2016 Pearcey Entrepreneur Award
The 2016 Pearcey National Entrepreneur Award was presented to Aaron Birkby at ACS's Digital Disruptor's gala dinner on 1st December 2016. The Award was presented by Dr Alex Zelinsky AO, Australia's Chief Defence Scientist and also the 2013 Pearcey Medallist.
Aaron Birkby is a successful entrepreneur with great technical and business skills. Since the age of 16 he's started 14 businesses, from small to large with the more recent ones being focused on helping other entrepreneurs.
Aaron grew up on a farm and later moved to Sydney and also lived for a short time in the US. As a teenager, he loved programming and started a few small businesses. His parents had high expectations and so in addition to studying maths and science he also studied law. After graduating from University (UNE) and gaining experience as a consultant, he moved to Canberra and worked in several areas relating to the Intelligence Agencies.
In a change of career, he helped his brother open a restaurant on the Gold Coast. Here he wrote software to help run the business and saw the opportunity for a WiFi hotspot for their customers. In those days, this was novel and the software grew to integrate into many types of gateways and Internet kiosks, and expanded to also cover monitoring and billing. Over eight years, Arinda Internet became a significant international player in the early cloud based authentication and billing. When it was sold in 2012, it had over 2000 installations across 9 countries.
Having exited Arinda Internet, Aaron followed his passion to help other Entrepreneurs through mentoring, incubators, startup weekends and many other initiatives. He has helped hundreds of entrepreneurs and now spends a lot of time introducing startups into the US.
Aaron's list of activities and accomplishments are impressive.
- CEO at Startup Catalyst, taking groups to international startup hotspots
- Winner of the Pearcey Award for Queensland 2016
- Entrepreneur In Residence for the River City Labs Accelerator in partnership with Telstra muru-D.
- Board of Startup Weekend Australia, facilitated over 30 Startup Weekends and hackathons.
- Director of the RCL Accelerator Mentor Investment Fund with Blue Sky Funds.
- Guest lecturer and member of two advisory boards at Bond University.
- Weekly radio segment "Tech Space" on ABC Coast FM 91.7.
- Member of Queensland Government Startup Working Group.
- Learning angel investing (9 micro scale investments over the last 3 years).
- Founded and exited a software company to 6 million end-users in 9 countries over 8 years.
- Developed an IoT remote telemetry solution for coin-operated machines.