Steve Baxter
Managing Director

Stephen Baxter has a background in starting Internet based companies in Australia and working overseas on large scale data networks. His background prior to this was defence with a near 9 year stint as a regular soldier after enlisting at age 15 specialising in electronics, telecom, opto-electonics and guided weapon systems.

In 1994, whilst still serving (and unknown to his commander!) he started an ISP called SE Net in Adelaide which quickly grew to be a substantial player not only in South Australia but also nationally. Mr Baxter was involved in early Internet community work with committee appointments to the South Australian Internet Association, the Australian Domain Name Authority (forerunner to AuDA) and the IIA. Mr Baxter worked tirelessly in the industry in South Australia and nationally to assist the industry to understand the benefits of cooperation with respect to Internet peering. This culminated in the formation of the South Australian Internet Exchange (SAIX) and then work with the Ausbone collective effort. Mr Baxter had sold SE Net to Ozemail/UUNET in two tranches by early 2000 and subsequently moved back to Brisbane. SE Net was a dial up ISP that eventually serviced over 35,000 customers using dialup, ISDN, fibre, Ethernet, wireless, telehousing, web hosting and DSL. SE Net was an innovator in customer service and the use of modern technologies and methods to service customers.

In 2001 Mr Baxter founded PIPE Networks with a school friend. PIPE (then IX Services Australia trading as PIPE Networks) started as a provider of telehousing and peering services with the operation initially based in Brisbane. Soon after these operations were expanded to Sydney, Melbourne, Hobart and Adelaide. PIPE Networks started to deploy dark fibre to customers very soon after this. PIPE Networks was listed in May 2005 (ASX:PWK) with a market capitalization of less than AU$15M. In the next 3 years PIPE Networks deployed over 600km of dark fibre, built several hundred metres of data centre space and under took to build PPC-1 – the first competitive submarine fibre optic cable in Australia. During this time Mr Baxter was an executive director and Chief Technical Officer. Mr Baxter left PIPE in 2008 but remained a non executive director. In March 2010, TPG Group (ASX:TPM) acquired PIPE Networks under Scheme of Arrangement for a consideration of AU$373M.

While with PIPE Networks Mr Baxter worked with the industry to aid in cooperation including the formation of the AusNOG (Australian Network Operators Group) as well as organising the first two annual conferences of network operators in Australia.

In September 2008 Mr Baxter started working at Google Inc in Mountain View, California as a Technical Program Manager in the Network Deployment department, working high speed telecommunications solutions. This engagement ended in late 2009 and Mr Baxter returned to Australia in 2010.

Mr Baxter currently lives in Brisbane where he is a board member and advisor to several companies including ASX listed Vocus Communications (ASX:VOC). He is a keen fisherman and private pilot who flies regularly for fun, he is an Angel Flight Pilot as well as supporting other activities such as Aviation High at Hendra in Queensland.

He has current investments in many start up and early stage companies txt4coffee, TrekTraka, goCatch, OrionVM and Atomo Diagnostics with several others in late stage due diligence.

Peta Ellis

Peta Ellis
Chief Executive Officer

Peta Ellis is a Communications Professional with 15+ years’ experience in Marketing Communications, Media Relations, Publicity, Social Media Marketing and Public Profile Management.

Since 2012 Peta has worked alongside Steve Baxter, the founder of River City Labs to grow Brisbane’s Startup community and establish RCL as Brisbane’s most prominent Coworking community of Tech Startups , Entrepreneurs and industry mentors.

The aim of River City Labs is to be a physical location to anchor the early stage and startup mobile, web and tech community in Brisbane.

Known as a super connector in the Startup space, Peta believes that quality connections and valuable mentors make all the difference in the early stages.

She works closely with Startup companies and Entrepreneurs in the first stages of development focussing on idea validation, identifying customer markets, integrated marketing strategies, pitching for investment and effective media launch campaigns.

Peta founded the Brisbane Sponsored Entrepreneur Program which enables Startups to participate in a 12 week fully funded mentoring program.  The program wraps structure and validation around great teams in need support to get them to the next stage of growth.  Suncorp, BOQ and CUA have supported this initiative in Queensland to date.

Through River City Labs, Peta engages with corporate organisations to facilitate meaningful relationships and ongoing support for the Startup and Entrepreneurial community. Bringing the two together enables collaboration beneficial to both parties.

Other Activities:

LinkedIn: http://au.linkedin.com/in/petaellis
Twitter:     https://twitter.com/citypublicity

website Jordan Birchall
Operations Manager

Jordan is the Operations Manager for River City Labs and has extensive experience in small business and commercial property finance.  After graduating with a finance degree from QUT, Jordan’s real estate finance career took him all the way to San Francisco, California, where he lived and worked.

While in San Francisco, Jordan became addicted to the delicious Mexican burritos he was eating while living in the famous Mission District, a hub for Mexican food and culture.  Filled with passion for burritos and inspired by San Francisco’s startup business culture, Jordan quit his job- leaving the stability of a finance career far behind- and returned to Australia in 2010 to create the first Tuckeria Fresh Mexican restaurant in Fortitude Valley, Brisbane.  Jordan has since gone on to become a serial entrepreneur in the hospitality space opening a second Tuckeria Fresh Mexican Restaurant and centralised commercial kitchen in Stones Corner in 2012, and in 2015 a new venture called Burrito Shack, once again in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley.

Other Awards and Achievements: 

– Named Queensland University of Technology ‘Awesome Alumnus’ in 2016 

– Expert Panelist at Fine Food Queensland 2016 

– Member Brisbane Entrepreneurs Organisation 2012-2016 

– Anthill Magazine “30 Under 30” Entrepreneurs Honourable Mention 2013

– Certificate II in Hospitality (Commercial Cookery) 2010

– Bachelor of Business (Banking & Finance, Financial Economics), QUT 2003  

LinkedIn: https://au.linkedin.com/in/jordanwbirchall

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Angela Castles
Admin & Community Coordinator






LinkedIn: https://au.linkedin.com/in/angela-castles-96693286


Khoa Tran
Marketing & Events Coordinator

Khoa is in charge of social media, email marketing, strategic partnership management and events organising for River City Labs.

Khoa has always been an activist in the studentpreneurs community. He was the 4th president of IDEA Network, a state-wide network of entrepreneurial students, as well as a co-founder of the Global Innovative Youth Conference, an international gathering of studentpreneurs.

Currently pursuing a mater degree in Data Science, Khoa’s interests are Big Data, Business Intelligence, Analytics-Driver Decision Making and Artificial Intelligence.