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Baxter sets sights on khaki investing with Campbell Newman riding shotgun

Brisbane investor and entrepreneur Steve Baxter has turned his attention to the defence sector with a new fund, BeatenZone Ventures.

Nov 17, 2022, updated Nov 17, 2022
Investor Steve Baxter has turned his attention to defence. Image: supplied.

Investor Steve Baxter has turned his attention to defence. Image: supplied.

It will include former Premier and Army engineer Campbell Newman as an advisor along with Jackson Nioa, Malcolm Thompson, xReality chief executive Wayne Jones and engineer Ross Osborne.

“It seems a day has not gone by where the drum beat of conflict does not get louder, we need to prepare and if the recent experience of innovations used in meeting Russian aggression on the Ukrainian steppe is any measure we need to be on the front of this wave, not lolly gaging around on the back of it,’’ Baxter said.

He believed the defence industry was in a similar position in Queensland to where the tech industry was 10 to 15 years ago.

“Just as software advances led to the tech start-up revolution of the last 15 years seeing amazing billion-dollar companies formed in Australia I want to bring a fast paced, dynamic attitude of move fast and break things (and) experiment through doing and invention that leads to world beating systems being created and produced here in Australia,’’ he said.

“By bringing a venture capital mindset I want to see the founders we start with now go on to success and then recycle back in to become the next investors and backers of this sector.

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“We will be investing more in entrepreneurs building the next round of local technology that will assist in maintaining Australia’s role in the region and our autonomy as a nation.’’

He said there was a thriving industry between Australia and its allies and he saw opportunities to demonstrate to other militaries around the world that have more flexible acquisition processes.

Baxter said he was looking forward to working with the new generation of entrepreneurs solving problems for Australia and its allies.

“By specifically wanting to invest into sovereign lethal and near lethal opportunities not only am I looking for some great deals but to also help expand this industry here,’’ he said.

“Nobody wants to see the products the companies we back ever used in anger and the way to prevent that is to ensure the best weapons and related systems are in the hands of the modern Australian digger be they a soldier, sailor or airman. Wars are prevented, and if they need be won, by well trained and well equipment people.’’

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