Meet the Mentors

Dr Phillip Alvelda

*Tech Conference Speaker


Dr. Phillip Alvelda is the founding CEO of, a U.S. based developer of anthropomorphic AI and machine learning tools, digital twins, and synthetic personalities.  Prior to Cortical, Dr. Alvelda was a Program Manager at DARPA’s Biological Technologies Office where he developed national scale R&D programs and technologies at the intersection of engineering and biology. Most notably, he catalysed the nascent brain-machine interface industry by creating the $60m Neural Engineering System Design program and Industry group.

Prior to DARPA, Dr. Alvelda was the founding CEO of MobiTV, which launched the world’s first live television service over mobile networks. MobiTV’s service has grown since its launch in 2003 to over 18 million subscribers across all of the major North and Latin American and UK mobile networks. Dr. Alvelda was awarded an Emmy by the Academy of Motion Pictures, selected by Fast Company as the US’s 15th most influential high-tech entrepreneur, and has received numerous other industry awards from AlwaysOn, CNET, Mobile Entertainment (one of the top 20 most influential New Media Executives), and Red Herring for innovation and market leadership. He is a regular invited speaker at media, telecom, and education industry events, including the World Economic Forum where he was chosen as a “Technology Pioneer” in 2007.

Prior to MobiTV, Dr. Alvelda founded The MicroDisplay Corporation, a manufacturer of miniature displays for low cost HDTVs and VR headsets. Prior to MicroDisplay, Dr. Alvelda was a developer of spacecraft hardware and new neural computing architectures at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory where he designed and built sensors that flew on the Space Shuttle as well as the Galileo and Magellan interplanetary spacecraft. Dr. Alvelda holds over 30 patents and patents-pending on a wide range of technologies, a technical Emmy Award, a Bachelor’s degree in Physics from Cornell University, and Masters and PhD degrees in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering from MIT.

Heidi Angove


Heidi Angove is a technologist and artist with over 20 years of experience in the IT industry. For the last two decades she has been collaborating with artists to make work with a digital media/technology component. After her role as the Content Manager for Internode, looking after IPTV, gaming, the Internode content distribution network and radio streaming, she moved into an operational management role working directly for Simon Hackett, tech guru, pioneer and active sponsor of the Arts in South Australia. She looks after Base64, a tech precinct in Kent Town Adelaide. She does this alongside roles in a variety of Simon’s other interests. Heidi is also an active technology ‘maker’ and artist working for the creative industries company ‘Eat More Code’.

She has a history with and an active involvement in Transmedia arts projects having served as the general manager for ANAT from 2005 – 2006 and is a peer assessor for the Australia Council for the arts in the area of experimental media. She also serves on the board of the Adelaide Fringe Festival as the resident ‘nerd’. Her work as a Technology Designer / Developer / Maker has been presented through various festivals, installations and performances in Australia.

Herve Astier

Manager, Industry Development – TechInSA



Herve has 20 years of international experience working with customers and driving teams mainly in the U.S., Europe and Asia. First joining a start-up in Belgium, he moved on to work for a large Silicon Valley Fortune 500 company. He held several global positions including project management, support program management, account management and sales among a few others.

Arrived in Australia in 2013, Herve joined TechInSA, the State’s high-tech start-up support agency. Since then Herve has enjoyed working closely with 100s of companies and entrepreneurs helping them secure millions of dollars in early stage funding and position their business for growth.

Mark Billinghurst

*Tech Conference Speaker

Mark Billinghurst is Professor of Human Computer Interaction at the University of South Australia in Adelaide, Australia. He earned a PhD in 2002 from the University of Washington and researches innovative computer interfaces that explore how virtual and real worlds can be merged, publishing over 400 papers in topics such as wearable computing, Augmented Reality and mobile interfaces. Prior to joining the University of South Australia he was Director of the HIT Lab NZ at the University of Canterbury and he has previously worked at British Telecom, Nokia, Google and the MIT Media Laboratory. His MagicBook project, was winner of the 2001 Discover award for best entertainment application, and he received the 2013 IEEE VR Technical Achievement Award for contributions to research and commercialization in Augmented Reality. In 2013 he was selected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand.

André Noël Chaker 

*Tech Conference Speaker


André Noël Chaker is one of Finland’s leading business speakers and writers. He was voted Speaker of the Year 2012 by the customers of Speakers Forum Finland and Speaker, Moderator and Coach of the Year at the Finnish Evento Awards in 2014. In 2015 he received the Business Moderator of the Year award by the customers of Speakers Forum. For the past four years André has spoken at over 400 business events in Finland and abroad.

His books The Finnish Miracle (2011) and The Finnish Miracle – One Hundred Years of Success (2017) are among the most sold business books in the history of AlmaTalent, one of Finland’s largest and most established business book publishing companies. His books and his talks have been praised for their fresh and helpful Nordic insights into achieving sustainable business and personal success.

André is a speaker, a writer, a performer, an entrepreneur and a business executive all rolled into one person. He is a law graduate from McGill University in Montreal, Canada. He is a member of the New York Bar and the Finnish Lawyer’s association. He also holds an MBA in Finance & IT from Aalto University.

As an entrepreneur, André has been a leading force in many science, technology, gaming and sports related start-up ventures. He has worked with some of the world’s largest IT companies including Nokia, Microsoft, IBM and CGI. At a young age he led two major global scientific organisations in sports (ICSSPE, ECSS). He later served as Director of Entertainment & Digital products and Senior Advisor of the CEO at the Finnish National Lottery, Veikkaus Oy, for nine years.

Alex Demetriou 


Alex leads KPMG Adelaide’s Research and Development Incentives practice. He has over 14 years of experience in leading chartered accounting firms, and has a comprehensive understanding of Government Grants that are available to help his clients enhance their business.  His passion is helping Australian companies succeed in global markets through innovation. 

Alex holds a Bachelor of Commerce and Finance and is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants and the Taxation Institute of Australia. Over the past three years, Alex has had extensive experience working with some of Melbourne’s largest ASX listed corporations, whilst also assisting KPMG’s Singapore R&D practice and defending queries posed by the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore. His skills include identifying and assessing eligible R&D projects and activities and quantifying R&D claims.

Dr Nick Falkner

*Tech Conference Speaker


Dr Nick Falkner is inaugural Director of the University of Adelaide’s Australian Smart Cities Consortium, which brings together more than 50 academics from each faculty across the University. The Consortium is working with state and local government, industry, and entrepreneurs, to address many of the challenges of the modern city. An award-winning computer science academic, Associate Professor Falkner, took the long road to academia, with more than a decade spent in the computing industry and as a professional winemaker before returning to university and completing his PhD in Computer Science. He now conducts research into computer network design and development, network security, privacy preservation, the Internet of Things and educational research.

Josh Garratt


Josh is responsible for the City of Adelaide’s entrepreneur support programs and has spent the last two years positioning Adelaide as a world-leading startup ecosystem. He runs the State Government-funded Smart City Priority Projects; selecting, accelerating and mentoring urban innovation tech startups with global ambitions.

He was an early employee of funds management startup Cromwell Property Group, where he spent 10 years raising more than $500 million for investment products growing the Group’s assets under management to more than $9 billion, driving its inclusion in the S&P/ASX200. He now utilises his experience as Executive Officer for Southern Angels investment group.

Josh is experienced in entrepreneurship, governance, strategy, community development and marketing, and is passionate about tech, sustainability and supporting ambitious and innovative founders.

Judy Halliday

Director, Industry Development – TechInSA

B.Sc (Hons), PhD, GAICD


Judy has more than 25 years’ experience in technology commercialization and innovation as an inventor, founder, investor, academic and industry professional in the public and private sector.  Judy joined TechInSA in September 2016. Judy is an inventor on granted patents and has been involved in raising millions of dollars for multiple start-up companies. Judy has been a non-executive director of start-up companies including Aussie Colours Pty Ltd, Nexgen Plants Pty Ltd, Q-Sera Pty Ltd, QUE Oncology, Inc, GRW Pty Ltd and Dendrimed Pty Ltd. She has been a Venture fund investment committee for the Medical Research Commercialization Fund and Uniseed.

Mark Ledson

Industry Development Manager – TechInSA


Mark has worked in commercialisation roles within both industry and government for more than 20 years, including over 12 years as an industrial designer helping to develop new products for South Australian companies.  Mark has held various innovation roles within the State Government’s economic development agencies, engaging closely with industry to help provide information, support and grant funding for growth.  In early 2017 Mark joined TechInSA, the State Government’s high-tech start-up support agency delivering the South Australian Early Commercialisation Fund to early stage innovative companies.

John Lindsay


John Lindsay is an investor, consultant and company director.  He connects smart people who get stuff done with investors, customers and partners to help build great Australian companies. He is a director of the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman and of several technology companies including Jtwo Solutions Pty Ltd, which helps enterprise and government clients shift IT to the cloud, UltraServe Internet Pty Ltd, hosting enterprise ecommerce on AWS, NanoNouvelle Pty Ltd, a nano-material R&D startup and Uniti Wireless, a national wireless ISP based in Adelaide. He is a graduate member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Richard Pham


Richard Pham is a graduate engineer at BAE Systems Australia and a graduate professional member of Engineers Australia. Richard graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering with Honours in Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering from The University of Adelaide in 2017.

In 2016, Richard was elected project leader by his peers for the Engineering Honours Project on the design, build and investigation of a solar vortex reactor. Richard was the recipient of the Commonwealth Education Costs Scholarship and the Commonwealth Access Scholarship.

Jonathan Saw


Jonathan Saw is a Trade and Investment Adviser with the Australian Trade and Investment Commission, overseeing the Creative services sector (e.g. digital games, virtual/augmented reality, screen production etc.). An experienced sales, marketing and international business development practitioner, he previously worked with global education provider Navitas in leading their largest business unit’s international student recruitment drive in Asia – establishing record student recruitment growth from the South East Asian region and developing significant revenue streams for Navitas.

Jonathan holds a Bachelor of International Business with the University of South Australia, a Graduate Certificate in Management with the Australian Institute of Business and also a Graduate Certificate of Australian Migration Law and Practice with the Australian National University.

Karl Sellman

Deputy Director: ISTS at The University of South Australia

Technology Leader at IgniteSA 


Karl Sellmann is responsible for the strategic management of the University of South Australia’s ICT infrastructure, cyber security and the delivery of ICT services for UniSA’s researchers. Karl also works as a lecturer for the Information Technology and Mathematics School, teaching industry relevant skills within the IT Masters programs and is a founder of IgniteSA, which focuses on enabling innovative application development on Adelaide’s advanced high speed networks.

Originally starting his career in engineering, Karl moved into software development working interstate and internationally with a number of high profile organisations before moving into the international defence sector.  Karl came back to Adelaide to work within an ICT consulting / software development startup. In his capacity as General Manager AsiaPac, Karl helped it to be an international organisation while working with some of the largest national and international retail organisations.

Allan Stabile

Industry Development Manager – TechInSA


Allan Stabile has worked in engineering and product management roles for the last 10 years at Thermo Fisher Scientific. During this time Allan encountered many of the common non-technical barriers to innovation – including cultural, financial, commercial and personal. In early 2018 Allan joined TechInSA, the SA Government’s high-tech start-up support agency delivering the South Australian Early Commercialisation Fund to early stage innovative companies. In this role Allan is committed to growing the startup eco-system in SA.

Craig Swann


Craig’s passion for the last 20+ years has been using technology to connect people through innovative, intimate and interactive experiences. Craig founded the award-winning agency CRASH!MEDIA in the mid-90’s helping shape the internet experience through innovations including the web’s first drag’n’drop interface and first online music making experience, Looplabs. His interactive work has received international acclaim from SxSW, the Webby Awards and used by Steve Jobs who demo’d it at an Apple Keynote. As an industry thought leader in the interactive space, Craig has authored books, spoken internationally and curated International technology events including co-launching FITC – Canada’s largest design and technology conference. He’s helped Fortune 500 companies develop and deploy national and international marketing campaigns while building digital products, interactive experiences and digital platforms that have engaged tens of millions. He believes in prototyping the future – that making is breaking – and that if it’s not fun, exciting or affecting lives it’s not worth doing.

Marie-Louise Symons


Marie-Louise is a Senior Manager at EY advising clients in the not for profit, purpose led and corporate sectors on design, delivery and measurement of services  and solutions to create change and deliver wide social and environmental impact. She also supports EY’s national, Indigenous Sector Practice that offers the breadth of EY capability to build a better working world with Australia’s First Peoples and is a member of EY’s Growth Accelerator network.

Prior to joining EY, Marie-Louise developed her career in the Australian public service, with leadership experience across Foreign Affairs and Trade, superannuation, tax administration and Attorney-General’s portfolios. Earlier, Marie-Louise practised as a solicitor for around 10 years specialising in intellectual property law, with clients across the arts and entertainment industries.

Marie-Louise is innately drawn to making positive change and is curious about ‘the new’. She has direct experience in delivering enterprise-wide performance improvement and transformation, managing large scale projects, business case development, operating model design, joint venture formation, commercial legal issues, managing communication and stakeholder engagement, managing risk, dispute resolution, corporate governance and more.

While completing her Masters of Management, ANU Marie-Louise pitched a prize winning, business concept to manage organic waste as part of InnovationACT, Canberra’s largest entrepreneurship program. Marie-Louise is now pursuing accreditation as a personal coach with the International Coach Federation.

Robert Tercek

*Tech Conference Speaker


Mr Robert Tercek is a digital pioneer and one of the world’s most prolific creators of interactive content. He has created breakthrough entertainment experiences on every digital platform, including television, game consoles, broadband Internet, interactive television and mobile networks. His expertise spans media, telecommunications and software. The author of Vaporized: Solid Strategies for Success in a Dematerialized World, Robert is a sought after creative strategist, speaker and innovation expert. Digital Media Wire named him one of ‘25 Executives to Watch’ in 2009, and Variety dubbed him one of the ‘Digital Dozen’ most influential players in new media.

Los Angeles-based Robert will lead presentation of the industry events at Hybrid World Adelaide in October.

Samuel Zevenbergen


Samuel Zevenbergen completed his Bachelor of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at the University of Adelaide in 2016 achieving first class honours.

During his final year of studies, Samuel undertook work experience at Lucid Projects Australia and was offered a full time position on completion of his studies. During this time, Samuel acquired the skills necessary to be an effective electrical engineer, consultant, team leader and project manager, operating across these capacities for a number of complex, large and unique projects.

Samuel is now completing a graduate program with BAE Systems Australia, he has almost completed his first six month role rotation working on the Jindalee Operational Radar Network (JORN) Phase 6 Safety Team.