A guiding hand for Swinburne startups

Monday 6 May 2019

Dr Elicia Wong in Innovation Precinct

Dr Elicia Wong is inviting entrepreneurs to Melbourne to mentor the teams behind Swinburne startups.

In summary

  • This article originally featured in Swinburne's Research Impact magazine

With two successful start-ups and 10 years as an entrepreneur in Silicon Valley under her belt, Dr Elicia Wong wants Swinburne to be a productive start-up incubator.

In 2017, as Director of Research Innovation and Entrepreneurship, she launched the Entrepreneur in Residence mentoring program, which is bringing international mentors to Melbourne to help researchers develop potentially scalable companies.

Already on board is Kostas Anagnostakis, the founder and CEO of Niometrics, a Singapore-based start-up that has had 500 million people sub­scribe to its multi-faceted data analytic software programmes in the last 10 years. In 2009, Anagnostakis started with five engineers in one Singapore office. Niometrics now operates in eight locations around the world, and has around 120 employees.

Most successful tech titans have founders who were mentored, explained Wong, who also had a mentor when she was at Oxford Universi­ty as a Postdoctoral Fellow. After her postdoc, she commercialised sensor ensembles and, later, organic semiconductor-based sensors for life science indus­tries, launching two start-ups in Silicon Valley.

“As an accessible coach, these mentors are expected to share their business know-how and insight on global trends in all sorts of industries from biotech, fintech, medtech, hightech and social enterprise,” said Wong. 

She believes the start-up economy is poised to play a huge role in the national strate­gy for economic diversification and growth. She adds that the program is “attractive to established entrepreneurs as it provides a new route for explor­ing businesses and connections in the Asia Pacific region.”