Privileged to attend at the invitation of Wrays intellectual property lawyers the monthly eGroup forum in Perth where Steve Baxter, a Shark on Chanel 10’s Shark Tank Australia and founding board member of advocacy group StartupAUS, was the guest speaker.
Steve shared his story having enlisted in the Australian Defense Force at the age of 15, spending nine years as an engineer before launching his first startup, pioneering Internet Service Provider (ISP) SE Net.
In 2010 he and his business partner sold PIPE Networks for $373 million, just a few years after some set backs with the global financial crisis.
Key message is to have an idea that fixes a problem that others will pay for. There are lots of good ideas out there, but not all are commercial. Founders need to have the technical know-how to build their idea and have a founding team to take to market.
Today Steve has a portfolio of around a dozen start-ups. He also helps budding entrepreneurs as founder of co-working space River City Labs in his home town of Brisbane. He is also a mission leader for Startup Catalyst which takes groups to Silicon Valley to gain first hand insights.
For a country of $23M people, the funnel of ideas in Australia is very low, compared to well established markets in Israel and San Francisco.
Steve’s role on Shark Tank came after engaging a PR Agent to help build his profile to better engage with government on the sector. A cross between the US version of the show and the UK’s Dragons Den, Steve is hoping the program will do what MasterChef has done for chefs for entrepreneurs in Australia.