When Aaron was 8 years old, he had a lightbulb moment. Not long before he had been given a Commodore 64, a popular personal computer in the 1980s, and he was intrigued by it. Then his sister's boyfriend, in an off-the-cuff comment, noted it was an easy computer to write software for.
"I realised you could make something out of nothing, and that is where my interest in tech started," he says.
Since then, Aaron has been involved in software development, creating start-ups and making angel investments in new businesses. He was the recipient of the Australian Computer Society's 2016 Pearcey National Entrepreneur Award, a prize he values because it is peer recognition from the industry for the work he has done in encouraging start-ups and entrepreneurship.
Born in Australia, Aaron spent a short time in the US and then came back, had his breakthrough moment when he decided on a career change and went into the restaurant business with his siblings.
To differentiate the restaurant, he decided to write software enabling people to convert the dollars they spent in the shop into internet access time. "Eventually we were making more money from selling the software than from the restaurant, so we decided to turn it into a business, creating Arinda Internet."
He ran Arinda for eight years, and by the end the software was used in nine countries with 200 clients, 2000 locations and a user base of 2 million people. After having his first child he decided to get out and made a trade sale to a competitor. "The exit was relatively small, but it has enabled me to do other things since then," he says.
His next venture was an Internet of Things play relating to coin-operated machines, which he sold to a competitor, and then in 2012 he set up a start-up hub on the Gold Coast.
Now he is chief executive of Startup Catalyst and Co-founder of Peak Persona. Every year Startup Catalyst takes 20 young techies to Silicon Valley for two weeks, the idea being that they fall in love with the start-up process and come back to start their own companies.
Come along to meet Aaron in person and hear more about his incredible entrepreneurial journey!
Aaron is chief executive of Startup Catalyst and Co-founder of Peak Persona. Every year Startup Catalyst takes 20 tech people to Silicon Valley for two weeks, so that they fall in love with start-ups and come back as founders! Peak Persona helps entrepreneurs establish routines and personal drivers to maintain daily peak personal performance by allowing them to be strong, driven and focussed.
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