GRIFFIN Accelerator is a 3 month intensive program run by a group of seasoned Canberra entrepreneurs who invest in, host, teach and mentor selected startups to create successful businesses.
For three months we work with you intensively and then help you present your business to investors. Our goal is to enable you to go on to grow your business. For more information see the accelerator program page.
Mentors for winter 2017
The heart of GRIFFIN Accelerator is the mentors. All our mentors bring substantial experience in startups, working with entrepreneurs, startup investing and raising capital, sales and business development, and significant industry and investor networks. GRIFFIN mentors get involved in developing your startup with you. They also provide the capital which is invested in the accelerator startups. They provide quality mentoring and we all know they will lose their money if they don’t help you to succeed.
Craig is CEO and co-founder of the GRIFFIN Accelerator. Craig is an entrepreneur and scientist. He has a PhD in physics and is currently a visiting fellow at the Research School of Physics and Engineering at the Australian National University. He held executive positions in the Australian Department of Defence for 7 years. In 2003 Craig co-founded TakeABreak, an online accommodation business that was sold to Fairfax in 2011. He led the integration with Fairfax’s competing business Stayz and the group was later on-sold for $210M. He has been involved in startups as co-founder, CEO, director, investor or mentor for over 20 years. Craig has an ongoing interest in the commercialisation of Australian research and innovations. He is passionate about enabling entrepreneurs to succeed and make a difference.
With over twenty years of international experience, Petr is a thought leader in the entrepreneurial space where innovation meets business growth. Petr led business growth program design and delivery for startups in SODA Inc, a business incubator in Hamilton, New Zealand. Between 2011 and 2014, Petr has also co-founded and managed the largest privately funded business startup competition in New Zealand, Innes48. As partner in Berman Group, European innovation and growth consultancy, Petr advised international agencies, governments and their innovation and investment promotion organisations in how to nurture and grow innovation ecosystems which enable entrepreneurship.
Petr is now using his extensive startup and business growth experience to build and grow the Network’s business incubator program for innovative and highly scalable companies, the Kiln Incubator. Passionate about accelerating innovation in Canberra, Petr is also Director of Programs at the Network. Co-designing and managing capability development programs and collaborative innovation partnerships are all in a day’s work for Petr.
Murray is extremely experienced in capital raising for ITC start-ups and early-growth stage companies. He has a keen interest in business planning and strategy development. With extensive senior executive experience gained over a 30 year career, Murray possesses significant information technology related business, strategy, governance and investment experience in a wide range of ICT enabled industries. This experience is on both a domestic & international scale and for both the public and private sectors.
Murray has an established track record in the conceptualisation, implementation, support and review of key business initiatives and technical strategies and the application of disruptive innovation. Murray is the founder of Rankin Securities, and the co-founder and retired CEO of The Distillery Pty Ltd, a Canberra ACT based global technology success story. He was responsible for growing it from two founders in 1997 to international success with in excess of 120 employees and offices in Australia, New Zealand, London and Washington and an extensive partner network extending from India, South Africa and Asia to Europe.
Murray sits on numerous Boards of innovative technology and service companies across Australia and was a founding committee member of the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) ACT Branch and a former director and deputy Chair of the board of Crime Stoppers ACT. Murray currently sits on numerous boards of both government related and private organisations and is Chairman of a number of these.
Being an experienced director, Murray is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and holds under and post-graduate qualifications in business, organisational psychology and entrepreneurship. Murray has won numerous national business awards including the Telstra Small Business of The Year, AIIA iAward – Most Innovative Product, 17th in Deloitte’s Tech-Fast50 and Emerging Exporter of the Year.
Sylvia Tulloch is a materials scientist (UNSW) with many years experience in establishment and management of advanced technology business, and a particular interest in the commercialisation process. Sylvia is the named inventor of several patents and holds a Master of Science degree from the University of NSW. As well as technology, she is experienced in the demands of public company governance, fund raising and investor relations.
Sylvia is an angel investor in and Director of unlisted companies including Uniflow Power, commercialising next generation steam engines, Perimeter Security Industries, commercialising fibre optic security systems, Lava Blue, a company with a mine-to market business plan for Australian sapphires and Griffin 2014 graduate edtech company Quizling.
She was the founding Managing Director of Dyesol Limited, a company established to commercialise the R&D into 3rd generation solar technology, which had been undertaken by the Australian team since 1995. Dyesol listed on the ASX in 2005, and while she was MD reached a market capitalisation of over $200 million. Earlier roles included founding Director of Sustainable Technologies Australia Limited, CEO of a window manufacturer and manager of the Underwater Sensor business of Plessey Australia (now Thales).
Sylvia has been active in government liaison, both at company and industry levels. She has been on the Boards of several Cleantech industry associations. She was a member of the Future Manufacturing Industries Innovation Council, and chaired its working group on Capital for Innovative Companies. She is a member of the Independent Assessment Panel for the Innovation Connect (ICon) grant program of the ACT government, and is Chair of the ACT Renewable Energy Innovation Fund Business Advisory Board.
Marcus Dawe is the CEO of GreenMag Group and Mineral Carbonation International (MCi) which has won Federal and NSW Government funding to pilot CO2 storage technology. Marcus focuses his activities on developing and supporting emerging technologies that provide the innovation edge for Australia. He employs passion and strategy for the ventures he leads. GreenMag Group has been leading an initiative that seeks to permanently store billions of tonnes of CO2 using the Earth’s own carbon sink mechanism – mineral carbonation. He has been the driving force to win Commonwealth & NSW Government funding for this world first pilot plant together with his venture partners Orica & Newcastle University now known as Mineral Carbonation International (MCi).
Marcus is a serial entrepreneur and has had success with his many of his ventures. Most notably eDIME Internet Agency which he founded and sold to Computer Sciences Corp (CSC) in 2000. At that time eDIME was the largest provider and outsourcer of Internet sites to Federal Government with 25 departments and agencies outsourced including Prime Minister, AEC, Defence, ASIO, ATSIC and DVA.
Marcus was co-founder of Revolution CD, a second hand music and software store chain. His diversified business interests range from climate change related technology, e-health, complex data, advanced materials, cloud software development, mentoring youth and promoting the Global Village Canberra region & its high tech enterprises which he conducts through his various ventures & companies including not-for-profit entities. Marcus has architected and delivered many substantial projects through his ability to build ‘genius’ teams. Identifying and motivating teams to achieve success. His passion for knowledge crosses many different fields of endeavour.
Hamish Hawthorn is a co-founder of the GRIFFIN technology accelerator, the Ignition labs and the Chief Executive Officer at ATP Innovations, Australia’s leading technology business incubator. Hamish has been involved in the commercialisation of technology for over 15 years and worked in the advanced manufacturing, IT and life sciences sectors. In late 2008, Hamish co-founded Sydney Angels, a Sydney-based Angel group that invests in early stage high growth companies. Hamish is a Visiting Fellow in the Entrepreneurs in Science Program at the University of New South Wales, and lectures on entrepreneurship at the University of Sydney, the University of Technology, Sydney and the Australian National University. He is a qualified mechanical engineer with postgraduate training in business and technology.
Miles is the founder and Deputy Chairman of the Citadel Group Limited (CGL), a Canberra start-up that listed on the Australian Stock Exchange in November 2014 and now has a market capitalisation around $210 million.
He has regularly advised senior business leaders and government officials, including representing countries in ministerial level forums. His key skills cover business strategy, program management, security risk management and staff development. Miles has significant overseas working experience with multinational companies in sales, marketing and business development capacities with full profit and loss responsibilities.
During the past few years, Miles has focused heavily on growing the CGL portfolio. In 2008, BRW announced CGL as Australia’s 9th fastest growing company with a three-year average growth rate of 146%. In 2009, CGL exceeded this by coming 3rd with a growth rate of 247%. In 2010, CGL was the 20th fastest growing private company in Australia. In all of these years, it was Canberra’s fastest growing company.
Miles has a Bachelor of Science (Hons), a Graduate Diploma in Asian Studies, a Doctorate of Philosophy (PhD) in Asian Studies and a second PhD in Business Leadership. He holds a Visiting Fellow position at the Australian National University where he is examining entrepreneurship’s applications to the public sector.
Miles is a member of the AICD, the ACT’s Capital Angels and Griffin Accelerator. He is also a member of the not-for-profit Strategic Forum. He was previously a Director and Chair of the Kokoda Foundation for 5 years, as well as a Director and Audit Committee member for Anglicare Canberra & Goulburn for 2 years.
Brand Hoff AM has more than 40 years experience in ICT. He developed the Network for the Federal Treasury and led the development of the Australian Bibliographic Network for the NLA. He left the Government and established the Commercial Division of CSC in Canberra. Brand founded TOWER Software, famous for its TRIM product now installed in 32 countries. TOWER won numerous awards including three AIIA iAwards, ACT Small Business of the Year, Exporter of the Year and National Winner AusIndustry Innovation Award. TOWER was sold to HP in 2008.
Brand was inducted as an Export Hero and Life Member of the Export Institute, elected as a Fellow of the ACS and as a fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Brand was awarded the 2011 National Pearcey Medal for his lifetime contribution to ICT and in 2012 he became a Member of the Order of Australia (AM). Brand served as a foundation Director of NICTA for 11 years and is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Canberra.
Brand is an active investor in start-up companies in the ICT Sector and also serves on a number of Boards. He enjoys golf and mentoring young start-up entrepreneurs.
Ben is a co-founder of the GRIFFIN technology accelerator, the Ignition Labs seed accelerator and the Director of Commercial Development at ATP Innovations, Australia’s largest and most successful technology incubator. He has worked in and on start-ups for more than 15 years and has held both research and management positions, gaining significant experience in research & development, business development, operations, and the financial management of both private and ASX listed technology companies. Ben plays an active role in steering businesses from focus on research & development to market validation, product manufacture and launch. Ben has a Bachelor of Science (Biological Sciences) from the University of Western Sydney and a Graduate Diploma of Biomedical Engineering from the University of New South Wales.
Hugh has more than 35 years experience as a corporate lawyer in Sydney, overseas and, since 2002, in Canberra. He has advised and represented businesses at all stages of development, from start-ups to multinationals. He has assisted many early-stage businesses from their inception to overseas expansion.
Hugh has particular expertise in employment law, corporate law and structuring and commercial contracting. He has a particular interest in assisting businesses who aim to achieve positive social outcomes in addition to significant profitable growth. He has experience as a member of numerous boards and advisory committees. He is currently a member of the Innovation Community Forum of the CBR Innovation Network, Chair of the Ozhelp Foundation Ltd, member of the Canberra Business Chamber Innovation Task force, a member of the Finance, Audit and Risk Committee of the Australian Committee of UN Women, a board member of Families ACT and the Deputy Chair of the ACT Government’s Inclusion Council.
Hugh was a founding director and company secretary of the Molongolo Financial Services Ltd (Bendigo Community Bank), a board member of the Canberra Business Council and a Councillor of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and the AICD national law committee. Before moving to Canberra, he was the managing partner of the national commercial law firm Thompsons (then Cutler Hughes and Harris).
He is a long-standing Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management. In addition to his participation as a mentor in the Griffin Accelerator, he has also participated as a mentor in mentoring programs operated by Lighthouse Innovation and the Australian Institute of Management.
Michele grew up in many countries around the world and is fluent in several languages. He is Chief Investment Officer (CIO) of ACVL, a Canberra-based venture capital funds management company. Michele also manages a diversified investment group associated with Hindmarsh, a Canberra-headquartered national property and construction business, and is a director of Significant Capital Ventures, the manager of the recently formed Significant Capital Ventures Fund, which is in the process of setting up an Early Stage Venture Capital Limited Partnership focusing on early stage venture investment.
Michele has a Bachelor Degree in Commerce (Accounting) and a Graduate Diploma of Applied Finance and Investment. He is also nearing completion of a Master in Government and Commercial Law and is a Responsible Manager under the Australian Financial Services Licence held by Hindmarsh Capital.
Michele has built solid investment management experience working in the acquisition and start-up spaces overseas and in venture capital in Australia in the past twelve years. Michele is former chair of Capital Angels, Canberra’s angel investment network, and holds several director and company secretary positions. He is an angel investor in his own right and an informal mentor within the Canberra innovation community. In addition to venture capital investment management, where Michele has acquired a deep knowledge of pipeline development, investment selection and evaluation, due diligence, deal structuring, providing support and guidance to portfolio companies and exit management, he has specific experience in the areas of finance and accounting, compliance and risk management.
Nick is a co-founder of the GRIFFIN accelerator and has a long track record of helping to build and grow software and web companies, and has been a successful angel investor, business mentor, and through Blue Cove Ventures which he established and ran between 2007 and 2012, the CEO of a successful investment fund.
Building on 16 years of experience in bringing US software companies into the Pacific, Nick turned to personal and professional investment in domestic software companies in 1998, specialising in web / mobile / cloud / SaaS and Enterprise opportunities.
Prior to founding Blue Cove Ventures Nick was instrumental in developing numerous companies to successful outcomes including:
- Zookoda, a blog marketing service sold to Izea, the leading marketplace for Consumer Generated Advertising, in March 2007
- Wily Technology, developers of performance monitoring and management solutions for enterprise java applications sold to CA (NYSE: CA) for US$375M in Jan 2006
- Soulmates Technology, providers of multi-lingual, multi-currency private-label ASP dating solutions for MSN sold to Interactive Corporation (NASDAQ: IACI) the owner of Match.com for US$24M in April 2002
- Allaire (now owned by ADBE – NASDAQ: ADBE) grown globally from US$9M in Revenue (1997) to over US$100M in 2001, following the successful IPO on NASDAQ in 1998
Nick has an Honours Degree in Computing in Business from The University Huddersfield in the UK, has an MBA from the University of South Australia and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. He is the immediate past Chair of Capital Angels, was a founding member of Sydney Angels, and currently sits on the Board of Entry29, a co-working space for Canberra start-ups.
Co-Founder of the Griffin Accelerator and Capital Angels. Previous Chairman of Capital Angels and still a Director of Capital Angels. Received a lifetime achievement award from Capital Angels for his services to the Angel community in 2011. Uwe is an experienced corporate, commercial and dispute resolution lawyer. He is the Principal of the law firm, Boettcher Law. He began his career at the firm now known as King & Wood Mallesons and more recently was a partner at Abbott Tout Lawyers. He is a Fellow of the Australian and New Zealand College of Notaries and a practicing Notary Public. He was appointed as a Fellow of the Australasian Institute of Banking and Finance in 2005, of FINSIA in 2007 and as an inaugural Fellow of the Australian Association of Angel Investors in 2011. He is a past Chairman of the National Health Sciences Centre Limited and the Australasian Legal Alliance. He is currently Chairman of XTEK Limited; an ASX listed company, as well as Chairman of GPSports Systems Pty Ltd, the Kord group of defence companies and Greenmag Group Pty Limited. Uwe has been an investor since the 1980’s with a focus on early stage commercialization of technology companies over the last 14 years. He has personally invested in quite a few early stage companies becoming a director or chairman of some and being a passive investor in others. Raising capital has been a key focus of his endeavors. He has raised many millions of dollars for a range of companies ranging from small startups to publicly listed companies. Over the years he has advised numerous companies on capital raisings, corporate governance, commercial disputes, corporate borrowing and commercial disputes. He has done this as a lawyer and as a mentor for some startup companies.
Anne-Marie has extensive experience providing R&D funding advice, including R&D funding options such as tax incentives, grants and investment. R&D governance and prioritisation. Her clients include companies from start-ups to large multinationals in a wide variety of industries including ICT, biotech, energy including renewable energy, utilities, property, defence and other innovative R&D intensive companies. She has been giving GST and tax risk advice to the public sector including large Commonwealth Government Agencies since 1999. Anne-Marie specialises in indirect taxes, including R&D Tax Incentive, R&D funding options, R&D governance and prioritisation and GST.
Tim is an experienced angel investor, entrepreneur and company director with a particularly passion for medical breakthroughs in the MedTech, Biotech and pharmaceuticals sectors as well as other high tech/IT opportunities. He has assisted numerous company start-ups to think globally from day 1 and to organise their corporate governance to attract high value investors. He was the inaugural CEO of ANU Connect Ventures – a $30M pre-seed investment fund in which he served as Chairman and/or Director of all of the Fund’s investee companies. Since then, Tim has focussed his time and resources working closely with angle investment groups in Australia and the US.
His earlier career as an academic researcher and university executive included the role of Deputy Vice Chancellor for Research & Innovation at The University of Sydney, and Professor & Head of Microbiology at the University of Bristol, UK. He is currently the Executive Chairman of Gamma Vaccines Pty Ltd – a company developing improved vaccines for influenza; the Chairman of OzStar Therapeutics Pty Ltd – a company developing a novel treatment for type 2 diabetes and he is the process of setting up a new company based on research from the University of Adelaide where is an Honorary Adjunct Professor.
Tony has extensive experience in developing new businesses in the Asia Pacific region. He is a Board member at NICTA as well as being an investor in and non-executive director of a number of start-ups. Tony has worked in both large and small organizations over a 40 year career covering roles in Australian Government, Australian listed and unlisted software developers, international IT services companies and Telstra. For more than 25 years, Tony managed significant business units serving customers in both Australia and the Asia/Pacific region.
Tony has managed the sales and/or service delivery operations of a range of companies including EDS Australia, EDS E business Asia Pacific, Telstra’s customers in Federal, State and metropolitan Local Government and Unisys’ Asia Pacific outsourcing business. He has substantial experience dealing with the needs of government as a supplier and as the manager of significant projects.
Tony has been extensively involved in the development of IT and telecommunications in Australia. In the 80s, he established and managed Computer Power Group’s software R&D operations. He was a member of the Federal Government’s Industry Research and Development Board for 5 years (1988 to 1993), including acting as chair of the Board for 12 months. He has also been active in the development of Australian software companies as an advisor to CSIRO and mentor to start-up companies.
Tony chairs the Program Board for the Digital Canberra Challenge. Under the auspices of CollabIT, he is the ACT’s inaugural ICT SME Advocate. In addition, he chairs the Canberra Business Council’s Innovation, Education and Sustainability Task Force. In this role, he has helped local companies to better address opportunities in both the ACT and Federal Government markets. He is also active as a Board member for a number of not-for-profit organizations.
Harry is the founder and CEO of Tailored Accounts. Since its establishment in 2008, Tailored Accounts has evolved into a multi-award-winning accounting and business solutions company. Harry has been nominated Executive of the Year in Australian Accounting Awards 2016 and 2017 for his leadership and innovative achievements. Experiencing fast growth, Tailored Accounts is expanding its offices to Sydney, Brisbane and Goulburn thanks to endorsement and support from its clients, friends and family. The story of Tailored Accounts, driven by boundless pursuit of excellence, has continued to inspire many young entrepreneurs and start-ups.
A strong believer of sharing wisdom and innovative knowledge with communities, Harry enthusiastically supports new business ideas, networking and creation of opportunities for young Australian entrepreneurs. Ranging from the topic of contemporary accounting practices, exemplary customer service, market analysis and technology updates, he has actively participated in bringing his expertise to the table, sharing more than 40 articles in B2B Magazine since 2014. His proactive knowledge-sharing efforts have received ardent, positive feedback from the business community.
Having graduated with a Bachelor of Economics and Master of Professional Accounting degree from the Australian National University, Harry has established a close relationship with the University, delivering more than ten internship programs and training per annum for current students. In 2017, Harry and his team successfully developed and implemented AccountantChange #2020, a serial training support to guide students with their career advancement.
As an experienced Coach at Griffin Accelerator, Harry is always looking forward to having an opportunity to mentor you and invest in your potential business ideas. Harry’s advice will help you develop, grow and lead your start-up business to long-term success.
Having successfully founded and co-founded more than half a dozen companies since 2005, Joshua’s regional business management experience coupled with his understanding of the Asia-Pacific market allows him to provide relevant and pertinent advice for organisations wanting to explore, expand and evolve in Asia. Joshua won numerous awards from Junior Chamber Singapore and was also awarded a merit award in the prestigious E-Global Award for Emerging Young Entrepreneur in 2004 and an Outstanding Young Entrepreneur Award in 2008. He was also awarded a Youth Icon Award by the Jai Hind Education Society for his contributions to the education sector in India. Having worked with CEOs and senior management in a diverse range of industries, his speaking and consulting engagements have seen him traverse many parts of Asia. Joshua graduated with a Master of International Affairs from the Australian National University, a MBA (Marketing) from Leicester University and a BA (Hons) Business Studies from the University of Bolton.
Matthew is co-founder and CEO Penten (www.penten.com) which creates new cyber security capability for defence and national security agencies. Matthew is also an investor and Director of UK cyber company Amiosec (www.amiosec.com) and Australian sports technology company Today’s Plan (www.todaysplan.com.au) which delivers world leading training management and analytics for elite cyclists.
Matthew is a successful technology entrepreneur with experience in leading the development and commercialisation of software, hardware, cyber security and communications technologies.
Matthew led the team that successfully built and sold award winning cyber security firm M5 Network Security to US defense contractor Northrop Grumman and build and recently sold an IP communications firm to US business communications provider ShoreTel, Inc.
An experienced administrator and business strategist with international experience, Matthew has a passion for building new businesses and manages a range of technology startup investments for a private investment group.
Jan has more than 17 years of experience in the financial sector, including 11 years at the Sydney Futures Exchange, where she managed research and business analysis for market and product design projects, including that of a ‘carbon credit’ market. In 2000, Jan formed a company Universal Carbon Exchange Ltd with 3 partners, which was active in facilitating funding in Australia for technologies promoting green energy and coupling those projects with secured carbon credits.
Jan joined the CSIRO in 2003 to head up CSIRO’s Business Development and Commercialisation team. CSIRO is Australia’s largest research institute with an annual turnover of $1.3B and holds over 4000 patents. The team provided business development and commercialisation services to CSIRO’s research teams generating in excess of $400M in external revenues per annum involving SME’s as well as large global multi-nationals. The team was also responsible for developing commercialisation strategies involving IP protection, culminating in a wide range of transactions involving equity and commercial licensing. Jan has been directly involved with over 25 spin-out companies from CSIRO.
Jan has been a board member of a number of CSIRO spin-out companies, was a board member of Commercialisation Australia and is on the Executive Committee of Knowledge Commercialisation Australasia. She is also on the Investment Committee for TankStream Ventures – a Sydney based seed investing firm and is on the Innovation Investment Committee for the Federal Government, advising on Venture Capital policy.
Jan holds a Bachelor of Business (Accounting) degree, is a Certified Practising Accountant (CPA), is a Member of the Australian Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (ACSA) and is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (FAICD).
Lyndal is an experienced company director and business adviser, specialising in technology-based companies. Since founding her first business in 1996, Lyndal has been involved in early stage commercialisation of almost thirty technologies. Three of the companies of which she has been a director have been recognised in Telstra Business Awards and national tourism awards. Lyndal is also a former Telstra Businesswoman of the Year for the ACT and a past finalist in the Women in Technology Awards.
Lyndal has over 30 years’ experience as a Board Director on not-for-profit and for-profit companies. She is a Non-executive Director of Enabled Employment (an earlier graduate from the Griffin Accelerator) and past Managing Director of medical spinoff company Neopec Pty Ltd. She is former Chair of startup charity Good360 Australia Ltd. Her previous company, Innovation Dynamics Pty Ltd, held an Australian Financial Services Licence.
Lyndal has previously been involved as mentor to Griffin 2015 companies, the InnovateACT initiative, NSW Enterprise Workshop, Telstra Businesswomen’s Awards, and Women on Boards. She is active in Capital Angels and currently chairs Canberra Business Chamber’s Innovation Taskforce.
Lyndal has a Dip Accounting, tertiary qualifications biology and medical sciences, graduate qualifications in legal studies, and a PhD in economic geography. She is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Key Partners and supporters
- ANU Connect Ventures
- ATP Innovations
- Australian Capital Ventures Limited
- Canberra Innovation Network
The GRIFFIN Accelerator is also supported by several of Canberra’s innovation-led institutions: