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  • 24 Jul 2017 14:40 | Anonymous

    When Gattaca was released in 1997, it was fantastical sci-fi fiction or - at best - a future that seemed beyond our lifetime. Twenty years later genome sequencing might not allow us to design individuals, but it does give us unprecedented understanding of our genetic profile. It goes a step beyond genetic testing to understand the whole cells - their structure, sequence and impact - that determine so much of who we are and, increasingly, how we live our lives.

    This technology is becoming more available at more accessible price points, raising questions around the management of this data - how it impacts individuals and society, the value of the insights it provides, and at what cost.

    We explored:

    • What genome sequencing is, and how it differs from genetic tests

    • How genome sequencing is already being used in research and health care, and how this is translating in clinical practice

    • The information that can be understood from profiles and how it can be used to alter the health and lifestyles of individuals

    • The implications of this technology for the privacy of individuals, including the burden of disclosure

    • How this technology impacts the future of health and life insurance



    1. Genomics studies your complete DNA – or the big picture, as opposed to genetics which studies individual genes

    2. Genomics research is challenging the one-size-fits-all approach to medical conditions and being translated into personalised health plans that guide diet and lifestyle so you might prevent diseases or conditions from manifesting

    3. Genome sequencing and profiling seeks to identify the driver that may lead to future conditions or diseases

    4. Profiling or sequencing should be undertaken in conjunction with the guidance of health practitioners

    5. Be aware of the burden of disclosure. Life insurers can currently require you to disclose data from any genetic profile or test you’ve undertaken.

    6. In future we may see health insurers playing a role in providing testing in order to offer preventative treatments to members that reduce their risk profile

    7. If considering undergoing sequencing or profiling, consult your GP or Melbourne Genomics Health Alliance.

    8. Beware online overseas profile providers of direct-to-consumer testing which may not provide context or counselling along with the data

    9. Who you are and how you determine yourself is much more than the sum of your genes

    10. Your genes aren’t your destiny. These tests provide knowledge, and knowledge is both power and a reason for optimism

    The full report is available for download by members or by contacting us directly.

  • 30 May 2017 14:40 | Anonymous

    We’re a land abundant in food. In fact, we produce enough food today to feed around 60 million people. But that state of abundance can quickly diminish due to the very real threats of climate change and environmental factors, resource constraints and supply chain interruptions or contamination and disease.

    Global food demand is forecast to increase 60% by 2060 and as the seventh largest global exporter of food we play a critical role in contributing to global food security. Massive innovation within the sector is required to deliver on this demand, a huge component of which will come from AgTech.

    In this event we explored:

    • Food security challenges we face in Australia
    • The impact AgTech developments are having on these challenges – including improving yields, sustainable practices and nutritional value
    • How we can scale solutions to have a global impact
    • Barriers AgTech businesses are experiencing within the sector – including funding, collaboration with research institutions and access to farmers for testing and trials


    Andrew Gregor - AWB Strategy & Business Development Manager, Cargill Australia
    J. Matthew Pryor - CTO, Observant 
    Sarah Last - CTO and Cofounder, MimicTec
    Dr Markandeya Jois - Senior Lecturer at Latrobe University


    1. The key threats we face to our food security in Australia are lack of water, climate, provenance of food and the nutritional value of processed food.
    2. We need to engage primary producers as a part of the problem and encourage them to provide input, data and to engage in trials and research. The peak bodies representing farmers need to facilitate introductions to their member farmers for AgTech solution providers.
    3. A multi-disciplinary approach to food security is required. We need people from diverse backgrounds and fields thinking about food and agriculture. We need smart young people who are passionate about solving these problems.
    4. Recognition and promotions for researchers is currently based on publication of their papers, regardless of how well read these papers may be. Universities place too much focus on accountability and ROI. All this amounts to an incentive to avoid in engaging risk-taking research.
    5. AgTech solution providers often have a huge geographical challenge to overcome with most farms being at least a 2hour drive from where the technology is being developed and seasonal constraints mean there’s often only one test cycle available per year.
    6. We need new models to better match people who are good at solving problems, including that knowledge that sits inside our research institutions, with people who are good at building businesses.
    7. Traceability and provenance of food need to be demanded by consumers. As the cost of technology aiding this decreases, consumers need to voice their concerns as it’s not in the interest of major food retailers to do so.
    8. We need to encourage young people to pursue agriculture - “by going into agriculture, I will be solving our number 1 problem – how we feed the world”.
    9. We need the same level of industry and government support that the FinTech community has experienced. We need to get it on the government agenda, particularly in Victoria where Food & Fibre is our biggest export.
    10. Tell everyone you know that technology in agriculture is the most noble place you could put your money. Especially tell your super fund manager! What are you investing in that’s going to improve the sustainability of our food production systems in Australia? 

    The full report is available for download by members or by contacting us directly.

  • 28 May 2017 14:41 | Anonymous

    Last Wednesday evening I was fortunate enough to attend the 19th Annual Churchill Club (USA) Top Tech Trends event at the Hyatt Regency in sunny Santa Clara. With an impressive turnout of over 500 guests the panel certainly didn't disappoint as they debated their predictions of tech developments that will be realised in the next 5 years.




    1. Redefining Education from the How to the What
      The ability to consume educational content via different channels will both stretch both how children learn and how our children will learn. Through the mental teleportation via VR, classroom experience will shift towards democratising access to virtual travel, global historical sites and novel experiences. Traditional classrooms to will focus on community and team oriented projects. Traditional intellectual endeavors (IQ) will happen virtually and online, while the importance of emotional intelligence (EQ) will be the primary focus of development through physical interaction.
      [Mike Abbott, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers]

    2. The Revival of Voice
      The multitouch screen UI finally cracked the code for smartphones. Major breakthroughs in voice will vastly broaden the compute fabric of the world.
      [Steve Jurvetson, DFJ]

    3. Preventing the Plague
      Last year, 2 million people in the US were infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria. In the next 5 years, we will see a rise in microbiome engineering to create therapies to fight antibiotic resistance and save lives.
      [Rebecca Lynn, Canvas Ventures]

    4. A Startup With IPO Prospects Will Start as an ICO
      Initial Coin Offerings are like the next Kickstarter – an emerging ecosystem that becomes the springboard of a new wave of startups. In the next five years, we’ll see a startup whose initial capital was funded entirely by an ICO heralded as the first ICO to IPO.[Sarah Tavel, Benchmark]

    5. Food Production will be Revolutionised Globally
      With 7 billion people on the planet and the high cost of certain foods like beef, Indoor Farming, new plant based foods are emerging. Scalability not adoption is the key 5-yr test.
      [Hans Tung, GGV Capital]

    6. Rise of DNA Applications (DA) Due to Low Cost Sequence
      The radical decrease of the cost of genomic sequencing will enable superior diagnostic tools that will trigger a dramatic shift to proactive from reactive medical treatments improving patient care and reducing health care costs. Cancer detection will be detected at the initial cancer cell development vs tumour development. Discoveries with our microbiome will revolutionise medicine as we shift from deploying a WMD, to our gut, to gardening our intestinal flora. Rise of the smart toilet! As people live longer due to the discovery of how we can maintain our telomere length, more services and advancements will be focused on enabling robust and thriving lifestyles. From novel social networks to simulated human connections in VR, ageing will be redefined.
      [Mike Abbott, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers]

    7. The Deep Edge: The Embedding of Inference Engines / Neural Nets / Tiny Brains in Everything
      Couple some local intelligence to each sensor and the internet of things becomes the sensory cortex of the planet.
      [Steve Jurvetson, DFJ]

    8. Breaking Up is Hard to Do
      Trump will bring antitrust suits against Amazon, which will lead to a significant weakening of online megastores and a rise of direct-to-consumer companies. And Trump won’t stop at Amazon…
      [Rebecca Lynn, Canvas Ventures]

    9. A Billion-Dollar Outcome will be Built on Understanding Our Microbiome
      We have millions of organisms living in and on our bodies that we’re only now starting to understand. In the next five years, a startup will emerge that will not only help us understand our own unique ecosystems, but also how to optimise it. The company that does will have a billion-dollar+ outcome.
      [Sarah Tavel, Benchmark]

    10. Retail Stores Will Become Showrooms and VR Experiences
      Offline retail will continue its steady decline as more customers move to online and toward brands with mass market appeal. Malls will become community service centers offering everything from day care to tax services.
      [Hans Tung, GGV Capital]


    You can watch the event in it's entirety on YouTube.

  • 24 Mar 2017 14:42 | Anonymous

    There are 4 key stages in any business, no matter what the size, that need to be strategised and executed correctly to reach full potential. These stages are Launch, Grow, Sustain and Scale. Too often businesses confuse Growth vs Scale and consequently pay the price in the short and long run.

    In this session with Mihir Thaker of The Missing Link we explored:

    • What it IS and IS NOT
    • Confusing Growth & Scale
    • Key Dimensions of Growth (Intangible vs Tangible)
    • Key Dimensions of Scaling (Intangible vs Tangible)
    • When & How To Scale?
    • BONUS: Framework for Growth & Scale

    View Growth vs Scaling in Business key slides

  • 7 Mar 2017 14:43 | Anonymous

    On the back of hosting the Intelligent Transport Systems World Congress late last year and with transport equipment being Victoria’s second largest manufacturing industry contributing $3.8B to the local economy, we’re at the tipping point for redefining mobility for future generations and Victoria wants in, aiming to make the home of the world’s most liveable city, more liveable.

    We explored:

    • The transport technologies emerging in Victoria
    • What makes Victoria an ideal testing ground?
    • Community & end user benefits – including congestion and safety
    • Challenges faced by the sector – including regulatory and safety


    Susan Harris – CEO, ITS Australia
    Zac McClelland – Cofounder & Project Leader, VicHyper
    Dr Anna Newberry – Driver Assistance Technologies, Ford Australia
    Michael Caltabiano – CEO, ARRB


    1. Infrastructure adaptability and policy adaptability are two biggest challenges for ITS.
    2. We need to push for better data networks and not just within our capital cities in order to roll out a range of ITS technologies for Australia.
    3. Better outcomes can be obtained in the short term without changing infrastructure, simply through improved connectivity and application of data.
    4. The Victorian Government is actively looking to understand how people in inner, middle and outer Melbourne make decisions about accessing our transport system, including the human factors driving those decisions such as access, time, quality and family.
    5. The Federal Government has committed as part of updated National Policy Framework, to put together roadmap of infrastructure for connected vehicle technology within next 12 months.
    6. In Australia $20b is spent in constructing roads every year and the national road network is valued at $250b yet we only invest $63m in research. The investment in research needs to be at least $263m, otherwise next generation technologies will be left sitting at the station.
    7. Insurers want IP on driverless technology and access to demonstration opportunities to resolve the question of liability. Who is driving, what do I insure, who do I insure?
    8. A competitive advantage we have over Europe and USA is reduced complexities in getting multiple jurisdictions to agree on an outcome.
    9. Professor Hugh Bradlow, Telstra’s Chief Scientist says in 2030 he sees a driverless future.
    10. We need to envisage an adapted, connected future, not focus solely on roads. What connectivity does the community want – not what access to the road network do they want. 

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