Partner & Chief Operating Officer
Sydney — Australia
What has been the most memorable moment at Square Peg?
I am so fortunate that there have been so many memorable moments at Square Peg. Meeting outstanding founders will always be memorable. I’ll never forget meeting Ashik from Deputy. The clarity of his vision, the passion for his work, and his respect for and confidence in his team was inspirational. My first taste of Israel was unforgettable. Travelling is a passion but to have the opportunity to travel where you have access to extraordinary companies, exceptional people, get deep into the Israel startup scene and truly experience the culture is incredible. I felt the magic of Israel. There are always special memories from the times we spend together as a team. These are much better spoken than written, so make sure you ask us about these stories when you next meet us.
Where did you learn the most?
It’s interesting that I learnt the most in a company that had the most catastrophic fall from success to failure. The company fell from a peak of $9.1b to zero. The people were incredibly smart and savvy and the personal mentorship I received was invaluable; they taught me much about success. But in the end, I learned more about resilience in that ‘failure’ than I ever did from success. Failure is difficult but the lessons we learn are invaluable.
What is changing in the Australian landscape?
The Australian startup scene is evolving, which is awesome. From a shareholder terms perspective, Australia is looking more like other mature startup markets. An area of progress is founder vesting and entrepreneurs addressing founder equity give up when a co-founder steps down in shareholder agreements.
Who is your greatest mentor?
My father – he is an inspiration - he passed a year ago and I often wonder what counsel he would have given when I struggle with problems. He touched many people, gave so much to humanity and was really good fun.
The biggest failure?
Not dreaming big enough will always be the biggest failure anyone can make.
What should entrepreneurs understand about funding?
Fundraising is an incredibly important piece in a startup’s journey. It’s also time consuming and distracting, taking entrepreneurs away from their life’s work. Understanding the funding landscape and who best suits your business model and your culture will make the process far less painful and, more importantly, effective. A strong cap table is a key asset but often overlooked by entrepreneurs. Finding investors that have a great fit, can truly add value and will support you in the hard times is gold.
What do you love about the culture?
People don’t appreciate how much fun we have at Square Peg. We’re serious in process, but playful otherwise.
Describe a life-affirming experience.
The first time I ever performed on stage. I was so incredibly nervous beforehand, then supercharged with adrenaline and afterwards inspired; such a crazy journey through different states of emotion.
What is true about business?
What we do is addictive. Business is dynamic - innovation is always around you; the goal posts are always changing; but businesses need focus regardless of these challenges.