CEO, Cicada Innovations
Petra Andren is an accomplished and experienced international business executive, with strong stakeholder management, community and team building skills, as well as a passion for innovative technologies and a natural flair for spotting and acting on business opportunities.
Petra is currently the CEO of world leading deep technology business incubator Cicada Innovations. Cicada Innovations provides its equity portfolio of companies with strategic advice and guidance as they set strategy, validate their markets and execute on their business plans for commercialising new products and services. Cicada Innovations has worked with more than 100 advanced technology companies to raise over $150 million in private capital, build teams, access grants, develop new products, grow revenue and – for eight companies – has helped to sell or IPO their businesses.
Petra has worked extensively with high tech growth companies, facilitating the connections between them and the legal, financial and strategic resources that fuel their growth. Petra takes pride in being an expert super connector and strategist for the companies that she serves.
Chief Executive Officer, Jobs for NSW
Appointed as inaugural CEO in December 2015, Karen Borg leads the newly-formed privately-led, NSW government-backed Jobs for NSW. Working with a diverse and experienced board led by David Thodey, Jobs for NSW has been allocated $190 million to assist businesses to create meaningful jobs. In August 2016, then NSW Premier Mike Baird released the Jobs for the Future report, authored by Jobs for NSW, to deliver a whole of government strategy for the creation of new jobs over the next 20 years. As CEO, Karen has created a team of specialists to accelerate job creation through direct funding and broader support capabilities, including advocacy and government access, over the next three years.
Karen was previously President for ResMed, Asia Pacific and the Middle East from 2012 until 2015. Prior to this, she was Global Vice President, Marketing for Advanced Sterilization Products, a Johnson & Johnson company based in Irvine, California. She has worked in the fast moving consumer goods and healthcare industries in senior commercial roles in Australia, the United Kingdom, Russia, Taiwan and the USA for leading organisations including Nestle, Revlon, Goodman Fielder and Seagram, with a broad functional background in marketing, sales and business development.
Karen’s experience is strongly grounded in international leadership, business transformation and deep experience of both mature and emerging markets. She was on the NSW Export Advisory Council and has consulted to Tribal Warrior, an indigenous Not for Profit based in Sydney. Karen holds a B.A. from the University of Sydney and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Industry Professor of IoT, UTS
Mike Briers was named in the Knowledge Nation 100 as Australia’s chief evangelist for big data and the internet of things (IoT) and appointed Australia’s first Industry Professor of IoT at The University of Technology Sydney (UTS). He is currently the CEO of the Knowledge Economy Institute, an IoT innovation hub, and leads the Food Agility Cooperative Research Centre to empower Australia’s food industry to grow its comparative advantage through digital transformation. Mike is a co-founder and Director of the Internet of Things Alliance Australia.
Mike’s pioneering efforts in fintech and e-research led to the global success of SIRCA and the founding of big data company RoZetta, e-research service provider Intersect, and co-founding of Capital Markets CRC and AgTech business, The Yield.
Non-Executive Director, Enova Community Energy
Mara Bun is Director of Australian Ethical Investments and Enova Community Energy and is Chairman of Gold Coast Waterways Authority. Mara is currently Strategy and Development Leader of the Food Agility CRC which empowers Australia’s agri-food industry to grow its comparative advantage through digital transformation; Digital transformation consultant to Simba Global, Australia’s largest commercial textile company; and Member of Seqwater’s Independent Review Panel calibrating Queensland’s 30 year water security strategy.
Mara’s career began as a senior financial analyst with Morgan Stanley’s Silicon Valley technology practice. After moving to Australia in 1991 she was CFO of Greenpeace Australia and Policy & Public Affairs Manager at Choice. Mara was a member of the Advisory Council of NSW Sustainable Energy Development, and was a Director of the Board of the National Office for the Innovation Economy. During the ‘dotcom’ years Mara led Internet Equities Research for Macquarie Bank. She became a Director of the Allen Consulting Group’s Sydney ICT and sustainability practice, was later was Director of Business Development for CSIRO. In 2008 Mara became founding CEO of Green Cross Australia catalysing the climate resilience agenda.
Chair, Entrepreneur and Angel Investor
Topaz Conway has over 20 years experience working with early-stage companies across a number of industries, including founding two businesses herself, working in venture capital, and being CEO of Cytopeia Inc. and Biothoughts Inc. Having worked in hi-tech, biotech, and even the e-wine industry, her focus now is working to build a strong, connected and collaborative energy to the innovation ecosystem in Australia. Her passion is startups – advising on strategy and market entries into the US and Australia – and serves both as a Director and Advisor to many companies.
Topaz is an active angel investor, Chair of SBE Australia and Springboard Accelerator, Director of StartupAUS and Cicada Innovations, past Chair of PAFtec Pty Ltd and past Director of Telstra Industry Advisory Board, works with Accelerating Commercialisation as a Commercialisation Adviser, is a member of Alberta Research & Innovation Advisory Council , is a graduate of AICD, and is committed to being part of changing how women can succeed in growing global companies in Australia.
CEO, Office of Innovation and Science Australia
Dr Charles Day is the CEO of the Office of Innovation and Science Australia). Charles’ expertise is in innovation, business development, technology commercialisation, venture capital and startup creation. Most recently he was the Program Director for the Carlton Connect Initiative, an ambitious project to create Australia’s premier STEM innovation precinct anchored by the University of Melbourne.
As CEO, Charles leads the Office of Innovation and Science Australia and supports the Innovation and Science Australia (ISA) board’s implementation of long-term initiatives to boost innovation and science. ISA provides strategic, whole-of-government advice on all science, research and innovation matters. ISA’s current activities include providing guidance on the government’s $10.1 billion investment in 2016–17 in innovation, science and research through the National Innovation and Science Agenda, and shaping future innovation policy.
Non-executive Director, Origin Energy
Teresa Engelhard is a Silicon Valley transplant with 20 years of hands-on experience leading
technology innovation as an executive, venture capitalist and director. Her CEO and VP-level
executive roles in Silicon Valley span the growth cycle from startups to publicly-listed companies and she has served on more than 10 boards in the energy, consumer internet, IoT, healthtech and telecommunications sectors.
Teresa currently serves on the boards of Origin Energy, Redbubble, Planet Innovation, StartupAUS, Redkite Charity and is a member of Innovation and Science Australia’s Entrepreneurs’ Programme Committee.
Her belief in Australia’s potential to develop a world-class technology ecosystem to help evolve its resource-dominated economy is informed by first-hand experience as a director and investor at world-leading Antipodean innovators including RedBubble, Daintree Networks, Planet Innovation, Next Window and Zen Ecosystems.
Teresa has an MBA from Stanford University, a BS in Engineering and Applied Science from the
California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and she began her career at McKinsey & Company serving energy and retail clients.
General Partner, Reinventure Group
Kara Frederick is a General Partner at Reinventure Group, a venture capital firm backed by Westpac. Having worked in the US and Australia, she has extensive buy and sell-side experience across a variety of fintech and technology companies. She is a former executive at Goldman, Sachs & Co and has worked on a variety of transaction sizes from venture capital investments to large scale buyouts, such as the USD$11.3 billion buyout of SunGard Data Systems. Kara is a graduate of Princeton University, co-heads Princeton’s Alumni Council in Australia, and resides in Sydney with her family.
Chief Innovation Officer, BlueChilli
As Chief Innovation Officer, Colette Grgic leads the innovation strategy and accelerator programs at BlueChilli, an early-stage startup accelerator specialising in helping founders with their first product, first investment, first customer and first team. Colette brings experience across the innovation spectrum spanning research commercialisation, bootstrapping her own startups and running the PushStart and BlueChilli accelerator programs in Australia. A firm believer in open innovation, she has helped numerous ASX100 companies design and execute successful accelerator and innovation programs working with the startup community. A regular speaker and judge, Colette is recognised annually as StartupDaily’s Top50 Women in Tech, and was awarded the AWLA Emerging Leader in Technology 2016. She is passionate about growing a resilient and diverse ecosystem and currently serves on board for Heads over Heels.
Associate Professor Lisa Harvey-Smith leads a group of 30 astronomers at the Australia Telescope National Facility working on developing the innovative Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder radio telescope, a technology demonstrator for the Square Kilometre Array (SKA). Her research focuses on the birth and death of stars and the growth of supermassive black holes. Lisa is a member of several national and international science advisory committees, including the science advisory committee to the Australian government on the SKA.
Lisa was a presenter on the hit ABC television series Stargazing Live. She has appeared in documentaries including Brian Cox’s Life of a Universe and Todd Sampson’s Life on the Line and is a regular on ABC radio. She won the 2016 Australian Museum’s Eureka Prize for the Promotion of Australian Science Research, was a co-recipient of the CSIRO Chairman’s Medal 2015 and was named in The Sydney Morning Herald’s 100 most influential people in 2012.
Lisa led a group of astronomers who launched The Pleiades Awards, a national accreditation scheme for employers of astronomers in Australia that take steps towards achieving best practice in workplace inclusion. She now serves on CSIRO’s diversity self-assessment group as part of the Science in Australia Gender Equity project.
Co-founder, Square Peg Capital
Tony Holt is a co-founder of Square Peg Capital. He has deep experience in investment banking, corporate finance, M&A and capital raising gained in industry-leading global organisations. He has also worked in Melbourne, New York, Sydney and Asia and has breadth and depth of knowledge and experience doing business in and across different geographies.
From 1991 to 2006, Tony was with Merrill Lynch in the Investment Banking division. He had experience in a wide range of Corporate Finance, M&A, and Capital Raising advice. From 2006 through to 2008, Tony was a Managing Director at Citigroup’s Sydney Investment Banking Group and Head of its TMT business in Australia and New Zealand. In 2008 Tony joined Macquarie Capital where he worked until co-founding Square Peg Capital. While at Macquarie Tony held a variety of roles including co-head of TMT for Asia and Head of Principal Investments for Macquarie Capital Asia. Tony holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Melbourne.
Venture Partner, Southern Cross Venture Partners
Jo Hume is a Masters degree qualified engineer with over 15 years commercial experience across the energy and sustainable development sectors. Prior to joining Southern Cross Venture Partners, Jo was with the CVC Renewable Energy Equity and CVC Sustainable Investments funds working at every stage of the investment journey: deal sourcing, investment, management and exit. She has also worked at senior levels at AGL, The NZ Business Council for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Energy Development Authority.
Director, CHAMP Ventures
Ghazaleh Lyari is a member of the investment team at CHAMP Ventures and is responsible for identifying and transacting new investment opportunities and monitoring portfolio companies. She is a director of Aviation Training Holdings, BMT Group Holdings, and RSEA Pty Ltd.
Ghazaleh has a combination of corporate and entrepreneurial experiences. She started her finance career with JP Morgan in New York working in their technology M&A team. She then served as a director in Deutsche Bank’s Investment Banking team in San Francisco, where she spent six years advising technology companies on capital raising and mergers and acquisitions transactions in Silicon Valley. Ghazaleh also served as a director in Citigroup’s Investment Banking team in Sydney leading the bank’s Mining Services and Building Materials corporate finance efforts. Prior to her career in finance, she spent six years in the technology industry at IBM.
Before joining CHAMP, Ghazaleh gained six years experience as an entrepreneur, founding, building and running a food production and retail business in Sydney, where she worked effectively with her investors in growing the business. Since 2015, Ghazaleh has been the chairman of Heads Over Heels, a not-for-profit organisation focused on increasing the representation of women entrepreneurs in Australia. Ghazaleh holds a Bachelor of Science with double majors in Physics and Computer Science from the UNSW, and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in Chicago.
Dr Larry Marshall
Chief Executive, CSIRO
Dr. Larry Marshall has lead CSIRO since 2015. Previously he was Managing Director of Southern Cross Ventures. He is a passionate supporter of Australian innovation and Australian entrepreneurs. He has a longstanding partnership with SoftBank China, China’s most successful VC firm, and co-manages the Renewable Energy Fund, founded in 2012, with them.
Partner, Main Sequence Ventures
Phil Morle is a Partner at Main Sequence Ventures – the CSIRO’s innovation fund. His mission is to transform Australia’s research into epic global companies. Before that, Phil was CEO of Pollenizer, Australia’s first tech startup incubator through which he helped many hundreds of startups across Asia Pacific as well as launch incubators for some of the world’s biggest organisations.
Chairman, Quintessence Labs
Jon Nicholson is Chairman of Quintessence Labs, and an independent director of IAG. He was formerly CSO at Westpac and, before that, a Senior Vice President at the Boston Consulting Group. Jon has deep experience in strategy and has a deep understanding of innovation and disruption, and the process of building new businesses.
Non Executive Director MYOB; iSentia; SIRCA; Sydney School of Entrepreneurship; PageUp People
Fiona Pak-Poy is a professional non-executive director. She has worked as an executive, consultant, board member or investor with a number of companies based in the US and Australia, in a variety of industries including financial services, software, healthcare, telecom, manufacturing, and consumer goods. She has been a director of public and private companies, university controlled entities, charitable not-for-profits and Federal government boards.
She is a non-executive director of MYOB (accounting and business management software); iSentia Group Ltd (Australasia’s leading media intelligence company); and a director of the Securities Industry Research Centre of Asia Pacific (SIRCA), a not-for-profit provider of capital markets financial data and research services to universities, regulators and financial market participants worldwide. She is also a member of the Board of the newly formed Sydney School of Entrepreneurship, a joint exercise between all the NSW universities and TAFEs. She is a member of the Federal Government’s Innovation and Science Biomedical Translation Fund (BTF) Committee that oversees the $500m fund that supports the development of biomedical ventures in Australia aiming to achieve significant national health and economic outcomes.
Fiona is a former director of the Innovation Australia board and has been on a number of its committees including Chairing the interim board of Commercialisation Australia and the Clean Technology Committee. Previously Fiona was a partner in an Australian venture capital fund that invested in technology start-ups.
Fiona holds an Honours degree in Engineering from the University of Adelaide and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Partner, AirTree Ventures, Philanthropist
Daniel Petre has been a leading player in Australia’s technology industry for more than 25 years, and has held leadership positions in technology-based businesses in Australia and the US. Daniel is currently a Partner at AirTree Ventures, with more than $300m under management and which was launched in July of 2014.
Daniel’s previous experiences includes seven years as Chairman of netus (corporate venture capital firm), six years as Chairman of eCorp (also a corporate venture capital firm), five years on the PBL Board and nine years with Microsoft Corporation, where he served as Vice President of the Workgroup Division, Director of Advanced Technology and Director of the Asia Pacific Region. Both netus and ecorp returned in excess of 4 X cash on cash making them the most successful venture firms in Australia to date.
AirTree Ventures is focused on backing outstanding Australian founders who use software to create disruptive products and services. In the current portfolio Airtree has been fortunate to invest in Canva, Prospa, Brosa, Paxata, Pet Circle, Glamcorner, Ento, Edrolo, HotDoc, Xplor, and Elevio to name a few.
Daniel holds an Hon.DBus (UNSW), MBA (USYD) and BSc (UNSW) and he is currently an Adjunct Professor in the Business School at UNSW and the University of Sydney. Daniel is also the author of three books on fatherhood and balancing work and life. He is on the board of the Sydney Theatre Company and Oneview (Healthcare software company). In 2005 Daniel was awarded an AO for his work in philanthropy and business.
Director, New Business Ventures, Finisar
Dr Simon Poole is an engineer and entrepreneur with 35 years’ experience in photonics in research, academia and industry. He has been involved in startups in both academia and industry for the majority of this time and is renowned both for his contribution to the technology of photonics as well as the companies he has founded.
He was a member of the team that invented the Erbium-Doped Fibre Amplifier (EDFA) at Southampton University and subsequently founded the Optical Fibre Technology Centre and Australian Photonics CRC at the University of Sydney, which between them raised over $100m in research funding over a 15 year period and employed several hundred researchers. He has published over 250 refereed papers in journals and international conferences as well as filing 7 patents, including the initial patent on the EDFA.
Since 1995 Simon has focussed on the commercial arena, starting by founding and running a spin-off company from Sydney University, Indx, to manufacture Fibre Bragg Gratings for use in optical communications systems. Indx was acquired by Uniphase Corporation (now JDS Uniphase) for $US6m and subsequently grew to over 300 people with exports of over $100m pa. After leaving JDSUniphase in late 2000 he worked as a venture partner with KPLJ Ventures, a VC firm based in Palo Alto, before co-founding Engana in September 2001.
In 2010 Simon (along with Dr Steve Frisken) was named as one of the Warren Centre’s Australia’s Innovation Heroes for his contribution to the development and commercialisation photonics and in 2011 (again, with Dr Frisken) was named as the 2011 NSW Pearcey Medallist for their contribution to the development of the ICT industry in Australia. He was also awarded the Institute of Engineers Australia (Sydney) Entrepreneur of the Year award in 2010, an ATSE Clunies Ross Medal in 2013 and the Charles Todd Medal of the Telecommunications Society of Australia in 2016.
Computing Education Specialist, Australian Computing Academy
Dr Nicky Ringland is a Computing Education Specialist at the Australian Computing Academy, University of Sydney, and Outreach Officer at the National Computer Science School. She completed her PhD in Computer Science at the University of Sydney, and is a co-founder of Grok Learning, a startup with a mission to teach students to solve problems with code. Nicky is one of Australia’s “Superstars of STEM”, and speaks at academic, tech, startup and community conferences and events. Nicky is passionate about teaching the next generation the skills they need to become the creators of tomorrow.
Managing Director, Blackbird Ventures
Niki Scevak is a co-founder of Blackbird Ventures, a venture capital firm with the mission to be a partner to the greatest business stories born from Australia. Prior to Blackbird Ventures, he founded Startmate, an accelerator that helps nerds with ideas become great CEOs and build global startups. Before that he founded Homethinking and worked at Jupiter Research in New York.
Strategic Advisor, Cyber Toa
Mandy Simpson is a Director of Punakaiki Fund, a company investing in early stage growth companies, particularly in New Zealand’s technology sector. She is on the advisory boards of fintech startup Sharesies, and blockchain company Brave New Coin. She is a faculty member at Singularity University, a US based organisation dedicated to educating and inspiring leaders in the use of exponential technologies.
Mandy is a strategic advisor to Wellington based consultancy Cyber Toa, helping companies who handle sensitive financial or personal data to improve their cyber security. She has deep capital markets expertise, including four years as Chief Operating Officer at NZX, where she was an advocate for the development of blockchain technology for financial markets. Prior to that she was Chief Financial Officer for technology company Fronde.
Mandy has a law degree from Cambridge University. She is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, a member of the New Zealand Institute of Directors and a member of New Zealand Global Women.
David Skellern founded Radiata in 1997, acquired by Cisco; and is a former CEO of NICTA. David is currently Chairman of Capital Markets CRC Ltd and a Visiting Professor at Imperial College London. He was made an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2012, for service to science and engineering.
Executive Director, Tyro
Jost Stollmann arrived in Australia by accident, when his yacht hit an undocumented reef in Fiji in 2003. He had his yacht repaired in Brisbane, fell in love with Sydney and decided to stay. Since then, he has become one of the key pioneers in thefintech ecosystem.
Before arriving in Australia, Jost was a driving force for innovation in Germany. After graduating from Harvard Business School, he created the German system and network integrator, CompuNet, in 1984 and turned it into a US$1B company. From this, he led the integration and expansion of GE Capital IT Solutions across Europe. Each role saw Jost take ‘the road less travelled’ and revolutionise the business and startup scene in Germany.
Following his time at GE Capital, Jost was appointed as the Federal Shadow Minister of Economy and Technology, where he ran a successful campaign for Gerhard Schröder, who was elected as Chancellor of Germany in a landslide victory. Being a passionate entrepreneur, Jost has played a pivotal role in disrupting the banking industry in Australia by challenging the big bank oligopoly. In 2006, he launched the digital challenger bank, Tyro Payments, offering integrated, mobile, cloud-based banking to Australia’s small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs).
He has built Tyro into a prominent, digital challenger within the financial services sector, now employing more than 350 staff and processing more than $8.6 billion in EFTPOS transactions in the last financial year.
After more than 10 years at the helm of Tyro, Jost decided to hand over the reins to Gerd Schenkel, founder of NAB’s U-Bank as new CEO. As full time Executive Director, Board member and largest shareholder, Jost continues to define the company’s strategic direction whilst building Tyro’s profile both locally and abroad.
Jost’s other major passions outside of disrupting the banking sector are politics and sailing, having circumnavigated the world for two years (2002-2004) with his wife, Fiona, and their five children on-board his 130 foot, custom-built yacht.
CEO, CSIRO’s Data61
Adrian Turner is the CEO of CSIRO’s Data61 business and the largest data innovation group in Australia. He is a successful and influential Australian technology entrepreneur who has spent 18 years in Silicon Valley. He is also co-chair of the Australia Cyber Security Growth Network and a member of the Board of Directors for the Australian eHealth Research Centre . Most recently he was Managing Director and co-founder of Borondi Group.
Prior to this, Adrian was co-founder and CEO of smart phone and Internet of Things security company Mocana Corporation, had profit and loss responsibility for Philips Electronics connected devices infrastructure, and was Chairman of the Board for Australia’s expat network, Advance.org.
Adrian was also author of the eBook BlueSky Mining, Building Australia’s Next Billion Dollar Industries.