A collection of great minds with the sole purpose of helping to grow our startup community and produce world-class entrepreneurs.

Shubhobrotto (Shu) Das

Business consultant, scientist and writer

Shu grew up in India and came to Australia to study molecular biosciences and biotechnology at the University of Adelaide. After an Honours degree in Genetics, Shu managed research projects at some of Australia's leading research institutes. He has also worked on developing cutting-edge pharmaceutical drug discovery technologies at the biotech startup TGR Biosciences ( 


After a decade in science, Shu moved on to do postgrad studies in Finance and Accounting and currently works as a Risk Consultant for top-tier global professional services firm PwC, helping some of Australia's biggest public and private sector organisations deal with challenges in the areas of digital risk, information governance and data security.


Shu is a passionate advocate for STEM education and innovative entrepreneurship that blends the best of technology and business. Shu loves telling stories, and as the Director of Content at Startup Melbourne and creator of his personal blog Shu's Green Patch, he is helping tell stories of founders, creatives and startups from Melbourne and beyond.


Twitter: @Shubhobrotto



Chris Joannou

Chris Joannou is a Digital Artist, Entrepreneur, and Startup Pusher.

Founder of Startup Melbourne

General Manager - Startup Grind Australia / New Zealand (powered by Google for Entrepreneurs) we inspire, educate, and connect the Australasian Startup Scene. Focused on events and mentorship. Local partners include: ASX, Deloitte Private, Salesforce, IBM, Xero, Zendesk, and NAB.

Co-Founder of Private Label Lab - A full-service innovation house focused on private label food and beverage. Clients include Coles, Woolworths, Coca-Cola Amatil, and Bidvest.

Investor and Startup Ambassador @LawAdvisor



Sean Qian

Sean is the founder of Queens Collective - Melbourne's home to world-class startups. Through his coworking space, Sean aims to support and grow the local startup ecosystem to an international standing. Queens Collective is a multi-storey coworking space on Queen Street in the Melbourne CBD, and home to companies such as General Assembly, StartupGrind, Drawboard, and more. 

With partners in legal, education, finance, events, and a whole host of membership perks, QC aims to give its startup members the best chance of success in the difficult startup world. Here is the QC community featured in Forbes.

Sean has had a varied past, and has run an events management company, headed the marketing department of a private college, and also spent time in migration law.

In his spare time, Sean goes to as many startup events as possible, and pursues interests in virtual reality and anything to do with the maker movement.


Gaëlle Guesdon

Director of Communications at Startup Grind Australia

This self-made expat coming all the way from Paris France, via San Francisco and Folkestone (UK), is passionate about MarCom and social media. She loves surrounding herself with positive happy people, dreamers, achievers and, therefore…entrepreneurs. After many years working for small to big international companies in PR, Communications and Marketing all over the world, she finally decided to take a leap of faith and work for herself becoming small businesses’ social media B#FF. ( When not glued to her Smartphone updating her clients’ status, you will find her attending networking events around Melbourne, connecting people, snapping street art pictures and hunting out the perfect French croissant.



Remco Marcelis

Remco is a Startup Accountant, virtual CFO, VC and entrepreneurial educator and is the Founder of Standard Ledger.

As a CPA and seasoned CFO/COO he has worked with entrepreneurial technology/cleantech businesses for the last 10 years, preceded by 4 years in venture capital and by 10 years working with multinational management consulting/IT services companies.  

Currently the General Partner with the Future Capital Bitcoin Fund and virtual CFO for a number of startup and grownup businesses he is passionate about growing successful sustainable businesses.

His career combines personal experience in his own start-ups, managing meteoric growth in a successful media company, a mobile App company and an early stage climate change company.  His private equity experience included 20 early stage investments worth $25 million in total.  His career was grounded with management consulting and IT services experience with Accenture, PricewaterhouseCoopers and EDS.  This real-life experience has been rounded out with an advanced MBA degree, graduate of the Institute of Company Directors, Foundations in Venture Capital and courses through the Financial Services Institute of Australasia (FINSIA).


Matthew Snowden

Founder & CEO of 2 Australian start ups. World leader mobile app developer of BBC Worldwide mobile apps. Mentor and advisor to local start-ups. 

M5895 Studios / Founder & CEO

One of Australia’s leading mobile app studios. Developed a range of apps in partnership with BBC Worldwide. Lead a team of 12 to produce and release world-class apps.

• “Inside the World of Dinosaurs” with Stephen Fry. Winner of the Best Education App of 2012, Appy Awards. Editors Choice Awards for Best Children’s App 2012. ZDNET App of the Week. CNET App of the Day. Featured by Apple. Nominated as the best dinosaur reference app.

• BBC’s “Walking with Dinosaurs – Inside their World”. No.1 app in United States and No.1 app in over 22 countries including Australia, Singapore, Japan and Canada. The official dinosaur reference app to the original Walking with Dinosaurs award winning documentary.

• BBC’s “Walking with Dinosaurs – Dino Run” the official 3D action running game to the $80M BBC / 20th Century family movie. Featured by Apple and top the charts in many countries. Lead a team of 12 artists, engineers, and 3D modelers over 8 months,


Nicholas Ng

Nick is an Account Director with over 10 years’ experience serving privately owned and operated businesses with revenues up to $300M.

Nick specialises in group restructuring, project management, back office support for entrepreneurial startups. He also has experience in 3D financial modelling and multinational tax experience.

Nick assists in leading the Deloitte Technology Fast 50 in Melbourne and is involved throughout the technology entrepreneurial community. His clients operate in industries including technology, media, telecommunications, property construction and management, retail, wholesale and distribution.

Nick’s client experiences include working with:

       Webjet Limited


       HUB Australia

       Unleashed Software

       Tablo Publishing


Darcy Naunton, CFA

General Partner
M.App.Fin, Monash
B.Sci/B.Comm, UWA

Darcy Naunton, CFA is a co-founder and Partner of Adventure Capital, providing analytical expertise and a deep knowledge of capital markets and economics. He is also Managing Director of the York Butter Factory coworking/incubator space where he works closely with seed-stage tech startups. Darcy was previously an Investment Analyst at a major asset consultancy firm, where he provided portfolio construction and asset selection advice to large institutional investors. He first began working in the financial services industry in 2004 as a paraplanner at a private financial planning firm.


Matt Harrison

I am a Melbourne-based Partner at MitchelLake Executive, our executive search division. I partner with senior people to help great ideas succeed in a world of rapid change. My core work is focused consulting where transformation, disruption or innovation is supported - or caused - by digital and technology. 

My work extends across all industry sectors and ranges from the smallest start-ups to the largest enterprise and government organisations.  

I am from Melbourne but began my career in marketing roles in the United States for 8 years before moving home. In my second career, I’ve been in the consultancy space for 10 years.   

When I'm not checking my device I'm wrangling two very energetic kids and barracking hard for the mighty Hawks.

Laura Mariakinaite

Laura's experience includes startup, automotive and not-for-profit marketing and business development.


She is a Director of Partnerships at Startup Grind Australia working with sponsors such as Deloitte, ASX, AussieCommerce Group, NICTA, etc. Laura is also a Retail Business Development Manager at Equiem - a startup that provides online portals to premium buildings in Australia and co-ordinates community engagement activities within these precincts. On the side, she's overlooking marketing for Vic Wind and Chilli Wind apps used by kitesurfers, windsurfers and alike.


Most recent past roles include consulting for Planet Innovation on crowdfunding Zen thermostat, and Database and Marketing Coordinator at BMW Melbourne.



Erz Imam

I am an avid fan of emerging technologies having worked in the telecommunications industry for two decades before moving to Be.interactive, a mobile and digital marketing agency. It was at Be. that I got a real hint of the entrepreneurial spirit but the timing wasn’t quite right.  

After marrying Jodie in 2007, I joined her and the team at Leona Edmiston to build the e-commerce store. The online retail store was ahead of its time and quickly became the fashion label’s stand out performer.

But again, something was still missing so Jodie and I quit our jobs, sold our house and moved back to Melbourne with our 18 month old and second baby on the way to build and launch our own business: Occasional Butler an online marketplace and depo8 which is a co-working space in Prahran. Occasional Butler was acquired by Airtasker in 2014 and depo8 continues to grow into a community of creative, free spirited business owners carving out a niche for themselves. 

I am passionate about business, innovation, my friends but my entire drive comes from my three kids and a fantaboulous wife. 


Simon Rossi

Simon’s professional experience includes time working in regional leadership and general management positions and management consulting across Europe, the US and Australia.

Currently Simon is responsible for the development and growth of UBER in Australia, specifically Victoria and Western Australia. UBER, “Everyone’s Private Driver,” is a mobile app that reliably delivers you a private car in minutes so you can ride in style, making cities more fun and safer to move around in.

Prior to Uber, Simon was accountable for leading a high performing team of Enterprise sales and sales operations professionals across EMEA at Yammer - another start up out of San Francisco is defining what an Enterprise Social Network is, and our customers (including 80% of the Fortune 500) are re-defining what a modern working environment can be. Simon is/ has been active in the start-up communities in London, Melbourne and Silicon Valley. In his spare time Simon loves to travel the world, snowboard and build and lead disruptive businesses.


Thomas Mort

Thomas Mort is a Chartered Accountant and founder of Jungle Capital, an early to mid stage investment group aimed at assisting emerging companies through equity injections and mentoring.

Thomas is actively involved in a private business that includes listed equities, property and venture capital.

Thomas is a Director of Intelligence Bank, The Ploytech Group and a Non Executive Director of Aje. Thomas also sits on the board of Enterprise 500 Victoria and the My Room Trust (Children’s Cancer Centre at The Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne). 


Stephanie Maynard

Stephanie arrived in Australia from Hong Kong in 2008 to complete her graduate and post-graduate studies in Graphic Design. Working as a freelance graphic designer, and attending a number of entrepreneur events to help meet people and build her network, she developed passion for entrepreneurship. Inspired by the proactive, problem solving attitude and positive energy at these events, she became involved with Startup Grind as a volunteer in 2013.

Motivated by her passion for connecting people and helping them grow, she started her own event, Ignite Dinners, in late 2013.  Inviting speakers and running workshops, Ignite Dinners helped inspire people to do what they love in their business and career, and to follow their passion too.

For the last one and half years, Stephanie has taught Graphic Design at the Academy of Design, introducing the subject to new students, as well as readying the future graphic designers of Melbourne as they embark on their professional journey. In the final semester of 2014, she worked as Graphic Design Co-ordinator and had the pleasure of assisting in the development of multiple graphic design courses within the Academy. 

Stephanie now works as a graphic designer at creative marketing agency Earl St., and is looking at a future in management and graphic design.

Stephanie is always looking for new ways to inspire people, bring them together and facilitate their growth.


James Nguyen

James comes from a background in Finance, most recently a Chief Financial Officer in the educational not-for-profit space, but lives and breathes entrepreneurship. Having been involved in startups from as early as highschool, James has worked across a number of diverse industries such as tech, importing and nightlife. Also an Australian representative in Public Speaking, he has worked as a coach in communication and brings a genuine passion for presenting. Outside the startup world,James is a health and fitness enthusiast.