Chief Executive Officer & NED
Karen Lawson is an award winning executive and growth leader in the digital, technology and startup industry. She uses her experience in driving reinvention and transformation to help the world’s biggest brands to stay ahead of disruption.
Karen launched Peloton in Australia, the number one global connected fitness company. During 2021 she hired a team over sixty people, opening their HQ with flagship showrooms, creating music collaborations with Spotify, securing warehousing and logistic operations nationally – all in the middle of a lock down as Australian demand surpassed all expectations. She also initiated new B2B strategies creating world first partnerships and business models with Airbnb, Qantas and the major hotel brands to accelerate growth.
Prior to Peloton, Karen was the MD of Spotify Australia & New Zealand, a global audio streaming business reaching 422m listerners in 92 countries. She launched podcasting in the Australian market with new formats such as ‘Your Daily Drive’. Her music team were responsible for the discovery and fast ascendency of Tones & I ‘Dance Monkey’ which was the first Australian achieve #1 on Spotify.
Karen has served in a number of CEO roles including a new startup venture founded by a ANZ and incubated by BCGDV. Slingshot, where she grew the business to become the #1 corporate accelerator in Australia, having run more corporate accelerator programs than any other provider increasing the total market capitalisation of its alumni to over $507m having accelerated over 151 businesses. The $15m Slingshot VC Fund invested into early stage founders. Slingshot secured multi year contracts with leading organisations such as Qantas, Lion, SEEK, NewsCorp, HCF, Caltex along with state and federal governments. She founded a new disruptive SaaS busness, CoVentured, a global marketplace to connect corporates and startups for mutual growth. It launched late 2017 with a $1m run rate including blue chips such as West Pac, Australia Post and Woolworths and over 70% of Australian startups.
Prior to this she was the CEO for CareerOne, a joint venture between News Limited and Monster Worldwide. With a remit to forge a new digital strategy, Karen reinvented the traditional job marketplace into a leading targeting and digital business offering media, employer branding, SaaS and sourcing solutions. CareerOne went on to be awarded a spot in the coveted BRW ‘Top 50 most innovative companies’ list for 2014 and was sold for over $50m two years later.
Today Karen sits on the boards of The Save The Children Fund Investment Committee, which is a world first VC fund investing into startups along with SDGx.io, a VC and technology business aligned with the UN SDGs who are raising a $100m fund focused on climate change. Through her consultancy, Karen provides corporates and start-ups with commercial growth, product and transformation support. With experience leading through change; motivating and developing cross functional teams to peak performance, Karen is extremely passionate about delivering great results and helping others achieve their true potential.
She is also a prolific networker, experienced media commentator and guest speaker, with appearances on TV, radio in print and digital, as well as industry forums. Her commitment to not only driving innovation and disruption but also to promoting D&I resulted in Karen being selected as UN ambassador for Women’s Entrepreneurship Day, Rare Birds Speaker, Nominee for Telstra Woman of the Year, Pledge 1%’s Women Who Lead, Australian Growth Company Awards, Women’s Agenda finalist and Smart Company Women in Tech.
Karen is also a huge ‘foodie’ and has been a food and luxury travel journalist for over fifteen years, writing for a diverse range of publishers and leads the team at Daily Addict.com.au. She doesn’t have holidays, but has research and writing trips! To balance this out she is an avid runner having completed both New York and London Marathons, though these days she is more likely to be seen jogging around Blackwattle Bay with her rescue greyhounds at a much more sedate pace!