40 Under 40 winner of the day: Anton Andreacchio

Anton Andreacchio founded his first company at the age of 22. Now the 31-year-old has three businesses, so it was no huge surprise when he was named a winner in InDaily’s inaugural 40 Under 40 awards this month.

Jun 25, 2018, updated Aug 29, 2019

In 2009 Andreacchio founded Convergen, a digital agency that specialises in visualising major infrastructure works. Starting with residential homes, the company has made its mark with its visualisation work on much larger projects including the Adelaide Oval footbridge, Darlington Interchange, the O-Bahn City Access tunnel and OZ Minerals’ Carrapateena project.

Andreacchio studied at UCLA and completed a Bachelor of Mathematics and Computer Science at the University of Adelaide and went on to complete an MBA in 2017.

In 2014, virtual reality studio Jumpgate was born. The company has been working with AFL clubs, and others, in the VR training space, a, looked to the future of the VR/AR technology and has strategic business units in a range of industries. In the VR training space, Jumpgate has been working with AFL clubs since 2015 on visualisation tools to support coaching, construction training tools with Peer and conceptual projects with SA Power Networks. In the arts, Jumpgate worked with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra to produce the world’s first VR symphony orchestra concert and has also worked with the Sydney Dance Company and Sydney Opera House.

Andreacchio’s third company, Double Bishop, is a production company in the film and feature television industry, which develops new works with a range of young South Australia artists and filmmakers.

We asked the young entrepreneur some more about doing business in South Australia.

What do you believe are the strengths of doing business in South Australia?

I see there are three key areas where South Australia excels:

  • Our talent pool. We have found a lot of enthusiastic young people who are full of potential but have previously been starved of real opportunities to stay and work here in SA. The tide is turning, and it’s really exciting for these people grow and develop all around the state.
  • The nature of Adelaide’s networks. We often lament the small “Degree of Separation” in and around our industries, but it has allowed us to find the right people to talk to and reach high with ideas.
  • Lifestyle. Again, Adelaide is often maligned for being smaller than our east-coast neighbours, but there’s a reason we keep being recognised as the world’s fifth most liveable city.

What do you believe are the weak points of conducting business in South Australia?

Growth has been extremely slow. This has all sorts of effects on businesses beyond the bottom line as it impacts socioeconomic mobility, available opportunities for disruption and business confidence.

Perhaps in trying to fix the above, governments of all persuasions have intervened in industries and “picked winners”, which sometimes works but often causes significant disruption to the existing ecosystems. Not every company is going to be successful forever, but if you have two ventures competing in an already strained environment, the one with government backing is going to have an almost insurmountable advantage.

Do you see your future in South Australia?

I come from Adelaide, I’ve stayed in Adelaide without incentive, I want to stay in Adelaide. Already in my time I’ve seen many companies come and go with more promises than I’ll ever make. I’ll let my actions speak louder than my words in this regard.

How can the state encourage more of its young leaders to stay?

It stands to reason that with many of our young people leaving the state, a high proportion of those leaving are the potential leaders of the future.

According to the UN World Youth Report (2013), the magnitude of perceived labour inequalities, income, and living standards are some of the key factors behind youth migration. While we are privileged to live in such a wealthy country, the relative difference, or more importantly the perceived relative difference, between South Australia and other Australian states is significant.

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A further problem is the focus on encouraging “young leaders”, rather than cultivating an environment that allows young people the opportunity to adopt responsibility and to develop their own leadership capacity and style. There are many different types of leadership and it needs to evolve through experience. To quote Al Pacino’s character in the 1992 film Scent of a Woman, “creators of leaders: be careful what kind of leaders you’re producin’ here!”

Without addressing the above factors regarding workforce inequalities, income, and living standards, the exodus of young leaders will continue to be symptomatic of a deeper issue: the hemorrhaging of South Australia’s young people and potential.

The state can encourage young leaders to stay by providing real economic development that is in partnership with the private sector, and advocating for young people to adopt real responsibility as they develop and grow.

More about 40 Under 40

An assessment panel representing the South Australian business community judged hundreds of nominees for the inaugural 40 Under 40 awards, which aim to identify and promote a new generation of local leaders under the age of 40.

The final 40 includes a hugely varied collection of South Australian talents, who are making a mark in fields such as health, technology, the media, property, social innovation, agriculture, finance, the law, and much more.

For the full list of 40 Under 40 winners go here.

40 Under 40 is an InDaily initiative supported by the following partners:

  • Deloitte
  • Piper Alderman
  • Australian Institute of Business
  • KWP!
  • Australian Institute of Company Directors
  • Underwood Executive
  • City of Norwood, Payneham and St Peters
  • Local Government Association of South Australia
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