Rick Baker is a Managing Director of Blackbird Ventures. Prior to Blackbird, Rick was responsible for MLC’s venture capital portfolio with investments and commitments of over half a billion dollars. At MLC, Rick built a portfolio of venture fund investments alongside a group of the most successful venture capital funds in Silicon Valley and globally. Rick has also invested directly into tech companies, both from Australia and the US. Prior to MLC, Rick co-founded two successful software companies. The first, IDC Global, is a leading provider of software for the real estate industry. The second, Right Party Connect, produces notification systems for financial institutions. Right Party Connect was sold to UK-based company Adeptra in 2007 and is now Adeptra Australia. Rick is a passionate supporter of Australian technology companies. He is on the board of Shoes of Prey; an advisor to Posse, Canva and Wooboard; an investor in Bugglegum Interactive and Pygg; and on the Advisory Council of Pollenizer. Rick was awarded a cooperative scholarship to study commerce at the University of New South Wales, graduating with merit. He then went on to study law at Sydney University, graduating with honours.
Paul Bassat is a co-founder and major shareholder in Square Peg Capital, which is an active investor in early stage and growth stage technology businesses throughout the Asia Pacific region. Paul is passionate about mentoring management teams that are focussed on building outstanding businesses.
Paul is a director of Wesfarmers Ltd and a Commissioner of the Australian Football League (AFL). He is on the board of a number of not for profit organisations including the Faculty of Business and Economics at The University of Melbourne, the Peter MacCallum Cancer Foundation, the Mount Scopus College Foundation and the P&S Bassat Foundation. He was designated as a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum in 2009.
Paul co-founded SEEK in 1997 and served as CEO and then as Joint CEO from 1997-2011. SEEK is the world’s largest online employment business and in 13 years went from a start up to one of Australia’s top 100 companies with a market capitalisation of $2.5b. SEEK has operations in numerous markets throughout Australasia, Asia and Latin and South America. SEEK has consistently been ranked as one of Australia’s best employers over the past decade.
Paul started his career as a lawyer and practiced for six years working on a range of corporate transactions. Paul holds a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Commerce from The University of Melbourne.
Angela Clark joined the ABC as Director of Innovation in March 2012. Angela started her career as an investment analyst before joining JCDecaux Australia as Managing Director and launching the company’s operations across four states. In 2003, Angela joined Macquarie Radio Network as CEO. After five years heading up Macquarie Radio, Angela left to pursue digital opportunities, founding a number of start-ups including Streetcorner.com.au
Dr Michelle Deaker established OneVentures in 2006, coming into the venture capital industry as a successful IT industry business owner and entrepreneur. OneVentures’ current fund is a $40 million Innovation Investment Fund backing companies with global relevance in clean-tech, IT&T / new media and life sciences. Michelle founded E Com Industries which became the leader in prepaid card and electronic voucher technologies in Australia and was acquired by a UK publicly listed company returning $30m cash and an excellent return to investors. For three years prior to establishing E Com, Michelle was the Managing Director of Sydney-based computer and web design firm, Networks Beyond 2000.
Through her interest in high growth companies, Michelle has provided advice for, invested in and raised capital for emerging technology companies. She has extensive experience in the development of early stage companies, a strong background in Australian R&D and expertise in international business expansion. Michelle serves on the Board of NICTA, Australia's National ICT centre of excellence. She also has a number of active board and advisory positions with OneVentures investee companies including Datacastle (Seattle) and AdGent 007 (San Francisco) and an interest in Sydney-based BuzzNumbers. Michelle has over 10 years experience in research and development with leading Australian Universities and CSIRO. She holds a Bachelor of Science (First Class Honours), and with both a Commonwealth and the CSIRO Postgraduate Research Scholarships, was awarded a Masters of Science and a PHD in Applied Science.
John Dyson is one of the founders of Starfish Ventures (www.starfishvc.com) and has played a crucial role in the establishment of the company. John has personally overseen and managed nearly 20 investments in a range of technologies and industries. John has achieved numerous exits for his portfolio companies including a NASDAQ listing, ASX listings and trade sales to local and overseas companies.
In May 1995, John was appointed General Manager (Australia) of JAFCO Investment (Asia Pacific), a Singapore based private equity manager. In this role John was responsible for establishing the Australian office, recruiting a team of investment professionals and overseeing investments into 24 companies totalling $95M invested and achieving 19 exits. Prior to joining JAFCO, John worked in the investment banking and stockbroking industries for Schroders, Nomura Securities, KPMG and ANZ McCaughan.
John is a passionate alpine skier and is a former Chairman of Mount Buller and Mount Stirling Alpine Resort Management Board, which oversees the management of Victoria’s largest alpine resort and was a member of the Committee providing advice to the Victorian Government regarding the ongoing strategy development of the Victorian Alpine Resorts. John is also a co-trustee of the Dyson Bequest, a $15M Charitable Foundation that provides grants to a range of social welfare, education and environmental causes.
John holds a Bachelor of Science from Monash University, a Graduate Diploma in Finance and Investment from Securities Institute of Australia, Masters of Business Administration from RMIT University and is a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. John attended the Stanford University Executive Program in 2010. John is also the Chair of Swinburne Ventures Pty Ltd (the entity responsible for the commercialisation of technology for Swinburne University of Technology).
John has been an active participant in the venture capital industry. From 1997 to 2002, John was a Director of the Australian Venture Capital Association Limited, including Deputy Chairman in 1998 and Chairman in 1999; thereafter Victorian Convenor until 2006. John is currently a Director of Atmail, Audinate, icix, Myriax, Space-Time Research and Zoom Systems.
Elizabeth Eastland is the CEO of Innovation and Commercial Research (ICR). She is responsible for innovation strategy at the University of Wollongong, including spearheading the iAccelerate Project, redesigning the technology commercialisation process and commercial research engagement. With 25+ of international experience in high technology, Elizabeth is passionate about cross-discipline innovation, cultural regeneration, entrepreneurship, and committed to engagement, transparency and knowledge exchange.
Lisa Frazier leads Commonwealth Bank’s digital and mobile channels, including CommBank.com.au, NetBank.com.au and MyWealth.com.au. Having more than 20 years of experience working for both multinationals and innovative start-up operations, Lisa continues to drive Commonwealth Bank’s position as a leader in technology and innovation.
Amanda Gome is a successful media entrepreneur, renowned business journalist, experienced educator and internationally recognised business authority. Amanda has had a long history in business journalism at both Fairfax and News and was an editor and senior writer for BRW, where she founded the successful Fast 100 and Fast-Starters flagships. She has specialised in writing and interviewing Australian entrepreneurs on their successes and failures. She also researched fast-growth entrepreneurship and became an Adjunct Professor of Business at RMIT University, a position she has held for 14 years.
After writing and researching entrepreneurship for almost two decades, Amanda decided to do it herself. In 2006 she started her own online publishing business SmartCompany, which quickly became Australia's leading news and resource site for entrepreneurs and small business owners. SmartCompany ran an awards program (Smart50, Top 30 under 30, Australia's top 50 female entrepreneurs) and was highly innovative in creating new sales products for advertisers including highly effective lead generation tools such as online events and ebooks. Two years after starting SmartCompany, she also launched Startup Smart aimed at people starting businesses. Both businesses were profitable soon after startup. In 2010 Amanda merged that business with Private Media which owns Crikey and became CEO of this fast growing media business, starting more media publications including Property Observer and Women's Agenda and developing new revenue opportunities for the business. Amanda is also a passionate educator and enjoys lecturing students and talking to business groups about entrepreneurship, innovation and the changing face of media and journalism.
Hamish Hawthorn is the CEO of ATP Innovations – Australia's leading technology startup incubator. ATP Innovations has a portfolio of over 60 companies in the life sciences, hardware and electronics, and software sectors. In 2014, ATP Innovations was recognised as Incubator of the Year by the US-based National Business Incubator Association. Hamish has deep experience in the health and life sciences industries - spanning operational and strategic roles and currently serves on the boards of Elastagen (regenerative medicine) and Sky Biomed (medical devices). Hamish is also the co-Founder of Sydney Angels, Sydney's largest formal angel network, and the co-founder of Ignition Labs, Australia's first medical technologies accelerator program. Hamish holds a Bachelor of Engineering from The University of Sydney and Master of Business and Technology from the University of New South Wales. Hamish is a Visiting Fellow at the University of New South Wales and was the recipient of the Faculty Entrepreneur Award in 2009.
Sue Klose is the Chief Operating Officer of 12WBT, responsible for the execution of 12WBT's business strategy and the day to day operations of the business, whilst leading and managing the senior management team. Sue also plays a key role with the CEO and Board, developing long term goals and business vision.
No stranger to digital strategy, Sue was previously a Partner with Venture Consulting leading digital strategy consulting engagements at product, business unit and corporate level as well as providing advice and analysis of digital media and commerce growth opportunities. Prior to Venture Consulting, Sue held the role of Director, Corporate Development for News Digital Media. In this role Sue developed NDM’s investment philosophy and screened over one hundred potential investments, leading the investment in several key digital properties and representing News Digital on invested boards. In addition, she led and participated in several NDM and News Limited strategy projects including charging for online content, video strategy and growth options in online real estate.
Prior to her move to Australia, Sue held various media and strategy roles in the United States, primarily with Tribune Publishing and as a consultant with Marakon Associates. She holds an MBA in Finance/Marketing from the Kellogg School at Northwestern University, and a BSc Economics, Finance/Marketing from the University of Pennsylvania.
Matthew Koertge is a Managing Director in Telstra’s Application & Ventures Group. Prior to joining Telstra, Matthew was the founder and General Partner of Accede Capital, an independent venture capital firm; the head of the venture capital team at Deutsche Bank in Australia; and a founding team member of the venture capital team at Macquarie Bank. Matthew has worked with approximately 40 venture-backed companies in Australia and the USA which have encompassed all stages of the company life cycle including many acquisitions and successful IPOs. Prior to joining the venture capital industry in 1998, Matthew held several engineering and operational positions at various corporations including Fujitsu. Matthew has graduated with a BE, a LLB and a MBA.
Dr Larry Marshall is a Managing Director of Southern Cross Venture Partners, based in the Palo Alto office. Previously he has founded or co-founded six successful companies in the laser/optical, semiconductor, and medical sectors, all of which have created exit events for investors, including two IPOs. Most recently he was co-Chairman of Arasor, a developer and manufacturer of integrated optical and wireless solutions.
Larry holds 20 patents protecting numerous commercial products. He received a prestigious Federation Fellowship, chaired Advanced Solid State Photonics, and has over 100 publications and presentations including many popular articles on what he calls "Business Engineering". Larry was born in Sydney Australia, and received his BS Honors from Macquarie University (Sydney), and PhD from the Commonwealth Centre of Excellence.
Leni Mayo began angel investing in 2000 is now a founding investor of 99designs.com; a Director of flippa.com; co-founder of online learning site for web developers and designers learnable.com; advisory board member of the Melbourne Accelerator Program and the inaugural chairman of Startup Victoria; as well as being involved with many more investee companies.
In 2013, Leni received the CSIRO Benson Entrepreneur Award. Leni studied computer science at the University of Melbourne (BSc Hons, 1985) and worked as a freelance software engineer in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Nicholas Muldoon is an Agile Coach with the Twitter engineering team. Nicholas coaches and facilitates software development teams enabling them to reach their full potential. He was formerly the Product Manager for Atlassian GreenHopper, a solution to help Agile teams manage their projects. Nicholas worked with numerous customers to help them kickstart their agile transformations and ensure they realised the benefits of being agile. He lead the initiative to reinvent GreenHopper and to provide a solution for Scrum and Kanban teams.
Nicholas has spoken at Agile and Product Management conferences in Australia, China, Japan and North America. He lives in The Mission District of downtown San Francisco and is an advisor to several financial technology businesses including Practice Ignition and Interactive Accounting.
Fiona Pak-Poy is a non-executive director, with experience investing and guiding technology and fast growth companies in a variety of industries. Fiona is a non-executive director of iSentia Ltd (ASX:ISD), Australia’s leading media intelligence company. She Chairs iSentia’s remuneration committee and is a member of the risk and audit Committee. Fiona is a member of the Innovation Australia Board; an independent statutory body established to assist with the administration of the Australian Government's industry innovation programs. She has Chaired or been a member of various innovation programs like Commercialisation Australia, COMET, Industry Innovation Follow On Fund and Clean Technology Investment. Fiona is a director of Adelaide Research and Innovation Pty Ltd, the commercialisation company of the University of Adelaide; and a member of the Federal Government’s National Precincts Board. She is a former member of the not-for-profit international aid development agency, Mercy Works Inc.
Previously, Fiona was a General Partner for Innovation Capital, an Australian venture capital fund that invested in Australian companies with unique intellectual property. Investee companies of which she was a director included Audinate, Opto Globo and Call Journey.
Fiona holds an Honours degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Adelaide and has an MBA from Harvard Business School.
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, a new $60m growth stage fund launched in July of 2014. Daniel's previous experiences includes seven years as Chairman of netus (technology investment firm), six years as Chairman of eCorp (a subsidiary of PBL), 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.
AirTree Ventures, netus and eCorp were founded on the basis of understanding global online business models and then either bringing them to Australia, investing in innovative local businesses or building them from the ground up in Australia.
Companies founded or invested in Australia by netus and eCorp include ninemsn, eBay Australia, ReachLocal, Ticketek, Allure Media, Downstream Marketing, Travel.com and ePredix. Netus returned 4 times cash on cash for invested funds as did eCorp.
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 3 books on Fatherhood and balancing work and life.
He is also on the board of the Sydney Theatre Company and the board of the Garvan Institute of Medical Research.
In 2005 Daniel was awarded an AO for his work in philanthropy and business.
Steven Salsberg is a serial entrepreneur and founder of numerous companies. He is the Chairman of Global Access Advisors, a strategic advisory, investor, and capital access consulting firm with offices in the US, Australia and Israel.He advises multinational SMEs focusing on information communication technology, natural and specialty products, and innovative enterprise mobility technologies. Steven also serves as the US Chief Admin Officer of iWebgate, an award-winning network security technology company.
He is a member and active director of numerous boards including the American Sustainable Business Council, Board of Investors of the CUNY School of Law, Envirolution, Friends of Hudson River Park, and the Social Venture Network (SVN). He is the Vice Chairman of GROWNYC (formerly the Council on the Environment of New York City) appointed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Steven is an attorney and member of the Bars of New York and New Jersey.
Deena Shiff has had extensive senior executive experience in the communications industry. She served as a Group Managing Director at Telstra Corporation between 2005 and 2013, during which time she led the Wholesale Division, established Telstra’s Business Division dedicated to the communication needs of SME customers and established Telstra’s corporate venture capital arm, Telstra Ventures. Deena has also had a legal and regulatory career, including as Partner at Mallesons 1995-1998, in house corporate counsel at Telstra, and as a senior executive and adviser on legal and social policy reforms for the Australian Government earlier in her career. Deena is currently a Non Executive Director of the Australian Government backed export facilitation bank, Export Finance and Insurance Corporation. She serves as a director of a number of venture capital-backed software businesses and advises and mentors entrepreneurs building new media and e-commerce businesses.
David Skellern does research, engineering and entrepreneurial activities in electronic and information systems, hardware and software. He is currently Chairman of Capital Markets CRC Ltd and a Visiting Professor at Imperial College London. He was CEO for ~6 years of NICTA, Australia's national research centre for information and communications technologies, where he worked to build a strong culture of excellence in research and its commercialisation. He was a Director of Smarts Group and involved in its sale to NASDAQ OMX Group in 2010. Since 2001 he has invested in seven startup companies, five of which have been remarkably unsuccessful, while the other two are struggling. In 1997 he co-founded Radiata Inc, which produced the first IEEE802.11a chipset and was acquired in 2001 by Cisco Systems, where he was Wireless Networking Technology Director until 2004. He previously did research with HP Labs, was Professor of Electronics at Macquarie University, and held research and academic positions at the University of Sydney. He was made an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2012, for distinguished service to science and engineering as a leading researcher and for the design and development of world-leading information technology. He'd love to see more thriving Australian technology startups!
David Spence is well known in the Internet and communications industry both in Australia and New Zealand. He has been involved in over 20 Internet businesses, since 1995 as Chairman, CEO, director, shareholder or advisor.
Until February 2010, David held the role of CEO at Unwired Ltd. Since joining Unwired in January of 2004, he grew the company from a handful of employees to one of the world’s largest portable wireless broadband carriers, servicing in excess of 70,000 customers in the greater Sydney and Melbourne areas.
In late 2008 the company was sold to Seven Network Limited. From 1995 until 2000, David held various positions with OzEmail, including Managing Director and CEO. He grew the business to become Australia’s second largest ISP.
David’s current hats include: Non Executive Director at SAI Global Limited, Director and Chairman at PayPal Australia, Founder/Director at Turratech Pty Limited (Turramurra Technologies), Director at Hills Limited and Chairman of VOCUS Communications. David is a past Chairman of the board of the Internet Industry Association.
Andrew Stead is a highly experienced commercialisation professional who has worked extensively with startup founders and investors. He is the Director New Ventures at NICTA, the co-founder and director of investment group Sydney Angels and serves on several company boards. His primary responsibility at NICTA is the creation and growth of spinouts and managing the existing equity portfolio.
Prior to his current role, he was the Director Business Development at technology incubator ATP Innovations. There he worked alongside 125 companies, that raised $140m and seven were sold. He was the co-founder of seed accelerator Ignition Labs, lectured in entrepreneurship at the University of Sydney and sold a search technology to Google whilst working at UNSW.
With a background in the ICT industry, Andrew has previously held roles at UXC, Telstra and started his career as an army officer. Andrew holds a BSc (Hons) (USYD), an MBA (MGSM), is a graduate of RMA Sandhurst and a Churchill Fellow.
Tomas Varsavsky had ‘Software Engineer’ stamped on his forehead at birth. He wrote his first computer program in BASIC at the age of seven and he’s been involved in software ever since. After completing Computer Engineering and Computer Science degrees at The University of Melbourne in 1999, he joined Ericsson as a graduate where he gained an appreciation for large scale real time software systems. In 2006 he joined ThoughtWorks as a consultant and spent the next five years helping organisations solve software problems using agile methods. In 2010, Tomas joined leading digital advertising business REA Group as a Head of Technology where he currently helps the Media and Developer line of business pursue new market opportunities. Tomas is responsible for all aspects of IT strategy and execution that bring to life the team's lean startup approach to product innovation.
Richard White is the CEO and founder of CargoWise, a software business that focuses exclusively on system solution for international trade and transport providers. Since its inception in 1994, CargoWise has developed a large global client base with over 2000 installations and 50,000 users in 66 countries.
Today, CargoWise and its international subsidiaries have revenues approaching $40M AUD, a growth rate of over 50% per annum. It supplies software to some of the world’s biggest freight, customs clearance and import/export companies such as Geodis, DSV, OHL, UPS, DHL, TNT, Woolworths, Johnson & Johnson to name a few.
CargoWise sponsors, supports and belongs to a number of industry associations and participates in industry and Government forums in numerous countries.
In 2010 CargoWise rose to the position of the No. 2 supplier in the world in revenue terms and holds the largest market share of any provider in installed licenses on a single product.
Richard's skills combine a unique 20-year understanding of the international trade and logistics industry combined with over 30 years in both software development and business management. He has an extensive IT and software skillset and deep knowledge in e-Commerce and combines this with a strong commercial grip on industry issues.