Our Team

A headshot of Judy Anderson.

Judy Anderson


Judy Anderson is the CEO of Startup Victoria, Australia’s largest network for entrepreneurs with over 60,000 people in the community. A natural connector, she believes in the power of community and equal access to opportunity as a pathway to entrepreneurial success. She has built a reputation as a world-class thought leader on entrepreneurship, innovation and building high-value startup ecosystems.

Prior to leading Startup Vic, Judy spent four and a half years at Inventium, Australia’s leading science-based innovation consultancy. Before joining Inventium she managed the Innovation Program for Deloitte Australia where she was responsible for the Innovation Investment Portfolio, funding experiments for new products and services to sustain its competitive advantage.Judy now leads the Victorian startup community, organising the largest startup events in Australia. She also serves as an Advisory Board member at Code for Australia and sits on the Victorian Government Innovation Taskforce. She’ll take every opportunity to shine a spotlight on founders doing great work. Buy her a whisky and she’ll tell you all about her favourites!

Poppy Trewhella

Director of Programs and Partnerships

Before joining Startup Victoria, Poppy lead on growth at PwC’s flagship social enterprise, Beyond Food, where she oversaw strategy, sales and marketing. From there, she took her talents to startup consultancy firm businessthreezero, helping the executive teams of the UK’s biggest businesses to align around their strategy. But setting her sights on a sunnier life meant leaving the grey skies of London behind to work independently with high potential startups in Melbourne. Through this work, she discovered the thriving startup community and joined Startup Victoria in 2020.
Her focus as Director of Programs and Partnerships is to develop world-class programs for the Victorian founder community and to be the ultimate connector within the Startup ecosystem.

An image of Alex Orr.

Alex Orr

Community Engagement and Content Manager

Alex moved to Melbourne from the UK in March 2018 after graduating with a Master’s degree in January. Upon arrival, he began interning for Startup Victoria in events, marketing, and PR, and in May became Events and Marketing Coordinator. In March 2019, Alex left Melbourne to travel the world, whilst continuing with a new role at Startup Victoria as Community Engagement and Content Manager. Alex manages Startup Vic’s social media, website content and writes the weekly newsletter remotely. Prior to working for Startup Victoria, Alex worked in the music industry in the UK and Europe, specialising in live music and festival production, which he still does in his spare time!

Elese Dowden

Events & Community Coordinator

Elese is a writer, philosopher and community organizer from Aotearoa New Zealand who prides herself on creative problem-solving. She joined Startup Victoria in August 2020 as the events and community co-ordinator, where her main role is supporting the team and wider community in the event space. Elese began her career in community work providing governance and advocacy support at the University of Auckland and the University of Queensland while completing her MA and PhD in philosophy. She is stoked to be part of the Startup Community in Victoria as a newcomer to Melbourne, having spent 2019 in Ottawa. Outside of Startup Victoria, Elese works as a writer and philosopher, recently founding the Australasian Post-Humanities.

Jared Jones

Tech Volunteer

Jared is a Utah native but moved across America to study Computer Science at Northeastern University in Boston. He will be graduating in Spring 2020. He spent six months in Melbourne interning as the Digital Content and Community Coordinator for Startup Victoria, managing the website and helping with events. Although he had to return to America to finish his studies, he remains a volunteer part of the team, continuing some of his work. Outside of the office, Jared is a fan of reading, art, nature, and board games.

Our Board

Rachel Yang

Independent Non-Executive Director, Co-Chairperson since December 2020

Rachel is the Investment Manager at Giant Leap, a venture capital fund backing founders using business to drive positive social and environmental change across three themes: health and wellbeing, sustainable living and empowering people. The fund is backed by the Impact Investment Group, a leading Australian funds manager whose mission is to shift capital towards impact investments. Rachel is committed to helping founders from diverse backgrounds to access capital and scale their impact by leveraging her experience in management consulting, corporate finance and VC. Rachel is also a member of the Victorian State Government’s Innovation Taskforce and previously co-founded a not-for-profit organisation to raise funds and awareness for Motor Neurone Disease. 

A headshot of Morgan Ranieri.

Morgan Ranieri

Independent Non-Executive Director, Co-Chairperson since December 2020

Morgan is currently the co-founder and CEO of YourGrocer and was previously a co-founder at Thankyou Water (now Thankyou Group). He has received a lot of value from the Startup Vic ecosystem, having met his co-founder at a pitch night. Morgan is extremely passionate about helping existing founders become better founders.

A headshot of Gus Balbontin.

Gus Balbontin

Independent Non-Executive Director

Born and bred in Wild Patagonia, Gus never allowed his small town and humble beginnings to get in the way of his big dreams. A healthy disrespect for authority and severe case FOMO (fear of missing out) landed him in Australia at the young age of 17. By the age of 22, he had dropped out of uni, hitchhiked South America, set up his first business and landed his dream job at Lonely Planet. Fast forward a few years and he was leading the company globally working with companies such as Google X, Nokia, and Amazon on the latest technology, creative cultures, and high performing teams. Seeking a change from corporate life, he hung up his boots as Executive Director and CTO of Lonely Planet and decided to move back to his entrepreneurial roots, becoming an investor, founder and mentor across the start-up ecosystem in Melbourne. He loves sharing a story, and he loves, even more, knowing those stories make a difference to people and help in their own business and life.

A headshot of Nic Hodges.

Nic Hodges

Independent Non-Executive Director

Nic works at the intersection of technology, creativity, and culture. He has led digital and innovation for some of Australia’s leading creative and media agencies and media companies, and currently runs Blonde3 – a boutique consultancy advising startups and media companies on strategic growth. Nic previously founded Robot Deputy, a media technology startup.

A headshot of Daniel Ross.

Daniel Ross

Independent Non-Executive Director, Treasurer

Dan is the CFO and Head of Accounting at LUNA, a startup studio that exists to help founders launch and grow businesses through providing legal, accounting, education and investment services. Prior to joining LUNA, Dan spent 5+ years at PwC working with large domestic and international organisations across a variety of disciplines. Dan’s passion for grassroots, early-stage businesses led him out of the corporate world so that he could leave his mark on Victoria’s startup ecosystem. He loves disruptors, dreamers and people who see the world differently. Nothing excites him more than a growth story.

Kirstin McIntosh

Independent Non-Executive Director

Kirstin McIntosh is the Head of Partnerships for CyRise, Asia-Pacific’s leading cyber security venture accelerator. At CyRise, she works with some of most technically adept and ambitious minds of the cyber security community. She also previously worked in a Melbourne healthy food startup, Purple Broccoli. Before this, Kirstin worked in Europe and Asia in business development in the private sector, and corporate partnership roles in the public sector for over 23 years. Kirstin holds an MBA from IMD in Switzerland, and a B.Comm from University of Melbourne. She is a mentor at BSides Melbourne and Spark Deakin and has held NFP roles in education, ethical fashion, construction and a children’s environmental charity.

Programs Steering Committee

Luke Henningsen

Programs Steering Committee Member

Luke is the Founder of startup/scaleup specialist executive search firm Scale & Swing and Co-Founder of the online startup community Ucities.com. Before founding Scale & Swing, Luke’s career in executive search spanned nearly two decades during which he ran a $90m recruitment business as EGM of an ASX listed recruiter, led internal recruitment for KPMG and co-founded, built and exited his own high profile search firm (SHK Asia Pacific).  Luke’s startup sector experience is extensive and he is an enthusiastic participant in the Australian startup community – taking an active personal interest as an Angel Investor and Advisor to startups and early stage businesses particularly around Executive Talent, building a Board and scaling up. 

John Sherwood

Programs Steering Committee Member

John is a developer and entrepreneur based near Melbourne, Australia. He is co-founder and CTO of Gleam.io, writing the first line of code and setting up the first servers. Now Gleam has grown to a team of 16, tens of thousands of customers, and reached over 100 million users. Still hands-on tools for development, architecture, and infrastructure. Never taken any funding – bootstrapped and profitable the whole way. John enjoys metal and chiptune music, building things, and spending time with his family. He’s been working with his co-founder Stuart on various projects and ideas since 2009, and spent years as a front-end and Java developer