Four Years of Catalyst

Just over a month ago, we were joined by friends, supporters, and alumni for Startup Catalyst’s 4th birthday. This post is a reflection on those 4 years and that evening.

4 years by the numbers

We have 219 alumni

London cohort (2018)

Startup Community cohort (2017)

Israel cohort (2017)

…who went on 14 missions

Investor cohort (2017)

Female Founders cohort (2017)

…to 7 locations.

2015 Youth Mission

129 participants were fully sponsored…

Youth Cohort 2015

Youth Cohort 2016

…of which 80 were youth mission participants.

All of this was possible thanks to 24 partners.

4 years in relationships

We’ve had many great partners and supporters over the years. A massive thank you to all of them:

Queensland Government, NewsCorp Australia, Queensland University of Technology, RACQ, The University of Queensland, Boeing, Australian Government Cotton Research and Development Corporation, TechnologyOne, Brisbane City, Griffith University, Over the Wire, River City Labs, Macquarie, E29, Vision6, McCullough Robertson, Data61, Uber, CBR Innovation Network, Prospress, StartupAUS, StartupQLD, The University of Sydney, Government of South Australia, Business Models Inc, Suncorp, Blacksheep Capital, BRW, Virgin Australia, Amazon Web Services, UK Trade and Investment.

This is more than just a list of names. Each organisation came to Startup Catalyst in a different way. Some of them supported us for a season and some will stay with us for years to come. But all of them allowed us to do great things. For each organisation, there are also individuals who have had tremendous impact on us.

Paul Martyn, who leads Advance Queensland as Deputy Director-General, Innovation at DITID, has been an active part of the ecosystem since we started calling it an ecosystem. He has been a great friend to Startup Catalyst since before he came to Tel Aviv with us.

Paul repping Advance Queensland in the hotdesq shirt with the Israel mission cohort

Connecting the Queensland ecosystem with the world is critical for our future growth as a state. Startup Catalyst has helped open up new possibilities for innovators and startups and is an important part of our strategy for Advance Queensland.

— Paul Martyn

Massive thanks to Queensland Government, Paul, and everyone who makes Advance Queensland happen.

Paul speaks at the 4th birthday

Paul Martyn, Breanna Barnes, Aaron Birkby, Brad Cuthbert

Professor Rowena Barrett is Head of the School of Management in QUT’s Business School. Anyone within the school will tell you that she is super approachable, but outside of the university people just think of her as QUT’s ambassador. QUT and Rowena have supported Startup Catalyst since the beginning. Rowena is a vital part of the community and does a lot of unseen work to support the ecosystem.

Rowena and the Europe mission cohort

It’s only through that partnership with others that we will be successful in ensuring that our offering to students is useful and valuable and Startup Catalyst is one of those key partners.

— Rowena Barrett

Massive thanks to QUT, Rowena, and everyone inside the university who actively support the startup ecosystem and emerging entrepreneurs.

Rowena speaks at the 4th birthday

Rowena Barrett, Craig O’Kane, Aaron Birkby

4 years in stories

We’re proud to have 219 alumni because each of them have experienced a different transformation.

We asked a handful of our youth mission participants how their trip influenced what they’re doing now. Our annual future founders missions (formerly youth missions) first started in 2014 so the very real effects of those trips are showing. Here’s what they had to say.

It’s difficult to summarise the benefits of Startup Catalyst in one sentence; I expected there to be a change in perspectives, but I never expected to change my entire world view with 10 days in Silicon Valley.

— James Schulte (Adelaide), 2016 Future Founders

Attending the mission feels like a cheat code that allows you to bring home the thinking, approach to ideas, and people from 5 years into the future. I’ve had a very serious perspective change on the way I can look at my career, especially with regards to world of possibilities that can and do emerge through collaborations.

— Nicholas McCarthy (Brisbane), Future Founders 2017

Startup Catalyst is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that has drastically impacted my personal and professional trajectory. The volume and quality of learnings condensed into such a short period of time is unreal.

— Tom Robinson (Canberra), 2016 Future Founders and co-mission leader for the 2017 Future Founders mission

4 years in an evening

On 30 August 2018, we gathered at Bar Pacino overlooking the Brisbane River and the Story Bridge.

Rowena says a few words. Note the amazing sweets behind her. What you can’t see is that…

…each of them have one of our partners printed on them! (They were also delicious).

Thanks for the birthday wishes, Mic!

A handful of our Youth Mission alumni joined us for the evening. The Story Bridge photobombed many pictures.

Thanks to the sponsors who contributed to the event:

  • Cat Matson — Brisbane Digital
  • Craig O’Kane — UK Dept of International Trade
  • Cole Wilkinson — Pitcher Partners
  • Malcolm Burrows — Dundas Lawyers

It was a great night.

It has been an awesome four years.

We are looking forward to having a further impact with the support of our partners in the years to come.

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