‘Standing Room Only’ As Steve Baxter Takes the Stage at GC Hub

It was standing room only at the Gold Coast Innovation Hub’s second key investment event last Thursday with Channel 10’s Shark Tank investor, Steve Baxter, the Chairman of Opmantek and 42 Ventures Danny Maher and the CEO of the Gold Coast Innovation Hub Sharon Hunneybell taking the stage for an interactive night of discussion.

With over 100 registrations not even the thunder storm that set in over the coast kept participants away, who were eager to hear from this great panel of speakers.

The evening was opened by the MC Ryan Tuckwood from ISR Training, who welcomed all the guests and encouraged them to network with people around them.

In the beginning of the evening Steve Baxter took centre stage to talk about the current tech investment landscape in Australia including how to get involved and the significant tax advantages available.

Steve Baxter is an entrepreneur, investor and a former Queensland Chief Entrepreneur.   At the age of 23, Steve put his life savings of $11,000 on the line to launch his first start-up, the pioneering internet service provider SE Net, from the spare room of his Adelaide home. Servicing more than 35,000 customers, SE Net was eventually acquired by Ozemail/UUNet under the stewardship of its founding Director and now Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull. In 2001, Steve teamed with a schoolmate to launch his second start-up, PIPE Networks, a provider of wholesale telecoms infrastructure that was listed on the ASX in 2005. Eight years later they sold it to the TPG Group for $373 million.

Since then, Steve has become an early stage investor in startups leading to the founding of Brisbane tech startup co-working space River City Labs.  He also founded and underwrote the Startup Catalyst and River Pitch programs. He is the CEO of Transition Level Investments, and has just launched their new syndicate for investors “Ten13”.

At the second Gold Coast Innovation Hub Investment Evening Steve talked about his experience on Shark Tank and shared unique insights on why he invests in technology and innovation, how he picks companies to invest in and what he is looking for, main trends he is noticing in investment landscape and much more.

After his interview Steve was joined by Danny Maher and Sharon Hunneybell on the couch “between the two palms” for an interactive panel session with the audience. Mr Maher is one of Australia’s leading technology entrepreneurs and is the Chairman of the Hub’s investment arm 42 Ventures and multi award winning Network Management Software company Opmantek, serving over 130,000 organisations around the world with a new organisation implementing an Opmantek product every 6 minutes making them one of the fastest growing business software companies in the world. While Sharon Hunneybell, the CEO and the driving force behind the Gold Coast Innovation Hub was named by the Australian Financial Review as one of Australia’s 100 Women of Influence in 2018. Sharon was also recognised as a ‘Startup Leader’ in the 2014 Westpac Community leader awards added to the Qld’s government’s science and innovation champions wall of fame.

They both shared about the important role the Gold Coast Innovation Hub plays in the investment scene of the city and the state, talked about new initiates like Play accelerator that will be launched at the Gold Coast Innovation Hub with a focus on sports, tourism and film and TV and also shared their entrepreneurial journeys.

The next event in the investment series is scheduled for early 2020.  To find out more about investment opportunities and connections that can be made via the Gold Coast Innovation hub, contact invest@gchub.com.au.

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