The stage is set for one of the year’s big moments for the Sydney startup ecosystem: the Visiting Entrepreneur Program 2022.
Global thinkers and local entrepreneurs will discuss how transformative technologies can tackle major global challenges, in a series of 17 free events organised by the City of Sydney, from June 22 to July 1.
Autonomous vehicles, decarbonisation, the future possibilities of the metaverse, cancer research, smart cities, synthetic biology and web3 are among the hot topics in this year’s lineup.
With a variety of in-person, online and hybrid events, the Visiting Entrepreneur Program features 10 global experts over 10 days, and is produced by the City of Sydney with partner organisations Tech Central and the Greater Cities Commission.
This year’s theme is ‘Future TBD’ (To Be Determined) and the program kicks off with a launch event on Wednesday, June 22 at The Grounds in Eveleigh, posing the question, ‘How can technology help shape a better future?’
The event features a conversation with Mary Spio (streamed live from Miami), founder of CeekVR, a blockchain-based developer of content solutions and tools for distributing virtual-reality and augmented-reality experiences.
Speaking with Holly Ransom, CEO of leadership consultancy Emergent, Mary will delve into what it means to go from dreaming of space to becoming a deep space engineer, to her current work creating industry-changing technologies within the movie industry, NFTs, metaverse and beyond.
A live discussion panel follows with creative and tech entrepreneurs Tim Kentley Klay (HYPR), Grace Sai (Unravel Carbon) and Zareh Nalbandian (Animal Logic), who will talk about maintaining balance in the convergence of creativity and technology, next generation AI creating vehicles that teach themselves to drive, the hope for a decarbonised future and more.
The next 10 days of events will further explore what the future might look like for cities, technology and innovation. Here are some highlights:
The metaverse and web3
According to Bloomberg Intelligence, the global revenue opportunities from the metaverse could reach $800 billion by 2024. This means that businesses and organisations need to understand what the metaverse is, how to enter it and create long-term strategies for the future of the internet.
Visiting entrepreneur Bell Beh, founder of metaverse startup BuzzAR in Singapore, will address these issues in two live talks: ‘Is the metaverse part of your reality?’ and ‘Who rules in the metaverse?’
Similarly, the global web3 blockchain market is growing rapid and estimated to be worth nearly $88 billion USD by 2030.
Maria Shen, partner at Electric Capital, a VC firm in California that invests in blockchain technology startups, will livestream her insights on web3 at an in-person event in Haymarket. She’ll also be examining whether diversity is the key to unlocking the potential of web3 during a second online event.
The future of Health Tech
California-based entrepreneur Cyriac Roeding is carrying the torch and mission for Earli, a tech company he co-founded with Dr Sam Gambhir, who passed away from cancer of unknown primary in 2020.
Dr Sam Gambhir devoted his life to working out new ways to detect serious diseases earlier – a core principle of Earli. Now, Cyriac and the Earli team are developing a new technique using synthetic biomarkers to force cancer cells to produce a non-human substance to help reveal, localise and ultimate destroy themselves. This will be explored in Cyriac’s discussion about whether biotechnology could cure cancer.
Meanwhile, Dr Emily Leproust, founder of Twist Bioscience, a biotech firm in San Francisco that manufactures synthetic DNA and DNA products, looks at the latest innovations in synthetic biology and possible future applications, at a hybrid event in the Sydney CBD.
Sustainability, climate and decarbonisation
“I found out that there are around 400 million companies in the world and only 10,000 have measured their carbon emissions,” says Grace Sai. “The sector is an alphabet soup, there’s a lot of jargon and it’s expensive to hire consultants.”
To solve this problem, the tech entrepreneur co-founded Unravel Carbon, a Singapore-based enterprise software firm that allows companies to track and reduce their carbon emissions in seconds.
“I always observe what’s needed in the world for the next 20 to 30 years and ask ‘what’s missing?’” she says. “If there is a white space that hasn’t been served and you can uniquely serve it, that is a propelling opportunity for you to create a long-lasting legacy and impact.”
Funding and networking
Sydney’s startup ecosystem is thriving. According to the 2021 Global Ecosystem Startup Report by Startup Genome, it’s worth $24 billion AUD.
But how do you take your startup from MVP to IPO?
Stephen Scheeler, CEO of Sydney-based Omniscient Neurotechnology which builds digital brain maps, will explore with a panel discussion how early-stage founders should approach building, strategising and scaling their companies.
Networking and collaboration are key to any tech company’s success and the Visiting Entrepreneur Program offers plenty of opportunities for startups and investors to connect.
This includes the celebratory closing event at Canva in Surry Hills where attendees can enjoy drinks and nibbles after hearing from Tim Kentley Klay, co-founder of AI robotics firm HYPR who sold his previous autonomous mobility company Zoox to Amazon.
Tim will discuss what he sees as next on the innovation horizon and what it could mean for our shared future.
“You’re going to get a lot of people say ‘That’s crazy’,” says Tim. “You’re also going to get a few people say, ‘That makes sense to me – let’s work together’.”
Check out the full Visiting Entrepreneur Program of futurist thinkers, global leaders and entrepreneurs who will discuss, debate, dream and debunk a future yet to be determined. Book your free tickets here.
The Visiting Entrepreneur Program is produced by the City of Sydney with partner organisations from the local startup ecosystem. The 2022 edition is kindly supported by Tech Central and the Greater Cities Commission.
This article is brought to you by Startup Daily in partnership with the City of Sydney.