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Confessions of an Entrepreneur: 30 Years of Photonics Start-ups


Simon Poole


Every company – even the largest household names such as Google, Apple or Facebook – begins life as a start-up. Whilst he started his career as an academic, Simon Poole has been closely involved with a range of start-ups in both industry and academia over the past 30 years. Research groups include the Optical Fibre Technology Centre (OFTC) at Sydney University and the Australian Photonics CRC, whilst companies include Indx (sold to JDSUniphase in 1997) and Engana (sold to Optium Corporation in 2006 and now Finisar Australia). Exports of photonics components and subsystems from the companies founded by Dr Poole total nearly a billion dollars to date.

This presentation will look at how some of the companies with which Dr Poole has been involved or founded got started, what they did and how they subsequently developed and thrived. The presentation aims to inspire researchers who are considering how to commercialise their research to take the next steps and move out of the research lab and into the brave new world of commercialisation.