Maestrano chief executive and co-founder Stephane Ibos has called for the Australian government to emulate key business practices around fostering innovation and opt for an industry-wide funding model to support R&D and new startup ideas.
Discussing with Defence Connect some key lessons he learnt during his transition from being employed in defence to becoming a key mover in the startup environment, Ibos emphasised the importance of funding.
"For me, the beginning of innovation is funding, you don't innovate without funding," he said. "There is a reason why the venture capitalist industry is blossoming at the moment. [It’s] because they've got lots of money that they re-inject."
Ibos said the venture capitalist sector was well aware that 90 per cent of startups fail, but added "that they [also know they’ll] make their money back on the top two or three that they invested in".
In terms of recommendations for the defence industry based on his own startup and innovation know-how, Ibos said he would urge companies in that vertical to establish an internal version of a venture capital fund.
This, he said, would need to manage R&D not as a given but rather as a pool of investment to be justified per business case.
"[It] would manage a portfolio of innovation as such, and then I would strongly encourage the government to do a similar thing industry-wide," Ibos said. "They should form a sort of venture capital and say, 'Out of everything we're going to invest in, some of this innovation will have a 10-year cycle, some of them will have a one-year cycle. These are the risks of failing'."
To hear more from Maestrano's Stephane Ibos, listen to our podcast here.