The Next Phase of YBF’s Journey

Photo credit: The Australian

As announced on Friday on the front page of The Australian Business Review, YBF is proud to partner with Mike Smith, former CEO of ANZ, who will be joining our team as Chairman elect. As the newest addition to the team, we look forward to Mike catalysing new opportunities for further expansion along the road that YBF started on five years ago.

After outgrowing our roots as a co-working space, YBF has evolved into a platform where corporates, early stage investors and start-ups create value through collaboration. Through our focus on community building, we have created a thriving ecosystem, which has birthed over 80 different start-up communities such as Silicon Beach Melbourne, FinTech Melbourne, and Peak15.

In recognition of our leadership in Australia’s entrepreneurial community, Mike has decided to join our team to further our already significant achievements. In the YBF community alone, we’ve had over 340 companies come through our doors in 5 years, creating thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in value. Our partnership with Mike is a signal of the growth we will be seeing in the coming years.

In addition, Mike’s presence at YBF will serve as a foundation for future success, benefiting from his unparalleled influence by means of the national and global network he developed in his executive roles at ANZ, HSBC and Hang Seng Bank. This is important to the start-up ecosystem because of our B2B focus, opening our community to more opportunities for investment, mentoring, and development that would otherwise be difficult to access.

This milestone also demonstrates a recognition of the start-up ethos and technological development that is taking place in our ecosystem. Such trends are going to be a major part of short and long term growth in Australia. Increased efforts to bolster industries at the forefront of the innovation curve is key to remain competitive at a global level.

In recent years, we have partnered with corporations looking to catalyse a shift towards a company culture that is open to the rapidly changing and tech-oriented landscape. Senior leaders in Australia’s business community have recognised that once the cultural element is tackled, companies are better poised to incorporate new technologies into their business through updated policies and processes. Openness to, and incorporation of innovations will thus serve as a link between the start-up community and industry.

YBF’s open innovation platform encourages industries to identify opportunities and processes of engagement and collaboration with start-ups. We expect even more companies to explore joint venture approaches to building new economy offerings, whereby corporations and start-ups collaborate through investment and pooled resources to test and build ideas outside their company walls.

Notable examples of this approach include, an automated investment service which was created as a joint venture with Equip Super. Similarly, Equiem, a property technology service, was born of a collaboration with Grollo Group. These two ventures alone have created over 200 jobs. Closer collaboration with corporate partners enables us to birth more of these successful joint ventures, as it opens the channels of communication between the corporate and entrepreneurial world in a way that can otherwise be elusive.

In a stagnating global economy, high growth ventures will be the new drivers of economic growth. We welcome Mike Smith to our team and look forward to seeing Australia’s entrepreneurial community continue to prosper.

We will be pushing out more content in 2017. Go to for more updates.