News, Insights and Stories from the Australian and New Zealand tech ecosystem.

Canva co-founder Melanie Perkins takes out top prize at the NSW Technology Entrepreneur of the Year Awards

The wins keep coming for design startup Canva. Just a few weeks after closing a US$15 million Series A round that has valued the startup at $165 million, co-founder Melanie Perkins has taken out top prize at the NSW Technology Entrepreneur of the Year awards in recognition of her ‘entrepreneurial endeavours and role model qualities’.

The awards were presented by Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation Victor Dominello at NSW Parliament House last night on behalf of the Pearcey Foundation, a not-for-profit that is looking to foster the aims and achievements of the Australian tech community.

“This year’s winners represent the fabulous talent that exists in our country. They have been extremely successful, taking different paths to build global businesses, but in the process maintaining their Australian roots and heritage. They prove Australian innovation and entrepreneurship is much very alive and well,” Dominello said.

Other winners, decided on through a open peer recognition system, include Amaysim founders Rolf Hansen, Thomas Enge, Christian Magel, Andreas Perreiter; Chris and Julie Vonwiller of speech recognition company Appen; Catriona Wallace of Fifth Quadrant and Flamingo; and David Vitek and Roby Sharon-Zipser of hiPages.

Also recognised were Menulog founders Leon Kamenev and Dan Katz; James Spenceley of telecommunications company Vocus; and Matt Symons and Greg Symons of P2P lender Society One.

The awards typically recognise ‘mid-career’ entrepreneurs doing outstanding things who still have the potential to achieve more. Last year’s winners include Campaign Monitor founders Ben Richardson and Dave Greiner, and Tim Power, cofounder of 3P Learning.

This year’s event also focused on the future, with a university pitching competition featuring students from UNSW, UTS, and the University of Wollongong, and awards for Young ICT Explorers across primary and high school.

Students in years 3 and 4 from Arden Anglican School were recognised for their SAFECROSS Driveway Warning system, while Roseville College saw two ideas from year 5 and 6 students win awards, the Sushi Train Timer and Track Your Hearing systems.

The fourth award went to year 11 and 12 students from St Philip’s Christian College for their Network Household Controller.

Organiser Greg Miller, partner VP for SAP ANZ, said, “We have to engage our youth in order to build our technology industry, so providing these young adults with the opportunity to meet senior business personnel is really important, to get these businesses investing back in our schools.”





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