Steve Baxter looking to sell River City Labs, according to reports
9 May 2018, Written by Ben Hall
Queensland's chief entrepreneur and 'Shark Tank' star Steve Baxter is reportedly looking to sell River City Labs, the Brisbane startup hub which he founded seven years ago.
It's believed the reason behind the sale is not a financial one and that he believes River City Labs, which mentors young entrepreneurs in a co-working space in Fortitude Valley, had reached a 'tipping point.'
"The time has come for me to pass the baton for River City Labs. Today, I've launched a process to find a new owner," The Australian reports, citing an unpublished blog post.
"Firstly, like any startup, RCL has taken a lot of my time over the past seven years. Since we launched, I've had three beautiful kids, joined the cast of a national TV show, and invested in over 20 start-ups. After seven years, I've realised I need to make a change.
"Secondly, as the sole director/owner of RCL, I've allowed myself to remain the "go-to" guy for major decisions. While RCL's rock star CEO Peta Ellis has day-to-day operational control, I'm still the board, chairperson, and bankroller for RCL.
"While this has helped us get to this point, if RCL is to really take advantage of its position, and the opportunity of being a leading platform for tech entrepreneurship in Australia the buck can't stop with just me."
Internet pioneer Baxter is one of the so-called "sharks" on Network TEN's Shark Tank show and series four premieres next Tuesday, along with Boost Juice entrepreneur Janine Allis, international businessman Andrew Banks, RedBalloon experience founder Naomi Simson and Dr Glen Richards, founder of Australia's largest pet-care company Greencross.
Baxter has reportedly said it will be "business as usual" at River City Labs which he founded in 2012 and is now run by CEO Peta Ellis (pictured with Baxter) who handles the day-to-day operation of the startup hub
Baxter's road to success has been colourful. He dropped out of school at 15 to enlist in the Australian Defence Force, before turning his hand to entrepreneurship nine years later.
In 1994, Baxter developed and launched his first startup, SE Net, a pioneering internet service provider that was funded from $11,000 in savings for a house deposit. The startup shark was born.
SE Net went on to service 35,000 customers and was then acquired by Malcolm Turnbull's OzEmail in 2000.
Caught in the startup wheel, Baxter co-founded his second major venture in 2001, PIPE Networks, which was later sold to TPG Group for $373 million.
Baxter has since committed himself to developing Queensland's startup scene, launching River City Labs and serving as a founding director of advocacy group StartupAUS in 2013. He also personally backs startups, building a portfolio of new tech businesses that today have a combined value of more than $100 million.
Business News Australia
Author: Ben Hall