Fast growing Sydney-based experiential education technology startup, Intersective has announced that co-founder Beau Leese will join the company as Co-Chief Executive.

Beau has recently stepped down as Head of Strategy, Innovation and International for the CSIRO, is a former Deloitte Consulting Director, Beau brings extensive Higher Education experience, and is a 2013 AFR-Boss Young Executive of the Year. He joins co-founder Wes Sonnenreich, a serial US technology entrepreneur, MIT Computer Science and Harvard Business School graduate, at the helm of Intersective.

Intersective has developed a patented, evidence based software platform called Practera to help employers, students and educators collaborate more effectively on experiential and work integrated learning. Intersective also supports employers and universities build high impact and award winning work integrated learning programs using Practera. The technology has been developed in collaboration with customers including Deloitte, EY, the University of Sydney, UNSW, QUT, the University of Melbourne, NSW Government and the China Australia Millennium Project.

The announcement comes on the heels of a $383,000 Accelerating Commercialisation grant to invest in developing its experiential learning management software, Practera.

Mr Leese said “There is a global opportunity for education technology to support students transitioning from the world of learning to the world of work – programs like internships, placements and business challenges. These programs create opportunities for young people, lift graduate work ready skills and productivity, and stimulate business-University collaboration. In Australia, peak groups including Universities Australia and the BCA have strongly endorsed the priority and value of lifting rates of work integrated learning.

“However, it’s actually a hard collaboration and learning problem that is not well serviced by traditional learning management systems (LMS) and is expensive to manage and quality assure.” he said.

“In terms of trends – the rise of free online content through models like MOOC’s (massive open online courseware), means that the experiences and networks ‘place based’ Universities can offer students are becoming more important. Beyond this – current e-learning solutions are generally not well designed to service the 90% of workplace learning that is experiential in nature.”

In a signal of CSIRO’s new direction under ex Venture Capitalist CEO Dr Larry Marshall, Beau will continue to play a role with CSIRO as an entrepreneur in residence.

CSIRO-2020

Dr Marshall said “After leading the delivery of CSIRO’s new Strategy 2020 and co-founding CSIRO’s new entrepreneurship and innovation program, Beau has chosen to walk the talk. We need more high calibre people choosing to build technology companies for Australia’s future. We’re delighted that Beau and Intersective will continue to be part of the CSIRO ecosystem as an entrepreneur in residence.”

Intersective employs and contracts 17 people in Sydney, Singapore, the US and UK, grew 3x in 2014/15 and is funded entirely by revenue to date. Intersective has previously won awards and grants from Tech23, the Business / Higher Education Roundtable and the NSW Office of Trade & Investment.

Beau Leese is the co-CEO and co-founder of experiential education technology startup Intersective. Until recently, Beau led Strategy, Innovation & International for the CSIRO – Australia’s national R&D Agency. As part of that role he led the development of CSIRO’s Strategy 2020, co-founded CSIRO’s entrepreneurship and innovation program, led a major reform of the organisation and oversaw research investment, impact and performance management. Beau facilitates syndicated innovation programs across a number of Australian Universities, was formerly a Director in Strategy, Innovation and Higher Education with Deloitte Consulting, has previously co-founded two online startups and worked with a range of Australian Universities. Beau was an AFR Boss Young Executive of the Year in 2013, holds a Certificate in Executive Leadership, Masters in Marketing, Bachelor of Laws and is a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.