Cicada Innovations revives Rachel Slattery’s pioneering deep tech conference Tech23

- January 16, 2023 2 MIN READ
Sally-Ann Williams
Cicada Innovations CEO Sally-Ann Williams
Sydney-based deep tech incubator Cicada Innovations has taken custodianship of the annual deep technology conference Tech23 from its founder, Rachel Slattery

Tech23 launched 14 years ago, sharing Cicada’s focus on championing and supporting the deep tech startup sector. Slattery set out to create national community to support deep tech, connecting them with investors, advisers, government and potential customers.

Over that time it’s highlighted more than 300 deep tech companies. Each year at the conference, 23 startups are invited to deliver 5-minute pitches.

Alumni include Morse Micro, Psylo, Culture Amp, Inventia Life Sciences and BugHerd.

The last event was held in Sydney in December 2021, with Slattery announcing in March last year that they’d “decided it’s time to draw the curtain” on Tech23 after 13 years.

Following a 12 month hiatus, Cicada is reviving the project and taking charge of selecting a new cohort of 23 deep tech companies to showcase. The new Tech23 conference is planned for July 26, with a focus on issues ranging from sustainable cities to climate solutions and new paradigms of human health.

Embracing Tech23 will see Cicada undergo a strategic shift to looking at systemic solutions to broader problems, such as “reimagining the built environment” or “putting an end to waste”.

CEO Sally-Ann Williams said complex challenges require complex solutions that come from the intersection of technology and industry.

“If we wish to take a systematic approach to driving change, we need to start by asking the big questions around the problems we want to solve,” she said.

“We then need to gather the willing and the able around these problems in order to solve them.

“Nurturing powerful deep technology connections is something we do all day, every day at Cicada Innovations. So we are looking forward to building on Rachel’s excellent work to ensure the conversation continues throughout the year.”

Rachel Slattery said she was delighted to see the event revitalised by an organisation that backed it from the start.

“Having Cicada take the helm in driving Tech23’s role in amplifying Australia’s deep tech capabilities is a perfect fit,” she said

“The pandemic alone shone a long-awaited spotlight on deep tech innovation, providing us with a great example of how these innovations must be agile, solutions-focussed, and human centred at their heart.

“The magic of Tech23 is the serendipitous connections and cross-fertilisation of clever, passionate people who are helping to build us all a better tomorrow. I am so delighted with Cicada’s plans to supercharge this goal of a better tomorrow in Tech23 2023, and in years beyond.”