In the dynamic landscape of Australia’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, the recent inaugural Startup to Scaleup (S2S) Summit held on November 16 at the Sydney Startup Hub provided a long-awaited platform for founders and the start up community to connect and learn from each other.
The event, organised by Tank Stream Labs, addressed a crucial gap in the ecosystem, offering invaluable support and resources tailored to the unique challenges faced by the community.
Tank Stream Labs CEO Bradley Delamare said the summit was significant on several levels.
“There has been a gap in the Australian startup ecosystem for an event of this nature for many years now,” he said.
“The launch of the summit has provided a crucial platform for Australia’s startup and scaleup founders to network and connect. When we set out to bring the S2S Summit to life, our goal was not only to fill a void in the start up ecosystem, it was driven by a long standing commitment we have to support innovation and collaboration, and create a community where people come together, collaborate and share experiences.”
Delamare said one of the standout features of the S2S Summit was its focus on the entire founder journey, from ideation stage to exit.
“With educational sessions providing insights into the challenges and successes of navigating the often complex and lonely path of entrepreneurship, attendees had the opportunity to experience first-hand lessons learned from entrepreneurs who have been through the challenges of starting and growing a business,” he said.
Mike Langford, head of VC & Startup Ecosystem JAPAC at Google Cloud, praised the initiative.
“This is a great thing to be part of. Well done for bringing it to the ecosystem. I think the ecosystem needs something like this,” he said.
“I am a big believer that we need to invest within the ecosystem to really drive up capability, to build confidence, to drive awareness of what startups are doing and help founders on their journey.”
Beyond the educational aspect, the summit served as a hub for networking—an essential element that has been lacking in the startup community. The scale and diversity of the event provided meaningful connections for the attendees, and the importance of building a supportive network was echoed by Maria Halasz, CEO of Stride Equity who spoke at the event, and who described the experience as “fantastic, with plenty of people to exchange ideas with, plenty of experiences shared, and plenty of businesses to meet.”
A key highlight of the S2S Summit was the dedicated Investor Lounge, providing a direct avenue for founders to connect with potential investors. This unique feature addressed a longstanding need within the ecosystem, streamlining the often difficult process of securing funding.
Rob Hango-Zada, cofounder and joint CEO of Shippit, emphasised the value of such opportunities
“Summits like this are great to network and find people that are actually in the same boat as you, but also to learn from others who have sort of charted the course before,” he said.
The summit also hosted a Pitch Competition in partnership with Startup&Angels with a substantial $10,000 prize, offering emerging companies a platform to showcase their innovations and get additional funding to support their venture. The pitch competition was won by Sunflower AI.
Julia Stevanja, cofounder of Wrapd, was one of the summit presenters.
“I love that the S2S Summit is about startups and scaleups,” she said.
“It’s a lonely journey as a founder or even a co-founder, so being here amongst your peers was really terrific.”
Tank Stream boss Bradley Delamare said plans are already underway for the Summit to return in 2024, promising to continue to support, provide education, and networking opportunities for Australia’s startup and scaleup community.