The Startup Playbook

Connecting you to the best entrepreneurs, investors and resources from around the world

Ep161 – Steve Baxter (Partner – TEN13 VC) on capability, competitors & investing

My guest for Ep161 of The Startup Playbook Podcast was the Partner at TEN13 VC, Steve Baxter.

Steve is best known for his role on TV as a “Shark” on Australia’s Shark Tank, but prior to this he had a highly successful career as an entrepreneur.

In this episode we cover his journey and lessons from his early career including him how he left high school at 15 to join the army, launch SE Net as a 24 year old in a highly competitive environment before selling the company to OzEmail in the year 2000 and much more!

We also dive deep into Steve’s main role as a Partner at TEN13 VC and discuss his investment approach and philosophy and the process behind it!


  • 3:28: An introduction to Steve’s background as an entrepreneur
  • 6:26: how his time in the army shaped how he invests/builds businesses
  • 9:34: launching SE Net in 1994 in an extremely competitive environment
  • 17:45: How Steve kept internal morale high as well funded competitors kept launching in market
  • 19:15: Why Steve decided to sell SE Net in 2000
  • 21:47 A look at the 18 month process from when Steve decided to sell the company to the acquisition taking place
  • 27:06 What made Steve take a cash deal rather than stock options (as was most common at the time)
  • 29:23: What can early stage founders do to demonstrate their capabilities to investors
  • 32:03: How Ten13’s “aligned investment syndicate” structure works 
  • 38:08: What does the invstment/due diligence process look like for Ten13. Ten13’s investment pipeline
  • 42:30: What stood out to Steve in founders of Clipchamp, Go1 and Carted that led to investments from Ten13
  • 46:12: When should founders reach out to investors
  • 52:03: Why Steve started River City Labs
  • 53:42: Importance of startup catalyst program and exposure to the environment and culture in SF
  • 59:31 Audience Q&A: Does Steve make exception in his investment thesis for outliers
  • 1:00:35: Audience Q&A: Has Steve invested in crypto?
  • 1:03:42: Audience Q&A: Is the meta verse built purely on hype?

Our partners

A big thank you to Pauline Fetaui and the team at RCL for hosting our event as well as our podcast partners for this episode.


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We’re Scendar, an accounting and advisory practice better described as Finance as a Service (FaaS). We’re focused on founders, funders and startups. Clients that are ever-changing and adapting. We like fast movers. And as you might have guessed, we’re not your basic accountancy. We can take care of tax and the books whilst building a syndicate fund and a multimilliondollar exit strategy.  At Scendar, we’re empowered by our client’s potential. Find out more at

Dovetail Studios 

Dovetail Studios operates a venture studio and VC to transform ambitious ideas into unstoppable businesses. On top of being a renowned product development partner for startups like Afterpay, they also operate a VC fund to invest in early-stage companies that go through their venture studio program. So if you’re a non-technical, early-stage founder looking for a talented team to help supercharge your success, check out

Links Mentioned 

Steve’s Links 

  • TEN13 VC LinkedIn
  • TEN 13 VC Website
  • Steve Baxter (Twitter)

People Mentioned 

Companies Mentioned 

Previous Episodes Mentioned 

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/rohbhargava (LinkedIn)
@rohit_bhargava (Instagram)
My Youtube Channel


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