SydStart 2013 LIVE Blog

- May 28, 2013 6 MIN READ

This blog will begin at 9.00am when the first speakers take the stage!

9.12am – Everyone settling down in the conference room now, opening address happening from Justin Davies. He is from Perth. The Perth startup community is growing quite rapidly. Peter Cooper [founder of SydStart] is now being introduced to the audience. Peter is talking about the posters around the room with inspirational sayings, the theme today is all about “potential”

9.16am – Peter is now giving his opening keynote. He has thanked Anchor [the major sponsor for today]. The hashtag for the day is #sydstart and the twitter handle is @sydstart. Peter is recognising the City of Sydney, Deputy Lord Mayor Robyn Kemmis and Councillor Angela Vithoulkas are in the room supporting today.

9.22am – Deputy Lord Mayor Robyn Kemmis is now formally opening the SydStart event. Startups are important to the City of Sydney, and there are a number of initiatives that the COS are engaged in at the moment to help promote the tech, creative and digital startup sectors. She acknowledges Angela Vithoulkas as a fellow councillor as someone passionate about startups and small business in the city [Angela is the founder of Eagle Waves Radio]

9.28am – Peter now getting everyone to engage in Pitch Rush to get people talking to each other. Explaining the Gaddie Pitch to the audience, this pitch has been popularised by James Tuckerman from Anthill, although we flog it on this blog all the time! Ok I’m off to Pitch Rush for a few minutes.

9.37am – Ash Fontana from Angel List has just flown in from San Francisco. He is the next speaker being introdcued by Peter right now. 68% of mobile phones are in the Perth timezone [funfact] Here on the East Coast we have 61% in ours. That was just a fun fact before we get Ash up on stage.

9.45am – Talking briefly about Muti-national startups, the incubator space which is exploding at the moment. Pointing out some people in the audience such as the fabulous Sally from Google.

9.52am – Ash Fontana from Angel List is now up speaking, he is talking about the story of what is the largest online capital raising platform in the world. He is saying that if you are in the startup space, you need to be really opportunistic if you want to survive in the space. He is saying that being a generalist is a strength in the startup space. Angel List only hire generalists, they can do everything, they want a team of one man startups. Unless it’s going to create major leverage for them at Angel List they don’t do it. They have NO meetings at Angel List. At their company it’s all about moving quickly, it’s all about automation, and everyone is forced to do everything. I really like the way they run things at this place. Ash wrapping up on how they execute at Angel List.

10.10am – Question time for Ash from the Audience.

10.15am – My laptop just had some sort of Spazz Out. Matthias Kopp from Sydney Angels is now on stage. He is talking about raising money in the Sydney Community. The talk was quite thorough in regards to what investors are looking for and see as backable.

10.38am – Jana Matthews [Director of Innovyz START] is now on stage. She is amazing, telling her story about how she got started and was inspired by her father and step mother. 5 things she says for any entrepreneurs: Be Prepared, always be mentally there for any entrepreneurs. Be Authentic, be passionate and understand your passion. Execute, if you say you are going to do something do it. Help others to succeed, it is not all about you. Move on after you make mistakes, fail cheap and fail fast, learn from it and move on. I need to get myself to Adelaide to see Innovyz face to face.

10.51am – We are now going into a panel session with Jana Matthews, Angela Vithoulkas and Vanessa from Fit Us In [recent winner of Sydney Startup Weekend and graduate from Innovate accelerator. Great seeing a panel of female entrepreneurs.

12.02pm – Just came from out in the foyer where I interviewed some of this mornings speakers and attendees on camera for the site, this will be up at the end of the week. Just missed the start of Matt Barrie’s talk. He is currently talking about measuring EVERYTHING in your business and having tight funnels. We are now looking out how companies scaled and their distribution techniques, looking at paypal, groupon etc. The facebook firehose; it is extremely popular for opportunities that allow you to grow your idea fast. The trick with building a two sided market place is to turn it into a one sided market place – AirBnB used Craigslist to leverage their supply and demand. The next 3 billion people on the internet are going to come from mobile. Matt telling us about a fundraising firehose on reddit that raised over 700K for a bus monitor in the states that deserved a holiday. Hacker News is another firehose for information; have experienced this first hand, crashed our website. Growth is the New Quant. Fundrasining is the new Hedge fund.

12.27pm – Anna Maguire is now on stage to talk about crowd funding. There are different types of crowdfunding, reward, donation, lending and equity based crowdfunding. Crowdfunding is not just about the funding, it is also a huge marketing tool for new businesses, giving you media attention and getting you in front of people you may not have access to otherwise. The top 3 risks are “they stole my idea” / you are too successful and their is a 50% failure rate in crowdfunding. This year it is estimated that over 5 billion dollars will be raised through crowdfunding this year across the world. Music, Film and Video, Art and Publishing are the top projects currently funded on KickStarter. Now looking at LIFX as a successful example of crowdfunding.

12.47pm – Alan Noble, head of Engineering at Google is now on stage. He is talking about Big Ideas and harnessing technology to do things in ways that are so different, that you have a really big impact: labelled as Moonshots. Startups need to start thinking much, much bigger; some examples: feeding the world – there is a company that is printing 3D synthetic meat. I just vom’d in my mouth a little. Some of the fundamentals of Moonshot thinking are: Go Big, Give it your all, Step out of your comfort zone, getting connected and lighting a fire in other people. There has never been a better time to be an entrepreneur, there has never been a better time to be a moonshot thinker. Finishes off with a Star Trek Quote: Fear exists to be conquered

1.05pm – We are now breaking for Lunch. There will be a panel after lunch. See you all in 35 minutes.

2.00pm – The Panel was a really great discussion about Raising Money in Australia vs Raising money in the US. The general consensus was that startups should tackle the local market first, and try to raise capital is. It’s refreshing to get some of the mis-truths sorted out around this subject.

2.22pm – Ric Richardson now talking about his masterclass which is about to happen in the next room, the next speaker on the main stage in Dean McEvoy the cofounder of Spreets.

2.25pm – Dean McEvoy is now on the stage talking about his exit with Spreets. Talking about the moment his life changed forever which was actually 3 years before he started Spreets when he was asked two questions by an investor in Silicon Valley. He believes the secret to success is inner belief and will power – he gave the example of an experiment that was conducted on identifying future success where a room of kids were all given a marsh mellow and were then told if they waited 15 minutes and didn’t eat it when the person came back into the room, they would get another one. Willpower. Dean suggests you separate yourself from your idea, I love this and have recently gone through a process of doing this myself, it is amazing the difference. You need to think about how you design it from day one with a growth strategy in mind.

2.46pm – Jonathan Barouch from Local Mesure [also founder of Roamz] is now on stage. He is talking about the importance of data when it comes to pivoting and scale. In meetings with large businesses, they realised that they had the right product but were going after the wrong market. Now it is all about using their data capabilities to help businesses. Now in their business it is very clear on how they make money and get paying customers.

2.58pm – Ned and Andrew from GoCatch are now on the stage presenting. They pitched at one of the original SydStart events and now they are here to give us an update on everything that has been happening. Talking about their gamification strategies, marketing techniques etc. When building a two sided market place they didn’t turn on the revenue tap until earlier this year. They are now going through the top 5 lessons they have learnt.

3.09pm – Founder of GoGet is now on stage with a quick run down on how they set up their business with $10,000. His advice on setting up a business, you need capital, you need space like a garage, and if you sign up with GoGet you can get rid of the car.

3.14pm – An afternoon break before the pitching begins!

3.15pm – A mention about some of the sponsors and exhibitors in the foyer. There are some really cool people doing some cool things, for instance, I average about $2000 in city parking fines per year, new startup Divvy have actually just solved that problem for me. Thanks Divvy!

3.30pm – The pitching is about to start. Will be doing a brief intro about each business as this section tends to move quite fast [plus I am running out of juice on my laptop!

3.50pm – Introducing the Judging Panel for the pitching sessions at the moment before we get into it. About 10 people.

3.53pm – Pitch One: Critical Arc [giving super powers to security teams]

4.04pm – Pitch Two: Get Reading RIght [wanting to get reading right with every child through synthetic phonics]

4.17pm – Pitch Three: Punt Club [the lovechild of betting and social media]

4.30pm – Pitch Four: WattCost [the smart energy community]