Open the Pod Bay Doors

A weekly deep dive into Australia's tech and startup ecosystem. Brought to you by Innovation Bay

There is a lot of activity in the Australian startup ecosystem. Ideas, talent, and money are all flowing into this sector at an unprecedented rate. This weekly podcast brings in-depth interviews with the best people making the biggest difference. It's brought to you by Ian Gardiner and Phaedon Stough, technology entrepreneurs helping to grow the startup sector in Australia and New Zealand. Ian and Phaedon co-founded Innovation Bay with a clear mission to help technology entrepreneurs succeed.

On today’s pod, we feature an exceptional female entrepreneur, who’s also an investor, advisor, board member, and mum of 3. We’re excited to celebrate International Women’s Day this year with a brilliant guest, Jane Martino.

Melbourne local, Jane Martino has had an impressive career so far, and she’s only just getting started. Recently appointed as Executive Director - Ventures for VC firm, Light Warrior, Jane has a passion for investing and advising early stage ventures and businesses particularly in the areas of health/wellness, consumer, retail & FMCG and those with a social impact.

Previous to this, Jane was CEO of Unlockd, which raised $40M, and also built a number of dynamic businesses, two of which had successful exits: Undertow Media, acquired by Bastion Collective, and Shout, acquired by ANZ Bank. Her third business, the non-for-profit, Smiling Mind, a program centred around delivering free online mindfulness meditation programs, has now over 3 million users globally.

In this ep, Jane shares some excellent advice on getting things done all whilst juggling being an investor and spending time with her family. She highlights the importance of meditation and mindfulness, a daily practice for her which became not only the inspiration for Smiling Mind, but something Jane championed for school curriculums.

Jane also shared some of the key things she looks for as an investor, investing with Light Warrior, plus discussed some of the attributes she believes is important for founders to have. If you're in need of a little inspiration and advice, Jane is a delightful guest and a great leader to learn from.

On today's pod we're talking all things esports with Dave Harris founder of Guinevere Capital.

What are esports we hear you say? Esports refers to organised competitive gaming among professional players, the most popular games are generally team-based multi-player games. Just a bunch of dudes playing video games? Think again, the esports industry has grown at a tremendous pace over the past few years. According to Newzoo, total eSports revenue jumped from $493 million in 2016 to an estimated $900 million in 2018!

Dave is the founder and Managing Director of Guinevere Capital, which owns and operates many of Australia's biggest esports teams. Hailing from a background of commercial success in "traditional" sports like Rugby League, Dave has brought a huge degree of professionalism to the emerging world of esports.

Guinevere owns several teams such as the LG Dire Wolves (League of Legends), the Sydney Drop Bears (Overwatch) and Supa-Stellar (a female Counter Strike team). Recently Guinevere completed a deal to acquire Excel, a UK-based League of Legends team, along with a coveted slot in the League of Legends European Championships. Are you still with us?

Thus is a fascinating look into a fascinating industry. As anyone with teenagers in their life will attest, the rise of esports as a mainstream pastime (and indeed industry) is unprecedented in terms of its participation and overall growth rate. Dave brings a unique, insiders perspective to this, and helps unpack the goings on in this strange new world.

esports founder league of legends startups gaming

In the latest Ep of Open The Pod Bay Doors, Phaedon spoke with the brilliant Aussie entrepreneur, Geoff McQueen, co-founder of Accelo, and Executive Director of the Aussie Founder Network based in Silicon Valley. Geoff is one of those founder’s that truly knows how to grow a business. In this episode, Geoff gives us some fantastic insights into capital raising in the US, and what it takes to make it in Silicon Valley.

Born and raised in Wollongong, Geoff dropped out of the University of Wollongong to focus on running his first business in 2000, a full spectrum digital agency called Internetrix. Within in this field, Geoff saw a problem around SMEs and their internal business management, and after performing lots of customer development around an idea, Accelo was born in 2009. In May 2011, Geoff was invited to exhibit at Google IO - Google's annual developers conference, and in July that same year, decided to take the plunge to move and launch Accelo in the US without any capital, and running on a little bit of revenue.

From here, Geoff talked to us about how he managed to raise capital from investors in Silicon Valley and New York, built offices in SF and Denver, and grew their base team in Wollongong, plus manage the team of over 100 globally, with his three other co-founders.

Geoff is also one of the founding members of the Aussie Founder Network, a community of Australian founders, investors and industry advisors, based out of Silicon Valley. Their mission is to support, build and elevate the role and impact of the Aussie tech community, globally.

This is great conversation and we are thrilled to have had Geoff as our guest on the pod!

Geoff McQueen Entrepreneur Startups Silicon Valley Capital Raising Investment

Ben Keighran is an intelligent and down-to-earth founder, advisor and investor, who knows all about growing a great business and what it takes to make it in Silicon Valley. Phaedon Opened the Pod Bay Doors to Ben so we could talk about Caffeine, a social broadcasting platform for gaming, sport and entertainment, which Ben co-founded in 2016.

We also deep-dived into Ben's perennial entrepreneurial career. He moved from Sydney to San Francisco in 2007 where he raised $US6.5 for his social media company, BluePulse, and founded the app discovery/search engine service, Chomp, which became acquired by Apple for $50M. In this Ep, Ben offers valuable advice about raising money in Silicon Valley, having recently closed a huge $146m in VC funding from Andreessen Horowitz, Greylock Partners and Lachlan Murdoch's 21st Century Fox.

Ben epitomises the word entrepreneur and is an overall fantastic guest to learn from.

Ben Keighran Startups Funding Investment Capital Caffeine Brodcast Media Entertainment Silicon Valley Entrepreneur

Have trouble understanding Quantum Physics? Don’t worry - it's hard to get a grasp on the theory. This week on the pod however, we spoke with an incredibly fascinating guest who articulately explained quantum mechanics in layman's terms, and described how his product is disrupting the future of quantum computers.

We #OTPBD to Professor, Michael J. Biercuk: quantum physicist and technologist at the University of Sydney, Chief Investigator in the Australian Research Council and founder & CEO of Q-CTRL. Q-CTRL is an intuitive cloud platform that uses quantum control theory to solve the hardest problems facing quantum technology, improving hardware performance and accelerating pathways to useful quantum computers and other technologies. Utilising professionally developed tools, Q-CTRL puts deep expertise in quantum control into individuals hands.

Michael’s research as a Quantum Physicist has been recognised with accolades including the Eureka Prize for Outstanding Young Researcher (2015), selection as one of the Sydney Morning Herald’s 100 Most influential people and award of the Australian Government’s [National Measurement Institute] NMI Prize for Excellence in Measurement Science. He was part of an international team whose work developing a new quantum-powered technology was described as the #8 “World-changing” experiment by BBC Focus. His team’s achievements have been featured in The Economist, The New York Times, Forbes, Wired, and a host of other major media outlets.

Deep-dive into a great discussion on the future of a new generation of quantum technology, and how it will disrupt industries worldwide.

quantum technology quantum phsyics startups Michael Biercuk Q-CTRL Quantum Mechanics