by Bonnie Gardiner

Velpic’s Russell Francis awarded ‘most disruptive CIO/CTO’

Sep 11, 2015
CareersCloud ComputingEducation Industry

Russell Francis, chief executive and CTO of Velpic Group, has been awarded the most disruptive CIO/CTO accolade as part of the 2015 global Talent Unleashed Awards.

Francis won the award for his work on Velpic’s cloud-based e-learning platform, which allows companies to create and manage online education using high definition video online, accessible from any device.

As part of the challenge, finalists were required to pitch to a panel of high profile judges, including Sir Richard Branson, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, Seek CEO Andrew Bassat, among others.

Francis claimed the new learning platform – which has been in development for two years – is set to disrupt the corporate global learning and development industry with $8 billion spent annually on traditional learning management systems.

“The way that we’ve done that differently from anything else out there is we’ve built the product from the ground up by training through video … We’re visual creatures, we process images in our mind 60,000 times faster by being visually prompted, so our platform allows business to create highly impactful visual training for their staff and organisation,” said Francis.

The platform has seen 13,000 lessons undertaken since its launch last year, being used by sectors including mining, charitable and financial services.

In May, International Coal entered into an option agreement to purchase 100 per cent of the Velpic Group, with the transaction due to be completed later this month.

The annual awards event, hosted by digital recruitment firm Talent International and now in its third year, was created to support innovation and entrepreneurialism with a key focus on social community and environmentalism.

The Most Disruptive CIO/CTO award recognises the technology chief who has achieved ‘amazing’ results at their company through a disruptive or transformative approach to their technology strategy.

The runner up for most disruptive CIO/CTO was Julia Raue, Air New Zealand CIO, for her role in the airline’s IT and business transformation strategy.

“Having the opportunity to pitch the Velpic story to Sir Richard Branson and Steve Wozniak as a finalist in the Talent Unleashed Awards is a significant endorsement and recognition of our eLearning technology,” said Francis.

Other categories included best tech IPO/Venture capital raising, best digital business (SME), best start-up for environmental impact, and best start-up for community or social impact.

Of all the finalists, only two – Troy Westley, co-founder of digital medical records business, CareMonkey, and Samiya Parvez, COO of Adiamo, an integrated clinical service software for disabled children – were selected to travel to Branson’s Necker Island for the Ignite Change leadership gathering.

Sir Richard Branson, who announced the winners, said every business should be a force for good.

“For a business to succeed it’s got to be making people’s lives better… and every business, once it starts to succeed, can be a force for good in an even greater way by utilising the team working at the business, and the business itself, to go out and solve some of the problems in this world. The satisfaction that your staff gets from that is magnified many times over,” said Branson.

Talent founder and MD Richard Earl said the Awards were designed to provide support and encouragement for entrepreneurs to bring their creative ideas to the fore, particularly in the social and environmental areas.

“Innovations requires bravery and this needs to be celebrated. Social and environmental issues represent some of the greatest opportunities to find new markets of profitable growth, more lasting and engaging sources of competitive advantage, that can engage people and communities in more effective ways that reduce cost and risk,” Earl said.

“The caliber of entries this year certainly reflected the position that people, planet and profit are not alternative goals and it was pleasing to see four of the five APAC Award finalists coming from within Australia.”