Simon Hackett

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Microsoft innovation centre adds to South Australia’s booming tech scene

3:15AM | Friday, 6 March

Microsoft has launched its second Australian Innovation Centre, with the South Australian centre aiming to graduate more than 40 startups, provide training to at least 250 people and create at least 80 jobs over the next 18 months.   MICSA will host regular training events, workshops, and a regular speaker series. It will also offer startups meeting rooms and facilities, industry connections, software and cloud credits through its BizSpark and BizSpark Plus programs   The establishment of MICSA comes after Microsoft launched its Queensland Microsoft Innovation Centre in May 2012. Microsoft also runs the BizSpark Plus program, which offers startups access Microsoft Windows Azure services over two years, along with other tools and software.   Microsoft Australia state director Brian Kealey told StartupSmart South Australia is uniquely positioned in terms of government, academic and industry backing that will allow the program to work.   “The tech startup sector is a critical part of the economy going forward, and we see it as our role to help foster that. We make this investment to grow the economy, but won’t take an equity position or force the startups to sign anything. That said, if startups need access to equity, we can help to make those connections,” Kealey says.   MICSA adds to a booming Adelaide tech startup scene that already includes the Majoran Distillery, the Innovyz program and Simon Hackett’s Base64. According to Kealy, MICSA is designed to add to the existing SA ecosystem, rather than compete against it.   “We built a foundation group and run a month scrum to get feedback and see if this is definitely going to help with growth… We have, over the past six to 12 months, worked with Hills Innovation, Hub Adelaide, Majoran and a range of other partners. So, for example, we use Majoran as a co-working space if they need help with co-working,” Kealey says.   According to Kealey, MICSA intends to offer its services both in a programmatic and a-la-carte fashion. Also, participation is not limited strictly to startups working with Microsoft platforms or technologies.   “We reach out to startups through social media, coworking spaces and various other channels. That said, 90% of the startups bring their idea to a competition, coworking space or program and get referred to us for training to become part of MICSA,” he says.   “We can provide startups with access to our technology through our BizSpark programs, and [the Microsoft] Azure [cloud platform] certainly will support PHP, MySQL, Linux and a range of other open web technologies. That said, we can do a lot more, like training connections and development, regardless of their tech choices.   Five foundational members of MICSA include:   myEvidence: Allows law enforcement officers to capture crime scene information digitally. Makers Empire: 3D printing software developed specifically for primary schools and tested extensively by classroom teachers and students. Lend A Skilled Hand (LASH): A social enterprise that connects skilled volunteers with local and international community projects in need of their expertise. Codies: An interactive learning platform that uses Kinect for Windows Devices and in 2014 developed its first education motion sensing application. Jemsoft: Developers of a world-leading intelligent access control system called Portcullis.   Follow StartupSmart on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

High-flying Simon Hackett-backed aviation app wins industry award and major defence contract

2:13AM | Friday, 27 February

Bevan Anderson and Simon Hackett accepting the award at the Avalon Airshow   Aviation software developer AvSoft Australia has taken out Australia’s top prize for civil aviation innovation, with the electronic flight bag (EFB) app also winning a major contract with the Australian Army.   The company, backed by entrepreneur Simon Hackett, has developed an EFB for the iPhone called AvPlan EFB that allows pilots to view the maps, charts and other information they traditionally needed to hold in a heavy flight book. A version called AvPlan Lite is also available for Android devices from the Google Play store.   AvSoft chief executive Bevan Anderson told StartupSmart the software saw AvSoft win the Aerospace Australia Civil Industry National Innovation Award for 2015 at the biennial Australian International Airshow at Avalon Airport in Victoria.   “They do three award categories in civil and three in defence. We applied when they asked for entries for the civil innovation award, and of the many entries, we were the winner. This is the big one for commercial aerospace awards in Australia – we’ve run out of awards to win,” Anderson says with a chuckle.   There’s big news on another front for Anderson, with AvPlan recently securing a major contract with the Australian Army.   “The Army has been conducting trials for the past two years of various platforms. Recently, they passed the product selection space and chose our product to equip all their pilots with,” Anderson says.   The deal will see around 200 Army helicopters equipped with iPads running AvPlan EFB. Anderson says the Army is leading the way in terms of technology with the move, and that he is not aware of another defence force anywhere in the world that has adopted an EFB app.   “There have been additional challenges going into the defence space, and that’s something they’ve helped us with,” he says.   “We needed to do EMI (electromagnetic interference) testing of the devices, clearing the iPad for use in all the helicopter models including with weapons systems. Obviously, you can’t have weapons going off because of electromagnetic interference from a tablet!”   There’s also good news for the company on the civilian front, having partnered with a Boeing subsidiary called Jeppesen in a deal that has led to significant interest from ad-hoc charter and business charter flight companies.   The deal allows AvPlan EFB to access Jeppesen’s international data, while pilots will be able to undertake flight preparation and submission in AvPlan and then transfer that information to a Jeppesen device.   Follow StartupSmart on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Hackett-backed UltraServe cloud e-commerce platform checks social media to see when servers need to scale

2:32AM | Friday, 13 February

UltraServe, an e-commerce platform backed by entrepreneurial investor and Internode founder Simon Hackett, has added a new feature that tracks social media activity in order to pre-emptively scale its infrastructure before demand starts growing.   The latest deal comes after Hackett purchased a 40% stake in the company in April of last year, with former Internode and iiNet chief technology officer John Lindsay taking a seat on its board of directors.   UltraServe chief executive Samuel Yeats told StartupSmart the investment has helped the company grow internationally.   “We took investment in May last year, and that was to help us take our offer international and further our reach here in Australia… We have customers now in the UK, US, Asia, New Zealand and Australia, so it’s been a really good six months for business,” Yates says.   “It’s been a really good six months for our business. There’s been a lot of changes, but it’s also helped us to focus. We used to be a hosting company that looked at any kind of application, with a broad target market. The past six months, we’ve dropped everything except online retail, and have built some really great partnerships.”   The company offers cloud-based managed services for e-commerce companies, counting big names such as Catch of the Day, Deals Direct, Appliances Online and General Pants among its customers.   The latest feature for the company’s cloud-based SmartStack platform, which it demonstrated at the recent hybris summit in Munich, allows it to automatically respond to social media events indicating a surge in traffic is on the way.   “SmartStack is a platform for hybris e-commerce, which is an SAP business. We’re the only endorsed public cloud provider globally for hybris. The aim with Smart Stack is to cut down provisioning time to minutes.   “What social scaling does is take that one step further. Sometimes, we might not be able to anticipate when a wave of traffic is coming. So we poll social media in real time and look for key words and indicators that could indicate a spike in traffic, and then pre-scale and pre-warn our environment. It means our customers always have a responsive website for their users.   Yeats says he is unaware of any other company using the technique, which he says allows businesses to have “an extra ear to the ground listening out for a successful, vital campaign”.   “For example, we have a customer in the UK, and from time to time, Kate Middleton will buy their shoes. As soon as those shoes hit the tabloids, people talk about them on social media and then hit the website. Now that’s a perfect example of where this comes in handy.   “hybris has recently been named by Gartner as the number one platform for omni-channel, so it’s neat an Australian business can compete on a global scale.”

How Simon Hackett is transforming a historic mansion into a startup hub

12:39AM | Friday, 12 December

Prominent investor and entrepreneur Simon Hackett has transformed a historic Adelaide mansion called Wavertree, once home to a colourful two-time South Australian premier and a TV studio, into a co-working, incubator and events space called Base64.   Hackett told StartupSmart he has deliberately delayed any hard-and-fast decisions about whether to turn Base64 into a startup incubator or accelerator program.   “It seems clear, however, that we aren't going to be 'traditional'. There are existing hub/accelerator spaces in Adelaide and we're not intending to compete with them – and indeed we'd welcome their use of our event/seminar/gathering spaces to augment their own activities,” he says.   “The spaces for resident companies are going to be filled very carefully – because we're consciously wanting to build a community of people who are comfortable with each other’s company in a human sense, not just in a business one.”   Hackett hopes Base64 will become the physical home for some of the Hackett Group’s investments, but notes most of its current venture investments have been in companies that are already headquartered in other states.   Some of his recent investments include BlueChilli, graphite miner Oakdale, battery storage firm RedFlow, electric vehicle venture EV Race Systems, cloud-based ecommerce firm UltraServe and aviation software developer AvSoft. He also recently joined a group of investors who are injecting $5 million in capital into geospatial mapping firm Spookfish.   “The original Wavertree mansion is now the Hackett Group headquarters, and a small team working for me are based in that building. We are in the process of 'booting up' the multi-tenant space at present, with a few companies already present as 'beta test' residents of the space. We expect to formally launch the site in early-mid 2015,” he says.   “We have significant investments with (and in) BlueChilli, who are based in Sydney, and whose '156' accelerator program is an extremely effective way to create Internet-facing MVP's from great ideas, sourced from generally non-technical founders. If BlueChilli winds up accelerating startups that are based in SA in the future, then there is some obvious rationale to having Base64 provide the physical accommodation for those SA based startups.”   Over the past two years, the 1865 heritage-listed mansion, which Hackett purchased in June 2012, has been re-pointed and re-roofed, with gigabit-rate internet access cabling has been installed throughout the facility.   “Our major redesign and renovation of the site has taken more than two years to complete. It has transformed the space from an old building need of some love and attention into a well-integrated and modern reinvention of some wonderful old buildings,” Hackett says.   “There are now excellent event and seminar spaces, multiple indoor/outdoor garden spaces, a variety of offices of various sizes, and excellent facilities throughout. The space is designed to inspire creativity. It raises the spirits of everyone who visits.”   Hackett says Base64 helping the South Australian tech community to achieve critical mass would “be lovely”, but it isn’t the primary aim of the exercise.   “It seems as if people in most major cities would like their city to become the next Silicon Valley/Alley/Beach/Desert/Winery! It seems to need enough people in absolute terms in an area (for critical mass to form), combined with government incentives (or at least, the lack of government barriers) to such activity, combined with good broadband and great coffee. And a bit of luck,” he says.   “None of that stops fabulous things happening in South Australia in this space - and ultimately it seems to me that the notion of geographically specific 'tech hubs' is being gradually usurped by the virtualisation of tech communities (in some cases at least) - allowing them to exist across geographies and to achieve a different form of critical mass in that manner instead.”   Follow StartupSmart on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Putting a startup on the map: Simon Hackett joins investors pouring $5 million into Spookfish

12:05AM | Monday, 1 December

Internode founder and BlueChilli investor Simon Hackett has joined a group of investors who are injecting $5 million in capital into geospatial mapping firm Spookfish.   Spookfish is undertaking final testing on its aeroplane-mounted geospatial mapping system, which integrates camera systems, data storage, processing and flight operations. It is planning a commercial release next year.   The deal is the latest in a string of investments from Hackett, which include BlueChilli, graphite miner Oakdale, battery storage firm RedFlow, electric vehicle venture EV Race Systems, cloud-based ecommerce firm UltraServe and aviation software developer AvSoft.   Spookfish executive director Jason Marinko told Private Media Hackett is joining Hoperidge Capital, along with investors Brent Stewart and Tony Grist, as a cornerstone investor.   “The vast majority of the fully committed raising has been taken up by these four cornerstone investors. We were also encouraged to received strong demand from existing Spookfish shareholders who include industry users of geospatial imagery,” Marinko says.   The investors are making the investment by purchasing the ASX-listed small-cap mining firm White Star Resources, which in turn has an option to acquire the geospatial mapping firm.   “White Star is acquiring Spookfish via the exercising of its option and as a result undertaking a recompliance listing and capital raising via prospectus to change its activities from a resource company to a technology company,” Marinko says.   The plane-mounted imaging technology operates at a high altitude, allowing it to capture images at a high resolution and with high accuracy at a relatively low cost per capture.   “Three pioneers in the geospatial and aerospace engineering sectors with complementary skills saw a massive opportunity to make a significant step change in geospatial imagery,” Marinko says.   “This was by controlling the whole end-to-end process, with the aim of providing the highest quality aerial imagery at significantly improved levels of resolution, accuracy, cost effectiveness and consistency compared to current industry offerings.”   When asked about Google Maps or drone (UAV) aircraft-based mapping systems, Marinko says the technologies are not direct competitors to Spookfish.   “Google and the like are mostly acquirers of geospatial data such as ours so we don’t view them as a competitor. UAV’s are currently uneconomic, highly regulated and impractical for large area captures. If a suitable UAV platform ever emerges then we could simply use it ourselves,” he says.   At the moment, the company is working on a tech demonstrator that will test the technologies the company will use in its commercial offering.   “The Spookfish Technology Demonstrator will test all aspects of the camera system, data storage, processing and flight operations which will be scaled up and deployed in our commercial offering,” Marinko says.   “Next year will involve low altitude commercialisation with a pilot program using the tech demonstrator, then testing for scaled up productivity and the preparation for large area capture with full commercial launch of our large area offering in early 2016.   “Our target market is government and large corporate clients, who are the major customers of geospatial data but ultimately our images will be processed quickly and available via a simple customer portal so anyone in the market for high quality imagery with frequent updates will be able to subscribe to our service.”   Follow StartupSmart on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Hackett investment has shifted Australian aviation app into full throttle

10:13AM | Friday, 24 October

Aviation app developer Avsoft is gaining altitude across Australia, New Zealand and the US following an investment from entrepreneur Simon Hackett, with the company recently releasing an entry-level version of its CASA-approved app for Android devices.   Avsoft chief executive Bevan Anderson says before the company’s AvPlan EFB iPad app, pilots used to carry bags filled with flight and gadget manuals.   “Traditionally, pilots did all their flight planning using rulers on maps. They used rulers and protractors to measure distances and headings to fly. They then needed to manually take into account winds and other factors when flight planning,” Anderson says.   “All this information, maps, airport diagrams and others then needed to be carried into the cockpit. Depending on the flight to be undertaken, this could be kilos of paper.”   Following the release of the Apple iPad in April 2010, Anderson started thinking about how a flight book could be compressed into next to no weight in the form of an electronic flight bag app, or EFB, for the new device.   “I imagined an app on the device which replaced my pilot’s kneeboard. On my kneeboard I clipped my flight plan on one side and the maps, charts and airport information used for the flight on the other. AvPlan EFB was to be an electronic replacement for this, and that is what it has become (and a whole lot more),” Anderson says.   “These days, AvPlan EFB replaces all this, plus more calculations and other performance optimisation functionality in a small device weighing 100s of grams. We can then take it everywhere with us, so no matter where a pilot is, we have all the tools at our disposal. Over the past few years we gained approval from CASA for pilots to use AvPlan EFB instead of carrying all this bulky paper.”   The app came to the attention of Australian entrepreneur Simon Hackett soon after he purchased his Pilatus PC-12 aeroplane. In November last year, Hackett invested in a 40% stake in the company, allowing it to expand overseas.   “As he got familiar with it and saw what we had achieved, he reached out to us and offered us some investment to assist us to add capability and to grow the product into new markets. Since Simon came on board we have expanded into the United States and New Zealand, and begun the process of bringing AvPlan EFB to a new platform, in Android,” Anderson says.   Hackett explains that a key distinction between AvPlan and its rivals is that it began life as a flight planning and flight management application for high end/professional/commercial pilots.   “It offers functions that are extremely sophisticated, and that are hugely valuable to this type of pilot. It also works wonderfully well right down to a 'weekend warrior' flying his two-seat sports aircraft to the next airfield for a Saturday BBQ,” Hackett says.   “The latter usage model is a perfect fit to our 'Lite' (entry level) version, and the software then lets you unlock more and more features via additional/optional subscription packs, to turn on all the professional pilot tools if you need them.   “Because we started life at the high end, AvPlan does these sophisticated things really well (by design, and by intent). Some of our competitors started out as a cheerful tool for the weekend warrior and have grown more sophisticated features later, and in a far more haphazard manner – and we think the result is far less effective than our 'designed-in' sophistication.   “In effect, we started at the high end of the industry and we're reaching down toward simpler mission support, where our competitors started simple and have bolted stuff on over time to climb 'upward' to the harder stuff. We think the way around we did it creates a better outcome.”   The new Android version, dubbed AvPlan Lite 1.0, is an entry-level version of the app available as a free one-month trial from the Google Play store, with a full subscription costing $69 per year in Australia.   “We only exist today as the companies who produced flight planning software for the PC never adapted their businesses when mobile devices began to appear,” Anderson says.   “This example is a lesson to us to never rest on your accomplishments, and never bet your business on what is currently the big thing. Always look for new opportunities and respond to market demands, and in our case, the market demands multiple platform support.”   “We certainly feel that we have only just begun. With what we are doing, and with the assistance of our fantastic industry partners we expect to see mobile devices bringing more efficiency to aviation: A future where aviation is more accessible to existing and new pilots.”   Follow StartupSmart on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Simon Hackett invests in a graphite mine, predicts Tesla will help drive a clean energy tipping point

10:15AM | Saturday, 11 October

Pioneering Australian tech entrepreneur Simon Hackett has invested $1.5 million to purchase a quarter of graphite miner Oakdale Resources’ initial public offering, predicting a clean energy tipping point will be reached in the next five to 10 years.   A pioneer of the Australian internet industry, Hackett is best known for co-founding internet service provider Internode in 1991, which he sold to iiNet for $105 million in 2011. He is also a former director of iiNet and a current director of the NBN Co.   Oakdale is the latest in a string of investments by Hackett since selling Internode, including flight planning application AvSoft, zinc-bromide battery module (ZBM) developer RedFlow, cloud-based ecommerce firm UltraServe and electric vehicle venture EV Race Systems. He also sits on the BlueChilli investor committee and took part in BlueChilli Group’s $5 million investment round, which also included the Myer Family Investments.   Under the latest deal, Hackett becomes the lead investor in Oakdale, which was launched by Queensland miner John Lynch and has a 2008 square kilometre tenement on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula.   Hackett told StartupSmart he predicts that, over the next five to 10 years, energy storage systems will experience a similar reduced cost/increased performance curve to the solar industry.   “When energy storage (batteries of all sorts) wind up costing less per kilowatt hour over the life of the battery than the cost of grid-supplied energy, 'everything changes',” Hackett says. “This won't be a gradual shift in the use of energy storage, it'll be a tipping point – and we're right on the verge of it happening.”   According to Hackett, aside from being the key material in the humble lead pencil, graphite is a key input in high-peak-energy-output batteries.   “It is the latter use that I see as a huge growth area in the next decade,” he says. “Then there is the 'blue sky' opportunity to turn graphite into graphene. Graphene is a super-material, whose overall properties (in electrical and physical terms) are almost unbelievably good. The challenge with Graphene is in coming up with ways to manufacture large amounts of it in a commercially tractable manner.   “My investment in Oakdale doesn't pre-suppose the Graphene industry succeeding, in order for the investment to make sense. I think it makes huge sense on the back of the emerging step change in the production of high energy batteries alone – with Graphene being the blue-sky bonus opportunity on top of the battery-based market demand.   “Take a look at the Tesla gigafactory that is being developed right now, and consider that it won't be the only new battery plant being built that will need a lot of high quality graphite.”   Hackett describes the investment as a journey toward the source materials that power all of these technical revolutions in the Internet era.   “For me, that was an opportunity to consider whether there was such a thing as a 'green' investment in the mining industry – an industry I had otherwise stayed away from because my primary focus is in sustainable technology,” he says.   “The reality is that all of this technology is built on things that people have to dig out of the ground.”   Aside from his investment in Oakdale, Hackett is set to join the board of directors for Redflow in November, which recently completed its initial trials with its prototype large scale energy storage system.   Hackett stresses his latest mining investment is in parallel to, and different to, his investment in Redflow, as Redflow doesn't use graphite in its batteries.   “One class of batteries ('power batteries') can be charged and discharged at very high peak energy levels (appropriate for transport applications like electric cars). These are the ones that need graphite in them, and typically they are rare-earth metal batteries such as Lithium Ion based ones (as in the Tesla electric cars),” Hackett says.   "The Redflow batteries are in the other class of battery, called 'Energy Batteries',  that are designed for a regular daily duty cycle of energy delivery at a relatively constant rate of charge and discharge. These are more appropriate for stationary applications in off-grid renewable energy systems or in grid-interconnected arrangements designed to level out peaks in daily demand."   Hackett says he is open to making further investments the battery storage/cleantech space if suitable opportunities come up.   “I don't actively solicit investment opportunities. I tend to go out and find them proactively –this was the case for both Oakdale and for Redflow – because it’s a sector I follow closely,” Hackett says.   “I'm not ruling [establishing an investment or venture capital fund] out, but it’s not currently on the things-to-do list.”   Pictured: Hackett standing next to the prototype Redflow battery array. Follow StartupSmart on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

BlueChilli backed by Myer Family Investments and Simon Hackett in $5m raise

9:48PM | Monday, 1 September

Sydney-based venture technology company BlueChilli Group has closed a $5 million investment to fuel its growth in a round led by the Myer Family Investments and including Internode founder Simon Hackett. The investment is seperate to the BlueChilli fund which is now  at $10.2 million.    BlueChilli founder and CEO Sebastien Eckersley-Maslin says the most significant aspect of the announcement was not the amount raised, but who the new investors were.   “Simon Hackett is one of Australia’s most successful technology entrepreneurs, and the Myer Family is one of Australia’s most iconic investing families,” Eckersley-Maslin says.   BlueChilli’s valuation was not disclosed, but the latest round will see the equity of Domenic Carosa’s Future Capital Development Fund, an original investor in 2012 when BlueChilli launched, acquired.   “I’m very proud of how far we've been able to extend Future Capital’s initial investment in BlueChilli, and if we’re able to derive the same value from this latest round of investment it’s not unreasonable to expect that we might develop many hundreds more awesome new startups with this capital rather than our original goal of 100 by 2016,“ Eckersley-Maslin told StartupSmart.   “We’ll be expanding the size of our Sydney accelerator and incubator presence, and we’ll open a dedicated space with a full-time team to support our growing roster of Melbourne startups. If it makes sense in terms of market growth and local support, we’ll look at other capitals on a case-by-case basis.”   BlueChilli has previously announced overseas expansion and the appointment of US hires, but Eckersley-Maslin says they’re not ready to disclose more details on that just yet.   Speaking on behalf of the Myer Family Investments, Peter Yates, deputy chairman, says it's delighted to support domestic innovation through this meaningful investment.   Hackett, who has been working with BlueChilli in an advisory capacity, says his investment reflected his interest in fostering the best avenues for growing the Australian tech startup economy, something he believed the BlueChilli model enables with its support for non-technical founders and its systematic approach.   “The BlueChilli '156' model has devolved the process of moving from idea to MVP into the 156 necessary steps to get there,” Hackett says. “This doesn't constrain a startup – rather, it helps to efficiently get them moved through the development process and out into getting that MVP into the wild, without having missed a critical step that might come back to bite them later.”   Chairman of Future Capital, a pooled development fund, Domenic Carosa, said Future Capital was pleased with the transaction.   “It’s been a pleasure working with Sebastien and the team and I’m pleased to be able to report to our shareholders that our seed stake in BlueChilli has returned a 6.67 multiple in just over two years,” Carosa says.   Eckersley-Maslin says their target for this deal flow is high net worth investors looking to make their first few investments in the startup space.   "We can offer them a relatively de-risked investment because our founders have graduated from a structured, documented accelerator program," he says.   Follow StartupSmart on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Blue Chilli Group launches new $10 million investment fund

9:37AM | Monday, 9 September

Venture technology investor and accelerator Blue Chilli has announced a $10 million fund to invest in the early stage tech start-ups moving through their program.   The fund will match any angel investment of over $100,000 made by three or more investors received by a Blue Chilli company.   Blue Chilli founder and chief executive Sebastien Eckersley-Maslin told StartupSmart the fund was designed to complement and build out the existing model.   “The idea of the fund was to complement the existing model and sits at the end of the Blue Chilli process,” Eckersley-Maslin. “We make the initial investment into a start-up, and provide the skills, tech and resources to enable that founder to go through our education program, launch the business, prove the model and raise angel funding.”   The Blue Chilli team have been planning the fund since December 2012. They were given approval from federal government body AusIndustry to set up an early stage venture capital fund (limited partnership) on August 16.   The fund is being raised entirely from private investors. Eckersley-Maslin says they’ve confirmed $2.2 million, and have a further $14 million in negotiation.   “We anticipate it won’t take long to lock in the rest, it’ll be closed in two months. That’s very fast, but the fund is backing Blue Chilli’s process, and because we have a good story, good strong process and a mechanism for mitigating all the key risk areas of start-ups,” Eckersley-Maslin says.   The fund will work based on a veto system. Any Blue Chilli company that raises over $100,000 from three investors will receive matched funding unless vetoed by the investor committee.   The investor committee is made up of Eckersley-Maslin, start-up thought leader Dr Jana Matthews, entrepreneur and investor Simon Hackett and Alexander van der Laan, as well as Jeremy Colless and Tim Healy from Artesian Ventures. Artesian Ventures will be managing the fund.   Eckersley-Maslin says the addition of funds at the end of the start-up’s journey with Blue Chilli should see a boost in deals signed. Start-ups will also receive $25,000 in seed funding.   “It’s going to increase our deal flow. Because we require start-ups to contribute capital on commencement in the program, the fact we can now say we’ll kick in a couple of hundred thousand at angel round will mean they’re more confident we’ll back them the whole way,” Eckersley-Maslin says.   He adds that one of the most exciting benefits of the fund is offering a diverse portfolio of tech companies to angel investors new to the tech scene.   “Investors in the fund can choose to invest in our companies, directly as well. It’s about education, so non-technological angels who want to get started in the world of tech start-ups but don’t know where can have a diverse portfolio. They can pick one or two companies to invest in personally if they decide to,” Eckersley-Maslin says.

Internode and Rocksoft founders back publishing start-up

3:31AM | Friday, 15 March

Tech entrepreneurs Simon Hackett and Ross Williams have given their support to publishing house MidnightSun Publishing, with Williams investing a “substantial” amount in the start-up.

Small broadband players leave giants in their wake

12:25AM | Monday, 6 December

Giants Telstra and Optus have lagged behind more entrepreneurial players in a survey of the leading broadband internet providers, with Internode topping customer satisfaction rankings.

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