Queensland Chief Entrepreneur
Stephen Baxter is Queensland’s Chief Entrepreneur. A proud Queenslander raised in Emerald in the State’s central highlands. At age 23 Steve put his life savings of $11,000 on the line to launch his first startup, the pioneering internet service provider SE Net, from the spare room of his Adelaide home. Servicing more than 35,000 customers, SE Net was eventually acquired by Ozemail/UUNet. In 2001 he teamed with a schoolmate to launch his second startup, PIPE Networks, a provider of wholesale telecoms infrastructure that was listed on the ASX in 2005. Eight years later they sold it to the TPG Group for $373 million.
Steve spent a year working with Google in California in 2008, leading a project to deliver high-speed telecommunications systems across North America. Since 2010 he has become a major early stage investor in startups leading to the founding of Brisbane tech startup hub River City Labs, foundered and underwrote the Startup Catalyst and River Pitch programs; he has been on the listed boards of Vocus Telecoms, Indoor Skydive Australia Group and OtherLevels as well as being on the board of Commercialisation Australia.
Steve has been a ‘Shark’ on Channel 10’s Shark Tank program for the past three seasons.
In 2006 Steve received the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year for the Northern Region. In 2016, Steve received the Pearcey Medal for Lifetime Achievement in recognition of distinguished lifetime achievement and contribution to the development and growth of the Information and Communications Technology Industry.