Graduate Profile

Andy Jane, BSc 1983, Investment Manager

Andy JaneThe first time I entered the St Andrews Physics Department was in 1979, no wonder that I now have all those grey hairs. I remember it to be a pretty wild and wet day, which makes it even more removed from my home here in sunny Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. The thing that struck me then, and even more so now, was how friendly and inviting the place was. Having been paraded through many a university dept around the world I can now speak from a position of experience and authority.

After graduating in 1983 I spent 3 years at UMIST in Manchester acquiring an MSc in Instrumentation and discovering that a PhD wasn’t totally for me. My next career step can be accredited to the lasting impression that Prof Dingle’s Fijian slideshows in his theoretical mechanics lecture made, so I heeded the call of the South Pacific and headed for Papua New Guinea and the University of Technology in Lae. The challenge of working in a Developing Country is something I would advocate to everyone to experience firsthand. You really understand what Applied Physics is all about when on your first day you discover that one of your work-experience students has accidentally detonated a series of seismic charges and you have been volunteered to fly into a remote village to mediate compensation for the damage he has caused. Lots of memories and I also acquired a family for good measure …

Returning to mainstream R&D, I joined the Division of Radiophysics, CSIRO in Sydney, Australia, which is better known for its role in the Aussie film, “The Dish”, which recounts the part the Parkes radio telescope played in the Apollo 11 TV coverage. Whilst at the CSIRO I was project manager for developing a novel ultrasonic imaging system for analysing the fat content and size of the bovine longissimus dorsi muscle – the T bone steak – whilst the cow was still alive & kicking.

Having dabbled with the dark side of commercialisation, I went the whole way and joined an up and coming biotechnology company in Brisbane called AGEN. Whilst at AGEN I progressed from setting up and managing AGEN’s instrumentation and biosensor program to starting up a drug discovery and nuclear medicine program for imaging and treating blood clots, which will be useful for all those people with suspected DVT’s from flying economy class. It’s amazing how versatile a St Andrews Physics education can make you, when you consider that those biochemists were willing to be managed by someone with very little understanding of squishy protein stuff.

With the advent of the dot.com boom I decided to try and make my fortune in Silicon Valley and joined an innovative audio technology company called Lake as Director of Business Development and Licensing. Lake had a strategic relationship with Dolby Labs – so strategic that Dolby acquired them – and I spent 4 years travelling the world licensing what is now known as Dolby Headphone and Dolby Virtual Speaker.

Once my frequent flyer point tally had accumulated into the millions, I decided I needed to be more earthbound and preferably in my home city of Brisbane. I joined CM Capital as an Investment Manager where my current role as a Venture Capitalist allows me to keep a connection with great science and people who are much smarter than I, which is the same feeling I had when I first arrived at St Andrews. Feel free to send me any great ideas you have for creating the next Microsoft, I would love to fund you!

So in conclusion, education is not always about the final grade that you get on a piece of paper, it is also the intangible collection of memories, experiences, friends and networks which St Andrews is so excellent at providing. Enjoy because it rarely gets better than this.