The Startup Playbook Podcast

Insights and lessons from the world's best entrepreneurs and investors

Ep180 – Daniel Petre (Co-founder – Start Giving) on family, philanthropy and truth seeking

My guest for Ep180 of The Startup Playbook Podcast was Daniel Petre.

Daniel is the godfather of Australian tech and venture capital.

Back in 1988, Daniel joined Microsoft as their Managing Director for Australia before being promoted as one of the 5 VPs of product under Bill Gates.

He would then go on launch over 3 Venture Capital funds, most recently Co-founding AirTree, one of the 3 largest venture capital funds in Australia.

Any introduction I give to Daniel won’t do justice to everything he has achieved in his career to date, aside to say he’s been one of the most influential people in shaping the Australian startup ecosystem into what it is today.

He now spends his time on philanthropic efforts as the Founder of Start Giving, which helps to inspire tech founders and execs to start their philanthropic journey.

In this episode we covered everything from how to effectively manage your investors and boards to the importance of doing the right thing, family time and giving back.

I’ve been wanting to interview Daniel for a long time and excited to finally share this conversation with you!


  • 4:27 Daniel’s background
  • 6:04 Why Daniel chose to go down the computer science path
  • 7:55 Daniel’s time at Microsoft
  • 15:01 Commonalities of high performing founders
  • 23:24 How investors should think about helping founders
  • 29:24 Picking exceptional founders to invest in
  • 33:58 Doing the right thing, addressing the power imbalance between founders and VCs
  • 41:22 How founders can do due diligence on investors
  • 47:04 surrounding yourself with the right people
  • 50:21 Advice on finding mentors
  • 55:47 The importance of having real personal relationships, not just business relationships
  • 58:54 Daniel’s focus on philanthropy with StartGiving
  • 1:07:17 How a personal tragedy shifted his perspective on life
  • 1:12:09 Finding balance between work and life

Our partners

A big thank you to Mark Woodland, Anil Sabharwal and Alison Deans for their help with this interview.

Also a big shout out to our partners for the show:


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Links mentioned

Daniel’s links

People mentioned

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Feedback/connect/say hello:

[email protected]
@RohitBhargava7 (Twitter)
/rohbhargava (LinkedIn)
@rohit_bhargava (Instagram)
My Youtube Channel


Music: Paycheck

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