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Work experience

2006Present

Member

Business Development Council of South Australia

The Business Development Council's main role is to advise the South Australian Government of key issues in the business sector and to work on projects aimed at supporting the growth of small and medium sized businesses in particular. Conor is the Chair of the Business Development Council's Sub-committee for Fostering Innovation & Entrepreneurship. He is also a Member of the Sub-committees for Funding Small Business and for Family Business.

Aug 2004Present

Director

Kid Sense Child Development

Founded in 1998, Kid Sense Child Development is South Australia's leading provider of private Paediatric development services. Kid Sense vision is to create the most trusted brand in child development, globally. Its mission is to own and operate a portfolio of purpose-built child development centres across Australia and license its brand and business model to established partners in key overseas markets.

Mar 2000Present

Managing Director

Twoeyes Venture & Advisory

Twoeyes Venture & Advisory helps business owners develop, grow and sell their enterprise.Twoeyes focus is on preparing emerging ventures with high growth potential to successfully raise venture funding and grow; and on preparing more mature SME's (Small to Medium-sized Enterprises) for a strategic sale to an industry buyer, thereby providing an exit for the business owner(s). Twoeyes also works with Family Businesses in developing growth and succession strategies.

Jul 2006Dec 2007

Vice-president & Director

Playgroup S.A.

Playgroup SA is the South Australian division of Playgroup Australia, the largest not-for-profit support group for new mothers, infants and toddlers in Australia.

Jan 2002Mar 2004

Executive Chairman & Marketing Director

ZORK

ZORK is a revolutionary wine closure with the convenience of screw cap & the pop of a cork. ZORK has been developed as a solution to the problems of cork taint & random oxidation. These quality issues present the global wine industry with its greatest technical challenge: how to seal the bottle without spoiling the wine. Conor was the inventor, founder & venture developer of ZORK.

May 2002Dec 2003

Founder & State Convenor (South Australia)

Australian Venture Capital Association Limited

Conor established the South Australian division of AVCAL, organising and convening the first 5 networking events. Once established, he handed over operations to Ernst & Young, AVCAL's major sponsor.

Sep 2000Dec 2003

Founder & State Convenor

SA Ventures & Investors 'First Tuesday' Network

Conor established one of Australia's largest and most successful formalised venture networks comprising entrepreneurs, technology innovators, business owners, service providers, angel investors, strategic corporates and venture capital investors. He also created the 'Innovator of the Year Award' and the iBall - the annual networking dinner and awards event for the South Australian venture community. He successfully delivered 35 venture networking events to over 5,000 attendees.

Sep 2001Jun 2003

South Australian Program Coordinator

Australian INNOVATION Festival

The Australian INNOVATION Festival (AIF) was created to celebrate the development and implementation of new ideas and applaud and promote better ways for operating across all industries, nationally. Conor established and co-ordinated the South Australian program for its first two years.

19982000

National Accounts Manager (Wine & Spirits)

ACI Glass Packaging

ACI Glass Packaging (Part of the Owens Illinois Group) was at the time the sole Australian manufacturing supplier of glass containers to the food & beverage industry. Conor was responsible for an annual sales budget of over $50M (100M units) and reported to the Executive Management Group on a total wine industry volume of over 1B units.

Jul 1995Jun 1997

Founding Partner

Olearus Pty. Ltd.
Multi-award winning project originated from the National Enterprise Workshop Business Planning Competition. Joint venture with commercial arm of the University of South Australia to commercialise University-developed super-critical CO2 technology for use in the extraction of essential oils from seeds. Project failed Commercial Viability Assessment with company eventually wound up in 1999.
Nov 1991Jun 1997

Marketing & Administration Manager

Rowater Australia

Conor was the first employee and '2IC' of multi-start up, ROWATER AUSTRALIA, a manufacturer and supplier of water desalination and membrane purification systems and superior quality water products, both packaged and bulk delivery. Rowater Australia operates under three distinct, yet complementary, business units; 'Rowater Australia - Water Purification Systems' specialising in the design, manufacture, installation and servicing of membrane desalination and purification systems for domestic, commercial, industrial and marine applications. 'Rowater Australia - High Purity Water' focusing on the production and distribution of superior quality packaged and bulk water products for a wide range of applications from pharmaceutical to drinking. 'The Pure Water Shop', a concept retail store specialising in the sale, installation and servicing of domestic and corporate drinking water and whole-of-house water filtration systems.Developed out of a strong customer focus and market understanding, Rowater's unique company structure ensured maximum market coverage and the ability to deal with any water purification application, large or small, locally, nationally and internationally.

Education

20092009

AICD

Australian Institute of Company Directors
Australian Institute of Company Directors is Australia's membership institute for directors. It is dedicated to making a positive impact on the economy and society by promoting professional directorship and good governance. AICD delivers knowledge and continuing learning in the field of directorship; enriches the capabilities of members with information, services, events and networks; influences the corporate governance environment in Australia; and promotes understanding of and respect for the role of directors. 'For directors, by directors', the Company Directors Course (CDC) is a comprehensive director education program leading to a qualification recognised by the director community both in Australia and overseas.
20082008

Graduate of 34th VCI

Venture Capital Institute, Atlanta, GA USA
The Venture Capital Institute (VCI) is the Educational Foundation for Venture and Private Equity Professionals Worldwide. VCI is an intense, four-day, in-residence program conducted by experienced venture capital managers, investors and attorneys who are recognized experts in their fields and committed to sharing their knowledge and experiences. The Institute attracts attendees from around the world who benefit not only from the practical knowledge they take from the program but also from the relationships they form with their peers in the venture capital industry.
20032007

MBA (Advanced)

Adelaide University School of Business
20022002

AVCAL Foundation Course

Australian Venture Capital Association Ltd.
19941994

Executive Diploma

South Australian Enterprise Workshop
19931994

Graduate Diploma

University of South Australia
19921992

Certificate

Clements School of Management
19861990

Bachelor of Arts

National University of Ireland, Galway
19791985

Leaving Certificate

Clongowes Wood College

Portfolio

Memberships & Associations

  • Member, Australian Venture Capital & Private Equity Association Limited (AVCAL)
  • Member, Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD)
  • Member, Business Development Council of South Australia (BDCSA)
  • Chairman, BDCSA Subcommittee for Fostering Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Member, BDCSA Subcommittee for Small Business Funding
  • Member, BDCSA Subcommittee for Family Business
  • Member, Management Committee South Australian Crippled Crows Golden Oldies Rugby Club Inc.
  • Playing Member, ‘South Australian Crippled Crows’  Rugby Veterans
  • Founder, Entrepreneurs' Guild
  • Co-founder & Judge, Adelaide University 'E-Challenge' Entrepreneurial Business Planning Competition
  • Delegate, Economic Development Board 'Economic Growth Summit', 2003
  • Member, SA Enterprise Workshop Alumni
  • Former Member, City of Unley Road Safety Committee.
  • Professional Profile

    Founder and Managing Director of Twoeyes, Conor McKenna is a strategic advisor who helps business owners, boards and CEOs to develop, grow & improve performance, while providing wealth creation opportunities for equity investors.

    He is a venture-backed entrepreneur, business owner, venture developer, equity investor & company director. During his 20 year career, he has resided in 6 countries & worked in 13 industries. Within these, he has developed start-ups, spin-outs, family businesses, SMEs, not-for-profits & Government bodies.

    Founder & driving force of multiple ventures, he has broad operating experience: from the first in a start-up to a key role with the Australian subsidiary of a US multinational, responsible for $50M budget & reported on 1B units ‘Just in Time’ supply.

    A multi-award winning entrepreneur, in 1999 Conor invented ZORK, a patented wine packaging technology that is the basis of a successful global product innovation. The same year he created the ZORK trade mark. He founded the ZORK company in 2002.

    ZORK has since gone on to commercialise the core technology, raise multimillion dollar venture funding & secure strategic partners in key global markets. Large-scale manufacturing capacity has been developed on 3 continents. The company's second product, ZORK for sparkling wines, was launched in mid 2009.

    Conor is recognised as having pioneered South Australia's Venture Community: In 2001, he established the South Australian operation of First Tuesday, the global entrepreneural and investor networking phonomena, which connected Adelaide to 117 cities across the globe.

    The same year, he created and hosted the highly acclaimed iBall the innovators and investors networking dinner and developed and delivered the Innovator of the Year award program.

    In 2002, he brought AVCAL, the Australian Venture Capital & Private Equity Association, to South Australia, and was the founding SA State Convenor of AVCAL for its first 2 years. During this 2 year period, he also established and co-ordinated South Australia's participation in the Australian Innovation Festival.

    In total, over a 36-month period, Conor organised and facilitated 35 networking events that brought together over 5,000 entrepreneurs, investors and service providers. He successfully attracted many venture capital investors from interstate and overseas to Adelaide and stimulated a number of successful investment opportunities and strategic partnerships.

    A Member of the SA Business Development Council since 2006, Conor advises the Minister for Small Business on behalf of SA business community. He is Chairman of the Council's Sub-committee for Innovation & Entrepreneurship & is a Member of the Sub-committees for Business Funding & Family Business.

    Conor was awarded a Churchill Fellowship in 2009 by the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust. As part of his Fellowship, Conor is travelling across the USA to make a study of "How a regional economy like South Australia can create a sustainable culture of Entrepreneurship and Venture Investing". 

    He is a Member of both the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) & the Australian Venture Capital & Private Equity Association (AVCAL).

    In November 2009, Conor will be attending the Private Equity and Venture Capital program at Harvard School of Business in Boston.

    He is also a Graduate of both the 34th Venture Capital Institute in Atlanta and the AVCAL Foundation Course in Venture Capital. He has also completed the AICD Company Directors Course.

    Conor holds an Advanced Master of Business Administration Degree from the University of Adelaide, where he specialised in Strategic Operational Planning. He has a Graduate Diploma in Business Administration from the University of South Australia and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Italian & English Literature from the University of Galway, in Ireland.

    A father of three and a keen enthusiast of sky diving and abseiling, Conor is an active member of the South Australian Crippled Crows Golden Oldies Rugby team. He is also an elected Member of the Rugby Club's Management Committee.

    Specialities

    • Bespoke Advisory
    • Strategic Personal Planning (Business Owner)
    • Strategic Operational Planning & Performance Improvement (Enterprise)
    • Strategic Marketing; Integrated, on-line/off-line Marketing Communications Strategy deployment
    • Sales & Account Management; Customer Service Delivery
    • Board & Team Building; Non-executive Directorships; 
    • New Venture Formation; Interim CEO/COO
    • Commercial Viability Assessment
    • Strategic Due Diligence (Buy Side/Sell Side)
    • Technology Commercialisation; Grant Funding
    • Mergers & Acquisitions; Equity Capital Raising.

    Honours & Awards

    • Recipient - Churchill Fellowship Awarded by the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust in 2009
    • Recipient - Venture Capital SA Scholarship to 34th Venture Capital Institute, USA, 2008
    • Finalist - Telstra Business Awards SA, 2007 & 2008
    • Winner - Technology Venture Partners Entrepreneur in Residence Award, 2001
    • Represented Australia – MootCorp International Venture Capital Competition, USA, 2001
    • National Winner – MootCorp Australia 'Winning Venture' Competition, 2001
    • Winner - MootCorp Australia Best Business Plan Award, 1999 & 2001
    • Winner - MootCorp Australia Best Business Presentation Award, 2001
    • Winner - Orlando Wyndham 'The Winning Circle’ Supplier of the Year Award, 1998
    • Finalist - National Enterprise Workshops Business Planning Competition, 1994
    • Winner - SA Enterprise Workshop Business Planning Competition, 1994
    • Winner - Enterprise Investments Ltd Enterprise Award, 1994
    • Winner - Engineering Employers Award for Manufacturing Planning, 1994