Our team

The Innovation Studio boasts a small and dedicated team with a breadth of experience supporting research-led innovation, startups and industry collaboration.

Abhay Seth

Director Commercial Innovation Programs

Dr Werner van der Merwe

Vice President (Innovation and Enterprise) 

Advisory panel

Our advisory panel provides a wealth of experience and knowledge to help guide the future direction and the continual growth of the studio.

Geoff Gourley (Chair)

Geoff Gourley is a leading global social entrepreneur, impact investor and non-executive director with a portfolio career, acknowledged by Social Enablers in the Top 100 Social Entrepreneurs & Innovators around the world. Geoff holds a portfolio of purpose-driven companies including a globally-focused Impact Investment Fund targeting investments in private equity scale-stage ventures.

He is Founder and Chairman of Impact Investment Fund; Project Director and Chair, Project Working Group at CLARA; Non-Executive Director and Immediate Past Board Director of United Nations Association of Australia (Vic), and has numerous successful exits to his name. He is founder of One10 Group – a social enterprise accelerator and impact consultancy supporting purpose-driven entrepreneurs and organisations that deliver impact, and is an active mentor for a range of universities and accelerators. 

Con Frantzeskos

Con Frantzeskos is a company founder, startup advisor, non-executive director and digital and marketing strategist. He is the founder and CEO of PENSO, a global growth consultancy with offices in Melbourne, Dubai and San Francisco. He is also the founder of Conform.ly, a cloud-based brand guideline tool designed for global brand and marketing-led organisations.

Con has created successful marketing and digital transformation initiatives for global companies including Emirates, MYOB, Coca-Cola, Unilever, XERO, Business Council of Australia and Toyota, among others. Con also sits on the LaunchVic Board.

Graham Goldsmith

Graham Goldsmith currently occupies the position of Chairman at SEEK Ltd. He is also Member of CPA Australia Ltd., Member of Stockbrokers Association of Australia, Member of Adara Partners Pty Ltd. and Member of Australian Institute of Co. Directors and on the board of five other companies.

In his past career, he occupied the position of Chairman of Goldman Sachs Australia Foundation, Vice Chairman & Managing Director at Goldman Sachs Australia Pty Ltd. and Chancellor at Swinburne University of Technology. Graham is an alum of Swinburne University of Technology. 

Caitlin Iles

Caitlin Iles is a venture capitalist, disruptive entrepreneur and keynote speaker. Caitlin Iles is also a highly respected angel investor and business advisor. She is also an entrepreneur who enjoys nothing more than disrupting complete industries and an activist for women in business. 

Rohini Kappadath

Rohini Kappadath is an entrepreneurial, Asia-savvy business woman and thought leader with over 25 years experience in working across Asian markets. A corporate entrepreneur involved in establishing technology start-ups and other ventures for multinational companies and mid-sized firms. An advisor to businesses seeking to expand internationally and contributor to boards. An innovative thinker and builder of enduring, collaborative relationships across the globe.

Now, Rohini Kappadath is General Manager at Immigration Museum, on the Executive Leadership Team for Museums Victoria. Previously, Senior Adviser at KPMG; Managing Director, SAS Institute India; Independent Board member on non-profit institutions and private enterprise; Deputy Chair, International Women's Federation of Commerce and Industry; Former Chair of Multicultural Ministerial Business Advisory Council and Commonwealth Bank Cultural Diversity Advisory Council. 

Alex Kaiser 

Alex Kaiser is an entrepreneurial personality with activities in the field of the services sector (i.e. services management and education management) with disciplinary focus on strategy, business development, corporate finance, and merger and acquisition. He has hold different non-executive board memberships in asset and investment management and commercial real estate in Australia and Switzerland.

Formally, he was a finance director at a large Swiss bank with proven track record in financial management (corporate finance, merger and acquisition, strategy and performance management) and the lead of large corporate projects with in-depth knowledge (with over 15 years experience) of banking sector (wealth management, investment products, equity research, COO/CFO role). Alex is currently Director, Australian Graduate School of Entrepreneurship at Swinburne.  

Matthew Cuthbertson

Throughout a distinguished and multi-faceted career, Matthew has made major contributions to applied research, organisational development and product innovation across a diverse range of business sectors, including allied health, manufacturing and mining services. He holds postgraduate qualifications in both science and intellectual property law.

Currently, he is a Director of the Victorian Clean Technology Fund, Research Committee Chair at SmartCrete CRC and an Adjunct Professor with the Centre for Transformative Innovation at Swinburne University of Technology. He has held senior leadership roles in the university sector – first as a Faculty Research Executive at RMIT and then in the university-wide role of Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research Commercialisation at Swinburne.

Dr Werner van der Merwe

Ex officio members

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If you have any questions, need more information or you're wondering how Swinburne Innovation Studio can help turn your big idea into a real thing, contact us via email at innovationstudio@swinburne.edu.au.

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