In 2004, Australia’s future Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, bought a hosting startup called WebCentral for $45mil. It was the second business that FTR Holdings, Turnbull’s technology investment company, had purchased from the Australian internet pioneer, Lloyd Ernst. Following the successful exit, Lloyd went on to found Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) company, Cloudstaff. Today, the cloud-based staffing provider employs over 2500 staff across six locations in the Philippines and was named by the Australian Financial Review as one of the fastest growing Australian businesses of 2020. Cloudstaff recently raised $30 million in Series B investment to fund continued growth.
Australian entrepreneur Leah Callon-Butler first met Lloyd in August 2018, when she came to the Philippines to grow a team of web developers and marketers that had been outsourced through Cloudstaff for two years prior. Having done the unusual thing of ‘insourcing’ herself to the outsourcing office, Leah experienced Cloudstaff culture first-hand. Further, with the BPO industry representing 9% of Philippine GDP, she witnessed how the industry was fueling a growing middle class and lifting families out of poverty. Deeply impacted by the experience, Leah now leads a consulting agency focussed on the role of emerging tech in advancing economic development across Asia Pacific.
Leah and Lloyd will chat about Lloyd’s journey as a serial tech entrepreneur and how he came to set up in the Philippines, while debunking some common misconceptions about global outsourcing and offering insights into the cross-cultural realities that tend to define the success (or failure) of remote working arrangements.
CEO & Founder
Australian internet pioneer Lloyd Ernst established Cloudstaff in 2010, following his $45mil exit from hosting startup WebCentral (which was sold to Malcom Turnbull's investment company, FTR, in 2004). Today, Cloudstaff provides jobs to 2,500 Filipinos in support of Australian businesses in their quest to expand and leverage a truly global, cloud-based economy.
In the early 1990’s, Lloyd and two friends started PowerUp ISP modestly, in a house garage. PowerUp eventually grew to become Queensland’s largest ISP, this was his first company to be sold to Malcolm Turnbull and the OzEmail crew. Lloyd then went on to build Australia’s largest web hosting company, WebCentral. WebCentral became a leading innovator in web hosting and won various awards including Microsoft Global Hosting Company of the Year for 2003 and 2004.
After WebCentral, Lloyd focused on opportunities in the Asia-Pacific region. He was an early player in the outsourcing business in China and started with Beijing-based SinoCode Limited. His second Chinese business venture successfully localized and launched the Australian-developed Greentrac PC Fleet Management product and achieved robust sales to large state-owned enterprises, including China Mobile, in addition to winning the prestigious China PC Week Green Product of the Year.
In 2005, Lloyd joined the board of Pipe Networks which listed in the Australian Stock Exchange in May 2005 (ASX:PWK). In the next 3 years, PIPE Networks deployed over 600km of dark fibre, built Tier 1 data centre facilities and built PPC-1, the first competitive submarine fibre optic cable linking Australia to the US via Guam.
Presently, Lloyd is focused on Cloudstaff, a cloud-based staffing provider in the Philippines. Cloudstaff was recently named by the Australian Financial Review as one of the fastest growing Australian businesses of 2020 and received AUD $30 million in Series B investment.
Startup Grind Coffs Harbour
Chapter DirectorSee Bio
Leah lived in the rural Philippines since 2018, having relocated to work more closely with a team of Filipino software developers working on blockchain-based solutions for financial inclusion and digital ID. As the co-founder of a crypto payments gateway, she led the company's go-to-market strategy to drive merchant integration and consumer adoption in the US, Europe and Asia. This involved design and delivery of a range of education initiatives to onboard mainstream users who had no prior exposure to crypto.
Leah writes a bi-weekly opinion piece for Coindesk, co-leads the Global Impact FinTech (GIFT) Working Group on Financial Inclusion, and is a global ambassador for Women in Blockchain.
Initially trained as an Engineer and starting his own ventures he learned through his own ventures "Life is too short to build something nobody wants!"
With a passion for the perfect elevator pitch and problems worth solving he is always on the lookout for likeminded people.
Tony has a gift for connecting with people from diverse backgrounds who are passionate about making an impact through entrepreneurship.
Topics he’s curious about: Entrepreneurship, Education and Health.
People he’d love to meet: Curious individuals from all fields who believe the world is full of opportunities.