Kristian Livolsi


The University of Adelaide’s ThincLab has appointed its first Entrepreneur in Residence to provide mentorship, inspiration and advice to locally based start-up companies.

Adelaide entrepreneur Kristian Livolsi – who has experienced both the soaring highs and devastating lows of the business world – will apply his knowledge and leadership skills to the role of Entrepreneur in Residence at ThincLab Adelaide.

ThincLab Adelaide is a venture incubator that gives start-up companies the best opportunities to succeed and grow. More than 50 new ventures have moved into the ThincLab headquarters, located in the city of Adelaide as part of the University’s North Terrace campus.

Kristian Livolsi, who is also an Adjunct Professor in the University’s Entrepreneurship, Commercialisation and Innovation Centre (ECIC), will guide and advise ThincLab start-up ventures, and will help to coordinate a network of around 40 industry mentors who work with ThincLab members.

With a background in hospitality, commerce, sales, marketing and techonology, Mr Livolsi is currently a Director of several digital marketing firms, co-owner of the Rob Roy Hotel and Taxpayer, Managing Director of energy company EnergyDNA, among many other positions. He has more than 20 years’ experience of entrepreneurship and innovation, and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors program.

By his own admission, Mr Livolsi is “an expert in failure and renewal”. In 2008, he led companies with a turnover in excess of $30 million. By early 2010, his fortunes had changed – he was penniless, homeless and couch surfing, relying on the generosity of others, and seeking treatment for depression. However, by 2013, he had relaunched his entrepreneurial career and now oversees a number of successful entrepreneurial ventures and businesses.

“There’s no doubt that entrepreneurship involves great risks as well as rewards, and I’ve had more than my fair share of both good and bad times,” Mr Livolsi says.

“These are hard-learned lessons but they also offer the promise of understanding, recovery and renewal.

“I’m excited about this new opportunity to connect with start-up teams in ThincLab Adelaide, to help share my experiences and my learnings. Ultimately, I hope to inspire teams towards great achievements, and to contribute in a positive way to innovation in South Australia,” he says.

Professor Noel Lindsay, Pro Vice-Chancellor Entrepreneurship at the University of Adelaide, and Director of the Entrepreneurship, Commercialisation and Innovation Centre, says: “Kristian is a naturally inspiring leader, and his story is one that will resonate with anyone involved in innovation. With his experience of business in Australia, Europe, Asia and the Middle East, we are thrilled to have him as the very first Entrepreneur in Residence at ThincLab Adelaide.”