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Science grad wins big with biodiversity tech start-up

25 January 2022
Science alum takes top honour at Women of the Future Awards
Bachelor of Science graduate Camille Goldstone-Henry has claimed the 2021 Women’s Weekly Women of the Future award in recognition of her work in protecting Australia’s iconic species.
Camille Goldstone-Henry with a Tasmanian devil

Camille Goldstone-Henry conducting field work with a Tasmanian devil.

Bachelor of Science (Animal and Veterinary Bioscience) graduate, Camille Goldstone-Henry has been awarded the Women’s Weekly Women of the Future award for founding Xylo Systems, an innovative cloud based platform built to to connect, track and manage worldwide conservation projects.

An experienced wildlife conservation and research manager, Camille's career has been driven by a goal to protect Australia's biodiversity by bringing conservation and technology together to create a sustainable future.

I dream of a future where my grandchildren can see koalas in the wild.
Camille Goldstone-Henry

As the Women of the Future winner, Camille will receive a prize valued at over $100,000 to help fund the programming needed to bring in deep tech AI learning to the Xylo Systems platform.

On Xylo Systems Camille states: “we are losing a species every three to five minutes on this planet. There are thousands of conservation teams and researchers working to save our species, but they don’t have an easy way to connect and share information and make informed decisions."

Tell us about Xylo Systems

Xylo Systems is a biodiversity tech start-up building a cloud-based platform to connect, track and manage wildlife conservation projects.

Using artificial intelligence, the platform aggregates conservation data, so we have a better idea of what work is being done to end duplication between projects and help scientists to instantly share discoveries and build common knowledge.

We are also helping to make conservation projects more agile and effective using predictive analytics.

What does winning the 2021 Women of the Future award mean to you and your work?

Winning this award is a huge pinch me moment! It such a prestigious award and is massive recognition for the work that needs to be done in preserving biodiversity and climate change in general.

The cash prize is a big injection to help us get the specialised tech support that we need to build in the more complex aspects of the platform, like machine learning.

Not only that, there is also a fantastic support system that comes with this award including mentoring from the judging panel and plenty of media and PR exposure, which an early start-up like mine could only dream of!

My hope is that this Award will inspire other young women and indigenous peoples to consider a career in science, tech and innovation.

Camille Goldstone-Henry at Women's Weekly Awards

Camille Goldstone-Henry (second from the right) at the 2021 Women's Weekly Women of the Future Award ceremony.

What’s the most valuable skill you gained from your Bachelor of Science (Animal and Vet Bioscience)?

Problem solving and critical inquiry are some of the most valuable skills from my science degree, and the Animal and Vet Bioscience degree offered that in spades in the animal and veterinary science space. In order to solve some of the grand challenges in this world like biodiversity loss and climate change, we need to go to the root cause of the problem, and this is where critical inquiry is key.

Thanks to my undergrad training, I was able to critically evaluate what was happening in the conservation space and question why the processes weren’t as effective as they could be, which led me to starting Xylo Systems.

What advice would you give to students thinking about studying animal science?

It’s a world of wonder studying animal science, it’s such a diverse area of science which is what I love most! Whether you know what area of animal science you want to work in when you graduate or not, studying at Sydney exposes you to a broad range of career options, and I would advise you to explore all of those options because you never know where it might take you.

There’s also truly innovative stuff happening in animal science in Australia, and Sydney is home to some of the leading experts. So, if you’re passionate about animals, studying animal science is the path for you.

What’s been the highlight of working with Taronga?

Other than getting to go to the zoo often, the highlight of working with Taronga is their inspiring team. They have the best in the business and everyone is working towards the same goal of creating a better world for wildlife and humans.

Not only that, Taronga are also doing so much to support innovation through their start-up accelerator, HATCH, and it’s really great to see support for innovation in conservation because there is so much potential to increase our impact in saving species.

What’s next for Xylo Systems and yourself?

World domination! Kind of… Over the next few months, we will be testing the system with some of our most endangered species here in NSW including the Regent Honeyeater.

From there, we will scale out to other endangered species in Australia. We are excited to be launching to the wider Australian market in mid 2022, and then launching international in 2023/2024. We will be building our team and have an exciting opportunity for students to get involved through our new intern program, so get in touch if you’re interested!

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