I'm a Canberra boy at heart but returned to Australia after 15 years living in the Valley and London. I joined the team from a US fund called Accel, and before that was running a venture backed fintech startup called Bipsync in Palo Alto.
My focus has always been on early stage companies in enterprise software, dev tools, infrastructure and fintech. I guess I just love unsexy stuff that just solves problems really, really well.
When I left uni as a comp sci grad almost 15 years ago, Australia didn’t really have a startup ecosystem. Like many Aussies - I had to go overseas. It’s incredible how quickly things have changed though. I love that we’re shifting from an economy dependent on digging stuff out of the ground to something more innovative, and it’s awesome that we get to play a small part in that shift. If my son doesn’t need to go overseas to find a cool job once he graduates, I’ll be over the moon.
Fundraising is a total pain in the arse. I’ve done it as a founder and also as a VC and in both cases I know how much it sucks. I realise how much of a privilege it is to meet great founders everyday - and I try not to take it for granted.
I think the best board meetings happen on a whiteboard rather than in powerpoint. A board meeting is an opportunity for a small group of engaged people to think about a business strategically. Don’t waste the time just reporting to your investors.
The best founders I’ve worked for never fitted into a stereotype - but they’ve always been an outlier on some dimension. Some are outliers in their technical skills, others in their industry experience. Some are just made of sheer bloody-minded determination. We basically spend our time looking for these outliers.
Founder mental health is a massive issue, but we don’t talk about it enough. Founders are under an immense amount of pressure from all corners, and sometimes your investors are just another source of stress. But a good investor should be a pressure relief valve. It’s our job to be a source of support when you’re struggling.
To switch off - I love any activity that gives me 100% temporary distraction. Current favs are video games, sailing & crossfit. I’m also learning how to surf - but so far I suck.