Brendan Yell

Director, Startup Community APAC
SendGrid

Brendan was introduced to computers at an early age getting his first computer (a Commodore 64) at aged 13. From there he developed a crude online service (then called a bulletin board) for use with his friends.

At 19, Brendan worked with the world’s first commerical online service Compuserve for a number of years before moving over to Australia’s first challenger Telco Optus. At Optus, Brendan worked on broadband and cable modems, and traveled the world exploring new technologies at they emerged.

In 1999, Brendan left Optus to pursue his own online business and launched ShopFree (ShopFree.com.au) in August of 1999. In 2001 Brendan launched ShopFree in the UK, and in 2004 after acquiring the name Shopfree.com, he re-located and launched ShopFree in the USA.

After 15 years, ShopFree had over 750,000 members and delivered over 3,000,000 leads to clients like Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Kraft and Diageo. Brendan finally exited this business in 2012.

In 2008, Brendan worked with good mates Andre Eikmeier and Justin Dry to launch Qwoff, Australia’s first online wine community. The boys then spun this community into a highly successful online wine sales site (VinoMofo.com) now valued at over $100 million.

Brendan’s love of music saw him meet INXS rocker Kirk Pengilly. After meeting with the band at Kirk’s house, they asked Brendan to build their new website and run their digital operations for 2 1/2 years before the record company took this over.

After a few failed launches, Brendan launched RecipeLover.com in San Francisco in 2012 at the acclaimed TechCrunch Disrupt Conference.  RecipeLover was featured in Start-up alley and was well received by the tough San Francisco audience, which included a short presentation immediately before Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook took to the stage in front of the world’s media.

In 2013, Brendan took a number of startups to TechCrunch Disrupt and on this trip met the folks from SoftLayer. In 2015 Brendan joined SoftLayer to run their startup program in Australia/NZ and now after the acquisition of SoftLayer by IBM, runs the program for IBM in APAC.

Very active in the startup community, Brendan is the Sydney Director of Startup Grinder and a mentor at the Slingshot, Telstra Muru-D, AngelCube and Vocus Upstart accelerators. He is also the pitch coach for the Rise Conference in Hong Kong (powered by Web Summit).

Brendan is also actively advising a number of startups including BugWolf, Gusto, Flixsense, CrowdCarnivore and NewsMaven.

 

SACristy Houghton