Cogent Conversations: Episode 15 - Cogent

Cogent Conversations: Episode 15

Judy Anderson, CEO of Startup Vic

Episode 15: Startup Vic

“Everyday we meet people that have opted out of a dominant ideology in the pursuit of creating something that matters, and have the skills to back it up – that’s what makes Startup Vic so great.”

– Judy Anderson, Startup Vic

The founder journey can be a lonely one. Sometimes you wonder if it’s all worth it, but it can also be full of reward, joy and a profound sense of achievement. 

In this episode we talk with Judy Anderson, CEO of Startup Vic. Startup Vic is a not-for-profit organisation which nurtures the community of founders in Victoria so that their struggles and joys can be normalised and shared, helping give founders the best possible chance to succeed.

Judy gives as a insightful look into the life of a founder, the strengths of the startup community in Melbourne and highlights where the biggest opportunities for growth exist.

This is our last episode for this season of the podcast, which has focused on digital businesses that are having an impact. Fittingly, this is the area that Judy sees as being the focus of the founders and startups they support in 2020 and beyond.

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Adam Murry

Meet the host: Adam Murray

Adam has led digital business, consulted to start-ups and corporates, run co-working spaces, and created his own podcast. Currently, he’s a Product Manager at Cogent, helping organisations verify their venture ideas and enable them to evolve their culture (but just quietly, the thing he loves most is coaching his son’s team of aspiring under-10 footballers).

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Full Episode Transcript

Adam Murray: This is the Cogent Conversations Podcast, made by the people at Cogent. Cogent Conversations is about understanding all the things that go into making a digital business thrive. Helping create these types of organisations is what we love doing best. We also want you to have the opportunity to take the learnings from the best of what Melbourne has to offer, so you can apply them to your own business. To learn more about Cogent, check us out at Cogent.co.

Judy Anderson: People that have opted out of a dominant ideology in the pursuit of creating something that matters, and have the skills to back it up – that is awesome. And they have so much fun.

Adam Murray: Hello, it’s Adam Murray here, and welcome to this episode of Cogent Conversations. So much has happened within the founder and startup community of Victoria over the past decade. This week we talk with Judy Anderson, CEO of StartupVic. StartupVic has been part of the journey of nurturing and enabling the founder community of Victoria from its very early days of being a small meetup at Inspire9, to today having a community of tens of thousands. Judy brings an awesome energy to her work and mission, which is to support those founders in their work of creating high growth startups.

Adam Murray: She shares an inside look into what the founder journey in Victoria looks like today, including the hidden difficulties and hidden joys. This is our last episode for the season of the podcast, focusing on businesses with impact, and fittingly, this is an area that Judy sees as being a focus for founders in 2020. Let’s get into it.

Adam Murray: Judy, great to be sitting here with you, and maybe you can talk about why this place, why you had such a visceral reaction when we walked up to our makeshift podcast recording studio room here.

Judy Anderson: Yes. I didn’t know we were going to be recording in here, and when we walked in, the first thing that struck me was the smell of this office. Because smell and memory is really strong. I used to work here in this office back in like 2011, or 2013. Something like that, when I was working at Inventium. Our office was literally right over there; it’s right behind my right shoulder and it’s just so weird being back. It’s like a flash from the past.

Adam Murray: Here we are in Donkey Wheel House and it was Hub that used to have this space, right? Like quite appropriate-

Judy Anderson: Yeah.

Adam Murray: … for the conversation that we’re going to have today as well.

Judy Anderson: That’s right.

Adam Murray: Probably their second floor, we were speculating.

Judy Anderson: Yep. Inventium started on the original first floor which … Sorry, which was level three, but that was the first level that they had, and we were on just like a big communal wooden table and there were hammocks everywhere. It certainly wasn’t the polished Hub Australia that you would see today. And then when they expanded into the second floor, were becoming more popular as a coworking space, they created offices. We were one of the first to nab one of the offices down here as the Inventium team was growing.

Judy Anderson: I remember hanging around on a Friday afternoon, throwing little fun sized chocolate bars on the air vents and … I mean, no, we did not do that! We were very responsible tenants.

Adam Murray: Yes, as I’m sure all the Hub tenants were and are to this day. Cogent is on the first floor, about to expand into this floor, hence why we’re crashing here today. Love it here.

Judy Anderson: Congrats.

Adam Murray: Yeah, thanks. We also have a bit of commonality there with Inventium, as well. I know Amantha through an interview that I did with her on another podcast. You worked there for quite a few years.

Judy Anderson: Yeah, I was at Inventium for four and a half years. Started as a super junior burger. I didn’t even know how to tie my shoelaces basically, in the professional consulting world. When I left, I felt like I had built a really strong depth of experience. Not just like the innovation world and psychology and neuroscience, but how to work, and how do you manage yourself. Productivity – and like Amantha’s great for that.

Judy Anderson: She’s got her own podcast as well, all around how do you work and how do you be the best version of yourself and the most innovative or productive, and yeah, it was great to work there. I’ve actually got hacked apart with all of Amantha’s experiments. It definitely made me a better professional person, for sure.

Adam Murray: What are the top two or three things that you did learn about how you work best?

Judy Anderson: Definitely energy management, for sure. I don’t just mean physical energy. I actually mean more like cognitive energy. If you imagine your brain, like the juice that powers all of your decisions and your thinking, just how do you keep that replenished and full? And how do you manage yourself for when the tank eventually gets low? Which it will for everyone. What do you do to replenish that and how do you set tripwires to make sure you don’t go too far into burnout mode? That was probably one of my things that stuck with me.

Adam Murray: Yeah. Like for you and your energy, can you talk about what are some of those things for you in general? I can talk about my ones as well, but yeah, I’m interested in how you … Is there some patterns there, or is it a little bit more nebulous and ad hoc than that?

Judy Anderson: For me personally, I was very lucky to work with a lady called Dr. Shelly Logan who was the Inventiologist at the time at Inventium. She basically taught me how to figure out what my tripwires are. Basically like a tripwire is like, you know in movies how you see in a spy movie, someone might wind up a piece of wire along a corridor and then someone falls over it?

Adam Murray: Yeah.

Judy Anderson: It’s like how you can set up these metaphorical tripwires, so that if you fall over it, your body gets a smack in the face to tell you like, “Hey, you need to fix something because you’re going down.” I figured out basically through observation what my tripwires were, so these are the things that happen when you start to become really depleted. Things like for me, I had … if I’m depleted, the first thing to go is cooking. Cooking dinner and baking on the weekends and things like that. I love doing that, it’s my form of meditation.

Judy Anderson: First thing to go is I don’t have energy. Going to social things, so seeing friends, seeing family, it’s no longer enjoyable. It is a task. And going to gym and things like that, right? They’re my lead tripwires, so if I trip over one of those, I’ve got enough time to catch myself, and it’s relatively easy to replenish. But if I hit my lag indicators, I’m fucked. Like, if I hit those lag indicators, it’s too late.

Judy Anderson: These are things like I’m persistently unwell. Like, I get … My glands swell up and I get very sick, or I’m not sleeping properly. I lose my voice … things that start to now happen physiologically to my body. And when I’ve hit lag indicators, it takes a lot more work to replenish the tank. That’s, for example, like yeah, some specific things that are … And practically, how I manage that is I have a meeting with myself and my calendar at the end of each month to review my tripwires.

Judy Anderson: I have to go out of the office into a different location, literally open up my wonder list that has all of those written in it, and if I tick any of them off, then that guides what I have to do for the next couple of weeks.

Adam Murray: Yeah, right. That might involve, I guess, crossing things out of your calendar or making some other changes?

Judy Anderson: Yep. The first thing I normally do is, if it’s really bad, I’ll flag it with my team. I’ll basically just be like, “Everyone, this is where I’m at in the tank, so help me say no, because I’m not very good at that, you know?

Adam Murray: Yeah.

Judy Anderson: I’ll just flag it, so I’ve got a bit of accountability outside myself and then I’ll start ripping stuff out of the calendar, as fast as I possibly can, goes down to like focus bare minimum, what’s the most important thing to achieve? And all the frills go.

Adam Murray: Yeah. Do you notice this kind of thing in some of the founders that you work with as well? Do you start talking to them about this kind of stuff?

Judy Anderson: Yes. Oh, my gosh, of course. But I think it’s universal to the human experience, but I do think that there are some things about the entrepreneurial journey that amplify this. Early on in the year, Startup Victoria was actually commissioned by LaunchVic, the state government startup agency to do some research into founder mental health and wellbeing across the state.

Judy Anderson: So, we went out and conducted a bunch of ethnographic interviews with our members to figure out what was their experience when it came to mental health and energy management. What we found is that this was absolutely rampant amongst the startup community. What we typically saw is that founders, it would start off as stress, and then stress would turn into anxiety, and then anxiety would turn into depression, and then depression would turn into clinical diagnoses and sometimes again, physiological diagnoses.

Judy Anderson: In terms of management of that, all of these people that we spoke to were aware of what was happening. What changed person to person in their interviews was whether or not they’d experienced a crash before, and how much weight they put in the importance of management of that. Typically, unsurprisingly, those who had had a crash before and knew how long it took to rebuild or had lasting damage from a crash, like damaged their immune system permanently for example, they put a lot more importance on the management of their energy and their mental health.

Judy Anderson: And those who hadn’t had a crash yet didn’t. You can see it coming. It’s really hard to convince someone who doesn’t realise the repercussions and the lasting impact that it’s important.

Adam Murray: Was anxiety, depression, poor mental health, was it higher in that cohort that you interviewed, than say the rest of the community in Australia? Like, is it …

Judy Anderson: As in like the rest of the business community, or?

Adam Murray: Yeah, I don’t know. Just the community in general, perhaps. I guess you could have interviewed them and it was just like, “Yeah, there is those kinds of issues going on,” but it’s like the same with the rest of Australia, kind of the general population in Australia. Was there any difference?

Judy Anderson: I can have an opinion; I can’t say like statistically whether or not …

Adam Murray: Sure.

Judy Anderson: … because obviously we didn’t interview the rest of Australia, but I would say definitely. Like, there are stresses that come with running your own company that don’t come with working for someone else. Managing cash flow, how you’re going to pay your employees, the responsibility of having people whose jobs depend on you and the success of your company and how well it grows.

Judy Anderson: Yeah, I think it’s just compounded. All of that being said, I don’t think it really matters, right? Because what your experience is and what my experience is with stress, we feel it the same way, it doesn’t actually matter. Like, what … It’s like the rule of relativity, right?

Adam Murray: Mm-hmm.

Judy Anderson: What might be really extreme for you is probably nothing to someone else, but what’s really extreme for them might be nothing for you. I think what mattered most to me in that research was just figuring out how little people talked about it, and how uncomfortable founders felt like they could share their struggles within our community. The people who had come forward previously and had basically told their story, they were considered to be very brave and had told their stories, but they were also the people who had failed in their businesses.

Judy Anderson: People associated failure with sharing the story in mental health, but we spoke to lots of people who preferred to remain anonymous in our research, who had achieved incredible success. Either exits or significantly high valuations for their startups, and they didn’t want to say who they were because they felt, “Well, I’m still attached to the business and so if my investors or my employees or my customers think that I’m weak, then they’ll have less confidence in the business.” I think there’s a job to be done there for us as a community, to separate failure from good management practices for your mental health.

Adam Murray: Yeah. There is that, like it’s interesting you used that word ‘weakness’ there as well, because I think that is very highly associated culturally with undergoing some mental health stress. I wonder how we do decouple that. I think the more high profile people that do come out I suppose, and say, “I’m taking a break from what I’m doing,” but also not just high profile people, I think it’s everyday people. At Cogent we’ve got a mental health Slack channel which people check into regularly …

Judy Anderson: Oh, great.

Adam Murray: … to say, “I’m struggling with this,” or, “I’m going through a difficult time.” Which is amazing because I think even for those people that don’t want to participate in that, it’s actually like, “Oh, I’m not the only one that goes through stuff,” as well.

Judy Anderson: And that’s it. That’s what we kept hearing from the founders in our community. They just wanted to know that they weren’t the only one. The entrepreneurial road is already an incredibly lonely journey, and it can just compound that. Even just knowing that someone else, like it’s not just you. Someone else is experiencing this, I’m not crazy, this is hard. Other people find it hard, too.

Adam Murray: So what’s LaunchVic going to do with that research, or what are you going to do with that research?

Judy Anderson: Yeah. LaunchVic, we handed it over as like a final report with what we learnt and what our recommendations might be, and that’s gone into their diversity and inclusion strategy. Lots of different other pieces of research were done, basically into how we can make the startup ecosystem in Victoria more diverse, more inclusive, to give everyone an equal opportunity to succeed.

Judy Anderson: Other pieces of research, for example like what’s the experience like for regional founders or founders with a disability, or founders from a migrant background, for example? And lots of others. So, the mental health report went into that along with all of the others, and that strategy I can’t say for sure, but I believe it’s going to be used to inform what policies and what grants should be coming out of that.

Judy Anderson: For StartupVic, for us, we’ve shared the research with our community. We’ve encouraged the providers within the space, accelerator programs, investors, coworking spaces, to have those conversations when they think about speakers for events, who do they put on stage? How they influence what people are sharing, what kind of questions they ask from our entrepreneurial leaders, things like that.

Judy Anderson: A pretty simple thing that actually came out of it for us is for the founders in the community who suffered from anxiety, or even just those who are more introverted by nature, hated going to networking events. If you think about most events in the startup community, it’s normally like a pitch night, which StartupVic runs a lot of those, but they’re typically in the evening, alcohol is served, and it’s like this big, loud event. There’s like 100 or 200 people in the room and you’re just thrust in there like, “Good luck.” And then, that’s someone who has anxiety’s worst nightmare.

Judy Anderson: But we know that networking is important to find co-founders, investors, partners, early customers, early employees. When we learnt that, at StartupVic, we launched a new program called Founder Connect, which is a structured networking breakfast event that we run every second week at our coworking space home, The Commons QV. Basically, what it is, is it’s a networking event, we just put a tiny, tiny bit of structure to it.

Judy Anderson: Basically it’s kind of like speed dating. Not a novel concept, but you get about 5-7 minutes per match, and then you move around the room and you meet a new person. And then after about an hour of that, we have a half an hour section for you to serve yourself a plate of breakfast and think about who you might want to sit down and have a longer conversation with, and then go a bit deeper with someone. It’s just a calmer, more relaxed kind of way to do it.

Adam Murray: Yeah, that sounds awesome. That sounds like my style.

Judy Anderson: You should come.

Adam Murray: Yeah, I should.

Judy Anderson: We ran our last one yesterday but the first one for the year is January 23rd, 2020.

Adam Murray: Awesome. Let’s go into a bit more about what the organisation StartupVic does. What has come out of some of those speed dating founder finding events? Has there been any amazing stories, or yeah?

Judy Anderson: Yeah. We’ve had a couple. I get the ones that come up to me afterwards, grab me in the kitchen. They’re like, “Thank you so much. Because I’m that person who is hiding in the bathroom before these events, and I have to take deep breaths before I go out, and now it’s just so easy.” We’ve had other stories where Bilal, who’s been to every single one that we’ve run so far, we’ve run four this year, and I was like, “Has anything meaningful come out of this for you? You’ve been to all of them.”

Judy Anderson: He’s like, “Yeah, I met this awesome chick. We just totally clicked and what she’s working on really matches what I’m working on, so after the breakfast event we went and had coffee, and now we catch up for coffee every month and we just bounce ideas off of each other, and we’ve formed a really good working relationship and I wouldn’t have met her if it wasn’t for this.” I was like, that’s the kind of stuff that yeah, has been cool.

Adam Murray: Yeah. You talked a bit about diversity and inclusion as well, and I’m wondering if you could talk a little bit about the network that you’ve got and the community that you’ve created, and what you notice about the types of people that are represented in that as well?

Judy Anderson: Yeah. I mean, have you been to many StartupVic events before?

Adam Murray: Not many, no.

Judy Anderson: Yeah. I think it’s changed since Startup Victoria first began. We started back in 2011 as a meetup group, actually. We were called Lean Startup Melbourne. We were co-founded by Scott Handsaker and Leni Mayo. They’re both absolute legends. Mission driven, just wanted to create a community for people like them who were trying to build a business from Melbourne, where there was basically no startup ecosystem whatsoever.

Judy Anderson: They wanted to create that community for themselves. And then if you fast forward, like that was 30 founders getting together on a Friday night for beers down at Inspire9, one of the original coworking spaces, and it was mostly white guys working in tech, but that’s because they were the people starting businesses back in 2011 in the startup community. It wasn’t the startup ecosystem then, it was just this fringe scene.

Judy Anderson: There was people like Didier Elzinga and Doug English from Culture Amp. They were part of that original cohort and Martin Hosking from Redbubble and the first wave if you like, of tech entrepreneurs from Melbourne. Then if you fast forward to 2014, the profile’s just kind of the same, but bigger. Around 6-7000 people in the meetup group, definitely had women within that, absolutely. But still relatively … and all of this is just observation. I wasn’t there at the time …

Adam Murray: Sure.

Judy Anderson: … so I don’t actually know, but what I hear is that was what it looked like. And then that’s when Startup Victoria professionalised and became an organisation. Between 2014 and now, now the community’s over 20,000 people. It’s not homogenous anymore. You just can’t be that homogenous I think with that many people in our industry.

Judy Anderson: There’s still a good chunk that’s white male, but we’ve got a lot of women in there, we’ve got a lot of migrant founders in there who have immigrated to Australia or come from a refugee background. We have Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander founders in our startup community as well, that’s thanks to like LaunchVic has funded Indigenous accelerator programs in the last couple of years, and that’s really done wonders I think in bridging those two communities together.

Judy Anderson: And many others, so I think our community now, and it’s not even just founders. Because we started as a founder community and we do have the practising and aspiring entrepreneurs in our catchment, we then attract everyone else who wants to now make Melbourne one of the best places in the world to build a startup. Government policy writers, accelerator programs, coworking spaces, investors, corporates, they’re all there now. I think the colour palette, if you will, of the Melbourne ecosystem, is much more diverse than it used to be.

Adam Murray: Yeah. So, you’re doing a lot of work with those founders and entrepreneurs, and you’re also by the sound of it, tapping into government organisations and what are you doing with say the people that are trying to nurture the startup ecosystem in Melbourne?

Judy Anderson: The ones who are mission driven, in it for the right reasons and are aligned with Startup Victoria’s mission, which is basically to make Melbourne one of the best places in the world to build a high growth tech company. Anyone who’s working onto that same mission, all I want to do is amplify their work. If I take for example, Grace Bird, she’s the innovation advisor to Minister Pakula, the Department of Jobs, Innovation and Trade.

Judy Anderson: And she’s doing a wonderful job. Like, basically that department stuff is set about creating policy, but endures beyond any program that supports our businesses to succeed here in Victoria and scale globally. She does a really good job of engaging with the community. She gets in at the grassroots level. She comes to pitch nights, she goes to meetups. She is in, and she even wrangles the minister in to attend.

Judy Anderson: She got like Minister Pakula to come in for our impact pitch night, in partnership with Giant Leap Fund in September. He came and did a speech on stage, he announced the new angel investment round. People like that, who are getting in at the grassroots level, we’ll get behind 100%.

Adam Murray: Yeah. In saying that to create mission driven … and maybe you can elaborate a little bit more on that, but what I’m hearing is to enable Melbourne to be the best place in the world to start a tech startup, high growth tech startup is how I think you described it. What are some of the ingredients that are there right now, that are really starting to take hold, and what else would you like to be bringing into the mix?

Judy Anderson: Yep, so we’ve got a few things that are good and we’ve definitely got a few things missing. Things that we’ve got that are good, we have really strong developer community in Victoria. We live in one of the cities that’s the best place to live in the world, so we have a good incentive for our best entrepreneurial talent to stay here and have HQs here.

Judy Anderson: We also attract good global scale up talent, so when a global company is thinking, “Okay, we want to expand and put an office into Australia,” like Square, Slack, Twitter, for example, Melbourne’s a pretty attractive place to do that. The list of what we have is probably shorter than what we need. What we need is access to more capital, so it’s better than it was even just a couple of years ago, but we still don’t have access to deep pockets and patient capital, and experienced … We’ve got some really good VCs in Australia, it’s just a little bit harder I think, also for founders to get the terms that they want.

Judy Anderson: A lot of our members, when they’re ready to raise a Series B for example, they’ll go to the states or somewhere else. They’ll go to Singapore and they’ll basically get the term sheet written overseas, because you can get better terms from international investors, and then they’ll come back to Australia and have our local VCs match those terms, for example.

Judy Anderson: Maturing our investment access would be great. Talent’s another one. Probably not surprising you with any of this. People talk about this all the time, but talent is definitely one. We just don’t have that many unicorns in Australia. Like in Victoria, you can basically list them all on one hand, so roles that are required, like a product manager for example, didn’t exist that long ago in Melbourne. You just don’t have as much experienced talent, getting access to that talent, whereas for example, in Silicon Valley it’s been there for decades. It’s a lot easier to hire really good people. They’re just a couple of things. I could go on, but yeah.

Adam Murray: Yeah. On the capital side of things, how does that actually change? I suppose one of the ways is there is more successful tech businesses in Melbourne, that generates wealth here and that can be reinvested, but are there other ways or is that the main way?

Judy Anderson: There are definitely other ways, but that’s a fantastic way. And that’s probably the natural ownership for StartupVic, right? Is to encourage our local exited founders to give back to the ecosystem and be a bit of a patron, if you will. Don’t be a patron of the arts, be a patron of the next generation of founders. You know what it’s like. Definitely that’s one avenue to get more funding into the space. But there are also a lot of, like baby boomers and even the generation after who have got wealth and it’s still being invested into traditional investment portfolios.

Judy Anderson: Like property, shares, for example, that could be redirected into perhaps becoming an angel investor. We can probably do a better job of an ecosystem as like giving them easy points of entry to learn how to be an angel investor in a startup. The work at the Wade Institute with VC Catalyst is a great example of how we’re starting to do that I think, at Melbourne University.

Judy Anderson: Another great one, probably like the reallocation of superannuation funding is a big one. Billions and billions of dollars, typically going into oil and gas, tobacco, gambling, amongst other … I’m sure there are good things in there as well, but surely we can redirect a sliver of that into the entrepreneurial community. I think what Host are doing is a great example of that, and I’d love to see other superannuation firms follow suit.

Adam Murray: So Host are starting to do that through their own VC funds?

Judy Anderson: That’s right. Yep, that’s right. They’re probably the leaders out of all of the super funds doing that.

Adam Murray: Yeah, and do you see StartupVic and yourself playing a role in changing that, or is that a bit outside your remit?

Judy Anderson: It’s a little outside our remit for now. I mean like, StartupVic, we’re the grassroots, scrappy, community manager. We’re the founder group so I think we have a role in communicating what the biggest problems and frustrations are of our members. Whether we’re the right people to lobby government for policy, probably not, but I think we can definitely make sure that the right problems are heard by the right ears.

Adam Murray: Yeah. I’d like to think about or just hear your thoughts a bit about say the past year. I think it’s been tough for some, particularly some, say, organisations that have got a bit of seed funding or have come out of an accelerator, trying to get their seed funding. It’s definitely been our experience here at Cogent, but I’m interested what you’ve noticed on the ground as well. What’s been the story of some of those organisations and founders over the past 12 months?

Judy Anderson: Yeah. I think we definitely don’t have a lack of volume of accelerator programs in Victoria. It’s almost a little too many, to be honest. In terms of the ratio of the kind of, the support we have for founders across different stages of growth. Very easy to take an idea into an accelerator program, get early stage support. Whether that’s through a university accelerator program or an independent, like a Startmate or something like that … Or an industry specific one.

Judy Anderson: Once you’re outside of that program, and you may get a little bit of pre-seed funding in there, like 20, 30, 50k. When you’re on the other side, that’s when it becomes a little bit harder. Because basically you lose your home, you lose your office space, you lose your cohort, the people that you’re working alongside, your peers, other entrepreneurs who have similar problems to you, at a similar stage, and then you lose access to formal education, formal mentoring networks.

Judy Anderson: We definitely have this problem of all of these high potential and some low potential founders just being ejected out of these programs, and there’s nothing to catch them. That’s something we’re looking at, at Startup Victoria. It’s definitely a priority for us to solve that in 2020. I won’t say the name just in case, but as an example, we had a couple of founders come to us and they’re well known within the Victorian startup community, just exited one of the best reputation accelerator programs in Australia and they just don’t know what to do.

Judy Anderson: They’re like a little lost. They don’t know what to … Like, “We need space, where should we go? We need new mentors for now we’re at a different stage, we’ve kind of outgrown those mentors, so where do we go now?” They default to us, but unlike for early stage founders who come to us with an idea and there’s lots of things we can direct them to, it feels really shit to have those founders come to us and they’re super high potential and there’s nowhere for me to send them. That really sucks.

Adam Murray: Yeah. So, what do they end up doing? What’s the general story for them?

Judy Anderson: Some will go into … Some will apply for Skalata which is our first … When I say, that, no, they weren’t the first. Sorry, I should edit myself. Skalata definitely is a later stage program, but it’s the first one. It’s still kind of I think experimental a little bit, led by Rohan Workman who is an absolute superstar but there’s only so many spaces in that program and it’s reserved for the best of the best.

Judy Anderson: They kind of go into a coworking space or find their own office, or maybe they’ll get invested by a VC firm like Blackbird, AirTree, and then they’ll be able to get their own office and they’ve got funds to pay for things. But a lot of them go to the keeper, unfortunately.

Adam Murray: Yeah. Given that and you talked about what your focus is for the next year, are there other focuses that you want to bring into being over the next 12 months? What do you see happening in the community in Melbourne?

Judy Anderson: Yeah. I think something that’s really, really awesome to see is the shift towards impact businesses. Definitely the next wave of entrepreneurs will be much more weighted towards people that are building businesses that fuse profit and purpose, which is really exciting to see. That’s thanks to leaders in our community like Giant Leap Fund, who do impact investing here in Australia.

Judy Anderson: That’s definitely a trend that I’m excited to see grow. That’s awesome. You don’t have to be a not-for-profit to be doing good for the world. Obviously with the announcement of climate change investment funding available through the likes of Mike Cannon-Brookes from Atlassian, I think we’ll see a lot more climate startups popping out of the woodwork. Like, Startup Bootcamp Australia are focusing on energy startups. There are some new sectors that I think will come out.

Judy Anderson: But the other thing I’m really excited for is we’re getting a lot more people talking about supporting the bridge between deep tech and the startup community. There’s all the amazing research coming out of Monash Melbourne and other research institutions, and bridging the gap to the startup community. Because a lot of these founders, what I would call, they’re engineers and they’re scientists and they don’t think of themselves as entrepreneurs.

Judy Anderson: But they’ve invented something that can change the world and so how do we either teach them the business skills that they need to turn that into a commercialised innovation, or match them with someone who can help as a co-founder? I’m really excited to watch that, because I think if we get that right as a country, we can just really run quite quickly.

Adam Murray: That is super exciting. I understand your social impact pitch night was one of the biggest ones you’ve ever had. 

Judy Anderson: I know. We had like 550 people there. It was nuts.

Adam Murray: Yeah. Can you talk about what some of the ideas that were pitched there?

Judy Anderson: Yeah. We had companies like Sempo who … it’s a FinTech platform for developing nations to get access to digital currency. That was really cool. That ended up winning the pitch night. We had Neighbourhood Effect, which is basically like teaching people how to be … make better decisions for climate change in their everyday life. And people like Bring Me Home, which is helping to reduce food waste from cafes and restaurants across Melbourne.

Judy Anderson: And I’m going to get in so much trouble because I can’t remember the fourth one, but it doesn’t mean it’s … oh, Gecko Traxx. I almost forgot Gecko Traxx. Basically helping wheelchair users access off road locations.

Adam Murray: Oh, wow.

Judy Anderson: Like the beach.

Adam Murray: Yeah. That’s really aligned with where Cogent sees itself going over the next 12 months, in some of those areas as well. Amelia is one of our general managers here. Amelia’s running a series of talks called ‘Product for Purpose’. We’re having people like Chargefox talk and a woman from the Red Cross that’s running their innovation area. I think there’s a couple more lined up as well. It’s something that we identify really strongly with and are excited about as well, so it’s great to hear it from you.

Judy Anderson: Of course. Because you’re probably a human being with a heart, and you care about people and the planet. Yeah, it’s a no brainer.

Adam Murray: Yeah, we do. I want to go back a little bit and we talked a bit about the organisation, but I wouldn’t mind talking a bit about your own story as well and how you ended up being the CEO of StartupVic. We talked a little bit about you had your time at Inventium and what you learnt there, but how did you get from there to where you are now?

Judy Anderson: I always wanted to have my own business, as a kid even. I was that classic case of I had the little shitty businesses when I was in primary school, had a juice bar in high school. I was always trying to make a buck. I even, my mum the other day sent me an email about this letter that I had written to the tooth fairy where basically I asked to keep my tooth as a keepsake. You know how the tooth fairy comes, and she puts a gold coin under your pillow at night and takes the tooth? Then the next time I lost the tooth, I’d written to the tooth fairy and said, “I’ve lost two teeth this time. Can I get a loan?”

Judy Anderson: My mum sent me this photo, she’s like, “You were a hustler from a really young kid.” I had that I guess entrepreneurial spirit, if you like, from a really young age. And then what happened is I went to school, and I basically lost all confidence. I didn’t think I could do anything. I studied entrepreneurship at RMIT, and I got to the end of my degree and I was like, “Okay, well I’ve just paid thousands of dollars to learn how to start a business and I’ve invested three years, and I don’t know where to start. I don’t feel like I know anything about how to start a business.”

Judy Anderson: Massive impostor syndrome, and so I thought, maybe I’ll go and learn how to build a business and how to actually do business from a big company. Luckily enough one of my mentors when I was at RMIT was Peter Williams who at the time was the CEO of Deloitte Digital. He was just super cool. He was transforming the way Deloitte did business and moving it online, and into the cloud at the time, and that was when the cloud was this mythical creature to a lot of people.

Judy Anderson: And so that was awesome. I basically just wanted to work with him, so maybe like 6-12 months later, found myself in a job at Deloitte working in the innovation team, which was awesome. My job there was basically not as a consultant at all, but internally, like how do we, Deloitte as a company, become more innovative? What should our culture look like? What should our processes look like? What should our programs like look? How do we resource innovation? How do we deliver more innovative products and services to our clients?

Judy Anderson: That was awesome. My job there was basically to manage our micro funding portfolio, so we taxed each of the partners a little bit of their revenue each year and made a fund and then that fund would be allocated to micro grants and experiments, where we would test different projects and ideas.

Adam Murray: Wow, that’s cool.

Judy Anderson: Yeah. Kind of like a mini, mini, mini, mini, mini VC within Deloitte, basically. But instead of building business, we were just testing ideas. But then after a little while, tax innovation wasn’t really getting me out of bed in the morning every day, and I also again, I still had this massive impostor syndrome. I still didn’t feel like I knew what I was doing at all, and I was really craving learning. I looked all over for where is innovation done in a way that’s sustainable and that’s repeatable, and that there’s a little bit more, I don’t know, reliable, I guess? Rather than just looking at what other people were doing and trying to do that.

Judy Anderson: That’s what led me to Inventium. I fell in love with Inventium because it used science. Neuroscience, organisational psychology and management science, and basically took what had been proven in the academic world, but was hidden behind academic jargon and statistics, and Amantha basically worked to translate those into very simple tools that people could use.

Judy Anderson: Yeah, found that very appealing, so jumped ship and everyone at Deloitte thought I was crazy. They were like, “What are you doing going to a three person team in this coworking space that no one’s ever heard of?” I was like, “I don’t know, I’m just going to learn.” They’re like, “Okay weirdo. See you never.”

Adam Murray: How did you find Amantha, by the way? Like …

Judy Anderson: Amantha and I sat on the board of the Awesome Foundation together. The Awesome Foundation is basically, there are chapters all over the world. Its mission is to forward the interest of awesomeness in the world and it’s 10 volunteers who make up the board and each board member donates $100 out of their own pocket to make a $1000 micro grant, and then people apply, projects, ideas, and then we award that $1000 cash in hand, no strings attached, to whatever we think is the most awesome.

Adam Murray: Wow.

Judy Anderson: Amantha and I sat on that together, so that’s how I met her.

Adam Murray: Yeah, cool. You went to this three person organisation, everyone thought you were silly?

Judy Anderson: Yeah, and then it turned out to be the best thing I ever did, because that’s where I learnt how to work, and my job there was basically to be an innovation consultant, facilitator, trainer, keynote speaker, executive coach. Started as a super junior burger; like Amantha was advertising for a senior innovation consultant and I think I was like 22, maybe 23 at the time.

Judy Anderson: I was like, “Ah yeah, may as well. I’ll throw my hat in the ring,” and I remember applying for the job and she said, “Oh, we just want someone with a bit more experience. You’re a perfect culture fit but come back in a few years.” I was so bummed at the time, and I called her back and I was like, “I really want this. What if I just come in as a junior? You can pay me whatever you want, I don’t care. I’ll just come to learn.”

Judy Anderson: She’s like, “Oh okay,” and then she went back, and then yeah, we created a more junior role for me and got a junior salary and yeah. Anyway, four and a half years later, became the head of our Sydney office. Helped grow the company to be on the Fast 100 list probably before I left, and it was awesome. Definitely an awesome experience there.

Adam Murray: So then, so StartupVic had started around about the time …

Judy Anderson: Officially 2014, yeah.

Adam Murray: Yeah. And then …

Judy Anderson: Yeah, there you go. 

Adam Murray: And so, you’re in Sydney and you’ve been starting up the office there and been going really well, and you had a bit of a moment there as well?

Judy Anderson: I did, yeah. We ran a Silicon Valley tour for some of our executive clients from the Asia Pacific region. We were meeting amazing people. We basically took our clients for a week to tour some of the world’s most innovative companies. Like LinkedIn, Box, Method, those sorts of like … Your typical ones like Google, Facebook, that sort of region of the Bay Area. I feel incredibly lucky to even be in the room, right? I didn’t pay for a seat on this tour, I’m just lucky enough to be here because I’m facilitating it, and meeting people like Allen Blue, who’s the co-founder of LinkedIn and formerly the co-founder of PayPal.

Judy Anderson: He’s just dropping wisdom bombs left, right and centre, and really forcing me to have a bit of a ‘come to Jesus’ moment with myself, like around what am I doing with my life? He forced me into an early existential crisis basically, and I knew that I was going to learn all this … Basically, get all this insight and inspiration from some of the world’s brightest minds for a week, so rather than go straight back to Sydney and straight back into the grind, I took a week off and I drove to Yosemite, put up a tent and parked there for a week. No technology, just my thoughts. It was terrible.

Judy Anderson: But it did give me a realisation, that I’ve always wanted to start my own company. Always wanted to be an entrepreneur, always admired entrepreneurs as the ones who are truly changing the world. They’re the ones who are building products and services that actually make our lives better and they’re doing it more quickly I believe, than government or corporates, in most cases.

Judy Anderson: I’ve spent the better part of a decade teaching the top end of town how to protect themselves from the destruction of startups, the people that I admire the most. And over the last 10 years, I feel like I’ve actually learnt a lot. I think I’ve squished most of my impostor syndrome. I’ve built products and services for other companies, basically my whole career. I think I know how to do this.

Judy Anderson: Why am I not doing it? Like, I went into this industry to learn and now I’m teaching it and now I’m not doing it. That’s weird. I realised that the only reason I wasn’t starting my own company was because I was scared. That was a dumb reason. I was like, “Right, well when the dumb reason stares you in the face, rationally you can’t do anything.” So, I came back to Sydney, I gave Amantha a call, I was like, “Look, I want to start my own business and I’m going to drop to part-time.”

Judy Anderson: She was super supportive, she’s like, “Absolutely, we’ll just phase it out slowly over time.” So, I dropped to four days at Inventium, moved back to Melbourne so I could be with my support network, family and friends. And then I think it was maybe three months or so into that, I was experimenting with a couple of ideas, one with a co-founder, one just by myself.

Adam Murray: These were product ideas? Can you talk about them, or maybe you can’t?

Judy Anderson: I’ll talk about one of them. One of them I can’t because it was a co-founder, and I don’t know if he’s okay for … 

Adam Murray: Sure.

Judy Anderson: … me to talk about this. He might still do something with it. But the other one I’ve now learnt is an absolutely terrible idea, because even though it solved a real problem and I followed all the right things in terms of innovation process, the business model was fundamentally flawed. It’s just not scalable. You can probably run a really neat little business, basically like a sheet subscription company. Rather than have your own sheets, you’d basically be like a laundry service …

Judy Anderson: Looking back at it now, I’m like, “That was such a dumb idea,” because the logistics of it is really hard and the economics just don’t scale. But it solved a problem. Anyway. So, I’ve killed that. What happened was two of my old coworkers from Inventium who had since left and become through their new companies, industry partners with StartupVic, they saw in the newsletter that Georgia Beattie had resigned from her role as the CEO of StartupVic and they were looking for a new CEO.

Judy Anderson: Independently on the same day, within the same hour, they both forwarded that to me and said, “You’d be perfect for this.” So, yeah, long story short, that’s how I ended up at StartupVic, because I also in those three months working on my own kind of project, I started to dip a toe back into the startup community. I thought there was a lot I could help with. My goal here is to bring my swag and everything that I’ve learnt over the last decade and try and help build a really strong ecosystem. And lucky Startup Victoria’s vision was already there to make Melbourne one of the best places to build a high growth tech company.

Judy Anderson: Very selfishly, I would like to help make that true for myself when I’m on the other side of this. Still have the goal to start my own company.

Adam Murray: Yeah, great. It’s a pretty amazing board and support network you’ve got at StartupVic, as well.

Judy Anderson: Very lucky.

Adam Murray: It’s a great team as well. Can you talk a little bit about both of them?

Judy Anderson: Sure. I’m very proud to say we just have two new women directors join us. We had an all-male board, since I joined. And yeah, I don’t know how we got away with that, but I was very excited to have two new women. We have Rachael Yang who’s the investment manager for Giant Leap Fund, and the VC firm I mentioned before. We also have Kirsten McIntosh who’s the partnerships lead for CyRise, which is a cybersecurity accelerator program.

Judy Anderson: We’ve also got Peter Cameron, who is one of the co-founders of AVG, which was back in the day, like antivirus company. And he’s since exited, now he’s an angel investor, he’s in the most of the funds you’ll find in Australia. Super humble, very experienced, very mission driven. He’s our chair. He’s also one of the venture partners at Giant Leap.

Judy Anderson: We have a couple of others, but I won’t list them all. I realise that’s probably not the right thing to do, but yeah, we’ve got a few others. We’ve got Morgan Ranieri who’s the co-founder of YourGrocer. He’s cool, he gets in the trenches with me, because he’s living the founder life right now. He’s very helpful, as well.

Adam Murray: Yeah. It’s a pretty small team, I think. You operate pretty leanly, is that right?

Judy Anderson: Yeah, we’re a three person not-for-profit, so I don’t think many people know that, who don’t know who we are. I think because our …

Adam Murray: Amazing impact, yeah.

Judy Anderson: Yeah. Our presence is big, our impact is big. But our team is tiny. If you know anyone who can write big cheques, send them my way.

Adam Murray: Yeah, sure. I’m thinking you might know more of them than me. Your business model then, is it through your community, is there ways that people contribute or they can tap into programs and that kind of thing that you offer?

Judy Anderson: Yep. So, we’re funded by the community through a main independent, and that is intentional. Our mission is to support founder success. We have to have a business model that puts us in service of the right master. We’re not government funded. We’re independent. We do get some grant funding here and there for projects, but as a whole, we’re not funding by the government to exist. We are a membership organisation, so members pay $90 a year and they get access to a bunch of different events, programs, benefits, discount codes, things like that from our partners.

Judy Anderson: That’s really where our revenue comes from. We have different tiers of membership, depending on what stage you’re at, and what kind of services you might need from us. We do have some partners who throw in as well, like the lovely Cogent.

Adam Murray: Yes, full disclosure.

Judy Anderson: Yes. Cogent is an industry partner of Startup Victoria, and we also, we couldn’t survive without the support from our partners as well. The partners we choose very strategically to be those who can actually, like who are a natural fit. For example, like Cogent, inherently your services are exactly what founders need. It makes sense. When you guys have an event, like we actually promoted the Products of Purpose session just the other week to our members. That’s relevant content. That’s not like we’re like, “Buy this car loan from our partners over at blah.” Like, that’s weird, we would never do that.

Adam Murray: Yeah. Awesome. In doing some work around connecting people that have, I guess, achieved a level of success or have progressed beyond I guess being early stage founders as well?

Judy Anderson: Yeah. This was our first experiment into how do we make the majority of our funding driven from members. As opposed to a chunk of it. Again, to put us in service of the right master. But to date, our membership had kind of been like you’re a founder, an aspiring founder, then you’re in this big old bucket over here, and you all live in the bucket of founder. But we know that different founders at different stages of growth have different problems, different needs, different things are more helpful. You’re not going to see a founder who’s in between $1 and $100 million annual revenue at a pitch night. It’s not just going to happen.

Judy Anderson: And it doesn’t add any value to them, and they don’t really need to network and things like that. It’s not the priority. We went out and did some research with the scale up founders in our community, figured out what were the biggest problems, what were the current solutions available to them in the market? Where were the apps, and then what was StartupVic a natural owner of?

Judy Anderson: What we figured out is that it’s really … All they really want to do is learn from each other. Like, founders at that stage want to learn from founders who are at the same stage as them, or a couple of stages ahead of them. And that’s StartupVic’s bread and butter. We’re a community organisation. We connect founders to other founders. We can do that. We launched a program called Growth Club which is for founders who have at least a million dollars annual revenue, have aspirations for high scale and are growing relatively quickly. Different metrics depending on different business, and the founder is still in the business, or the co-founder’s there, and they’re working full time, and it’s their job to scale the company.

Judy Anderson: So for those founders, we run monthly dinners, so you come along and have dinner with the other scale up founders in Growth Club. They hack each other’s challenges, like what’s keeping them awake at night, and they’re only allowed to share their experience, not their advice. Very similar to EO or YPO, if anyone’s … Entrepreneur’s Organisation. It’s a very similar model, but the cohort is very specific. So who’s actually in it is a high growth tech founder.

Judy Anderson: And then aside from the dinners, we also do a … every second month we’ll host an education event, so that is with a top tier entrepreneur or global tech executive who can teach them something new. Something practical, something that’s going to help them in the next stage of growth. So for example, we’ve had Anil Sabharwal who’s the VP of Engineering for Google, come in and talk about managing high performing teams.

Judy Anderson: We’ve had Kerri Lee Sinclair come in, former acquisitions and partnerships at AConex and now head of Kin Group, family office investments, come in and talk about what are the unexpected growth blockers in your company. Wink, wink, nudge, nudge, it’s you. And many others. That is super exciting. Shameless plug: but if there are any scale up founders out there listening and you’d like some peer support from people who are going through what you’re going through, please reach out to us. We’d love to yeah, open the door for that.

Adam Murray: Sounds amazing. Do you play a facilitatory role in that as well?

Judy Anderson: I try to keep my facilitator at home, but it sneaks out sometimes. We very loosely moderate the dinners. Very, very loosely. Basically we’ll set them up, we ping the founders a week ahead of time, just a quick email basically, “What’s keeping you up at night?” They send their challenges back, we basically have a look through them, put people onto table groups, typically we’ve got about 30 members at the moment. Divide them into groups of four to eight people, and then we’ll just have them work around those challenges to start, and then once they’ve gotten through that challenge, then we just range free and whatever.

Adam Murray: Yeah. Sort yourselves out.

Judy Anderson: Yep, exactly. Why did Cogent start this podcast?

Adam Murray: Yeah. I mean, it was a bit of a selfish reason from me. I did my own podcast, I like interviewing people, and so I thought it’d be great if Cogent did one as well. I think that we saw that as consultants, we get an interesting inside look at a lot of different organisations as well, that maybe not many other organisations have. We work with very early stage founders, all the way up to successful, very mature digital businesses like Real Estate Australia, and we see how they all work and the differences amongst them.

Adam Murray: We thought that being able to bring that perspective to the community in Melbourne might be a valuable thing to offer that maybe not many other organisations could offer. There’s a bit about also, a little bit about what you touched on there about maybe the founder journey and the CEO journey in particular, and some of these people inside digital organisations, having quite an isolated and lonely journey. Being able to hear something or hear somebody talk quite openly, let their guard down a little bit about what their journey’s actually like, and the struggles that they might be going through could be quite a valuable thing for those people as well.

Adam Murray: To think, “Oh yeah, I’m not alone,” or, “That’s quite helpful,” or, “That’s similar to what I’ve gone through,” or, “Maybe I should reach out to that person as well.” For me personally, there’s this … I think there can be a little bit of what it’s supposed to be like that comes out when people talk, or when we talk, when I talk about this stuff, it’s like all … It’s a bit of a fantasy or a bit of an illusion. So, when I do these interviews, I want to try as well as I can to get to the point of like, “Well, what is it actually like? What are the struggles? What are the joys as well?”

Adam Murray: But what are some of the mental health struggles that people actually go through? Because if people are looking to follow this journey, I think it’s so important for them to be able to count the cost fully of what is actually involved, and then for those that once again, feel like, “Am I the only one feeling this burden, this crushing burden of expectation?” To be able to lift that a little bit to think, “No, it’s not just me.”

Judy Anderson: Yeah, that’s great. I think maybe just revealing the reality can be helpful. That’s good for giving people an insight into what they might be in for if they’re an aspiring founder, and then for those who are practising , just the relatability. Like, “Yep, somebody gets it. It’s not just me.” Absolutely I can see that. From my perspective, the reality is it is hard.

Judy Anderson: Even though StartupVic, I didn’t start the company, it’s definitely my job to lead it and to manage it. It’s hard. Even though we’re tiny, we’ve got a big role to play in this ecosystem. We are considered … people look to us for leadership in the ecosystem, so it’s important to get it right. It is hard. And the founders that I meet within the ecosystem, as hard as it is and that is a very real challenge, God damn do they have fun. Really. Like, they are the most cool community.

Judy Anderson: They’re intellectual, they’re considerate, they’re philosophical, they are very talented, and I feel like I’ve landed in this place where I get to work with some of the best minds in Australia. People that have opted out of a dominant ideology in the pursuit of creating something that matters, and have the skills to back it up like that is awesome. They have so much fun. They don’t take it too seriously, you know? I think there’s a lot to be said, and it’s a really beautiful industry in that way, I think. I know we’ve spoken about a lot of the challenges, but I just want to make sure that’s not lost as well.

Adam Murray: Yeah, great. That’s good to hear, because for myself, I think I can have a bit more of a pessimistic approach to those kinds of thing. And particularly when it comes to people’s wellbeing, I think that’s what I’m most concerned about. I think it’s one of my personal missions in life is to, for organisations in general, places where people come to flourish and grow and are well. Don’t have to compensate for being part of those organisations, and so my radar’s quite attuned to when that’s not the case. It’s really good to hear that. It’s not a side that I am as accustomed to seeing, I suppose.

Judy Anderson: Yeah. I would argue that overall, working in a startup is better for you than working in a big company. Even though you might find in a big company all the perks, awesome parental leave policy or whatever it might be, it’s just the flexibility that comes with working in a startup, understanding yes, it’s a high performance environment, and there’s nowhere to hide, so you better be good, but if you are at that level, then it can be amazing.

Judy Anderson: Even for example one of the founders in Growth Club, I won’t share the name but a little bit of the story, they went on a company retreat, they’ve had some success recently, and they don’t have a process for accounts, reimbursements, or whatever for their staff. Most of the staff were international so they flew them all into the one place and they’d never met most of their staff before. It was all completely an online business.

Judy Anderson: And then they were like, “Maybe we’ll set up an accounts payable,” or whatever the system was, and so one of the founders just like went down to the ATM and drew out a bunch of cash and put it on the mantelpiece and was just like, “Just take some whenever you need it.” Do you know what I mean? That’s the kind of stuff. There’s no big process, and there’s a lot of trust, and he did say, “It was kind of funny. It went a lot more quickly than I thought it would.” Yeah. Stuff like that, that happens, which is really cool.

Adam Murray: Yeah. You must get a pretty amazing look. At Cogent, we get one perspective, I think you get another really amazing perspective in all this stuff as well.

Judy Anderson: Yeah. It’s the stuff that like, “Huh. Yeah.” Of course you don’t fit in a big corporate organisation, of course you had to start your own business.

Adam Murray: Perhaps it is a pretty good time to wrap up then. Maybe you can just say how can people who are listening to this, what’s the best way if they want to become part of a community? How can they do that?

Judy Anderson: Yep, sure. I mean, StartupVic’s community is completely inclusive, so welcome everyone from any kind of walk of life or level of aspiration to take on the founder journey. Best way to join the community is to go to our website, which is just StartupVictoria.com.au, and sign up for our newsletter. I know that that sounds really lame, like become a part of the community by signing up for a newsletter, but what that’s going to do is it’s going to every week, we share a digest of every single event that’s happening in Victoria in the startup space.

Judy Anderson: You’ll also get invited to our Slack group, which is basically this very loosely moderated online community of startups in Victoria, so join that, read the newsletter, go to events that are more appealing to you depending on what you’re looking for, and just yeah, follow us on socials and come to one of our events. The next one is the Founder Connect that we spoke about, on 23rd of Jan, or our next pitch night which is the last Tuesday of February which is Rapid Risers. That’s what it is. Pitch night for rapid risers. Those who are growing fast. If you want to come along and check out our pitch night.

Adam Murray: Awesome. Judy, it’s been so good to chat with you.

Judy Anderson: You too. Thank you so much for having me.

Adam Murray: Yeah. You’re welcome. I look forward to the next 12 months and also what you end up doing beyond StartupVic as well.

Judy Anderson: I’ll see. Probably go into a big hibernation hole and recharge my battery. Passed all of my tripwires through the last week of December, so it’s time to recharge the batteries for sure.

Adam Murray: Camping for a month, no technology.

Judy Anderson: Never again.

Adam Murray: Thanks.

Judy Anderson: Thank you.

Adam Murray: To help us get the word out there about all the great digital businesses in Melbourne, you can help by sharing an episode you love with a friend or by rating and reviewing this podcast through your favourite platform. And finally, if you want to tell us about how your business is thriving, or you know of another digital business that is having an amazing positive impact, the best way to do that is through emailing us through info@cogent.co. I’m Adam Murray, and I look forward to hearing your story.