Bill Liao

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Bill Liao
OccupationEuropean venture partner at sosventures

Bill Liao (born William Fu Wei Liao, 1967) is an Australian entrepreneur. He is a venture partner with SOSV and recognised as one of the Top 100 minority ethnic leaders in technology by the Financial Times.[1]


Liao is a social networking pioneer,[2] author [3] and speaker.[4][5] He is a regular attendee at the TED conferences[6] and also the World Economic Forum New Champions conference.[7] Mr. Liao also has worked in the commodities trading arena with several boutique Swiss investment funds.[8] Since May 9, 2022 Bill Liao has been appointed Chairman of the Board of Directors of the SRF (SENS Research Foundation)[9]

Venture capital[edit]

Liao joined SOSV as their European Venture Partner specialising in Internet and social media in 2011. Most notably he has invested in Mark Little's Storyful venture, Silicon Republic as well as MavenHut.[10] In 2014 he founded SOSV’s biotech practice, RebelBio,[11] a VC-led investment programme for BioTech, HealthTech And Life Sciences. Liao is Managing Director [12] of RebelBio, which is a world pioneer for life sciences accelerators.[13]

Liao co-founded, a European early social network founded by Lars Hinrichs in Germany in 2003. He was the first external investor in the company, then called Later, Liao became a supervisory board member.[14]

Previously, Liao was the Director of Operations (DOO) of telecommunications company Davnet, which achieved the fastest capital value growth in the history of the Australian Stock exchange.[15] Davnet was acquired by Japanese telecommunications carrier Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (NTT) in 1996. Liao left Davnet after the acquisition.

Davnet was previously named Golden Hills Mining NL, a mining and exploration company of precious metals in Australia and was the source of a reverse merger in the creation of Davnet Limited effective January 13, 1999 to February 28, 2002 and subsequently became Davnet Telecommunications Pty Ltd .[16]

Social entrepreneurship[edit]

Alongside James Whelton, Liao founded CoderDojo in Ireland in 2011, a not-for-profit organisation that teaches children how to code.[17] A champion of teaching children to code CoderDojo has spread to many countries, even getting a royal seal approval to coding clubs by Prince Andrew.[18][19]

He is Chair of Nominet UK's Social Tech Trust,[20] a dedicated grant maker in socially motivated tech in the UK. Whilst acting as a trustee, Mr William Fu Wei Liao,[21] for Nominet UK in 2013, CoderDojo (Hello World Foundation - now part of part of the Raspberry Pi Foundation) received the sum of £27,990 in grant support.[22]

He is also a CoderDojo mentor and he has participated as an investor and volunteer in The Hunger Project in Uganda, New York and Mexico.[23]

Climate activism[edit]

In 2009, Liao founded,.[24] an organisation promoting reforestation as a way to combat global warming.[25] continues, with a stated goal of planting two trillion trees by 2020 and is run from Belgium by its current CEO Marie-Noelle Keijzer.

He is a frequent blog poster on Medium on the subject of Climate Change [26] (and other subjects including, 'Psychopaths and how to spot them').[27]

He was an official part of the delegation of St Kitts and Nevis to the COP15 UN climate change summit in Copenhagen where he also promoted the science and concepts behind[28]

Liao was appointed as a special diplomatic envoy for St Kitts and Nevis for sustainable development and the environment. He has contributed to the St Kitts and Nevis recovery fund for the sugar cane industry there.[29]

The award of this diplomatic status was given to Liao via support from Henley & Partners[30] a firm where he sits on their advisory board, and act as the global leader in residence and citizenship by investment. Henley & Partners were subject to an investigative piece by the Guardian newspaper in 2021.[31]

Mr Liao provided a written testimonial to Henley & Partners for the services they provide; 'Henley & Partners is a truly global firm of global citizens supporting global citizens with absolutely outstanding service and results'.[32]

Involvement in Oil & Minerals[edit]

In 2016 published a statement that confirmed Bill Liao sat on the board of a US based oil exploration company Starboard Resources (latterly known as Brushy Resources, Inc, then acquired by Lillis Energy, Inc. (OTC: LLEXQ)). An oil exploration and development company operating in the Permian Basin of West Texas and South Eastern New Mexico. Lillis Energy were acquired by Ameredev.[33][34][35]

In a 2016 filing with the SEC its states that 'The Chairman of the Company’s Board of Directors, Bill Liao, works for SOSventures'. Further, a group composed of SOSventures, Sean O’Sullivan Revocable Living Trust [36] and Bradford R. Higgins constitute a group owning 4,863,720 or 39.34% of the Company’s common stock shares.[37] The CEO of SOSV Sean O'Sullivan is know for his environmental projects and is a frequent speaker on the subject, including a lecture on 'Reducing Oil Dependence' given in 2012 to the IIEA.[38]

Liao was named in legal proceedings where he is referred to as an SOSv representative in a dispute with fellow shareholders.[39][40]

In SEC filings in 2013 stated clearly that Bill Liao was Director and Chairman of Board of Directors of Starboard Resources.[41] A fellow director of Starboard Resources was Bradford (Brad) Higgins, also a venture partner at SOSV and former CFO at the US Department of State.[42][43]

Start-up Mentor & Investor[edit]

Mr Liao is a frequent mentor and investor in technology start-up companies. A key subject he delivers advice on is 'the importance of listening'. [44]


Mr Liao's publication issued in 2014, 'Forests. Reasons to be hopeful', is available to purchase on Amazon and currently has a single 5 star rating.[45]

In November 2018, Liao was named to the Financial Times' list of the 'Top 100 minority ethnic leaders in technology.'[46]

Personal life[edit]

He is married with three children and lives in Cork, Ireland.

He appeared on BBC Radio 4's The Museum of Curiosity in February 2023.[47] His hypothetical donation to this imaginary museum was Drosophila melanogaster.


  1. ^ "The UK's top 100 black and minority ethnic leaders in technology". Financial Times. Retrieved 26 November 2018.
  2. ^ Kennedy, John (13 March 2010). "Social networking is losing direction, pioneer Bill Liao says". Silicon Republic. Retrieved 1 March 2020.
  3. ^ "Good Reads - Bill Liao". Retrieved 1 March 2020.
  4. ^ "Front Row Speakers". Retrieved 1 March 2020.
  5. ^ "Responsible Innovation Summit - Bill Liao". 30 October 2019. Retrieved 1 March 2020.
  6. ^ "TED Community " Bill Liao". TED. Retrieved 5 January 2013.
  7. ^ "Annual Meeting of the New Champions 2008: List of Participants". World Economic Forum. 4 July 2008. Retrieved 4 February 2020.
  8. ^ "star_s1.htm". Retrieved 12 February 2023.
  9. ^ Announcing the new Chairman of the SRF Board of Directors. SRF, May 9, 2022
  10. ^ "SOS Ventures invests 500.000 euros in MavenHut Ltd". MavenHut. Retrieved 1 March 2020.
  11. ^ "AngelList".
  12. ^ "Front Row Speakers". Inclusive Boards.
  13. ^ Kennedy, John (28 September 2018). "RebelBio is the Cork success story that got away". Silicon Republic. Retrieved 1 March 2020.
  14. ^ "XING AG reports change in Supervisory Board". 12 December 2008. Retrieved 1 March 2020.
  15. ^ "Dare to ask the stupid question and try for a 10,000% return". 29 August 2009. Retrieved 4 July 2012.
  16. ^ "GOLDEN HILLS MINING NL GHL | deListed Australia". Retrieved 12 February 2023.
  17. ^ Kennedy, John (15 July 2011). "Bill Liao and James Whelton to unleash Coder Dojos on schools - Portfolio | - Ireland's Technology News Service". Silicon Republic. Retrieved 18 December 2019.
  18. ^ "Where the only rule is 'be cool'". BBC News. 12 March 2014. Retrieved 12 February 2023.
  19. ^ Watts, Matt (14 July 2014). "Duke of York backs drive to teach school children computer code skills". Evening Standard. Retrieved 12 February 2023.
  20. ^ "Nominet Trust becomes Social Tech Trust |". Social Tech Retrieved 1 March 2020.
  21. ^ "Companies House Filings SOCIAL TECH TRUST Company number 06578379".
  22. ^ "Nominet Charitable Foundation Financial Statements For Year Ending April 2014".
  23. ^ "Bill Liao Setting a Philanthropic Example via The Hunger Project". MarketingStream. 19 August 2009. Retrieved 1 March 2020.
  24. ^ "WeForest - About Us". Retrieved 1 March 2020.
  25. ^ "WeForest - Why It Matters". Retrieved 1 March 2020.
  26. ^ Liao, Bill (17 January 2020). "WAKE UP!". Medium. Retrieved 12 February 2023.
  27. ^ Liao, Bill (6 June 2021). "Psychopaths and how to spot them". SOSV. Retrieved 12 February 2023.
  28. ^ "COP15 — What Really Happened". HuffPost. 18 March 2010. Retrieved 1 March 2020.
  29. ^ Liao, Bill (3 July 2009). "Diplomatic appointment letter from the PM | Flickr – Photo Sharing!". Flickr. Retrieved 4 July 2012.
  30. ^ Liao, Bill (3 July 2009), Diplomatic appointment letter from the PM, retrieved 12 February 2023
  31. ^ "Malta's passports scheme: Henley & Partners full statement". The Guardian. 22 April 2021. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 12 February 2023.
  32. ^ "Our Private Clients". Henley & Partners. Retrieved 12 February 2023.
  33. ^ WeForest (29 November 2016). "Statement". WeForest. Retrieved 12 February 2023.
  35. ^ "star_ex9911.htm". Retrieved 12 February 2023.
  36. ^ "Sean O'Sullivan Revocable Living Trust - LLEX / Lilis Energy, Inc. - Insider Trade Report". Retrieved 12 February 2023.
  37. ^ "Brushy Resources, Inc. - FORM 10-K - April 20, 2016". Retrieved 12 February 2023.
  38. ^ Sean O' Sullivan on Reducing Oil Dependence through shared transport, retrieved 12 February 2023
  39. ^ "star_ex9911.htm". Retrieved 12 February 2023.
  40. ^ "Sos Ventures LLC Mineral Rights | Princeton, NJ". Retrieved 12 February 2023.
  41. ^ "Starboard Resources, Inc. Form S-1/A Filed 2013-10-25" (PDF).
  42. ^ "Imbruce v. ASYM Capital Investors Counterclaim - [PDF Document]". Retrieved 12 February 2023.
  43. ^ "US State Department Archive".
  44. ^ Entrepreneur Bill Liao on the importance of listening, retrieved 12 February 2023
  45. ^ Liao, Bill; Desmond, Tutu (1 January 2014). Forests: Reasons to be Hopeful (1st ed.). Ideos Publications Ltd.
  46. ^ "The UK's top 100 black and minority ethnic leaders in technology". Financial Times. Retrieved 26 November 2018.
  47. ^ "The Museum of Curiosity - Series 17 - Episode 1". BBC Sounds. Retrieved 4 March 2023.

23. Forests – Reasons to be Hopeful – Foreword by Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

External links[edit]