Last week, Emma Crichton was appointed as the Australian CEO of AutogenAI — a tech firm looking to improve the efficiency of tendering government contracts.
While that might sound slightly banal, the amount of money swilling around in the Federal government’s contracting and tendering system is truly eye-watering. Between July 2012 – June 2022 824,178 Federal government contracts were worth $564.5bn.
AutogenAI believes that its AI-powered bid and proposal writing software can boost the productivity of teams — regardless of size — pitching for contracts across industry verticals including consultancy, housing, infrastructure, health, defence, mining, energy and construction by up to 342 per cent.
The size of the opportunity for AutogenAI in Australia is enormous. And Crichton is charged with expanding the business across APAC, to boot. WLT sat down with Crichton for a chat about AI, the plans for the company and being a female tech leader.
WLT: Why was Australia such an important market for AutogenAI to expand into?
Emma Crichton: Australia is an ideal market for AutogenAI to expand into due to its strong and vibrant economy. The government is actively seeking competition, provider accountability and new suppliers to meet its procurement needs, and AutogenAI can give businesses a competitive edge in this regard. AutogenAI’s generative AI-driven solutions can help businesses secure contracts from the government while ensuring taxpayers get a better deal.
By entering the Australian market, we can access a vast customer base and can tap into the country’s innovative outsourced industries. This gives us the opportunity to continue to develop our software and services that could be of great benefit to the Australian market and more so our company’s global offering.
Moreover, Australia’s strong economy and robust legal system provide AutogenAI with a secure environment in which to operate, allowing us to focus on delivering quality products and services to our customers.
What are your priorities for the company in your new role?
My priority in my new role is to gain the trust of Australian companies and their hard-working bidding and tender staff, ensuring they can bid more efficiently and win more business. To do this, I am recruiting a team of talented tenders and proposal experts, as well as SaaS professionals who understand how to embed digital transformation and change management into organisations, adding value and delighting users.
How are planning to create local technical jobs within the firm?
All global teams will be feeding into product development and in Australia we will have a specific focus on customer experience.
What does it mean to you to be a female CEO of a tech company in Australia?
Being a female CEO of a tech company in Australia is an incredible feeling for me. I still can’t quite believe it, as I came from such an unlikely background: I started out as a social worker and eventually moved into business development. Yet here I am now, leading in the tech industry. It is a testament to the power of generative AI and its ability to make opportunities available to everyone. It’s so egalitarian and this means that someone with my strengths can lead in tech, regardless of their background.
It is inspiring to me to be able to serve as an example that hard work and dedication can lead to success, even when the odds may seem insurmountable. As a female CEO, I am committed to advocating for diversity and inclusion in the tech industry and doing my part to create a more equitable future.
What have been the most formative experiences for you at work as a female business leader?
I was a young CEO in my early 30s at a not-for-profit in Melbourne, which is where I learned to bid. Even in that sector, I was often the token female in leadership circles. I learnt that sport was a good conversation starter to build rapport, but mostly, I learnt that authenticity creates a sustainable network. I have had to practice and learn how to adopt a growth mindset and be honest with myself about my weaknesses. Additionally, I understand the importance of having a mentor, seeking advice and investing in my career health and wellbeing.
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