Meet the Seed Space team: Tobias Snoad

Nov 07, 2020
SeedSpace Team

Welcome to Seed Space’s series of profiles introducing the core members of our team. Next up is Tobias Snoad, a Partner of Seed Space.

How did you come to this point in your career?

The first time I was part of a tech startup in the early 2000s, working as a software developer, was really influential. That startup didn’t succeed in the end, but it instilled in me a love of the startup world. It was such a change from traditional workplaces — in a startup you’re so close to the outcomes you’re working towards, so there is a much clearer sense of purpose and fulfilment than you get working in a larger organisation. It totally changed what I wanted out of a career.

Much later I decided to step back from writing software, and decided to go back and study economics and statistics. That really changed the way I think about decision making and risk analysis. In a world that’s so unpredictable we need good models for making decisions that can take uncertainty into account. I probably still count myself as more of a technologist though, and I still write a fair bit of code. I joined Seed Space just as I was finishing my economics degree, and it is really an ideal fit between the tech background and the new economics skills.

What is great about working in venture capital in general and fintech VC in particular?

Working close to startups and startup founders is really invigorating — being in close proximity to people with such great ideas, intelligence and enthusiasm. It’s also what I see as the genuinely positive goals of the fintech industry. The products we work with are the kinds of things that people will engage with on a regular basis, that will change the way they interact with the financial world and their own money. I think this has the potential to drive real change in terms of financial literacy and inclusion over time

What’s one of your favourite moments from your time at Seed Space?

The Seed Space events are something I really enjoy. It’s somewhere we get to see startups pitching to a large audience — often for the first time. I also see that ‘first moment’ in a lot of the startups the first time they’re featured in a news article, it’s a time to be proud of what the founders and their companies are achieving.

What would you tell someone who asked you for career advice?

I would say that it’s important to think about what you want to achieve in life an in your career. I think it’s important to look at the world and find where you can find purpose and change things over time, and to be flexible and re-assess your priorities as you get older. Above all think about what you want to achieve, rather than what job title you want.

What keeps you busy when you’re not at work?

I love to cook, both for friends and just for myself. I’ve been cooking a lot of Japanese street-food recently, lots of Okonomiyaki and Tonkatsu ramen, and also trying regional Chinese recipes: Mala hot pot, cumin lamb ribs and that kind of thing. When I’m not cooking, I’m probably out hiking. Being based in Canberra at the moment the Brindabellas and Kosciuszko national park are a short drive away, and there are so many places to explore and to spend a day in the wilderness.

What’s the best holiday you’ve taken, and what’s your ultimate dream trip?

Back at the beginning of 2020 — it feels like an eternity ago — I was in Europe with a DFAT delegation, visiting Germany, Switzerland and France. While I was there I took a week off to visit Scotland for the first time. It was deep winter, with no other tourists around and it was just amazing hiking through the misty highlands and mountains. The landscape, the people, the food, and not to mention the Scotch whisky are all remarkable.

What’s the best restaurant you’ve ever been to?

While I’ve been to my share of the world’s best restaurants, I would have to say that none of them are my true favourites. Really, it changes over time but at the moment, my favourite place is a small street-food restaurant that’s just around the corner. It does Chongquing noodles — they’re wheat noodles with slow-cooked pork ribs in sauce that’s full of chili oil and Szechuan peppercorns. It’s really amazing, and if you’re in Canberra and into Szechuan-style food, I highly recommend a visit.

What sport or hobby would you love to take up if time and money were no object?

I would say paragliding — the idea of catching the wind and sailing the updrafts for hours is pretty appealing at the moment. I’ve only ever done one tandem flight, and gliding through the mountains was both exhilarating and tranquil, right up to the point where the guide asked if I wanted to try some aerobatics — after that I needed a quiet sit-down.

What was your favourite place to travel on business, back in the good old days when we could?

Singapore. It’s a good place to do business, a good place to be while doing business, and a great place to eat. I love the hawker markets where you can get amazing food — hundreds of different stalls, all with their own speciality.

What three essential items would you take to a desert island?

My personal locator beacon would be the obvious answer for a quick rescue. But putting that aside, the idea of a pile of books, a supply of cold daiquiris and a shady hammock does sound like a pretty good alternative.