The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - - NEWS - DARYL D PASSMORE

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.

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