Leigh Kelson - Global ecosystem
A serial entrepreneur, technology veteran, cloud computing pioneer and passionate creative Leigh is a vocal leader of Australia’s startup community and a passionate teller of stories. With a keen eye for what's next, he's excited about the potential of video to transform the way we learn and connect with new ideas and communities. His company, BeachCity Media, tells stories for entrepreneurs by entrepreneurs, reimagining how we develop the capabilities of tomorrow's creators and entrepreneurs.
A Web technologies veteran and Australian enterprise cloud computing pioneer Leigh commenced his career in the technology sector in the mid 80’s. Over the past 30 years I have founded and/or co founded 10 companies in a diverse range of industries from Biotech, Web, Entertainment and media.
His first venture was in the music business in the mid 80’s when he founded Outback Entertainment an artist management and touring company based out of the then pioneer town of Kununurra in the far north west of Western Australia. Over his time in the NW he founded and acquired a number of companies in his early 20’s including a small Holden dealership, Newsagent, haberdashery and training services. In 1990 he sold his interests and left Kununurra and moved to Perth.
In the early nineties he founded Pacific Rim Marketing, a first mover in digital marketing and customer loyalty programs. The company evolved into web development, early email marketing and web technologies.
In 1999 he moved to New York where he headed up Global sales for a Web media technologies Startup Avation.net . Post the .com crash of the early 2000’s he returned to Australia and turned his attention to Biotechnology and Co found Biocell the first private cord blood stem cell storage company in Australia. He exited that business via a share sale in 2005.
Late in 2005 he founded the first Salesforce.com professional services practice in Melbourne and pioneered Marketing automation and Enterprise cloud computing.
Over the following 10 years PRM Cloud Solutions grew into a specialist cloud services company and spun out a number of enterprise cloud applications including Enverro a mining workforce mobilisation that was listed on the ASX in late 2014 . PRM Cloud Solutions was acquired by Persistent Systems in Dec 2015.
He has held numerous board positions on both Public listed and privately held companies and has been involved in 3 public listings and capital raising of over $ 100 M over the past 25 years
He recently founded his passion project BeachCity a media production company for the Youtube generation, helping startups, innovation hubs and tech companies connect with aspiring entrepreneurs and young people. Beachcitys bite-size stories and media blitzes build buzz around events and conferences, spreading awareness of up-and-coming ecosystems to a global audience.
His Story – Leigh Kelson
Where does a man who has co-founded or founded 10 companies, listed three public companies and been involved with capital raising of over $100m start? Leigh Kelson prefers not to be referred to as a serial entrepreneur, but he’s certainly a serious entrepreneur.
He has established businesses in the biotech, web, entertainment and media industries over the past 30 years, unfortunately these show notes have to have some sort of scope to avoid becoming a book in itself! Nowadays Leigh is involved with BeachCity Media, which aims to bring the ambitions, skillset and ideas of the world’s entrepreneurs together through the art of storytelling.
Leigh describes how it has helped entrepreneurs from all walks of like legitimise their ideas and build what he feels to be a critical skill set in them: critical thinking, problem solving and creative thinking. BeachCity has gained tremendous traction through 1,200 interviews conducted in just over 12 months – taking them from Silicon Valley to Hong Kong to Jakarta and even regional Queensland.
Their premise is that everyone has a story, a lesson and an experience to share. With the continual rise of social media, these insights are now accessed by over 2 million people per month.
For Leigh, it’s his way of giving back. Whereas he found pro bone work relatively time consuming and ineffective in sharing his expertise, BeachCity has proven to be both a sustainable business model and a successful mentoring model.
It has inspired and guides countless young (and old) entrepreneurs in finding their fit and exploring their journey. Leigh describes his path through life not necessarily wanting to work for someone else, and always vying to create opportunities and explore ideas. With the way the world is moving, our flexibility, transferability and accessibilities to platforms and initiatives will only exacerbate this.
When he was growing up, there were no such things as ‘accelerators’ or ‘incubators’. BeachCity is supporting those with the courage to put themselves out there by giving some things up and giving other things a go.
Key Habits – Leigh Kelson
Leigh made the decision to give up alcohol, a decision that he describes as the hardest he’s had to make but arguably one of the best. It has given him more time on his hands, more clarity in his mind and the scope to explore other aspects to his life.
Advice for Others – Leigh Kelson
From a professional standpoint, Leigh advises the budding entrepreneurs to think about leverage. When solving a problem and creating a business, think about your distribution to your customers in terms of your channels, clients and partnerships.
As well as this, especially in the entrepreneurial world, recognising that some things are out of your control and there’s nothing you can do about it is vital. You can’t account for every possible variation.
From a personal point of view, it’s not about the money. Leigh firmly believes it’s more about the learnings and experiences than anything else. You don’t get out of bed to make money.
Book Recommendations – Leigh Kelson
In Search of Excellence by Thomas J. Peters and Robert H. Waterman Jr.
The Long Tail by Chris Anderson.
Quotes – Leigh Kelson
“Anybody can become angry - that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way - that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy. ” - Aristotle
Contacting Leigh Kelson
LinkedIn is the best place to reach out to Leigh, find him at au.linkedin.com/in/leighkelson. Otherwise, check out BeachCity and the great work they’re doing at beachcity.com.au.