TIME TO TAKE A BIG BYTE
DARED to dream — that’s the message from one Brisbane entrepreneur who won the attention of Silicon Valley’s g giants.
Stephen Phillips was cofounder and CEO of We Are Hunted, the music search site set up in 2007 with backing from Wotif.com founder Graeme Wood.
We Are Hunted was bought by Twitter in 2012 for millions of dollars and Mr Phillips went to work for the social media titan in San Francisco for two years.
“It really opened my eyes to the fact that what we lack here is not the talent or the passion but access to investors and audience,’’ he said.
Australian software engineers are among the best in the world and highly-regarded and sought-after in Silicon Valley.
More and more the United States technology giants were looking for opportunities outside, as competition grows, and Australia was well-placed with skills and a lack of cultural barriers.
“The talent is here and it’s cheaper to operate a team here so it’s attractive to invest,’’ he said.
Mr Phillips moved back to Brisbane in 2014.
“I wanted my kids to go to Australian schools and grow up with the ABC and cricket. I like yanks, I just didn’t want them in my family,’’ he joked.
Last year he set up Mawson Ventures, again in partnership with Mr Wood, which is investing in artificial intelligence, robotics and renewable energy initiatives.
Their ventures include SET, a Queensland company using nano materials to create cheaper lithium ion batteries for electric vehicles and other uses.