Sydney, November 16, 2017

Calling all Startups in Australia 

Many are familiar with the many adventurous innovations — zorbing, bungee jumping, and jet boating to name a few — that have come out of the Australian-New Zealand ecosystem. But, so did WiFi, black box flight recorders, cochlear implants, ultrasound technology, and even atom splitting. TechCrunch is headed to Australia to find the most disruptive early stage startups poised to compete on a global stage. How? We are bringing TechCrunch’s world premier competition, Startup Battlefield, to Australia this year in partnership with ELEVACAO.  


Thursday, November 16

    All times AEDT
  • 9:00 am - 9:05 am

    Opening Remarks: Matthew Panzarino (TechCrunch) 

  • 9:05 am - 9:25 am

    Fireside Chat with Spencer Rascoff (Zillow)

    Zillow's CEO delves into real estate marketplaces and the leadership equation to scale growth

  • 9:25 am - 9:30 am

    How the Startup Battlefield Works with Mike Butcher (TechCrunch)

  • 9:30 am - 10:30 am

    Startup Battlefield Session 1

    Judges: Dean Foley (Barayamal), Avichal Garg (Y Combinator), Dean McEvoy (TechSydney), Catriona Wallace (Flamingo) and Samantha Wong (Blackbird Ventures)

  • 10:30 am - 10:50 am

    Fireside Chat with Aaron Patzer (Vital Software)

    Serial founder (Mint, Fountain) and machine learning expert discusses AI's role in product development and his experience on both sides of the acquisition experience

  • 10:50 am - 11:05 am


  • 11:05 am - 11:30 am

    Strength in Diversity: How and why to make inclusion a foundation in every startup

    In conversation with Dean Foley (Barayamal), Greg Moshal (Prospa) and Catriona Wallace (Flamingo)

  • 11:05 am - 11:50 am

    BREAKOUT SESSION: The Future of Voice

    Julian Boot (EQUiEM), Dave Budge (Isobar), Martin Davie (Alkhemy), John (JP) Paitaridis (Optus Business) and Andy Powers (Clique) - moderated by Stuart Richardson (YBF)

  • 11:30 am - 12:30 pm

    Startup Battlefield Session 2

    Judges: Anton Borzov (WhatsApp), James Cameron (AirTree Ventures), David Gowdey (Jungle Ventures), Kavita Gupta (ConsenSys Ventures) and Melissa Widner (NAB Ventures)

  • 12:30 pm - 12:50 pm

    Fireside Chat with Mike Cannon-Brookes (Atlassian)

    The Atlassian co-founder on Atlassian's growth story: what went right and what went wrong

  • 12:50 pm - 1:35 pm


  • 1:35 pm - 2:35 pm

    Startup Battlefield Session 3

    Judges: Petra Andrén (Cicada Innovations), Chris Boshuizen (Data Collective), Ian Gardiner (Amazon Web Services), Duncan Turner (SOSV) and Eloise Watson (Rampersand)

  • 2:35 pm - 3:00 pm

    ANZ Startup Ambitions: Past, Present and Future

    In conversation with Bill Bartee (Main Sequence Ventures) and Daniel Petre (AirTree Ventures)

  • 3:00 pm - 3:25 pm

    Blockchain, ICOs and The Future of Everything?

    In conversation with Simon Cant (Reinventure), Dr. Jemma Green (Power Ledger) and Kavita Gupta (ConsenSys Ventures)

  • 3:25 pm - 3:40 pm


  • 3:25 pm - 4:10 pm

    BREAKOUT SESSION: Going Deep on Blockchains and ICOs

    Simon Cant (Reinventure), Avichal Garg (Y Combinator and Bitwise Hold 10 Crypto Index ​Fund), Dr. Jemma Green (Power Ledger) and Kavita Gupta (ConsenSys Ventures)

  • 3:40 pm - 4:40 pm

    Startup Battlefield Finals

    Judges: Wesley Chan (Felicis Ventures), Dean Dorrell (Carthona Capital), Matthew Panzarino (TechCrunch), Melanie Perkins (Canva) and Elaine Stead (Blue Sky)

  • 4:10 pm - 4:50 pm

    BREAKOUT SESSION: Cross-border funding and growth in Asia -- Sponsored by Telstra Ventures

    Marcus Bartram (Telstra Ventures), David Gowdey (Jungle Ventures) and Duncan Turner (SOSV) - moderated by Brendan Yell (Send Grid)

  • 4:40 pm - 5:05 pm

    The Funding Scene in Silicon Valley

    In conversation with Chris Boshuizen (Data Collective), Wesley Chan (Felicis Ventures), and Michael Sharkey (Autopilot)

  • 5:05 pm - 5:30 pm

    The Asia Opportunity: Finding cross-border growth and investment 

    In conversation with David Gowdey (Jungle Ventures) and Duncan Turner (SOSV)

  • 5:30 pm - 5:55 pm

    Building and Scaling Mobile Products: Learn from two top practitioners

    In conversation with Anton Borzov (WhatsApp) and Avichal Garg (Y Combinator, former Facebook product director)

  • 5:55 pm - 6:05 pm

    Startup Battlefield Australia Winners Announced

Speakers / Judges

  • Petra Andrén

    Petra Andrén

    Petra Andrén is CEO of Cicada Innovations (, Australia’s only deep technology “super incubator” for Australia’s largest collection of 70+ advanced technology entrepreneurs across the medical, engineering, and IT web sciences.

    Petra is an ambassador for global non-profit, InBIA, working with sustainable entrepreneur support programs in every industry and demographic around the globe. She lectures on entrepreneurship at the University of Sydney, the University of Technology, and the Australian National University.

    She holds a MA (University of Uppsala, Sweden/exchange for thesis work University of Salzburg and University of Vienna, Austria) and an MBA from the Australian Graduate School of Management (UNSW, and USYD), and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (GAICD).

    See Petra Andrén's Crunchbase profile
  • Bill Bartee

    Bill Bartee

    Bill Bartee is a co-founder and Managing Director of Blackbird Ventures and of Southern Cross Venture Partners. He has co-founded several successful companies. At Southern Cross Bill focuses on early-stage software, security, and internet companies. From 1997 to 2001, he helped build and lead the early stage investing for Macquarie Technology Ventures (MTV), a balanced venture fund focused on software, telecommunications, internet and life sciences. At MTV, Bill led investments in several market leaders including Altium (ASX: ALU), LookSmart (NASDAQ: LOOK), Seek (ASX: SEK), Telera (acquired by Alcatel), and onebox (NASDAQ: OPWV). At Southern Cross Bill has led investments and is a Board Member or Observer in Mocana, Bislr, Mantara, Liaise, and Shoes of Prey. Before co-founding Southern Cross, Bill was the start-up CEO of Mantara, a company that makes high performance, content-based message routing systems. Prior to moving to Australia, Bill had 12 years of research, operational, and entrepreneurial experience in the United States. Bill earned a Bachelor of Science, MBA and Juris Doctorate degree (University of Richmond).

    See Bill Bartee's Crunchbase profile
  • Marcus Bartram

    Marcus Bartram

    Marcus is a founding Partner of Telstra Ventures. Telstra Ventures was setup with a mission to invest in market leading, high growth companies that are strategically aligned with Telstra. Since inception Telstra Ventures has invested $300M+ in capital, with 7 exits and 38 active portfolio companies across USA, Australia, and Asia. Marcus’s investment interests are broadly across the telecom and enterprise software sector with a focus on cyber-security. Marcus’s active portfolio companies include Crowdstrike, PhishMe, Auth0, VArmour, Zimperium, AttackIQ, IPScape, Cohere Technology, and Headspin.

    See Marcus Bartram's Crunchbase profile
  • Anton Borzov

    Anton Borzov

    Anton Borzov is a Product Designer in WhatsApp, a communication service founded in 2009. Previously Anton was leading, a small digital communication agency in Ukraine. Anton grew up in Ukraine before moving to London and then California to work at WhatsApp.

    See Anton Borzov's Crunchbase profile
  • Chris Boshuizen

    Chris Boshuizen

    Chris is an Entrepreneur in Residence at Data Collective VC, a boutique investment firm specialising in hard, data-driven science and engineering companies. He is also a member of the Advance Board of Directors.
    Chris is the co-founder of Planet Labs, a company providing unprecedented daily, global mapping of our changing planet from space. As the company’s CTO for five years he took the company from the drawing board to having launched more satellites into space than any other company in history, completely transforming the space industry along the way. Fundamental to Chris’s approach is a dedicated investment in people, especially youth and recent graduates, to create a powerful, connected global workforce capable of achieving anything.

    Chris was previously a Space Mission Architect at NASA Ames Research Center. After working on a number of traditional spacecraft programs at NASA, Chris co-created Phonesat, a spacecraft built solely out of a regular smart phone. The cost was so low, and the concept so simple, that space exploration is now within grasp of the everyday person, and many other groups around the world are pursuing their own low-cost space programs as a consequence.

    Whilst also at NASA, he established Singularity University, a school for studying the consequences of accelerating technological development. Initially fulfilling the role of Interim Director, Chris helped raise over $2.5 million to establish the university, assembling the faculty and serving as co-chair for the University’s Department of Space and Sciences.

    Chris received his Ph.D. in Physics and BSc. with honours from the University of Sydney. In 2014 Chris was recognized as the "Advance Global Australian of the Year".

    See Chris Boshuizen's Crunchbase profile
  • James Cameron

    James Cameron

    James recently relocated from London to join AirTree Ventures as a Partner, focusing on growth stage venture investments in Australia and New Zealand, particularly in enterprise software/SaaS, security, infrastructure/core tech and fintech. James is currently managing AirTree’s investments in Prospa, 90Seconds and Paxata.

    Prior to AirTree, James was the Vice President of Accel Partners, investing in early stage and growth stage companies. James held board member or board observer for Accel’s investments in Weaveworks, Simplivity, Skipjaq, E8 Storage and Semmle.

    James also co-founded a SaaS investment research software platform aimed at investment management funds in San Francisco in 2011.

    James holds an MBA from Stanford, and a Bachelors of Computer Science & Law from University of New South Wales.

    See James Cameron's Crunchbase profile
  • Mike Cannon-Brookes

    Mike Cannon-Brookes

    Mike Cannon-Brookes is the co-founder and co-CEO of Atlassian, a collaboration software company that helps teams organise, discuss and complete shared work. More than 90,000 large and small organisations around the world use Atlassian’s tracking, collaboration, communication, service management and development products to work smarter and faster every day.

    Mike has received international recognition for his work, including Ernst & Young's Australian Entrepreneur Of The Year in 2006 and Australian Business Person of the Year by the Australian Financial Review in 2017. He's also been honoured by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader in 2009 and was named on the 2017 Forbes Global Game Changers list for reshaping the business world.

    Outside Atlassian, Mike is an active angel investor and a non-executive director of Tyro, a technology-focused Australian bank. He serves as an adjunct professor at the University of New South Wales' School of Computer Science and Engineering, as well as chair of the Computer Science and Engineering Industry Advisory Board.

    Mike holds a Bachelor of Commerce in information systems from the University of New South Wales, Australia.

    See Mike Cannon-Brookes's Crunchbase profile
  • Simon Cant

    Simon Cant

    Simon Cant is Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Reinventure. Founded in 2013, Reinventure is a corporate venture fund with $100m under management bringing together the best of independent venture capital and corporate venturing with Westpac as the primary investor. To date, the portfolio has 16 ventures which are focused on Fintech and adjacent areas.

    Simon is also the founding President of FinTech Australia, the industry’s peak representative body, and a member of the Australian Treasurer’s FinTech Advisory Group.

    Simon has built his career in venture and innovation including advising leadership and innovation teams at Westpac, NAB, Suncorp, Fairfax, News, APN and Tennis Australia as well as being a founding team member at Social Ventures Australia, Tinshed Angel Group, ninemsn and Austlii, where he was involved in pioneering legal expert systems. Prior to joining Austii, Simon was a solicitor with Allens.

    See Simon Cant's Crunchbase profile
  • Wesley Chan

    Wesley Chan

    Wesley Chan is a Managing Director at Felicis Ventures. He has led investment rounds and holds board or observer seats in Canva, CultureAmp and Dialpad.

    Wesley was previously a General Partner at Google Ventures, where he led investment rounds and held board or observer seats in Angelist, Crittericism, iPerian (exited to Bristol Myers-Squibb), Cool Planet Energy Systems, and Switch Communications. Wesley also led investments in Optimizely, Vungle, DataPad (exited to Cloudera), Freshplum (exited to TellApart), Namo Media (exited to Twitter), and Parse (exited to Facebook).

    As an early employee at Google, he founded and launched Google Analytics and Google Voice, which reach tens of millions of users worldwide. Wesley is a recipient of Google’s Founders Award–the company’s most prestigious recognition–for leading the development of Google’s early client efforts, which led to the development of Google Chrome. Wesley is an inventor with 16 US Patents, many from his work on building Google’s early advertising products.

    Additionally, Wesley has held technical positions both at HP Labs and Microsoft. He holds both Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering from MIT where he completed his graduate research at the Media Laboratory.

    He was selected as a “Top 35 Under 35” innovator by Technology Review magazine in 2010. He has been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Fortune, and his story as an early product innovator at Google is covered by Steven Levy’s Google Book, “In The Plex.”

    See Wesley Chan's Crunchbase profile
  • Dean Dorrell

    Dean Dorrell

    Dean Dorrell has a B.A. (Hons.) in Economics and had a successful initial career as a bond trader, arbitrageur and proprietary trader. He was a coder from very early days and used those skills whilst trading to formulate some of the earliest proprietary models, quant trading systems and statistical arbitrage methods in the 1990’s that led to him becoming Head of Bond Trading at Paribas in London and later joining Greenwich Capital and Greenwich Natwest.
    Dean made his first angel investment in 1998 and during the mid-2000’s transitioned into a VC/private equity/operating executive role with Redbus Group in London which had successful exits such as RFD to Lionsgate and Lovefilm (which was the merged entity that the Redbus founded Video Island became part of) to Amazon and was named winner of the Richard Branson sponsored Sunday Times Virgin Atlantic Fast Track 100.

    Dean moved to Australia in 2010 and became the Managing Director and an Investment Committee Member of M.H. Carnegie & Co. in 2011, primarily leading the deal team in early stage venture investments and private equity deals (largely focused on distressed real assets such as marinas and pubs).

    Dean co-founded Carthona Capital in 2014 which has become one of Australia’s leading early stage venture capital companies with over $200m of FUM.

    See Dean Dorrell's Crunchbase profile
  • Nisha Dua

    Nisha Dua

    Nisha has spent the last 10 years working in media, tech, strategy and law. In addition to her work at BBG Ventures, she founded the #BUILTBYGIRLS movement which challenges young women to be part of the tech-enabled economy through a series of offline and online programs to teach girls the fundamentals of venture capital.

    Nisha was previously the General Manager of AOL’s millennial site, Cambio and Chief of Staff for the AOL Brand Group, working on strategy, operations and special projects. Prior to that, she was a management consultant for Bain & Company advising companies across Tech & Telco, Financial Services, and CPG. She cut her teeth as an M&A and securities lawyer at the Australian law firm, Blake Dawson. Nisha also consulted for edtech start-up, Learn with Homer.

    As a black belt in karate, singer, fashion blogger, Yankees fan, aunt to five nieces, and all-round geek, Nisha believes in the power of the multi-faceted millennial woman who is the inspiration for the #BUILTBYGIRLS movement.

    See Nisha Dua's Crunchbase profile
  • Ian Gardiner

    Ian Gardiner

    Ian is a technology entrepreneur working to grow the technology startup ecosystem in Australia and New Zealand as part of Amazon Web Services. He also co-founded and helps to run Innovation Bay, a networking and angel investment group for technology startups. Previously Ian was the CEO and founder of Viocorp, a software company supplying a video publishing platform for corporates and government. In 2009 Ian won the NSW Pearcey award for Technology Entrepreneur of the Year. Ian has an Engineering degree from the University of Oxford where he also won two rowing blues in the Oxford-Cambridge Boat Race. When he has time he is also a competitive cyclist, an avid computer gamer, husband and father of two boys (not in that order).

    See Ian Gardiner's Crunchbase profile
  • Avichal Garg

    Avichal Garg

    Currently a part-time partner at YCombinator helping early stage companies with product strategy, scaling, and fundraising. An investor in Boom Supersonic, Optimizely, Cruise, Starsky Robotics, Instawork, Color Genomics, CaseText, WayUp and many other companies.

    Previously Avichal was the Director of Product Management at Facebook for Local, which included products such as Location Infra, Entities, Events, Local Search, and Pages (business identity).

    Avichal as had a number of successful exits. As the CEO and Cofounder of Spool, a mobile caching service, was acquired by Facebook in 2012. In 2011 the Daily Mail Group (LON: DMGT) acquired by PrepMe, a machine learning based education company, Avichal was the CTO and Cofounder.

    Previously a product manager in Search Quality and Ads Quality at Google with a B.S. and M.S. from Stanford.

    See Avichal Garg's Crunchbase profile
  • David Gowdey

    David Gowdey

    Mr. Gowdey is currently a Managing Partner at Jungle Ventures, a Singapore based venture capital firm focused on internet and technology investments in South Asia. Prior to Jungle, David spent 3.5 years at TPG Capital where he led internet investments outside of the US within the TPG Growth fund. Prior to TPG, David spent 12 years at Yahoo! Inc where he was the Head of International M&A on the Corporate Development team. In this role, he was responsible for driving all transaction activity and the investment strategy for Yahoo! outside of North America, including their expansion in to new markets, such as Russia, Turkey, Middle East, Africa and SE Asia. In 2011, David was also the Managing Partner at Xplorer Capital, a growth equity venture capital firm which spun out from Yahoo! to focus on internet and digital media opportunities in the emerging markets. David continues to be an Advisor to TPG Capital and represents them as a non-executive director on the board of Propertyguru, the largest online real estate platform in SE Asia. David holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Radford University and a Master’s Degree from the Macquarie Graduate School of Management in Sydney. He has lived and worked for over 20 years across Asia, but currently lives in Singapore with his wife and three children.

    See David Gowdey's Crunchbase profile
  • Jemma Green

    Jemma Green

    Dr Jemma Green was born in Perth and raised in the eastern hills. At age 22, and armed with a bachelor of Commerce in Finance from Murdoch University in Perth, she started a career in banking at JP Morgan in London.

    Here her work involved bringing sustainability and corporate social responsibility to the task of lending big money. This often involved persuading industries like mining to clean up their act, a challenge she relishes despite its complexity.

    In 2013, Jemma left banking and returned to Australia to complete a PhD in disruptive innovation.

    Here she started to look at citizen utilities and the way apartment buildings could use solar and batteries in combination.

    It was a short step from this to setting up Power Ledger with her cofounders in 2016, a blockchain energy company. In 2017, Power Ledger undertook Australia's first initial coin offering and raised $34 million.

    Jemma has become a goto person on matters of blockchain, cities, energy and transport in and has made hundreds of appearances in the media commenting on related topics.

    She also finds time to be an independent councillor at the City of Perth, a board member of the Water Corp and advisor to Carbon Tracker, wife and a mother of one.

    See Jemma Green's Crunchbase profile
  • Kavita Gupta

    Kavita Gupta

    Kavita is a recipient of UN social finance innovator award in 2015 for being an integral part of the founding green bond team at The World Bank. At ConsenSys, Kavita heads the unique VC-hedge fund, investing in next-generation blockchain technologies revolutionizing our current systems. Previously she has been running over $250M fund aligned with UN SDGs infusing capital in technologies providing first time or low-cost access around the world. She has set up innovative investment funds across East Africa, Middle East, South Asia and recently in the US for past 16 years through World Bank, IFC, McKinsey and The Schmidt Family office. She founded and headed World Bank's first innovation fund in 2010. She is on the board and advisor of various accelerators and foundations across the world like google accelerator social track, MIT Solve (Sr. Advisor), Vatican's Right Now foundation for impact investments, Mandela foundation etc. She is an MIT and Media lab alum.

    See Kavita Gupta's Crunchbase profile
  • Dean McEvoy

    Dean McEvoy

    Dean is a startup founder, advisor, and investor. A serial entrepreneur, he co-founded Australia’s first group buying platform, Spreets, in 2010 (it was later acquired by Yahoo!7 for $40M, one of the biggest sales in Australian tech startup history at the time) and recently launched his fourth startup, IconPark.
    Dean is evangelical about his hometown being the best place in the world to live – and committed to making Sydney the most desirable place on Earth to found and scale a high-growth tech company.

    See Dean McEvoy's Crunchbase profile
  • Greg Moshal
  • Aaron Patzer

    Aaron Patzer

    In January, I started another company, Vital Software, with Dr. Justin Schrager of Emory University. Vital makes software for hospital emergency rooms. This includes a mobile patient check-in for patients, and the fastest, most usable electronic medical records you've seen for doctors and nurses. We use extensive machine learning and natural language processing to determine patient severity and anticipated actions. Our longer term goal is to cut ER wait times in half, as they are often 4-5 hours long. You might not know it, but there are 140M ER visits in the US alone each year.

    Medical / sales are in the US, while development is all in Auckland New Zealand. My long-time partner Rebecca, an architect, is a Kiwi and I am now a resident of New Zealand as well.

    See Aaron Patzer's Crunchbase profile
  • Melanie Perkins

    Melanie Perkins

    Melanie Joy Perkins co-founded Canva, Inc. in 2012 and serves as its Chief Executive Officer. Melanie Perkins serves as an Executive Director at Canva, Inc.

    See Melanie Perkins's Crunchbase profile
  • Daniel Petre

    Daniel Petre

    Daniel has been a leading player in Australia's software industry for more than 30 years, both as a founder of three successful venture firms and as a senior executive in operational roles in Australia and the U.S.

    Daniel's roles have included Chairman of Netus, Founding Chairman of Ecorp (a venture capital fund), Director on the PBL Board and time with Microsoft Corporation, where he served as Vice President of the Workgroup Division, Director of Advanced Technology and Director of the Asia Pacific Region.

    Daniel is on the Board of OneView Limited (Advisory Board), Sydney Theatre Company, Innovation Science Australia, UNSW Business School (Advisory Board) and the UNSW Centre for Social Impact Sydney Advisory Council. He is also an Adjunct Professor of the University of NSW and University of Sydney.

    Daniel has a Doctorate in Business (Honoris Causa), a Bachelor of Science from the University of New South Wales and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Sydney. He also holds a Graduate Diploma in Counselling, and is a published author. He was made an Officer in the Order of Australia (AO), for distinguished service to Australia and is an author of four books.

    See Daniel Petre's Crunchbase profile
  • Spencer Rascoff

    Spencer Rascoff

    As chief executive officer of Zillow Group, Spencer oversees the company’s portfolio of real estate and home-related brands, including consumer brands Zillow, Trulia, StreetEasy, HotPads and Naked Apartments. Spencer helped start Zillow in 2005, and served various roles including chief operating officer, until his appointment to CEO in 2010. Since becoming CEO, Spencer has led Zillow through its 2011 IPO and 14 acquisitions. In 2015, Spencer co-wrote and published his first book, the New York Times’ Best Seller “Zillow Talk: Rewriting the Rules of Real Estate.” Spencer is also the host of “Office Hours,” a monthly podcast featuring candid conversations between prominent executives on leadership and management topics.

    Fortune and Forbes both listed Spencer as one of America’s most powerful CEOs under 40 and he is a recipient of Ernst and Young’s National Entrepreneur of the Year Award. In 2017, Spencer was named Swanepoel’s most powerful person in real estate. Spencer was also awarded Glassdoor’s Highest Rated CEO recognition for 2016. Before joining Zillow, Spencer was vice president of lodging for Expedia. In 1999, at the age of 24, Spencer co-founded, a leading Internet travel company, which a few years later he sold to InterActiveCorp (the parent company of Expedia). Before his consumer web career, Spencer was in investment banking and private equity. He worked in the mergers and acquisitions group at Goldman Sachs and as an associate at TPG Capital. Spencer graduated cum laude from Harvard University.

    Spencer is on the board of directors of TripAdvisor. He is also a member of the Young Presidents’ Organization.

    See Spencer Rascoff's Crunchbase profile
  • Michael Sharkey

    Michael Sharkey

    Michael Sharkey co-founded Autopilot and is the CEO. Prior to founding Autopilot, Michael joined his brother Chris to grow start-up Stayz into a top Australian rental booking site (acquired by FairFax Digital in 2006 and again by HomeAway for $225M in 2013). He also co-founded Sharkey Media with his brother Chris, where he helped grow Australian startups, marketing programs, and websites.

    See Michael Sharkey's Crunchbase profile
  • Elaine Stead

    Elaine Stead

    Elaine is the Managing Director of Venture Capital and is responsible for the management of the Blue Sky venture capital fund and portfolio. Established in 2012, the venture capital division has expanded to bear its second fund, VC2014, and over $100 million in assets under management across a broad range of industry sectors.

    Elaine has worked for a number of years as a venture capitalist and management consultant to the venture and industry across Australia and the United States. Elaine has also worked in strategic management consulting, with both NASDAQ and ASX listed and private companies based in Australia and the US. Originally trained as a stem cell biologist, Elaine has since spent the last decade within the innovation and investment spectrum, initially in technology commercialisation assisting public institutions and founders translate and commercialise their technology across a broad range of industry sectors including agriculture, healthcare and IT.

    Elaine has a strong academic foundation holding a PhD in biochemistry from the University of Adelaide. She is actively involved in Australia’s professional venture capital community, as a member of AVCALs venture capital stakeholder committee and as a member of the investment committee of ANUConnect Venture Capital, the Australian National University’s venture capital fund.

    See Elaine Stead's Crunchbase profile
  • Duncan Turner

    Duncan Turner

    Duncan Turner is General Partner at SOSV and Managing Director of the HAX Accelerator and HAX China programs in Shenzhen, China, where he has been a mentor since its inception. A designer and expert in China manufacturing, he is particularly interested in investing in and mentoring startups who have an emphasis on hardware. To date, five of Duncan’s portfolio companies have raised a combined $4.26 million on Kickstarter.

    Duncan has a diverse background in human factors research, industrial design, product development, manufacturing and business. He brings deep experience with business growth in China, having spent many years building both small and large companies’ manufacturing capabilities. Duncan’s entrepreneurial background has seen him take numerous hardware products to market from first concepts through research, funding, design, development, manufacturing and assembly to final sales of the product under brands that he created. Before becoming Lead of Product Design & Engineering at IDEO Shanghai, Duncan co-founded Cliq, a hardware company which shipped hundreds of thousands of units of a dozen different designs, achieving millions in revenue.

    Prior to co-founding his own business, he worked for two years as a Human Factors Research Associate at the Helen Hamlyn Research Centre, part of the Royal College of Art (RCA) in the UK. He obtained his Masters from Royal College of Art and his design work is part of the permanent collection at The Museum of Modern Art.

    See Duncan Turner's Crunchbase profile
  • Catriona Wallace

    Catriona Wallace

    Dr. Wallace is the Founder & CEO of high-profile Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning company, Flamingo, which provides Cognitive Virtual Assistants, ROSIE & MAGGIE, used by Financial Services companies to guide customers through their sales and service journeys, improving online sales conversion rates and customer experience.
    Based in NYC and Sydney, Dr. Catriona Wallace is one of the world’s most cited experts on the Future of Customer Experience, Artificial Intelligence and Bot Strategy.

    Catriona has a PhD in Organizational Behavior: Human Technology Interaction, is a well published author and is recognized as one of Top 4 Most Respected People globally in the Customer Experience sector.

    Catriona is a highly awarded business person having been inducted into the Australian Business Woman’s Hall of Fame, winning Advance Australia’s top prize for Technology & Innovation for Australian’s working abroad, winning Telstra Business Awards and is Alumni in the Springboard Enterprises Women Entrepreneur’s program. Catriona was also awarded a Pearcey Foundation award for tech entrepreneurs.

    Catriona is also a high profile philanthropist, human rights activist and mother of five.

    See Catriona Wallace's Crunchbase profile
  • Eloise Watson

    Eloise Watson

    Eloise is the Investment Manager of rampersand, an early-stage venture capital firm founded in 2013 that invests in the best Australian technology founders and surrounds them in the help they need to succeed. With $50m+ in FUM, rampersand has invested in over 15 companies including AssemblyPayments, Stackla and Expert360. Eloise is also currently the Chairman of Engage Education, a social enterprise she co-founded in 2010. Prior to rampersand, Eloise worked at Goldman Sachs, BCG and Booz & Co.

    See Eloise Watson's Crunchbase profile
  • Melissa Widner

    Melissa Widner

    Melissa Widner is a general partner at NAB Ventures. Through direct experience, she has a deep understanding of both the entrepreneur’s journey and the role of a Venture Capitalist. As CEO she led two companies to successful acquisitions that provided over a 10X return to investors.

    She co-founded and was the CEO of Silicon Valley based enterprise software company, 7Software (acquired by Concur Technologies NASDAQ: CNQR, acquired by SAP). Melissa was a general partner at SeaPoint ventures, a US based venture capital firm focused on mobile technologies and SaaS enterprise software solutions. She has served as a director on several US and Australian based venture-backed technology companies.

    In 2009, Melissa relocated to Sydney with her Australian husband. She co-founded Heads Over Heels, an organisation that works with female entrepreneurs leading companies with high growth potential. She served on the Federal Government’s Venture Capital Committee and currently serves on the VCC of AVCAL, the Australian Venture Capital Association.
    Melissa holds a BA from the University of Washington and an MA from Stanford University. She is the proud mother of four boys.

    See Melissa Widner's Crunchbase profile
  • Samantha Wong

    Samantha Wong

    Sam is a Partner at Blackbird Ventures, a technology venture capital fund with $230 million funds under management. She is also a Partner at Startmate, Australia’s pre-eminent early-stage technology accelerator. Prior to joining Blackbird, Sam co-founded a Startmate Company, CapacityHQ, a professional services marketplace. Sam started her career as a corporate lawyer at Minter Ellison before career-pivotting to lead Product teams at, a multi-national e-commerce startup.

    See Samantha Wong's Crunchbase profile

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