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Meet the Judge: Helen Souness, Venture Partner of Rampersand

In our Meet the Judge interview series, we talk to Super Connect for Good’s judging cohort to learn more about them and their work in the Tech for Good space

As part of the Super Connect for Good Competition supported by Global Good, our Editor-in-Chief Kosta Mavroulakis caught up with one of its Regional Judges:

About Helen

Helen Souness is a senior executive with a career that spans more than 30 years of
leadership experience working in digital strategy, marketing, and product, leading a range of digital companies around the world. As an executive, Helen worked in market-leading companies including O2 and Lonely Planet, and ground-breaking marketplaces SEEK where she was the marketing director, at Envato as GM of marketplaces and Etsy as the MD of Asia.

In her last executive role, Helen was the founding CEO of online education leader RMIT Online, building it to 150+ people and more than 26,000 enrolments per year. As CEO she spearheaded a suite of Australian-first courses in areas like blockchain, AI, digital marketing and agile delivery, in partnership with over 80 global and local industry partners, including Salesforce, AWS and Thoughtworks, as well as launching market-leading accelerated postgraduate programs online.

Helen is now an advisor to government, education providers, and digital scale-ups with a portfolio of interests including Chair of the Board of Dunedin-headquartered EdTech Education Perfect, non-executive director of “the Airbnb of RVs”, Camplify (ASX: CHL), and a Venture Partner in seed stage venture capital fund Rampersand.

What are some of the most pressing social issues that your company is working to address through its technology?

Rampersand supports a range of early-stage companies as a seed fund. A few of my favourites (although no favourites of course!) are Sendle, a carbon-neutral global virtual courier, and Goterra, a company that uses insects (oh go on then yes it is maggots) to reduce food waste onsite – packaging and all – of supermarkets and other businesses with a patented robotic system inside a simple container that fits in a car parking space. Wonderful innovations for our planet.

How does your organisation support startups and scaleups at present?

We fund at the very early seed stages and often stay supporting a young company for as much as ten years, to get them to scale and gain downstream investments, often from the US, to help them scale a great business model globally.

Why did you support the Super Connect for Good 2023 Competition as a Judge? What are you looking for from the applicants and what tips would you give them?

I am a big believer that business can be a force for good as well as profit, having worked in and for several B Corporations and companies that really add value to all their stakeholders, investors, customers, and even future generations.

In your opinion, what impact will technology have in creating a better future?

As I understand climate science, technology is the only thing that will get us to net zero by 2030, which is imperative to reduce the catastrophic impacts we are already seeing from climate change.

Helen Souness is a judge for the Super Connect for Good 2023 Competition, co-designed by Empact Ventures and Hays.

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