A partnership that invests capability and capital in entrepreneurial ventures, in order to build sustainable, high performance environments where people love what they do.


Who we are

  • invests talent and money into entrepreneurial organisations, to help their leaders turn a unique purpose, values and vision into sustained high performance.
  • aligns with its clients by structuring its rewards to recover its basic operating costs via retainers, and sharing the fruits of success via success fees and/or equity participation.
  • only invests money where its talent can be deployed to make a mutually agreed and significant difference to the client organisation.
  • has offices Sydney and Silicon Valley.
  • takes on no more than 4 clients per principal to ensure tight focus and, sometimes – if the engagement is very intense – less.
  • leverages investment funds to help clients break through growth barriers.
  • focuses on disruptive technologies and business models.
  • is best deployed where organisational complexity is challenging and testing the leadership capital of an organisation – in particular, its delegation skills and processes.
  • seeks to build the in-house capability of the organisation – not a long-term dependency on Denali expertise.

As a result:

  • we are a venture capital firm that backs itself and its clients, to make a significant difference to the client's sustainable operating success.
  • we are not a traditional venture capital firm; we limit the size of the funds we manage so that we are not driven by the need to invest.
  • we are not a traditional consultant; we build capability in our clients – not dependency – and structure our fees to ensure that the majority of our return is earned from our clients' success.
  • we are not a traditional investment bank; we do not care about "the deal" – our capital raising and M&A skills are only brought to bear if mission critical for our client to realise their vision and live their purpose.

Our name:

Denali is the native name for Alaska’s Mount McKinley, the highest mountain peak in North America. It means 'the great one' and calls us to be our greatest - sometimes we are.

Richard Cawsey portriat

Richard is the founder and executive chairman of Denali Venture Partners.

Over a 25 year career in successful corporate development and change, he has worked in senior leadership roles at St George Bank, NatWest Financial Products and the ANZ Banking Group. He is a former Managing Director of US investment bank Morgan Stanley, working in Europe, the USA and Asia.

As an advisor, coach, board member and implementing consultant Richard has worked with many startups and small companies to help them focus and then navigate increasing complexity in their business.

As a youth, between school and starting his university education at the Australian National University, Canberra, Richard spent four years as an underground miner in far northern Canada. The experience was valuable in learning how to manage people, the importance of risk management and how critical good planning is in achieving goals.

Iain Dixon portrait

Iain is a business strategy execution partner at Denali.

Iain began his working life as a Royal Marines Commando, where he experienced the power of shared purpose, authentic leadership and real teamwork in practicing the art and science of ‘getting things done’.

He has worked for 25 years with, and in, large and small organizations to help them achieve their goals through the effective execution of strategy.

His work on adapting mission based principles and practices into commercial environments was acknowledged by Dr Stephen Bungay in his recent best selling publication ‘The Art of Action: How Leaders close the Gaps between Plans, Actions and Results’.

Prior to joining Denali, Iain led the Reuters and Thomson Reuters businesses in New Zealand and then Australia from 2005 – 2011. He is also a co-founder of the Business Performance firm Sykes Fairbairn LLP and a former UK Director of global business execution consultancy McKinney Rogers.

Rob Metcalfe portrait

Rob has 20 years of consulting experience and more than 30 years in leadership positions. He spent 10 years as Managing Director of LIW, a global leadership consultancy, as well as establishing the LIW Consulting Practice.

Rob has a passion for transforming entrepreneurial organisations through leadership at every level. He routinely works with executive leadership teams and the individual leaders within them through consulting, facilitation and coaching. He is also experienced in Leadership Development, Performance Management, Personal Development and Leadership Assessment including the design and execution of Assessment and Development Centres.

Rob previously led the Performance Management Division, The Oxford Group, a major UK-based Management and Training Consultancy. Before becoming a management consultant, Rob was an officer in the Royal Marine Commandos.

David Varnes portrait

David is Denali's chief technology officer.

In a climate where the development cycle for new online products and services is tighter than ever, he has helped launch multiple software ventures across a variety of industries. In two recent projects, he helped Holly Connects transition from a small start-up to a telco-grade product provider; and hired and led the software team that allowed Minesite Technologies to make an impressive entrance into the international coal mining market.

While his background in the physical sciences was a first step towards an expertise in technical design and architecture, it is his welcome curiosity and open approach that allows him to lead technical teams to deliver outstanding results.

Carol Anastas portrait

Carol is Denali's office manager.