This week we’re talking to the Neara team, and their decision to rebrand from Power Lines Pro. A steller Series A funding round of $7.25m led by Square Peg Capital and also included investment from Skip Capital saw the company emerge as a leader in the digital infrastructure space. The team break down their hilarious meeting story, why the importance of infrastructure is always overlooked and how their software is transforming the future. 

Time Stamps 

  • 3:30- Introduction to Neara 

  • 4:36- Meet Dan Danilatos Neara’s Founder & CEO

  • 6:41- Hear from Jack Curtis on his unconventional path to Chief Commerical Officer at Neara 

  • 11:26: The final piece of the puzzle- Karamvir Singh on how this time at Macquarie Bank and Westpac lead to him Neara 

  • 13:56- The founders meeting story and how surprisingly cooking would lead to a startup

  • 16:50- Dan on founding Helix which significantly impacted his knowledge about startups 

  • 17:46- Neara’s origins and how they were influenced by Dan’s wife, an electrical engineer who leads teams of engineers to design powerline infrastructure.

  • 19:06- Neara’s experience with their first customer- Essential Energy

  • 20:38- Dan’s move from Helix to Neara full time is a valuable lesson on when to move forward in your career

  • 21:45- How Neara built their leadership team through searching for a commercial genius which led them to Jack 

  • 23:15- Things to be wary of when joining a startup- particularly the founder and co-founder risk

  • 25:03- Why in order to be successful it’s important for companies to feel ‘co-created’ with their team and customers

  • 25:55- The enormous scale of infrastructure and the constraints and demands of a rapidly changing a world 

  • 28:10- It’s urgent how the infrastructure industry needs to digitalise- but how will they achieve this? 

  • 29:41-  What does it look like when a major utility company uses Neara?

  • 31:00 - How Neara is able to optimise across a network level 

  • 32:44- The practical benefits of Neara- saving money, time and helping individuals manage their networks 

  • 33:36- The speed and accuracy trade-off is a myth as explained by the Neara team

  • 34:47- Having infrastructure digitised may seem like its unimportant however it actually breeds an environment of collaboration 

  • 35:23- Building a company culture can seem like a daunting task but ultimately the goal is to create an environment of democratic and collaborative teamwork

  • 36:52- How the Neara team approached their fundraising round 

  • 38:33- The need for a clear idea of what you’re looking for when fundraising 

  • 40:13- Why timing is so important when it comes to innovation 

  • 41:14 - What the future holds for Neara


Guest info: 

Daniel Danilatos Founder & CEO at Neara

Daniel began his career as a software engineer for Google before moving along to roles at Dropbox and graphic design start-up Canva. At Google, he built (as a tech lead) the world's first web real-time collaborative rich text editor. The technology involved pushing the envelope of what was possible with browsers at the time, utilized operational transform algorithms for low latency typing, and an extensible API for rich collaborative objects. Before founding Neara, he founded the Helix Collective, a venture hacking partnership. 

 Daniel holds a B.S. in Computer Science from the University of New South Wales.

Jack Curtis  Chief Commerical Officer at Neara 

Jack Curtis’s childhood goal was to become a barrister, resulting in him joining the international commercial law firm Allens. He worked in the corporate department which took him to New York. Jack spent three years in New York eventually moving to work for leading global investment banking Goldman Sachs. Moving onto a role as the Director of Strategic Marketing for First Solar. Jack spent 12 years at First Solar, a 9b market cap global leader in solar energy. He was the international senior vice president at First Solar. He returned back to Australia where he sat as a director on the board of Clean Energy Australia. 

Jack holds a Bachelor in  Laws(Honours) from the University of Technology Sydney 

Karamvir Singh  Product Lead at Neara

Karam has worked as a software engineer and led major technology teams to deliver multi-million dollar projects at major Australian bank, Westpac, but it’s always been the product and development side of the business that has kept him fascinated. He began his career at IT company CSC before working as a Senior Developer at Macquarie Bank. His time at Westpac saw him develop strategic technology architecture as part of a major business transformation project. 

Karamvir holds a Bachelor of Software Engineering and Commerce from the University of New South Wales.


Podcast Notes

Neara is a cloud-based enterprise SaaS platform making the most complex analysis, design and application accessible at every level of the infrastructure industry.

Originally founded as Power Lines Pro, our platform delivers a true digital twin, performing complex engineering-grade analysis automatically and at a whole-of-network scale. Users of all roles and levels can interact, modify, build, and manage assets accurately with immersive 3D interfaces, leading to high employee engagement, collaboration and alignment.

Check out James Tynan’s investment notes to read more. 

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Square Peg Capital Pty Ltd (ACN 164 352 229) is an Authorised Representative of Victoria Capital Pty Ltd (ACN 159 228 314) AFSL 428989