Author: Aaron Birkby

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European Mission wrap-up

Startup Catalyst just wrapped up it’s second annual 2 week mission to Berlin and London, this year with 20 participants, comprised of a mix of mostly investors, scale-ups and startups, plus accelerator/co-working leaders, corporates, University faculty, and public servants. We were also joined in London by delegations out of Victoria and New South Wales, making it the largest Australian delegation to ever visit the UK. We were also joined and supported by the incredible Warren Bartlett (TIQ London) and Craig O’Kane (UK DIT Brisbane). Why we went: Our missions are not trade missions, and nor are they tech tourism. Our...

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SheEO and 10.10.10

While in Denver, we were fortunate enough to spend time with the awesome Heather MacKenzie, who wears a number of hats, including volunteering as the Denver City Lead for SheEO, and being CEO Team Lead for 10.10.10. In a country where only 2.7% of Vc funding goes to startups with female founders, SheEO is doing its part to try and solve this problem.  They raised $1000 from each of 1000 women in 100 days, equating to a $1 million fund.  They then opened for applications from startups which were female led (female founder or 50% female team), who also had at least $50k...

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Spark Boulder and “Hey man” funding

Our visit to Spark Boulder was an interesting comparison to the well-funded Boomtown Accelerator, and a stark contrast to Galvanize, most noticeably for its boot-strapping, “get shit done” startup culture. Spark is a “finishing school for students to prepare for entrepreneurship”.  Or in other words, it is addressing the skills gap between University graduates and industry jobs. It was founded after the merger of 3 student-led startup groups on campus.  After pitching the concept for the space to University faculty – and getting no positive responses – they went out on their own, secured a lease for the premises, and...

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Boomtown Accelerator

On day 1 of the Startup Community Leaders Mission we visited the Boomtown Accelerator in Boulder Colorado, after an introduction from Baden U’ren (Bond University, Gold Coast). Boomtown is an accelerator that runs 2 programs per year (3 months long), and now has an alumni network of 60 companies from the past 3 years, 90% of which are still going, and 78% are generating profits (impressive stats).  Approximately 50% of the portfolio are health-tech related.  Roughly 50% of the teams in each cohort are typically local, and the rest come from around the world. Most of the startups are very early...

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Day 1: Lessons from Boulder Colorado

After arriving in the USA and meeting at our hotel in Denver for a mission briefing ahead of a group dinner to bond and connect with the cohort, our first official day of the inaugural Startup Community Leaders Mission was spent in Boulder Colorado. About Boulder Boulder is a small city of 103,166 (2013), making it smaller than Cairns (147,993), Townsville (180,333), Ipswich (190,000), and Toowoomba (114,622), but bigger than Mackay (84,455), Bundaberg (70,588), and Longreach (3,173), which are all locations represented by the community leaders on the trip. It lies at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, some 40km northwest of Denver in...

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Galvanize Boulder

At first glance, Galvanise Boulder appears to be a 30,000 square feet co-working space with 23 meeting rooms and the “obligatory free beer” (their words). And it is – they have 220 individuals from 75 companies working in the space.  But what was very obvious during our time with their General Manager, Emilie Kintner, was that she never once used the word “co-working” during our hour long visit.  She pitched Galvanize as “a learning community for technology startups”.  When questioned on this, she articulated it was a very deliberate avoidance of using the term “co-working”, in order to differentiate themselves from...

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We’re heading to Colorado and California!

The first Startup Community Leaders Mission is scheduled to the USA for 29 January – 5 February 2017, with 18 participants taking part, including 13 from regional Queensland, 2 from Brisbane, 1 from Byron Bay, and 2 from Perth. The objective of this mission is to explore different models and programs used overseas for providing support to startups, while building global awareness, discovering international best practices, learning about the latest trends, and building strong global connections, all to better support the startups in our local Australian startup communities. What are we doing? During the mission participants will meet with fellow startup community...

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Youth Mission 2016 cohort announced

After a rigorous selection process, today we officially announce the 20 participants chosen for the 2016 Youth Mission to Silicon Valley. The applicant pool This year was the first time the program expanded nationally, and with an extended age limit from 18 to 29 (up from 25 years of age last year). As a result, we had 201 applications from across the country, of which 50 were interviewed, before we selected the final 20. Applicants this year had an incredible mix of skill-sets and experience, from software engineering, to mechatronics, computer vision, data science, AI, machine learning, electronics, graphic design, UI, UX,...