How Skip Capital’s Kim Jackson is carving her own path beyond ‘Atlassian co-founder’s wife’


In the previous, Ms Jackson has remained within the background, engaged on her own profession and elevating the couple’s three youngsters, however launching Skip has meant taking over a extra public position.

Choosing her phrases rigorously and flushing as she leans in to reply questions, Ms Jackson is somewhat uncomfortable being the main target of consideration.

But she’s relishing her position heading multimillion-dollar fund Skip and is notably delighted that of the seven start-ups Skip has invested in, 4 are led by ladies.

“I wasn’t going out looking for female founders,” Ms Jackson says. “I was looking for phenomenal entrepreneurs who had really deep experience and were solving a real problem with a global outlook and I just found this really incredible pool of female talent.”

Ms Jackson says her “unique history” helped her determine these companies.

From aluminium smelter to Atlassian

Growing up within the Queensland city of Yeppoon, north of Rockhampton, Ms Jackson graduated dux of her faculty.

“I went to a co-ed school and I studied maths and science because I loved maths and science and right from the beginning there were always more boys in my class than girls and I felt equal, I hardly even noticed it to be honest,” she says.

Ms Jackson studied methods engineering at ANU, a course she says was “90 per cent-plus” male, and was president of the engineering society.

“I did a lot of male-dominated things through that period,” Ms Jackson says. “I worked every Christmas holidays at the aluminium smelter near Yeppoon. I was on a scholarship with Comalco Engineering and I worked … on the floor of the smelter wearing my King Gee pants and top, 1000-volt boots and hard hat and respirator. During that period, I got my crane licence and forklift licence and I was the only girl in my crew. I felt very happy there.”

I used to be all the time both the one or one in every of two females in a room. I simply actually need to change that.

Kim Jackson

After graduating, Ms Jackson moved into funding banking – “again 90 per cent-plus male dominated” – at Salomon Smith Barney, which turned Citigroup, and Hastings Fund Management, earlier than shifting on to board positions, together with at Transgrid and Electronet.

Along the best way, Ms Jackson met Mr Farquhar “through mutual friends” and married him.

“That’s a long way of saying I was always either the only or one of two females in a room,” she says. “I just really want to change that.”

Ms Jackson is in a singular place to impact that change with software program big Atlassian, the business Mr Farquhar co-founded with Mike Cannon-Brookes, listed on the Nasdaq Composite Index and Mr Farquhar’s wealth estimated at $5.1 billion by the Australian Financial Review Rich List.

Kim Jackson (left) of Skip Capital with the founders of the female-led start-ups she has invested in: Katherine McConnell, Gemma Lloyd, Megan Elizabeth and Maryam Sadeghi.

Kim Jackson (left) of Skip Capital with the founders of the female-led start-ups she has invested in: Katherine McConnell, Gemma Lloyd, Megan Elizabeth and Maryam Sadeghi.

Photo: Supplied

Some of that wealth can be invested by means of Skip, together with its 4 investments in female-led companies: power finance start-up Brighte, based by Katherine McConnell; gender fairness recruitment start-up WORK180, founded by Gemma Lloyd and Valeria Ignatieva; pores and skin most cancers detection start-up MetaOptima, co-founded by Maryam Sadeghi; and “early stage” craft app Making Things, based by Megan Elizabeth.

Skip was one of many key buyers in Brighte’s current series-B funding spherical, which raised $18.5 million. For Ms McConnell, having Skip and Ms Jackson on the board has given the power finance start-up a big increase.

“Kim was able to understand the complexity of the business,” she says.

Ms McConnell says fundraising was robust, notably the preliminary seed spherical the place she raised $three.5 million pre-product.

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“I was a sole female founder without a tech background setting up a lending business,” she says. “It had never been done before. I am a mum with two young kids and I worked part-time at [investment bank] Macquarie. I think people definitely underestimated my ability to execute and that the depth of experience I had could be a competitive threat.”

Ms Jackson is not stunned and cites a Boston Consulting Group survey that discovered solely 2 per cent of enterprise capital (VC) funding goes to female-led corporations.

“It’s a real shame that is happening,” she says. “It pains me that 90 per cent of VCs are male. I think that needs to change. Female founders are just as good. I think that the investment community and maybe the world is only just starting to work that out.”

Ms Jackson will not reveal the sum of money Skip has to take a position however says she is trying to make “significant investments” within the tech area.

“The companies we can add most value to are Australian high-tech companies which can benefit from my background in engineering and Scott’s background in computer science and our knowledge and networks and connections,” she says.

Husband and wife Scott Farquhar and Kim Jackson.

Husband and spouse Scott Farquhar and Kim Jackson.

Photo: Supplied

Ms Jackson says thus far, working with her husband is going properly.

“It’s not like we are working together day to day,” she says. “He will get concerned in mentoring and he will get concerned particularly sectors which might be of curiosity to him.

“We will select totally different corporations for every of us to steer the funding. We are a very nice group and we’ve separated the roles extraordinarily properly.”

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Cara Waters

Cara is Fairfax media’s small business editor based mostly in Melbourne

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