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Angel investor Bilyana Smith steps into the chair on Fishburners board

- May 28, 2024 2 MIN READ
Fishburners chair Bilyana Smith and CEO Martin Karafilis.
Fishburners chair Bilyana Smith and CEO Martin Karafilis. Photo: Lania Velasquez
Marketing veteran and angel investor Bilyana Smith is the new chair of startup community Fishburners

Smith takes over the leadership from Clive Mayhew, who retired from the board after a three year term as chair. She became a Fishburners director seven years ago, having spent more than two decades in leadership roles across media, marketing and communications, including at Clemenger Group  and Barangaroo. She is also an angel investor. 

Fishburners CEO Martin Karafilis praised Smith as an experienced director, advisor and former CEO, who’s served on private and ASX-listed company boards and has a deep understanding of the technology, innovation and startup ecosystems.

“Her extensive experience and visionary leadership in the tech and startup sectors will be invaluable as we continue to support and grow Australia’s entrepreneurial community,” he said.

“Under Bilyana’s guidance, we look forward to furthering our mission of empowering early-stage entrepreneurs with the education, resources, connections and co-working they need to succeed, and growing a leading startup community.

“We are also deeply grateful to Clive Mayhew for his remarkable contributions and leadership over the past three years.”

Smith oversees a board that also includes Samantha Martin-Williams, Rod Bishop, David Jones and Taryn Williams at 13-year-old Fishburners, based at the Sydney Startup Hub

“As Australia’s longest standing and largest tech startup community, with a strong focus on the early stage, Fishburners has a very important role in the ecosystem,” she said.

“With a fantastic community, exceptional CEO and management team, inspired and active Board, strong purpose and culture, and exciting growth strategy, I am very excited about the future.” 

Since it was founded in 2011, Fishburners has supported more than 45,000 founders and startup workers, and helped them raise more than $600 million in capital. 

Among the startups to emerge from Fishburners, are Koala, MadPaws, Hyper Anna, Car Next Door (now Uber Car Share) and Jayride.