Optus Innov8, a start-up accelerator program, has appointed Humphrey Laubscher to be a senior associate on their management team.
Laubscher has worked as an IT business consultant for years and been actively involved in the Australian start-up scene for six years.
He’s currently a mentor for the Newcastle-based Slingshot accelerator program.
Laubscher steps into the team after the third principal, Rebecca Hay’s, departed the team. Laubscher joins principals Peter Huynh and Alfred Lo.
Laubscher says he’s looking forward to helping address what he sees as a big gap in the Australian start-up ecosystem.
“At the moment, there is a huge gap in terms of entrepreneurs wanting to get started in Australia. There are a lot of accelerators in Melbourne, Sydney and increasingly other cities. There are lots of places you can get $50,000 to launch an idea, but there is nothing to help start-ups bridge from there to a series A round of $2 to $3 million,” Laubscher says.
Laubscher told Startupsmart he first met Huynh, Lo and Hay at a networking event in Melbourne.
“I was surprised to see the principals of this program, run by such a big company brand at the grass roots,” Laubscher says. “I’m hoping to provide lots of people with the opportunity to give their dream a go.”
Laubscher, who previously worked on projects for National Australia Bank and Coles, says he was attracted to the start-up scene because of the entrepreneurial spirit.
“I was tapping into the entrepreneurial spirit of wanting to build something myself. In the beginning, I just wanted to go from managing and implementing products to actually building them, as that’s more fun,” Laubscher says, adding he always had a few start-up projects of his own on the go.
“I quit my corporate consulting job to launch one a few years ago, but it didn’t work out. I didn’t have enough money and fell in love with NFC (near field communication), which still hasn’t quite taken off yet,” Laubscher says.