Steve Baxter is one of Australia’s most successful tech entrepreneurs and a man well-known to the audiences of Channel Ten’s Shark Tank for his incisive questioning of budding innovators. Steve is also Queensland Chief Entrepreneur and is currently championing Queensland's start up eco-system in all parts of the state.
Steve is a proud Queenslander, born in the remote town of Cloncurry and raised in Emerald in the State’s central highlands. He left school at 15 and joined the Army, enlisting in its apprenticeship program. There, he became a technician working in the field of electronics, telecoms and guided weapon systems.
In 1994, at the age of 23, Steve put his life savings of A$11,000 on the line to launch his first startup, the pioneering internet service provider SE Net, from the spare room of his Adelaide home. Servicing more than 35,000 customers, SE Net was eventually acquired by Ozemail/UUNet under the stewardship of its founding Director and now Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull.
In 2001, Steve teamed with a schoolmate to launch his second startup which they listed on the ASX in 2005 and eventually sold for A$373 million. He spent a year working with Google in California in 2008, and in 2010 he became a major early stage investor in startups leading to the founding of Brisbane tech startup hub River City Labs.
Steve’s profile in mainstream Australia has risen on the back of three seasons as a 'Shark' on Channel Ten's Shark Tank program, offering advice and sometimes investment, to entrepreneurs and innovators looking to take their businesses and start up ideas to the next stage of development.
Steve is married and the proud father of a 5-year-old daughter as well as twin baby girls and is a keen private pilot and recreational fisherman.
The 2018 Geoff Shadforth Memorial Lecture will be delivered by Steve on Monday 27 August. Come and hear from Steve on exactly what it takes to create enormously successful businesses as well as what he believes can and should happen to unleash the potential of Queensland’s entrepreneurs and innovators.