Start-up Podcasts

Episode 17 – From Start-up to Scale-up: Reflections on Australia’s Innovation System with Dr Katherine Woodthorpe AO

Episode 17 – From Start-up to Scale-up: Reflections on Australia’s Innovation System with Dr Katherine Woodthorpe AO

In this episode, Dr Katherine Woodthorpe AO joins us to explore the challenges of moving from start-up to scale-up. From addressing foundational tech transfer challenges such as articulating product benefits and identifying market needs, we discuss tech transfer as being the first step on a journey of technology commercialisation and business establishment. Scaling up emerged from the recent National Innovation Policy Forum as a challenge to the Australian innovation ecosystem and we explore the contrasting nature of ICT and bio-physical technology scale up challenges. Katherine reflects on observations from Fishburners and Cicada Innovation, their respective supporting ecosystems and the pathway to the first Minimum Viable Product and ongoing product and market development.

We also explore the strategy of shelving IP, and whether it’s a deliberate or emergent strategy and the factors that influence shelving, such as people, timing, market analysis and resources and touching on the ability to say ‘no’ – the ‘sunk cost’ fallacy as a countervailing force to saying ‘no’ and the ability to strategically assess patenting options. We reflect on the nuances Australian system of the need to publish in contrast to the need for secrecy around know-how to create value and the domestic settings around academic career development and the ability or inability to migrate from the university and CSIRO research communities and industry.

An episode for those working at the intersection of start-up and scale-up challenges.

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Episode 16 – Spinning It Out: The Research to Venture Journey with Dr Victor Pantano – Part 2 Highs and Lows of a Deeptech Start-up

Episode 16 – Spinning It Out: The Research to Venture Journey with Dr Victor Pantano – Part 2 Highs and Lows of a Deeptech Start-up

In Part 2 of our discussions with Dr Victor Pantano, co-founder and former CEO of Digitalcore and current Director of Liquid Instruments, we hear about the highs and lows of taking a deep tech start up along the journey from establishment, through market engagement, team building, growth and financing rounds to exit success.

 Building upon our last podcast with Victor, the conversation reinforces our earlier discussions around a risk balanced approach to due diligence, the importance of people and role timing has in new ventures (as we explored in our September podcast).  The dynamic external environment, the changing needs of investors and the hard yards of building business with customers are all explored in this fascinating discussion.  A must listen episode for anyone contemplating or indeed engaged in a tech start-up.

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Episode 16 – Spinning It Out: The Research to Venture Journey with Dr Victor Pantano – Part 2 Highs and Lows of a Deeptech Start-up

Episode 15 – Spinning It Out: The Research to Venture Journey with Dr Victor Pantano – Part 1 Bringing It Together

In the first of two discussions with Dr Victor Pantano from ANU, Founder and former CEO of Digitalcore and current Director of Liquid Instruments, we hear about the first phase of transitioning research into a commercial spin-out including the importance of due diligence and building a comprehensive understanding of IP assets and their role in value creation.

Building upon our last podcast with Julian Turecek, our conversations with Victor really highlighted the importance of people and balancing risk in tech transfer and new venture success. What was also apparent was that the resources and time required to do so cannot be underestimated. We also hear about the complexity of the relationships and funding that enabled the research from which the technology was developed and the role of market analysis in catalysing the decision to spin out.

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Episode 14 – Teams, Technology & Markets with Julian Turecek

Episode 14 – Teams, Technology & Markets with Julian Turecek

In our discussion with Julian Turecek, Executive Director of Corporate Carbon, former Investment Manager at Cleantech Ventures and previously in leadership roles at Energy Australia and Origin Energy, we hear about some of his experiences and reflections on the importance of technology, teams and markets in assessing venture investments.

This podcast is timely with increasing demands on capital markets for investment in innovative and emerging technologies. Julian shares his thoughts on what matters most in assessing the numerous opportunities that are brought before investors and the challenges of anticipating ‘where the puck is going to be’ to paraphrase Wayne Gretzky. He reflects on his experiences in venture capital and the learnings that translate across the boundaries of innovative startups and corporate operating environments.

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Episode 12 – After the licensing deal…building the HealthSenseTM operating business with Ed Fish

Episode 12 – After the licensing deal…building the HealthSenseTM operating business with Ed Fish

In our discussion with Ed Fish, Vice President and General Manager at Bay State Milling, we hear about some of his experiences and reflections on the post-deal journey and moving from a licensing deal to an operating business. This podcast follows on from our discussion around business accountability and the need for driving technologies to sustainable returns. In the context of tech transfer being built around relationships, exploring the post-transaction experience is important as we think there is some misunderstanding around the investment, time, risk and complexities of bringing technologies through from license to revenue.

Ed provides some terrific examples of how they managed unforeseen challenges and in turn built new forms of value and protection to the licensed technology and the assets they are continuing to build in North America.

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Episode 11 – Relationships vs transactions and the Vice Chancellor’s challenge with David Mitchell

Episode 11 – Relationships vs transactions and the Vice Chancellor’s challenge with David Mitchell

In our discussion with David Mitchell, former CEO of the Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics, and more recently the founder of Find My EV, and currently the advanced manufacturing adviser for Katalis in Jakarta, we dive into the importance of relationships, how these contrast with transactions and the systemic challenges in the tertiary sector that creates tech transfer challenges for commercialisation specialists, and indeed Australia’s ambitions to deliver impact from national science investment.

This podcast is particularly timely in our view. With an increasing focus on generating returns from Australia’s science investments and research communities, the formation of relationships between the research, technology transfer practitioners and industry should be at the heart of sustained performance. However, it appears to our guest that these connections are rarer than they should be or could be, through an innovation culture that has generally lapsed into transactions and processes, rather than one underpinned by relationships and principles.

From these observations, this podcast explores what could be missing and sets a challenge for research sector leadership on how the foundations on which science is created need to be reinforced through relationships in order to build a more productive technology transfer community and engagement with industry.

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Episode 10 – Culture, clock speeds, leadership with Allison Haitz

Episode 10 – Culture, clock speeds, leadership with Allison Haitz

In a podcast recorded a few years ago, I chatted with Allison Haitz, currently Biotechnology Programme Director at Givaudan about R&D, technology transfer and commercialisation. These were originally released in three parts exploring the issues of R&D culture and clock speeds (Part 1), Management, leadership and balance (Part 2) and Equilibrium, academics and policies (Part 3).

We are taking the opportunity to relaunch these as a single podcast, with thanks to Allison and the team at R&D Today, to share some of our thoughts in light of Spiegare’s newly minted Service Partner Membership of Cooperative Research Australia.

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Episode 9 – Innovation accountability and the CVO with Stephen Angus

Episode 9 – Innovation accountability and the CVO with Stephen Angus

In our discussion with Stephen Angus, of Snowy Advisory, we hear about some of his experiences and reflections on the importance of accountability in innovation and we explore a new role for companies actively investing and undertaking innovation – the CVO.

This podcast is particularly timely in our view. Innovation, as a word, is arguably becoming tired, misplaced and misused in a range of government and private sector forums. What we are also seeing is innovation tending towards a performative activity, with social media and contests providing stages on which actors can perform. The short timeframe programs that abound across the private and public sectors are tending towards the vanilla and undifferentiated, producing many applicants, some participants, few winners and occasional successes. However, businesses are rarely built in 12 weeks! And when the innovation actors have left the stage and the day-to-day needs to be implemented, with operational realities replacing the euphoria of presentations, pitches and performances, how do participants perform in the mid to long term? Not just with today’s idea, but do they have the tools to seek out and secure success for the next ideas that emerge through their experiences?

From these observations, this podcast has sprung to seek out what could be missing to drive success beyond the performative innovation that we are seeing. We see the need for honest conversations, business discipline and accountability. We believe that these (cultural) settings, embodied in the notion of role of the CVO – Chief Veracity Officer, can start to reorientate these phenomena over the mid-term. We hope that catalysing this discussion will contribute to that process.

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