News & Analysis

Fishburners celebrates fifth birthday with new board and expansion plans

- April 14, 2016 2 MIN READ

Fresh off celebrating its fifth birthday, Sydney coworking community Fishburners has announced the appointment of a new board and plans to move from its Ultimo home on Harris St and into the CBD as the demand for space grows.

The space is currently home to 290 people working across 177 startups. Over 1,100 entrepreneurs have been based at the space over the last five years, with over 620 startups launching out of Fishburners.

The much-needed local expansion, set to take place later this year, comes a few months after Fishburners expanded into Brisbane; Fishburners is setting up a space in The Capital, a $5 million hub funded by the council, in conjunction with Brisbane coworking community Little Tokyo Two.

Fishburners will be led along the path of expansion by a new board announced this week. The organisation has developed a new board structure to include a fiduciary board of eight members split into two halves, a traditional half made up of industry leaders and a community half representing Fishburners members and alumni.

The organisation has made a commitment to gender diversity on its board, with a 50/50 split of male and female members.

The traditional half will be chaired by Dr Katherine Woodthorpe, who served as CEO of AVCAL for eight years and as CEO of the Technology Industries Exporters Group for four years. Also on this board are Dr Sarah Pearson, CEO of the CBR Innovation Network, Sally-Ann Williams, and Fishburners general manager Murray Hurps.

Woodthorpe said she is excited for the opportunity to work with Fishburners.

“Commercialising Australian innovation is the future of our economy and anything I can contribute to assist the entrepreneurs who will enable a prosperous Australia is a privilege,” she said.

Serving on the community half of the board are Nikki Durkin, founder of 99Dresses and CodeMakers, Marc Cowper, founder and CEO of Recomazing, CEO and cofounder of Car Next Door Will Davies, and Rob Wood, founder of lightstalking.com.

“It is an honour to serve the Aussie startup community and foster increased innovation alongside such an impressive and dynamic board,” Cowper said.

The fiduciary board will work in conjunction with the organisation’s advisory board. Patrick Crooks, founder and CEO of Fusion Labs, Mike Casey, founder and CEO of GradConnection, and Peter Bradd, chairman of StartupAUS and founder of The Beanstalk Factory, have stepped down from the board.

While the location of Fishburners’ new Sydney hub is not yet known, the move to the CBD will not only bring the community closer to corporates, but other coworking hubs including Tank Stream Labs and fintech hubs Stone & Chalk and Tyro, enabling greater collaboration and cohesion across the city’s startup landscape.

Hurps said, “It’s been a pretty incredible five years – but the next five will be the ones where we can really make a difference.”