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Olivia Humphrey

Advance Awards Education Winner

A visionary who democratised access to educational content, Olivia Humphrey founded a new channel for streaming films to members of academic and public libraries, in turn forging a new model to monetise and distribute independent films. Combining years of experience in media rights management and global entertainment with a love for independent film, Olivia founded Kanopy in Australia in 2008. In 2018, Olivia sold the company in a 9-figure USD transaction, securing the platform as one of the great Australian tech success stories. However the success runs deeper than commercialisation. Not only did Olivia build a category-defining technology company on a global scale, she did so from the limited startup infrastructure offered by Perth, while boot-strapping the company herself until 2017, while uprooting her young family to open Kanopy’s head office in San Francisco. By the time Olivia sold the company and stepped down as CEO in November 2019, the team at Kanopy was 60% female and 70% under-represented groups – amongst the highest rates of any companies in San Francisco. Olivia has been acting as a Non-Executive Director until recently and continues to be a proud shareholder.


Kanopy focuses on “thoughtful entertainment”, profiling the best of independent foreign cinema, documentaries, classical cinema, and other genres that expand the mind and the soul. Kanopy enables broad audiences to access stimulating content and pursue lifelong learning through its beautiful, app-rich solution which is distributed through public libraries, universities, and schools around the world. Kanopy grew rapidly and now counts over 5,000 institutions as customers and millions of monthly active users. So much so that the company has built a position from which it now aims to further support the future of a sustainable independent film industry.  Since returning to Perth, Olivia is now the Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Curtin University.