In part two of our Australian Mentors series, we change our focus to Melbourne’s startup scene. Just like Sydney, Melbourne has a strong tech entrepreneur scene with plenty of coworking spaces and accelerator programs. It is a strong ecosystem and home to some of Australia’s biggest online success stories such as Catch of the Day, Kogan, Envato and 99designs.
Globally Melbourne is ranked as the 22nd out of the world’s top 25 startup eco-systems just behind Sydney, however the environment is growing fast and the community have high participation rates in regular events such as the Inspire9 Lean Startup meetings, Startup Grind and a bevvy of talks at York Butter Factory.
Again Melbourne has so many great mentors that we could literally fill a small book with profiles about each person. However, like with previous posts in this series, we have chosen to feature 10 individuals or duos that you should definitely be getting to know.
You should also note that in this series we have also left out all official mentors to our own company to negate bias. Mentors all had to be living in the city at the time of publication. We have also focused specifically on the tech space.
Here are Melbourne’s mentors that Australian entrepreneurs should know:
Stuart Richardson is the founder of Adventure Capital and Darcy Naughton is a cofounder and partner of the same fund. Naughton is also the Managing Director of York Butter Factory of which him and Richardson are both co-founders. They are both based full time out of the York Butter Factory offices in Melbourne; and as a result, come into contact with hundreds of startup founders on a weekly basis.
Currently they are both mentors with the Angelcube program and are mentors and investors of startup companies such as peazie and 121Cast.
In 2012 Marita Cheng was named the Young Australian of the Year for her vision, leadership and efforts in encouraging women to get more involved in the tech space and engineering. Cheng is the founder of 2MarRobotics as well as the creator of the not-for-profit organisation, Robogirls Global, which now has 17 chapters across 4 different countries. The organisation has taught robotics to over 10,000 young women.
Her area of expertise is in the fields of engineering and robotics. Cheng mentors many young female founders in this space and has a zest for supporting and encouraging young women to go after their dreams and invent things. Cheng is also a board member on The Foundation of Young Australians.