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Emily Lawler

Company Secretary

Emily Lawler is a dedicated and highly educated professional with a Bachelor of Business, majoring in International Law. Her academic journey at University of Technology Sydney (UTS) culminated in her graduation with multiple distinctions in 2021. Emily’s commitment to furthering her knowledge and skills is evident as she is currently pursuing a Masters of Behavioral Economics.


Bachelor of Business (Major: International Law)

University: University of Technology Sydney (UTS)

Graduation Year: 2021

Honors: Multiple distinctions

Masters of Behavioral Economics (In Progress)

University: University of technology Sydney (UTS)

Graduation Year: 2024

Emily’s academic achievements reflect her passion for understanding the intricacies of international law and human behavior. Her pursuit of a Masters in Behavioral Economics exemplifies her dedication to gaining a deeper understanding of how economic decisions are influenced by psychological factors.

In her current role as Company Secretary, Emily brings her academic rigor and attention to detail to ensure the smooth operation of corporate governance and compliance within the organization. Her legal background and ongoing education in behavioral economics make her a valuable asset in navigating complex regulatory environments and making informed decisions.

Trent Merrin

Ambassador and Sponsorship Director

Trent Merrin is a versatile professional who has transitioned from a successful 15-year career as a professional athlete to become a serial investor and entrepreneur. His primary focus areas lie in the realms of cryptocurrency, blockchain projects, and health and wellness businesses. Trent’s impressive sporting journey includes playing rugby league at the highest levels, representing prestigious clubs in both Australia and England, and proudly donning the colors of New South Wales and Australia on the international stage.

Trent Merrin’s illustrious career as a professional athlete saw him excel in rugby league for renowned clubs such as the St George Illawarra Dragons, Penrith Panthers, and Leeds Rhinos. He reached the pinnacle of his profession by proudly representing both his home State of New South Wales and his country, Australia.

Trent has seamlessly transitioned into a new chapter of his life, dedicating his time to raising his two sons and nurturing young athletes in his capacity as the Wellbeing Manager at the St George Illawarra Dragons. Simultaneously, he has become a prominent figure in the world of crypto and blockchain investments, as well as health and wellness ventures. His keen eye for promising business and investment opportunities keeps him actively engaged in these sectors.

We are honored to welcome Trent Merrin to the NextGen Games team. His unique blend of experiences, from sporting excellence to entrepreneurial success, makes him a valuable asset in our pursuit of innovation and growth.

Shawn Budd

Managing director

Shawn Budd is a seasoned professional with more than two decades of expertise in the online gaming industry. Throughout his career, Shawn has collaborated with some of the industry’s largest and most renowned brands, both domestically and internationally. His extensive experience has spanned various geographies, including Las Vegas and Australia, where he has contributed significantly to the success of companies such as SingleShot Entertainment and Veda Group Limited.


Shawn Budd has held two international gaming licenses, demonstrating his commitment to maintaining the highest standards of professionalism and regulatory compliance within the industry.

David Whittaker

Chairman Advisory

David Whittaker is a seasoned professional in the realm of investment, entrepreneurship, and advisory services. As the Managing Director of Key Idea Capital, a company he founded to cater to the capital needs of businesses in various growth and transition stages, David brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the table. In a significant achievement, Key Idea Capital was appointed in 2021 as the exclusive Australian Limited Partner (LP) for the Malaysian Government-backed Penjana Fund.

David is not only an advisor but also an active investor in high-growth start-ups on a global scale. His extensive network encompasses boutique investment firms, venture capital funds, and family offices, making him a prominent figure in the investment community. With multiple start-up ventures under his belt, David’s experience spans all phases of a company’s lifecycle, from ideation to successful exits. This unique perspective enables him to evaluate companies for investment with a discerning eye.

David has served as a Director for ASX-listed companies, contributing to their strategic direction and growth. Additionally, he is deeply involved in mentoring budding entrepreneurs and start-ups, fostering innovation and growth in the Australian and global start-up ecosystems. His commitment to nurturing emerging talent is evident in his board appointments, including Imagine Room Group Holdings (specializing in VR, AR, and Volumetric Capture) and PaydWorld Holdings (Fintech, card services, remittances, and crypto settlement). Moreover, he founded the Gryphon Technology Fund (HK), focusing on seed-stage investments in collaboration with his partners.

With over 11 years of experience living and working in Hong Kong and China, David established a significant presence in the Asian business landscape. He operated offices in Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Singapore, building valuable connections and insights. In 2016, he relocated to Australia, where he continues to make a substantial impact on the investment and start-up communities.

Paul Willey


Paul Willey is a visionary CEO with a unique blend of interests and talents that converge at the intersection of technology, creativity, and commerce. His career is marked by a relentless pursuit of narrative-driven design and a deep commitment to delivering meaningful and quantifiable consumer experiences. Paul’s leadership has propelled his teams to the forefront of media production technology and platforms, always with the aim of transforming products, services, and touch-points into memorable and entertaining experiences through exceptional storytelling.

Paul is not just a CEO; he’s a creative strategist who thrives on forging connections between innovation, imagination, and business. He has successfully collaborated with film-makers, developers, designers, venture capitalists, and producers, leveraging his boundless curiosity to inspire and find joy in both the grand and the everyday challenges of the business world.

While England will always hold a special place in his heart, Paul now proudly calls Australia home, where he continues to channel his energy into his professional pursuits.

In those rare moments of tranquility, you’ll likely find Paul engaged in two of his passions: honing his skills as a motorbike rider or avidly following cricket matches. Additionally, he has a penchant for fine beverages, including wine, real ale, and gin, particularly if you’re the one offering to share a drink.