The 13 Inspiring Speakers at SaaStock Oceania10 min read
How does it feel to grow a SaaS company in some of the most far-flung places on the planet? What is challenging about it? What help do founders need most?
These and many other questions have been on our minds as we brought SaaStock Oceania from a mere idea to an event that’s just around the corner in December. We already know that the far-away lands of Australia and New Zealand are home to a number of rising stars on the SaaS skyscape. We are on a mission to bring them into the spotlight and help them on their journey by bringing brilliant speakers with their stories and frameworks together.
We have put together an incredible roster of speakers. From international SaaS stars, travelling thousands of miles to help the ecosystem, to the local heroes growing companies by following the vernacular playbook in mind, they make up what is a truly spectacular line-up that promises to produce many insights on the day. Read up about them below and then grab your early bird tickets while we still have them!
Krish Subramanian, CEO and Co-founder, Chargebee
Krish Subramanian studied computer technologies in his home Chennai, India. He then made bold steps in software engineering, taking a number of leadership positions at technological companies. By 2011 he launched Chargebee.
The company operates between Chennai and Walnut, California, offering a world-class subscription billing solution for online businesses. Due to Chargebee’s technical expertise, it has turned into one of the top subscription management and billing options on the market. Chargebee cooperates closely with international payment gateways of the rank of PayPal, Stripe, and Braintree. While Chargebee has seen tremendous growth, it has happened on Krish’s terms – through warm introductions and community engagement. You can read up on his insights into the SaaS world on Chargebee’s blog.
Alex Fala, CEO, VendHQ
After a BCom degree in Accounting and Finance from the University of Auckland, New Zealand, Alex Fala completed a BA in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at the University of Oxford. His path has seen him go through McKinsey & Company, the e-commerce platform Trade Me and Les Milles. In 2015, Alex joined Vend as VP of Strategy. By February 2016, he was appointed CEO. Alex’s skills and experience span areas as diverse as strategy, finance, analytics, product management, and marketing.
Dale Clareburt, CEO, Weirdly
Dale Clareburt is an exciting lady of many talents, whose passion lies in the recruitment and HR Tech industries. Her first long professional experience was at Madison Recruitment, where she started out as a team manager. Within a few years, she was already the company’s COO.
Dale then moved to Programmed, a leading provider of staffing, maintenance and facility management services based in Perth, Australia. After spending almost seven years at Talent Magnet in Auckland, New Zealand, she founded her own business – Weirdly, a smart recruitment screening tool. Weirdly helps recruiters improve retention and engagement, and reduces the needed screening time. Dale is skilled in developing culture and values, integration and transition, and talent partnering.
Hiroki Takeuchi, CEO, GoCardless
Hiroki Takeuchi holds a degree in Mathematics at Oxford University, where he also was the Vice President of Oxford Entrepreneurs. There he co-founded Varsity Pitch, a business ideas competition between Oxford and Cambridge. His first job was as a business analyst at McKinsey & Company. In 2010, he boldly stepped into the entrepreneurial world and founded his own business – GoCardless, a company transforming how online payments are made by reducing the costs and difficulty of making transfers with its Direct Debit infrastructure. The company is based in London and boasts an international technical team. Hiroki is a Forbes 30 Under 30 alumnus.
Christian Owens, CEO, Paddle
Christian Owens was 14 when he built his first business. By 16 he was convinced he needed to leave school, which he found boring. Rather than waste his time, he continued his path as a genius self-taught software developer. He quickly proved to his parents that his venture would be a successful one. Within a week, he made £300,000 by bundling and selling Mac software.
In 2012, he founded Paddle, an e-commerce platform that helps companies create products that customers would love. It offers powerful marketing and analytics tools to assist businesses in their quest. Deloitte Fast 50 named Paddle as the fastest growing software company in the U.K. Since 2016, Christian has been a fellow at the Thiel Foundation in San Francisco, an organization that defends and promotes freedom through its research and activities.
Ben Thompson, CEO and Founder, Employment Hero
Ben Thompson is on a mission to make employment easier and more rewarding for everyone. Combining business with technology, Ben has created a group of four companies that aim to redefine the way employment is managed: Employment Innovations (law, HR, payroll and hiring), Power2Motivate (loyalty and reward schemes), KeyPay (cloud payroll) and, most recently, Employment Hero (HR, payroll and employee benefits platform). Sydney-based Employment Hero was launched in 2014 and works as a community of people who can use their collective buying power to negotiate discounts and deals for everyone. It takes care of functions including payroll processing, employee onboarding and performance management and provides services for 3,500 employers, representing 100,000 employees and $7 billion in wages.
This year alone Employment Hero has closed an $8million Series B funding round, repositioned from a functional HR and payroll platform to a fully-fledged FinTech focused on helping employees, introduced an Australian-first product called InstaPay, been listed as one of Linked In’s Top 25 Startups and one of Deloitte’s Fast 50. Ben was also listed as a National Finalist for EY’s Entrepreneur Of The Year.
Ashik Ahmed, CEO, CTO and Co-founder, Deputy
Ashik Ahmed got a BCS in Computer Science at the University of Melbourne prior to jumping in the world of software engineering. He spent more than four years as a software engineer at Aero-Care Flight Support, where he developed and supported its enterprise business management software suite.
In 2008, he co-founded Deputy, an award-winning Australian SaaS company. His co-founder Steve Shelley needed a powerful staff scheduling and time and attendance solution, and that’s just what Ashik managed to build. Currently, Ashik is wearing many hats in the company, currently serving as both CEO and CTO. Deputy helps companies better organize and manage their workflows with its workforce management solution. The main industries that benefit from the platform include retail, customer support, healthcare, restaurant and hospitality, and technology, among others. It’s being used in more than 70 countries.
Kirsti Grant, CEO and Co-founder, Populate.io
Kirsti Grant has worked at a number of prominent Oceania companies, including Trade Me, Jobs.co.nz, and Social Sauce. She spent more than two years as VP of Talent at Vend. There she successfully grew the team from 37 to 250, while scaling the company culture alongside. In 2015, she co-founded HOP Ventures, a startup studio dedicated to building more great companies. The main product of HOP is Populate, a collaborative headcount planning and insights platform. It combines finance and HR to help teams plan and manage their headcount. Kirsti is its co-founder and CEO. Besides developing Populate, HOP is focused on helping innovate startups such as Auror, Mobi2Go, SwipedOn, Flossie, Melodics, PageProof, and Thematic scale internationally. Kirsti is a board member and advisor for numerous New Zealand companies.
Mark Tanner, Co-founder, Qwilr
With a BA degree from the University of Sydney, Mark Tanner served as the Director of the University Union for two years. He started out professionally as a business analyst at McKinsey & Company. In 2010, he joined Google as Strategic Partner Development Manager for Android & Google Play in Australia, New Zealand & South East Asia. Two years later, he relocated to New York, where he took over the lead for North America.
After three and a half intensive years at Google, Mark decided he’s ready to launch his own company – Qwilr, together with his childhood friend Dylan Baskind. Qwilr allows businesses to create impressive sales and marketing materials, helping them better reach their existing and future customers. Companies can craft project proposals and quotes in the shape of exciting web pages.
Anthony Kennada, CMO, Gainsight
Anthony Kennada was among the early employees of Box, joining the team in 2009 as Business Development Associate. His next professional step was at LiveOffice, a prominent cloud email archiving service, which is now a part of Symantec. Anthony managed the OEM partnership till the $115M acquisition was concluded.
In 2013, Anthony joined Gainsight as its CMO – and Employee #19. He built the marketing team and lead the customer success efforts of the company. Under his supervision, the company transitioned its brand from JBara Software to Gainsight. Forbes has declared Gainsight as one of the top 100 private cloud companies in the world (2016). Its rapid success has also been recognized by Deloitte, Inc. Magazine, and Fortune Magazine. Anthony’s focus as a CMO is to lead the team towards effective community building, content marketing, live events, and more creative branding activities.
Andy Farquharson, Sales Architect, Winning by Design
Andy Farquharson is full of surprises, having been a labourer, entrepreneur, executive assistant, and factory worker, and today – a sales and marketing executive, all in one lifetime. Oh, and by the way, he has spent ten years as a semi-professional rugby player. His career passed through LogMeIn, where he was the Director for Asia Pacific for two years, and then moved on to be the Vice President for that area.
Next, he was Managing Director of sellX. In 2016, Andy joined Winning by Design, which helps B2B SaaS companies to design scalable sales plans and put them in practice with a customer-centric approach to sales. As a Sales Architect, he is helping companies create winning growth strategies. His advice is valued by startups, founders, and established sales teams alike. Andy’s goal? To assist companies in making genuine and lasting relationships with their customers.
James Cameron, Partner, AirTree Ventures
James Cameron studied Information Systems at the University of New South Wales, and complemented his technical knowledge with an MBA from Stanford. He founded BipSync in 2011. The company offers an enterprise SaaS platform for professional investors to handle their investment research more effectively.
In 2013, James joined Accel Partners as Vice President, moving to the investment side of things. Since then, he has also served on the board of a number of portfolio companies and is acting as Director for a couple of them. James moved to AirTree Ventures in 2017, where he is currently a Partner. His investment focus is on companies in the growth and scale up stages. His personal preferences include enterprise software/SaaS, security, infrastructure/core tech, and FinTech.
Fraser Stark, VP EMEA, Influitive
Fraser Stark loves making companies more valuable and his built his career with that in mind. He spent seven years at Bain & Co, starting out as an intern and progressing to a Case Team Leader.
In 2013, he joined Influitive as Chief of Staff and Director of Operations. Influitive has created has created a category of Advocate marketing and helps B2B companies ace their customer-driven marketing efforts. After spending 18 months in the role, he transitioned to VP of Talent, before he moved to London to head Influitive’s EMEA expansion activities.
SaaStock on Tour Oceania 2018 will take place in Doltone House, Jones Bay Wharf, in Sydney, Australia. You can grab a ticket now before it’s too late! We can’t wait to meet you there!
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