Simon Hackett is an Australian business leader who combines entrepreneurial energy with technical expertise. After building Internode into Australia's largest privately-owned broadband company, Simon sold Internode to iiNet Ltd, Australia’s second-largest provider of DSL broadband services. After serving as a non-executive director on the iiNet board for 18 months, Simon resigned that role in November 2013 to become a non-executive director of NBN Co, the government-owned company building the National Broadband Network. Simon has also invested in a number of innovative Australian start-up technology companies.
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Iconic loudspeaker manufacturer VAF Research is aiming for strong growth this year with innovative new products, a beefed-up channel and the backing of technology entrepreneur Simon Hackett.
The Adelaide company sells directly from its Kent Town head office as well as distributing products nationally through selected resellers. This distribution network will be expanded this year, with the goal of substantially increasing the volume of indirect sales.
VAF attracted the interest of Simon Hackett – the Internode founder, NBN director and technology investor – after he bought a pair of VAF speakers in November 2012 to install at his office at Base64, the $3 million renovation of an historic 1865 Adelaide mansion and surrounding buildings that is now a state-of-the-art business centre.
During the past 18 months, Simon and VAF founder Philip Vafiadis have collaborated to define a shared vision for the company’s future and where the market is heading. This has involved streamlining a number of back-end systems, a refresh of VAF’s brand and website and the development of a new national distribution strategy.
Philip Vafiadis, whose other business interests include chairing business innovation specialist Innovyz and who also co-founded Zen Energy Systems, said 2016 was shaping up as a great year for VAF Research. “We have big plans for this year,” he said.
The charitable foundation run on behalf of the family of technology entrepreneur Simon Hackett has agreed to become the Presenting Sponsor of the WOMADelaide world music festival for 2016.
WOMADelaide (http://www.womadelaide.com.au) is a culturally rich event held in March each year that transforms Adelaide’s peaceful Botanic Park into a lively and vibrant community of music, movement, food, flavours, people and performances.
WOMADelaide has already announced its first acts for 2016 including a collaborative debut between Angélique Kidjo and the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra; South African vocal group Ladysmith Black Mambazo; Canadian scientist David Suzuki and Aussie ska & jazz band The Cat Empire.
Hackett is a long time supporter of WOMADelaide, having initiated his former company Internode’s major sponsorship of the event from 2012 to 2015. At the 2015 event his family, through the Hackett Foundation, sponsored the amazing Architects of Air installation, ‘Exxopolis’.
An historic Adelaide mansion has undergone a multi-million-dollar metamorphosis that has transformed the heritage-listed 19th century pile into a 21st century landmark.
The property - formerly housing the Parkin Theological College and Pepper Studios - is a distinctive visual and historic element in Kent Town, a fringe suburb east of Adelaide’s CBD.
Constructed in 1865 of bluestone and sandstone rubble with brick quoins, the original two-storey building contains picturesque detailing with a facade of profiled brick, scalloped barges and a cantilevered balcony.
When Adelaide-based technology entrepreneur Simon Hackett paid $3.5 million for the property in 2012, he decided to restore it to its former glory while bringing it aesthetically, structurally and functionally into the 21st century.
“It is such a beautiful property that had been extended and maintained quite haphazardly over the years,” said Simon. “We wanted these renovations to make this an Adelaide landmark building for the next 100 years.”