Shark Tank judge Steve Baxter is looking for a new owner for his startup hub, River City Labs

Steve Baxter. Picture: Business Insider

Shark Tank judge Steve Baxter is getting out of the Brisbane startup hub he created, River City Labs.

In a blog post on LinkedIn this week, Baxter said “handing the baton” was “not a commercially-driven decision” for the not-for-profit coworking space.

“It’s about what’s best for the QLD startup community, for RCL, our members, and our team,” he said.

“I’m not disappearing from the Queensland startup ecosystem,” Baxter wrote. “I’ll continue to be Queensland’s Chief Entrepreneur, actively invest in and mentor startups, and attend RCL events whenever I can.”

Baxter has been guiding Queensland startups at the lab since it launched in March, 2012, and says RCL has “surpassed every one of my expectations”.

In that time, more than 700 startups have set up shop at RCL, and some 29,000 people have attended more than 1,000 startup and community events hosted by RCL. More than 40 events have been held at RCL in the past month alone.

Baxter says it’s simply time for him to step down from his roles as RCL’s sole director, owner, chairperson, bankroller and board member.

In the time since it opened, he’s had three kids, invested in more than 20 startups, and presided over many more as a Shark Tank judge.

He’s also been fortunate to see RCL bloom under CEO Peta Ellis since 2016.

Baxter says the search for a new owner will be kept “as transparent as possible”, with the EOI document available to view on RCL’s website. The main question the new owner has to answer is “can they continue to move the bar for Queensland’s startup ecosystem?”

“RCL has always been there to support and empower the startup community, and I’m excited to see it evolve to the next stage and do even more for Queensland,” Baxter says.

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