Startup Catalyst

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IBM

Hadoop. Spark. The Cloud. At Cloudera I had broken out in a cold sweat at memories of extreme computing at uni (or maybe that was the kidney infection). But there was no escaping big data as next we headed off to IBM to talk with startup veteran James Barry, now City Leader for the IBM Silicon Valley Cloud Ecosystem Team. He was there to let us know about some of the programs IBM runs to help startups. Of most interest to us was the Global Entrepreneur Program , an alternative to an accelerator offering mentoring, networking, access to IBM connections,...

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Day Four: Facebook

A clear highlight of the 2015 Startup Catalyst Mission was a trip to Facebook in Palo Alto.   The team arrived at the airy Facebook campus’s lobby, lining up to sign in with none other than their own Facebook account. The team was greeted by Joel Pobar, an ex-Brisbanite now Engineering Director of Performance, who hosted us for the tour. During the extended visit, the team rubbed shoulders with some of the great minds of Facebook, all of whom spoke candidly of Facebook’s culture, challenges and way or work, always leaving the team in shock and awe.   The cohort first...

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Cloudera

Following the intense experience of the startup weekend, we had a day of cloud education starting with a visit to the headquarters of Cloudera in Palo Alto. Cloudera primarily provides services and support for Apache Hadoop solutions but also contributes to the on going development of the Hadoop open source project. Hadoop is an open source Apache project that is used for the processing and storage of very large data sets. It was created by Doug Cutting, the current Chief Architect at Cloudera and Mike Cafarella. The project was named Hadoop by Doug Cutting, who named it after a toy...

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Accel Partners

Accel Partners is a venture capital and growth equity firm that manages over $8 billion. Accel has a 30 year history in investing in Silicon Valley. They back some of the most prominent global firms such as Facebook, DropBox, Slack, Etsy, Spotify, Atlassian, Squarespace, Braintree, Cloudera, Kayak, 99 Designs and many more. The offices of Accel in Palo Alto are minimalist and quite beautiful. We had discussions around a large boardroom table. Before starting, they asked each of us our most used phone application. It was small signals such as this that demonstrated their continual effort to stay current in...

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Keepsafe

On tuesday, we visited a small company called keepsafe. They had built a Mobile Application which allowed you to protect your private files with a pin number. They talked about how it all started out, and how they grew the application from a very small user base to over 45 million downloads. The speaker; Phillip Berner, provided us with some information on what the team comprises of. Initially, the team consisted of only programmers. After the first round of investment; $750,000, they hired someone to take care of the business end of the company. Part of the investment also went...

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Day 4: Computer Science History Museum & Stanford

Day 4 started at the Computer Science History museum. It was also our first trip down to Palto Alto, a town filled with low rise buildings and pictureseque sreets. It was a welcome change to the clutter and bustle of San Francisco. We followed a tour guide through the Computer History museum tour, and followed through the inception of computers from a huge mechanical machine used to tally census votes, the inception of the “computer” term (which originally referred to a room full of women doing manual calculations) all the way to a display full of robots and the potential...

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DAY 3: Amazon Web Services

Even with popularity of the “cloud”, the world still revolves around physical server infrastructure. But we’re on the verge of a major shift in the way this is approached. The concept of ‘serverless’ infrastructure could be a game-changer for many startups and businesses. Our visit to the AWS Loft in San Francisco began with an introduction to the Amazon Web Services by Matt Auerbach. Being a solutions architect, Matt’s explanations of specific services was insightful to those less experienced, but highly capable in our group. Scaling to the first 10 million users on AWS is becoming a more common goal...

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Day 3 – Runway

Next to the twitter entrance in a massive building lies a competitive incubator called Runway.   Runway has an area in the building with 30,000 square feet of space for people to work in. In my opinion it is called runway because there is a wide “runway” for the walking area like in the picture.     This Incubator has large companies sponsoring them, which helps out with contacts and other methods to improve technology faster.   Joe Vasquez, the organiser of Runway, gave us the first presentation. He gave us insightful information on what Runway does for the startups...

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Day 3 – 99 Designs

They say Silicon Valley is full of business hustlers, tech hackers and design hipsters. On day three we visited a company that definitely has the hipsters sorted. Aleks Witko, head of Visual Design, was our host at 99 designs. 99 Designs started in Melbourne, but they’ve now expanded to a few locations globally, with their new headquarters at a cool space in Oakland, across the bridge from San Francisco. Aleks described Oakland as the next Brooklyn – a rapidly gentrifying neighbourhood that’s already feeling pretty trendy. Aleks started with a story to paint a picture of how user-centred design shapes...

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#everything: A Trip to Twitter

It’s Day Two into Startup Catalyst’s whirl-wind tour through Silicon Valley and today’s been one filled with extra excitement for me. We started with a visit to an Equinox data center in San Jose, then made a stop-off at Jon Jon’s, a local favourite of Steve Baxter, but perhaps the most exciting part of the day was the visit we made to Twitter. Twitter resides in the middle of San Francisco’s Tenderloin, in an unassuming antique building. The only way that you’d know that Twitter was even in the location is purely from the @twitter sign on the corner of...