Derek Handley is a futurist, entrepreneur and an aspiring civilian astronaut signed up to visit space with Virgin Galactic. Derek created the Aera Foundation in 2014 as a charitable trust backing creative responses to social and environmental challenges. He is the founding partner of the foundation’s venture capital fund Aera VC hich has been backing radical climate solutions and frontier breakthroughs for humanity since 2017. In 2022 Derek and Aera supported Prince Harry the Duke of Sussex as Campaign Chair for the New Zealand launch of the Duke’s sustainable travel coalition ‘Travalyst’.
Prior to establishing Aera, Derek alongside Sir Richard Branson, was the Founding CEO of The B Team a non-profit alliance of global business leaders acting as a catalyst for bold dialogue, courageous leadership and brave action toward a fairer, greener and more human economy.
Prior to The B Team, Derek spent 10 years founding and growing early mobile technology company The Hyperfactory, which he built to be a global success and later exited to Meredith Corporation/Time Inc and is now a part of Accenture. For this, he was named in the Silicon Alley 100 Most Influential Tech People in NYC, and awarded the New Zealand EY Entrepreneur of the Year. He helped found over a dozen start-ups while based in New York, including building the venture-studio Human Ventures which was instrumental in the creation of leading neo-bank ‘Current’, nutrition start-up ’Tiny Organics’ and the ‘Day One’ entrepreneurship school.
Derek is currently studying towards a Masters in Religion at Harvard. Previously he studied at MIT, Singularity University and Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. Derek was appointed the Social Innovator in Residence at Wharton at the University of Pennsylvania from 2016-2017. He has sat on the board of Sky Television and was a formative member of the Air New Zealand Sustainability Advisory Panel.