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 2015

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.

GRIFFIN mentors provide the capital which is invested in the accelerator startups. They provide quality mentoring and all know they will lose their money if they don’t help you to succeed.

Craig Davis

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.

Sarah Pearson

Sarah is currently the CEO of the CBR Innovation Network, tasked with contributing to the transformation of the ACT economy through innovation and entrepreneurship. She is also on numerous Boards and Advisory Panels across Australia.

Sarah’s eclectic career has spanned industrial innovation, academia, management consulting, government, and science communication. Her involvement in innovation started when working as a strategic management consultant at McKinsey & Co, where she devised strategies for high tech industries and co-authored a book chapter on innovation. She then went on to develop new methods for cancer diagnosis whilst a tenured Physics academic, and later moved into industrial innovation, where she was the inaugural Open Innovation Champion at Cadbury and part of the leadership team at their long term R&D unit in the UK.

Sarah has published extensively through the media of TV, radio, books, academic journals, magazines and newspapers, and is an author on eight international patents, for cancer diagnosis and novel confectionary. She is passionate about innovation, and heavily involved in helping Australian organisations take on the innovation challenge.

Murray Rankin

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. He 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.

Lyndal Thorburn

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 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 and she is herself a former Telstra Businesswoman of the Year for the ACT and a national finalist in the business owner category, as well as being a past finalist in the Women in Technology Awards.  Lyndal has had experience in mergers and acquisitions, through merging her own company with a similar company in Sydney.  Her previous company, Innovation Dynamics Pty Ltd, held an Australian Financial Services Licence.

Lyndal has over 30 person years’ experience as a Board Director on not-for-profit and for-profit companies.  She is a former Non-executive Director and Managing Director of medical spinoff company Neopec Pty Ltd and was also a Director of the then National Health Sciences Centre for several years.   Lyndal currently chairs the Board of startup charity Good360 Australia Ltd and also chairs its Finance, Audit and Risk Committee. She is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and is currently part of its ACT leadership program.

Prior to forming her first company, Lyndal spent a decade with CSIRO in research administration and establishment of international research collaborations in space science and related fields, negotiating with NASA and similar space agencies in Japan, India, Europe, Russia and the UK.  In this role she also ran two national public relations programs and was involved in CSIRO’s policy liaison and priority setting activities.

Lyndal’s prior mentoring and pitch-judging experience includes the InnovateACT initiative, NSW Enterprise Workshop, Telstra Businesswomen’s Awards, and (currently) Women on Boards. She is also active in Capital Angels and chairs Canberra Business Council’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 an Adjunct Professor at the University of Canberra and is a past member of the ACT Health and Medical Research Council.

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 & 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

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.

MilesJakemanMiles Jakeman

Miles is the co-founder and Managing Director 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 $180 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 director of the not-for-profit association Midnight Basketball Australia, a member of the AICD, the ACT’s Capital Angels and Griffin Accelerator. He is also a member of the not-for-profit Institute for Regional Security (formerly the Kokoda Foundation).He was previously a Director and Chair of this Foundation for 5 years, as well as a Director and Audit Committee member for Anglicare Canberra & Goulburn for 2 years.

Brand Hoff

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. He is a Director on the Canberra Business Council.
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 Wright

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.

Nick McNaughton

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

Sylvia Tulloch

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 and Mt Rosey, a company with a mine-to market business plan for Australian sapphires.  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.

Uwe Boettcher

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 Perret

Tony Henshaw

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 Hoang

Harry Hoang is the Executive Director of Tailored Accounts, a back office accounting and bookkeeping firm which provides services to over 100 small and medium businesses across Canberra and regional states. Under the leadership of Harry, Tailored Accounts has grown from strength to strength since starting out in 2009. In 2014, the firm was one of five finalists for the Telstra Australian Business Awards for small businesses, one of three finalists for the Canberra BusinessPoint Awards ‘High Growth’ category, and a state finalist for the ACT–NSW Business Ethnic Awards. Coupled with a team of highly qualified accountants and bookkeepers working under Harry’s guidance and foresight, Tailored Accounts is poised to become Australia’s leading specialist for back office accounting and bookkeeping services within the next 5 years. Besides his business interests, Harry has also been involved in building university–industry relationships among students from his alma mater – the Australian National University (ANU). Having graduated with Bachelor of Business Administration from the Vietnamese National Economic University, as well as Bachelor of Economics and Master of Professional Accounting from the ANU, Harry is thoroughly aware of the gap between theory and practice, and is passionate about imparting his experience and knowledge to early-stage entrepreneurs to help them build a sustainable business in the long run. Since 2013, Harry has also represented Tailored Accounts at the annual ANU–CPA Australia Accounting Trip during which he shares about his insights and experiences of his business and the accounting and bookkeeping industry to undergraduate and postgraduate accounting and finance students. Harry is very much looking forward to be part of GRIFFIN accelerator and would love to connect with like-minded entrepreneurs and business owners.

Joshua Teo

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.