stop any harassing behaviour are expected to comply immediately.
3. Speak up if you see or hear something
Harassment is not tolerated, and you are empowered to politely engage when you or others are disrespected. The person making you feel uncomfortable may not be aware of what they are doing, and politely bringing their behaviour to their attention is encouraged. If a participant engages in harassing or uncomfortable behaviour, the event organisers may take any action they deem appropriate, including warning or expelling the offender from the event with no refund. If you are being harassed or feel uncomfortable, notice that someone else is being harassed, or have any other concerns, please contact a member of the event organising staff immediately.
Icehouse Ventures reserves the right to refuse admittance to, or remove any person from, any hosted event at any time in its sole discretion. This includes attendees behaving in a disorderly manner or failing to comply with this Code. If a participant engages in harassing or other unacceptable behaviour, the event organisers may take any action they deem appropriate, including warning or expelling the offender from the event.
Unfortunately, harassment at events and in online communities is common. Creating and implementing a policy aims to mitigate this by making it clear that harassment of anyone for any reason is not acceptable within our events and communities. This policy may prevent harassment by clearly defining expectations for behaviour, aims to provide reassurance, and encourages people who have had bad experiences at other events to participate in Icehouse Ventures events.
All attendees, speakers, sponsors, and volunteers at any Icehouse Ventures event are required to comply with this Code. Organisers will enforce this Code throughout the event. We expect cooperation from all participants to help ensure a safe environment for everybody.
This code acknowledges the power dynamics present in the founder-investor relationship, in particular, can leave founders vulnerable to behaviour that is not acceptable.
Unacceptable behaviour can come in many different forms. Some types of behaviour have potential legal ramifications, such as bullying, harassment, violence and aggression. The safety of our community is of the utmost importance to IcehouseVentures, please be mindful of and report any health and safety concerns. The following behaviours are examples of unacceptable conduct from any member of the community(investors, founders, IV team-members or any other participant):
- The safety of our community is of the utmost importance to Icehouse Ventures, please be mindful of and report any health and safety concerns.
- Harassment, including inappropriate verbal comments relating to gender, sexual orientation, disability, race, ethnicity, religion, age, national origin, gender identity or expression, political beliefs, or physical appearance. We expect all participants to treat each other with respect and kindness.
- Inappropriate and/or unwanted physical contact.
- Unwelcome sexual attention, which can include inappropriate questions of a sexual nature, asking for sexual favours or repeatedly asking for dates or contact information. Specifically, this Code bans all sexual advances initiated by a person with significant power over the recipient, such as a person who influences funding decisions towards a person seeking funding, a conference organiser towards a speaker, or a coworker towards another coworker if they have influence over their career advancement. We strongly recommend that people in positions of greater power turn down sexual advances from someone they hold significant power over.
- Stalking or deliberate intimidation.
- Unwanted photography or recording (if you are asked to stop photographing or recording someone, please do so. If someone indicates that they do not want to be photographed or recorded, do not record or photograph them).
- Discriminatory or sexual images in public spaces.
- Sustained or wilful disruption of talks or other events.
- Excessive drinking and disorderly behaviour.
- Offensive language or behaviour.
- Violent behaviour.
- Undertaking any illegal activities.
- Discriminatory language or behaviour based on sex, gender, religion, culture, disability, age, race or general vilification in any form.
We appreciate that unacceptable conduct by a community member may not have been intended to upset or offend and that standards of acceptable conduct may change and evolve over time. We remain committed to upskilling and educating ourselves and our community on current standards of conduct on a regular basis. For further more specific examples of unacceptable behaviour, please refer to the Model Code of Conduct for the Australian Startup Community here
Reporting & enforcement
Icehouse Ventures is committed to fostering a collaborative community that embodies this Code of Conduct and have established a Code of Conduct Committee to monitor and review the actions and statements of community members known to have breached this Code.If any of our community members experience, witness or are involved in any conduct that is unacceptable then they can report to us in the following ways:
1. Contact our Code of Conduct Committee: Jack McQuire
(Partner) and Jo Wickham
(Venture Partner) from Icehouse Ventures. Your report will be treated with the strictest of confidence; or
2. Report anonymously through Whispli.
The matter will be escalated to Icehouse Ventures independent board members (Tim Williams & Anne Catley) and founder representatives (Brooke Roberts & Shaun Quincey) in the following circumstances:
- The person who violated the Code is an Icehouse Ventures employee;
- The violation of the Code represents criminal activity that will be referred to the appropriate legal authorities;
- The person who violated the Code is not a member of Icehouse Ventures’ community and the committee recommends notification of the violation to a third-party organisation or individual; or
- At the request of an individual who is a primary victim of the person who violated the Code’s actions.
Icehouse Ventures’ partners with many other organisations in the ecosystem including Outset Ventures and Ministry of Awesome. Where a report involves an individual associated with those organisations, we will seek to include an appropriate representative of that organisation as an additional member of the Code of Conduct Committee. In doing so, we will engage with the reporter prior to engaging with that organisation regarding who we plan to contact and the details divulged to them.
We aim to acknowledge reports within 2 business days, and to complete handling a report within 10 business days. Where the Committee determines that a community member has failed to act in accordance with this Code, the Committee may:
- issue a verbal warning
- issue a temporary ban from certain or all activities, events, investment opportunities, forums or any other association with Icehouse Ventures;
- issue a permanent ban from certain or all activities, events, investment opportunities, forums or other association with Icehouse Ventures;
- remove responsibilities (e.g. to the extent within Icehouse Ventures control, removal of board or observer positions);
- terminate employment (in relation to Icehouse Ventures employees);
- notify other relevant industry bodies or, where appropriate, employers of the individual (e.g. the Angel Association of New Zealand, New Zealand Private Capital Association, Callaghan Innovation, NZGCP, NZTE); or
- report to legal authorities
Please note, while we take all concerns raised seriously, we will use our discretion as to determining when and how to follow up on reported incidents and may decline to take any further action and/or may direct the participant to other resources for resolution.
Where appropriate we will make a statement about the report and any actions we took to the person or persons who reported the incident. In addition, Icehouse Ventures will publicly publish six-monthly reports outlining (without publishing any individually identifiable details) the number of reports received, the nature of violations contained in those reports, the investigations undertaken by the Committee and conclusions reached, and actions taken.