The COVID-19 pandemic is driving up unemployment and fracturing many existing business relationships but the experience of previous crises suggests that when coming out of an economic downturn, there is likely to be an upswing in rates of entrepreneurship. A cautious attitude toward opportunity and fear of failure could be holding some Australian entrepreneurs back, but many Australian startups have experienced great success in making the leap to the US market. What is it like to launch a startup in the United States? What are the biggest challenges? How will the pandemic change the entrepreneurial playing field?

To discuss these issues, USSC hosted a webinar event featuring a panel discussion with successful Australian startups: Founder and CEO of QuintessenceLabs Vikram Sharma, CEO of enigmaFIT Philip Campbell and CEO of Alex Young in conversation with United States Studies Centre Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurship Claire McFarland.

Vikram Sharma is Founder and CEO of QuintessenceLabs, a quantum-enhanced cybersecurity firm. He has 20 years of experience in building and managing technology companies. He is a Sloan Fellow from Stanford University and also holds an MSc in computer science and a PhD in quantum physics from the Australian National University.

Philip Campbell is a Cognitive Scientist and CEO of enigmaFIT as well as an AmCham Governor. Phillip has 25 years of corporate experience in developing and optimising executives’ Brain Efficiency using the brain’s inherent neuroplasticity. This significantly enhances their Adaptability, Leadership Agility, Strategic Thinking, Innovative Thinking and more - crucial attributes for leading in the COVID-19 era.

Alex Young is the co-founder and CEO of “awe”, a self-service platform that creates augmented and virtual reality with no app downloads.  She has over 12 years of augmented reality research and development experience and speaks regularly on AR, VR and crafting compelling user experiences in these mediums and both the challenges & opportunities these and other emerging technologies present. She is a passionate advocate of using technology for good in education and training and exploring new ways of engaging learners in these mediums.