Evan Thornley is a co-founder, investor and Executive Chair of LongView.
He was Co-founder, Chair and CEO for LookSmart Ltd from 1995 to 2002. A pioneer of internet search advertising, LookSmart was Australia's first NASDAQ-listed high-tech company. Dual listed on NASDAQ and the ASX, it had a market capitalisation of $14.2 billion at its peak. It returned venture capital investors 100 times their original investment.
Evan conceptualised and co-founded the GoodStart Consortium – the social venture owned by four charities that took over a failing ABC Learning and now meets the early childhood education needs of over 70,000 children.
He is also an investor, board member or mentor to a range of technology start-ups in the Property and Education sectors. Evan was a member of the Board of the Brotherhood of St Laurence for 8 years which is one of the partners in GoodStart.
Evan was personally recruited by Premier Steve Bracks to be his Parliamentary Secretary, where he held the Innovation portfolio. He was also the Australian CEO of Better Place – an ambitious global start-up company building charge networks for electric cars.
After returning to Australia from his successful career in the Silicon Valley, Evan invested significantly in property and became frustrated with a lack of client focus for property investors in the real estate industry, and the idea of a firm focused on the full range of investors needs was born.
Evan has degrees in Law and Commerce from The University of Melbourne where he served as student body President, served 5 terms on the Council of the University and began his career as a management consultant at McKinsey & Co. He lives in Melbourne with his 3 daughters.
How long have you been in real estate?
4 years in the real estate industry, 30 years as a property investor.
What aspect of real estate are you an expert in, or what aspect are you most proud of that you do?
I know a fair bit about the most optimal finance structure for investment properties and which ones to convert to short-term/AirBnB.
What is the strangest thing you have had to deal with, in your career in real estate?
Finding out that 4br properties get nearly twice as much per bedroom in AirBnB as 2br properties.
What is the most interesting non-Real Estate job you have ever had, and what about that job has helped you most in your current real estate role?
Silicon Valley entrepreneur – taught me to look afresh at customer needs and how technology and data can help solve problems in new ways.
What is the one piece of advice you would give a new landlord/vendor/client?
Many property investors don’t have clarity on the drivers of capital growth or realise how big a difference an apparently small difference in annual capital growth percentages has on their investment returns.