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PopUp WiFi CEO and Co-founder Nina McMahon Awarded 2021 Tasmanian Pearcey Entrepreneur of the Year

Announcement posted by Pearcey Foundation 12 Nov 2021

The Pearcey Foundation today announced Nina McMahon,  co-founder and CEO of PopUp WiFi as the recipient of the 2021 Tasmanian Pearcey Entrepreneur of the Year Award. The award was presented to Nina at the 2021 TasICT Gala Dinner, the finale to the 9th annual Tasmanian ICT Conference in Hobart.

PopUp WiFi manufactures rugged appliances that deliver multi-carrier bonded internet for industrial production hire or lease. Combining world-leading advanced networking and 3D printing techniques, PopUp WiFi’s portable, remotely managed internet solution deliver highly redundant, seamless connectivity in challenging situations such as crowded festivals, onboard moving vehicles or in remote areas. Professional producers across the US and Australia rely on PopUp WiFi solutions for a range of high stakes purposes, like powering cashless payments at temporary bars at Dark MOFO, supporting the SpaceX Inspiration IV live stream at Cape Canaveral, Florida or streaming a live product launch from the Volkswagen headquarters. 

Under Nina’s leadership, PopUp WiFi has experienced extraordinary success since it was established with co-founders Andrew Davies and Linden Kurth in Hobart in 2013.  From humble beginnings (a prototype built to support an event that Nina and the team were running for a client), PopUp WiFi has grown into a global company that has supported thousands of events all over the world and brokered partnerships with some of the world’s most recognised companies, including Square, Eventbrite, Boeing, NASA, Volkswagen and Dior.

With live events disrupted globally over the last 18 months, Nina and the team pivoted the company towards supporting event live streaming and, in the process, tripled PopUp WiFi’s revenue over a 12-month period. PopUp WiFi’s success has allowed Nina and the rest of the PopUp WiFi team to give back to the wider community, with a vision “to invigorate communities”.  Since the company was founded, PopUp WiFi has contributed over half a million dollars in in-kind and cash donations to community and charitable events that align with this purpose.

“PopUp WiFi is a business that could have started anywhere, but through a commitment to excellence across all aspects of the business Nina and the PopUp WiFi team have carved out a profitable niche at a global scale. Nina’s success is evidence that startups can be born and flourish globally in Tasmania, which has an incredible flow-on effect for the local ICT sector. PopUp WiFi is based in the Enterprize startup hub in Hobart, which has given Nina the opportunity to mentor and advise other aspiring and early-stage Tasmanian entrepreneurs, as well as supporting education and training through our local VET sector,” said James Riggall, chair of the Pearcey Tasmania judging committee and 2015 Tasmanian Pearcey Award recipient.

The Tasmanian Pearcey Entrepreneur Award recognises a Tasmanian who has taken a risk, made a difference and inspired others. This year, the Tasmanian Pearcey Entrepreneurship Award has been judged by a panel of eight Australian entrepreneurs and ICT professionals, with representation on the panel from TasICT, Australian Computer Society (ACS), Pearcey Foundation and past Tasmanian Pearcey Award recipients. 

As the Pearcey Tasmania Award recipient, Nina McMahon will represent the state in the Pearcey National Awards and November Conversation on 24 November 2021 (see below for more details).

For more information about previous Tasmanian Pearcey Entrepreneur Award winners, go to https://pearcey.org.au/tas.

Other State Awards

Australia Capital Territory Awards: Liquid Instruments CEO Daniel Shaddock received the 2021 ACT Chief Minister’s Pearcey Entrepreneur Award. See further https://prwire.com.au/pr/99152/liquid-instruments-ceo-daniel-shaddock-receives-2021-act-chief-ministers-pearcey-entrepreneur-award.

NSW Awards: the NSW Award was presented to brother and sister team Jordan O'Reilly and Laura O'Reilly OAM, co-founders of Hireup, a profit-for-purpose business aimed at connecting people with disability in Australia with support workers who fit their needs and share their interests. See https://prwire.com.au/pr/99579/disability-advocates-and-social-entrepreneurs-jordan-and-laura-oreilly-recognised-with-2021-pearcey-foundation-award

Queensland Awards: STEM education leader and co-founder of STEM Punks Michael Holmstrom was announced as the 2021 recipient. See more at https://prwire.com.au/pr/99356/2021-queensland-pearcey-ict-entrepreneur-award-recognises-award-winning-stem-education-leader-michael-holmstrom.

South Australia Awards: a shortlist of five candidates has been selected for the 2021 Award by this year’s judging panel – which comprises previous award recipients Geoff Rohrsheim (2018), Tony Clark (2019) and Michelle Perugini (2020) plus two experienced mentors of entrepreneurs in SA, Mark Ledson, SA Office of the Chief Entrepreneur and Mike Richards, Polaris Business and Innovation Centre, City of Salisbury. The date for the announcement and presentation of the award is still to be confirmed. Major recent news from last year’s award recipient, CEO and co-founder at Presagen, Michelle Perugini. She is relocating to the USA next month to expand her business after signing a sole global distribution agreement with FujiFILMS Irvine Scientific for Life Whisperer, the fertility arm of Presagen. See more at https://www.lifewhisperer.com/fisi-announcement.

Victorian Awards: this year’s recipient is Bronwyn Le Grice, CEO and managing director of ANDHealth. See further https://prwire.com.au/pr/98622/digital-health-leader-bronwyn-le-grice-named-as-2021-victorian-pearcey-entrepreneur-of-the-year.

Western Australia Awards: this year’s Pearcey WA Entrepreneur of the Year is Charlie Gunningham, Managing Editor, The Property Tribune and Startup News; and Founder & Principal of Damburst. He has spent more than 20 years in the Perth technology and startup sector, firstly as a founder himself, through to exit, and more recently as a writer, advisor and investor. He now works in an advisory capacity for multiple tech and other businesses, is managing editor of Startup News and co-host of the Startup West podcast. Gunningham was presented with his award at the 30th INCITE Awards, the longest running ICT Awards program in WA.

National Pearcey Awards

The winners of the prestigious 2021 Pearcey National Awards – including the Pearcey Medal, Hall of Fame and National Entrepreneur Award – will be announced at a virtual event on Wednesday 24 November from 4:00pm AEDT. The presentation will be followed by the final Pearcey Conversation for 2021 – Predictions for 2022 and Beyond! – with industry leaders sharing their valuable insights and predictions for the year ahead. Speakers include: Wayne Fitzsimmons, Chair, The Pearcey Foundation; Maria MacNamara, CEO and Advisory Board Member; Kerri Lee Sinclair, Investor and Non–Executive Board Member; Professor Toby Walsh, Laureate Fellow and Scientia Professor of Artificial Intelligence, UNSW. For more details and to register, go to https://heritage.pearcey.org.au/2021-national-awards-and-nov-conversation.  


About the Pearcey Foundation
The Pearcey Foundation Inc. is a non-profit organisation established in 1998 to raise the profile of the Australian Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry and profession. It was created in the memory of one of the greatest pioneers of the Australian ICT industry, Dr Trevor Pearcey. By celebrating the heroes in our industry, past present and future, the Foundation is looking to attract and encourage young Australians into this most exciting of global high technology sectors of our nation.

Web: www.pearcey.org.au

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