National Australia Bank’s (NAB) $50 million innovation fund, NAB Ventures – part of NAB’s innovation hub NAB Labs – has appointed Todd Forest as its inaugural Managing Director.
The innovation fund was established by NAB to access leading ideas and capabilities from around the world through strategic partnerships, alliances and investments in innovative companies.
Mr Forest has extensive experience as a successful CEO, entrepreneur and investor. He was previously the CEO of Clipp Pty Ltd – a mobile payments and data business focused on the hospitality industry, has served as Head of MSN Asia Pacific in Singapore, and also worked in executive roles at AOL Time Warner and Nike in the US.
Mr Forest is a successful angel investor via Tasman Ventures Fund, investing in over a dozen start-up companies in the US and Australia over the past 12 years. He said NAB was embracing the challenges of digital disruption through building an innovative culture.
“I’m excited to take on this opportunity with NAB Ventures; banking globally is undergoing a digital transformation and NAB Ventures will help ensure we are able to embrace the right changes to deliver innovative solutions for our customers,” Mr Forest said.
NAB has also appointed Melissa Widner as NAB Ventures General Partner. Ms Widner has worked in venture capital both in the US at Seapoint Ventures and in Australia at OneVentures.
She is a successful entrepreneur who founded 7Software, a Silicon Valley based enterprise software company acquired by Concur. She is also the co-founder of Sydney based, Heads Over Heels, an organisation that supports high growth companies led by women.
NAB has also recently engaged Bill Bartee, founder of Black Bird venture capital, to work with NAB Ventures on an investment advisory basis.
Mr Bartee will provide expert advice, both on the management of the fund and specific investment opportunities. He specialises in investing in and assisting disruptive, innovative companies grow and has led investments in or served on the boards of market leaders including Culture Amp, Autopilot, Shoes of Prey, Seek, Altium and Looksmart.
Executive General Manager NAB Labs Jonathan Davey said: “Todd, Melissa and Bill all have an outstanding track record and will collectively play a vital role in the success of NAB Ventures and building on the innovative culture that will help continue to deliver for our customers,” he said.