Joel Connolly

Joel Connolly

Creative Director, Head of Blackbird Foundation

What do you do at Blackbird?

I'm Blackbird's creative force and I work primarily on building Blackbird into a world-class business. I build our brand, culture, and work on our social mission, which is to inspire young people through education and entrepreneurship. I'm also the head of the Blackbird Foundation. Previously I built Blackbird's community function as Head of Community.

What did you do before Blackbird?

Before Blackbird I founded a talent management business. We managed bands! I also founded a craft beer festival. I studied comms and theatre at Uni.

What do you believe that others do not?

Underdogs and outsiders are the best kind of people. They're the only ones capable of creating meaningful change. Art is everything. Qualitative > quantitative.

What projects have you led at Blackbird?

Sunrise Island, First Robotics partnership, Blackbird rebrand, design and fit-out of our Sydney office, building the Blackbird Foundation, setting our Vision, Mission and Values plus loads more. My work is almost all project-based.

The Next Generation of Blackbird’s Investment Team
From Blackbird

Blackbird is proud to introduce some new principals to the team.

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The Blackbird Foundation and the Limitless Potential of Young People
People & Culture

We've launched the Blackbird Foundation to supercharge creativity in young people. 

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Investment Notes: Dovetail
Investment

We’ve finally found a product just for UX researchers in Dovetail. 

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Investment Notes: Roborigger
Investment

We’ve invested $5m in an innovation which promises to make worksites safer.

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The Third Way: This is Why We Back Our Founders
People & Culture

Why the founders we backed in 2013 are becoming some of the best of their generation.

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Sunrise Island Reflections: Part 2
People & Culture

A reflection on the importance of environment, ritual and ceremony in the Sunrise event.

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Investment Notes: See-Mode
Investment

We've invested in See-Mode, a company using computer vision and fluid dynamics to predict whether patients will have a second stroke. 

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Sunrise Island Reflections: Part 1
People & Culture

A reflection on the Sunrise Island startup conference. 

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We Are Sending Robotics Team to World Championships
People & Culture

Help us send young Australians to the FIRST Robotics World Championships in the USA.

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What I Learnt From My Blackbird Internship
People & Culture

I learnt how to break into the VC world, the importance of networks and why Australia is a great place to be a founder!

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Investment Notes: MOVUS
Investment

We're investing in a company connecting machinery to the internet. 

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Investment Notes: Gilmour Space
Investment

Gilmour Space is developing a rocket to launch small satellites into space.

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Investment Notes: AskNicely
Investment

We’re investing in this whose mission is to make NPS actionable for employees.

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Investment Notes: Nura
Investment

Nura is creating headphones that make music even more personal. 

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Investment Notes: EARTH AI
Investment

EARTH AI is a company helping mineral explorers identify promising areas.

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Investment Notes: Fleet
Investment

Fleet's mission is simple: to create a network of tiny nano-satellites that deliver a global backhaul service for the Internet of Things. 

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Skipping the Bad Startup Advice
Leadership

AMA with Founder of DGraph, Manish Rai Jain.

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How to Improve Australia’s Innovation Ecosystem
People & Culture

AMA with Redbubble Founder and CEO Martin Hosking.

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Putting Everything On The Line
Leadership

Partner in Housman Weir Investments Bardia Housman compares the startup lifestyle to the Grand Slam. 

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You Can Start Before Funding
Leadership

AMA with Founder of OneShift and Skilld Gen George. 

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“We Needed to Be Naive and Arrogant”
People & Culture

How naivety and arrogance can help build world-changing businesses

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Successful Founders Must Be Determined
Leadership

Director of Venture Capital firm Y Combinator Denis Mars discusses what he looks for in founders. 

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No Startups = No Growth
Leadership

AMA with Social Ventures Australia founding CEO Michael Traill.

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Revolutionising the Law
From Blackbird

An AMA with CEO and Co-Founder of Legal Vision, Lachlan McKnight. 

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Tall Poppy Syndrome Brings Us All Down
From Blackbird

Airtree Ventures partner Josh Henderson discusses Aussie, UK and US startup styles. 

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Hidden Importance of Culture
People & Culture

AMA with Fishburners CEO Murray Hurps. 

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Our Next Chapter: Fund 2
Investment

Our second fund will invest $200M.

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7 Reasons We’re Excited About Australian Startups
From Blackbird

Why Australia has such a great startup scene. 

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5 Reasons Aussie Startups Should Go Global From Day One
Leadership

At Blackbird Ventures we have a focus on businesses that are forming in Australia, but are attacking a global market from day one

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5 Reasons Aussie VC Will Be Thriving 5 Years
From Blackbird

To give him credit, he was actually reporting on general sentiment from venture capitalists in the US rather than forming his own damning opinion

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How Many Startups Get Started in Australia?
People & Culture

An analysis of how many Australian startups are started each year.

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What Emergency Rooms Have in Common with Startups
People & Culture

An AMA with Jodie Auster, former VP of People Ops at Thumbtack and ER doctor.

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