How I’m contributing to the Australian innovation equation

Australia punches way its above average when it comes to research, development and technology inputs. According to the 2018 Global Innovation Index, Australia ranks 11th in the world when it comes to innovation input.

We have bright minds working on exceptionally interesting and challenging topics. I meet these amazingly curious folks each and everyday, and I'm lucky to work side-by-side with some of them. This ambition and tenacity is something to be fiercely proud of.

But, there’s a problem.

The complement of those inputs, being the business and industry creation, stands Australia’s overall global ranking down at 20. This means we are only generating digital exports at 20% of the levels of our OECD peers. This ranking ratio always frustrates me; as we are putting in the effort, but not getting the results.

Surely, we can’t be happy with this equation.

My professional career in Australia has always indexed towards giving my all to supporting the creation of the next wave of Australian industry that prioritises, invests and implements our research and development. But what excites me most about this is that it’s a shared goal and vision by so many in the ecosystem.

Meet Antler

Antler, a new entrant to the market aligns with this common mission. Antler is a global startup generator working towards supercharging the startup journey, and providing a new avenue for early stage investment. Our Australian startup and tech ecosystem is growing stronger each and every year, and Antler taps into a significant blind spot, by unlocking the entrepreneurial spirit in our citizens.

Antler is looking at new and innovative ways of enabling more highly-skilled individuals to achieve their goals. Not only does this create impact on a startup by startup basis, but it’s a vital and important component of continuing to build a strong and vibrant tech ecosystem in Australia. 

This should be a core part of the DNA of emerging companies -- unlocking the best and brightest minds in Australian science and technology to become major players in Australia’s new knowledge economy.

With that being said, I’m excited to share that I will be beginning a secondment with Antler as a Venture Partner. I’ll be working side-by-side with the phenomenal team in Sydney to recruit a world-class cohort, build a powerful program, guide and advise our portfolio companies on research, development and technology, and grow the fund to $40 million, which will then be invested in these portfolio companies.

I will remain a part of the D61+ Network throughout the secondment, because at Data61, we fundamentally believe that the power of the network will be the strongest foundation for future proofing Australia’s knowledge economy. Data61 embraces the co-creation of value: everything we do involves a close relationship with our network, and Data61 understands that generously empowering their success is central to success for Data61, CSIRO and Australia’s data-driven future.

Antler embraces the unknown and experimentation -- a concept that personally resonates with and excites me. By removing arbitrary barriers like finding a co-founder, committing the time and energy, and access to capital, Antler empowers founders by allowing them to focus on what really matters -- building a great company.

This article was written by Jane Scowcroft, Venture Partner at Antler.

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