Meet Hannah Field, Partner
Since making her foray into tech with a role at Pandora Radio, Hannah has been an early joiner at Dropbox and Canva, leading customer experience as well as global business and growth operations. Now, as a Partner at Folklore, she leverages her breadth of experience to support founders as they build the next generation of startup success stories in Australia and New Zealand.
From muso to unicorn operator
I’ve never been inclined to follow a traditional career trajectory. While my peers were navigating the corporate ladder, I knew I’d be a misfit on this well-trodden path, and had a hankering to explore an alternate universe that sat at the edge of my comfort zone.
Prior to tech, I worked in the music industry while moonlighting as a freelance violinist. I joined a Boston-based professional orchestra straight out of college to launch and manage their record label. I was 22 with no (practical!) experience, but a hell of a passion for the arts and enamoured with creative processes that brought to life music that had never before been recorded. It was a dream job collaborating with some of the world’s most respected musicians and Pulitzer-Prize winning composers. After 20-odd recordings and 5 Grammy nominations later, I was itching for more.
So I packed up my bags, drove cross-country to San Francisco, and landed at Pandora Radio. I continued to indulge my love of music but with a newfound discovery of the tech world – its frenetic pace, blinding rate of change, and its capacity to deliver impact at ridiculous scale. It was intoxicating.
Not long after, I jumped over to Dropbox where I was part of the founding sales team that established Dropbox’s expansion strategy for Dropbox for Teams. (Yes, their v1 was called ‘Teams’ not ‘Business’, before the company polished its veneer from a scrappy consumer brand to sophisticated and business-ready.) The company experienced true hyper-growth – catapulting from a hundred to a thousand employees in twenty-four months and nailing the one, two and three-hundred million user marks. I was also on the landing team that launched Dropbox’s first international operations in Dublin. Riding that level of scale was wild. When Dropbox matured and lost its early-days vibe, I was ready to pack up and do it again.
A one-way flight later, I landed in my new unknown: Sydney. It was here that I joined a little known startup called Canva, in a twenty-person team as their first generalist business hire. People thought I was crazy for leaving Dropbox. ‘Your timing is off! We’re on a high, why not ride it out?’ But the drive to push the limits of my personal and professional learning curves took hold. In addition to having the privilege of working directly with the founders in the earliest stages of one of the great startup success stories, Canva was my doorway to the extraordinary startup tidal wave that was coming to Australia. It was absolutely the right time.
We are at the beginning
It’s been seven years since I arrived in Australia. I honestly didn’t think I’d be here beyond two.
My journey has been propelled by limitless curiosity and an obsession with experiential and intellectual exploration. While critical junctures have been laden with risk and the endpoints unpredictable, I’ve gleaned a wealth of skills, insights and most importantly, relationships, for which I am forever grateful.
There is also so much that has happened in this country in those seven years. I arrived when the startup and venture capital scene was in its nascency; since then, a renaissance has unfolded. But this is just the beginning.
Building at Folklore
I find nothing more thrilling than beginnings; it’s why I’ve loved operating in early-stage businesses and am passionate about working with founders from their Day 1.
As for venture in Australia, it’s still in its first quarter, and with the vast opportunity ahead of us, I could not be more excited to be building at Folklore. Our mission is to be the long-range ambition machine for the great success stories of our time. Our commitment is to partner with founders from the moment they start, to wherever the journey leads – from first cheque to forever. I am here to channel everything I have – experience, conviction, and an innate drive to be an enabler of others’ success – to support founders across Australia and New Zealand who are rewriting history as we know it. How lucky am I?
My happy place
I’m a fiend in the kitchen and love to bury myself in long hours of slow cooking. And obviously, I love to eat. A little known fact about me is that I’m a certified barbecue judge in the US (thanks to the Kansas City Barbeque Society), so I’m always happy to provide free critiques on smoked meats! And when I’m not reading up on all things tech, you can find me in some pretty obscure rabbit holes on Wikipedia and smashing crime and horror novels.
What the rest of the team think of Hannah!
Bree – “Hannah is such an incredible mix of intelligence and kindness. She is a phenomenal investor, operator and team player – as well as a true cultural champion. It has been a privilege to work with Hannah over the past few months and I cannot wait to continue to watch her soar.”
Dan – “Hannah is a powerhouse! She is approachable, kind, and genuinely cares about seeing others succeed and reach their potential - both founders and our team at Folklore. Her experience is unparalleled, and she has an incredible ability to build genuine relationships and provide insight from lived experience on the ground floor of unicorns. She's also the go-to person for a crime thriller recommendation but her insight firmly stops at sport (especially cricket) and geography – two no-go zones!”
Jess – “Hannah is a rare find. She’s not only an astute investor who operates with conviction and sharp insight from her time building up high growth companies, but she’s a class act leader and a “people magnet”. She has the ability to build genuine relationships and consistently draws people in with her intelligence, thoughtfulness and contagious excitement to see those around her succeed”.
Toby – “Over and above her incredible operating experience and possessing a superhuman ability to power through work, the thing I admire most about Hannah is the value she places on building and maintaining relationships with people. She’s always warm, authentic, thoughtful and approachable – particularly when talking about all things food and drink!”
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