A view from the Top – Perspectives on Startups

Event Details

Date: Tuesday 24th July, 2012
Time: 17:30 – 20:00
Venue: Ground Floor, KPMG Building, 147 Collins Street, Melbourne


Session 1 – Culture Amp – An Application of Disruptive Technology


The biggest trap for any start-up is building something that nobody wants. It may sound obvious, but behind every successful start-up there are founders who have almost certainly had several failures. The trick is to become good at failing fast…

Doug and Rod will share their insights into moving from enterprise architecture with some of Australia’s biggest banks and telcos to the small and fast paced world of start-ups. They will take us on a journey over the last three years of varied start-up ideas where they tried to align great ideas with execution plans that would work in the real world. They will discuss with the benefit of hindsight the “what went wrong” of ideas old, and contrast these experiences with the success they are experiencing with Murmur, Culture Amp’s latest venture.

About the Speakers

Doug English

With a background in big enterprise software architecture and domain modelling predominantly in the financial sector, Doug’s change of focus to leave the stable job and dive into the world of start-ups couldn’t have been a starker contrast. Doug was a founder of the Melbourne based start-up Jodoro, which released a collaborative domain modelling tool.

He is now a founder of Culture Amp, another Melbourne based start-up, this time focusing on the softer side of providing tooling to help people be more effective. Murmur, their flagship product, provides employers with insight into employee engagement through the entire life-cycle of each employee’s time with the company.

Rod Hamilton

Rod is also a co-founder of Culture Amp.
Prior to this Rod worked as an enterprise architect and technical delivery manager for Tier 1 clients across Telecommunications, Finance, and Tolling. His breadth and depth of experience ranges from leading large project delivery teams through to hands on requirements analysis, architecture design, development, and testing. Having spent many years working with organisations that pride themselves on creating technology innovations for developing their business, Rod has experienced first hand how the technologies for developing an organisation’s people has been left behind. This is a the opportunity that Culture Amp has set out to solve – to develop technologies that amplify organisational learning and drive culture.

Slides from Presentation

Session 2


The Australian Government’s new R&D tax incentive legislation recently passed through parliament and is effective from the 1stJuly 2011. Under the new system benefits for companies undertaking R&D have increased, particularly for companies with a turnover of
less than A$20 million. These companies will be eligible for a 45 per cent refundable tax credit. This increased benefit has also come with a new definition of R&D, changes to eligibility rules and a higher level of audit and review. Richard Wraith from KPMG’s Specialist R&D Tax Group will present an overview of the new legislation and how it will impact innovative R&D companies.

About the Speaker

Richard Wraith

Richard Wraith is a Manager in the R&D Incentives group at KPMG and assists companies with R&D tax and grant applications. Prior to joining KPMG in 2009 Richard was CFO/COO at Austhink Software, a VC and Angel funded start up that commercialised research from the University of Melbourne. Richard’s experience also includes IT management, telecommunications and fostering innovation. He has a PhD in engineering from the University of Melbourne and a Graduate Diploma in Business Administration.

Session 3 – A Venture Capital Approach

David Bennett, a veteran of a startup from decades ago (the developer of PowerFlex) these days is heavily involved in funding startups. He will talk about his approach and experiences with getting start-up successful in the Australian environment.

About the Speaker

David M Bennett

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