· The 20 young Queenslanders selected from 131 applications
· Mission program to inspire next generations of QLD tech entrepreneurs
Brisbane, August 11, 2015: Startup hub and coworking community, River City Labs, today revealed the names of the 20 young tech standouts selected to be part of the 2015 ‘Startup Catalyst’ mission to Silicon Valley (28 September – 7 October). Compared to the 95 entries for 2014’s inaugural mission, this year saw 131 high-quality applications lodged, with candidates hailing from across the state, from the Gold Coast to Cairns to Brisbane.
The sponsors for the 2015 Startup Catalyst mission include:
· Gold sponsors: QUT Business School and The University of Queensland
· Silver sponsors: Suncorp Group, Griffith University and Blacksheep Capital
· Airline sponsor: Virgin Australia
Startup Catalyst is also supported by the Queensland Government’s Startup Queensland grant program.
Fronted by Queensland business leader and main financial backer, Steve Baxter and Ezidebit founder Michael Dempsey, the ten-day mission will see the 20 participants visit the offices of global tech companies such as Facebook, Twitter and Apple, attend networking events with startup founders and student entrepreneurs, meet with fellow Australians who are running startups in the Valley, and take part in educational events to equip them with an understanding of what is involved in launching a globally successful tech startup.
Startup Catalyst’s Joint Mission Leader, Steve Baxter, said: “A huge congratulations to all those who applied for this year’s mission, particularly the 20 chosen to come along in September. Choosing just 20 was a challenge as Project Director, Colin Kinner, and one of the tech masterminds behind the mission, Peter Laurie, were blown away with the quality of the applications.
“I’m looking forward to witnessing how the experience further equips and teaches these emerging entrepreneurs. Queensland’s startup scene will certainly be better for it,” Mr Baxter said.
Startup Catalyst’s Joint Mission Leader, Michael Dempsey, commented: “Startup Catalyst is a trip of a lifetime for all involved, myself included. Thanks to all the sponsors who have contributed to making the event a reality, I’m looking forward to bringing the knowledge and experience back to Brisbane.
“There’s no reason Brisbane and Australia cannot be at the forefront of tech venture capital so I’m hoping this will encourage not only the 20 successful applicants but budding entrepreneurs from all over to chase their dreams. It’s all within reach, just go for it,” Mr Dempsey said.
The 20 young Queenslanders joining the program are:
Jake Andersen (Tex)
Samuel Colbran (Sam)
Sidney de Vries
Jaco du Plessis
QUT student, Adam Hibble, said: “Silicon Valley has some of the highest performance tech innovators in the world, I am ecstatic to be able to bring back the experience and share it with students like myself. Maybe one day people will take a trip to Fortitude Valley to visit a company I start, how cool would that be?”
University of Queensland student, Marisa Emerson, added: “I’m very excited to be selected for this year’s Startup Catalyst. As an undergraduate engineering student at UQ, I am looking forward to the opportunity to meet some leaders in the field and hope that the trip will improve my professional network. I am excited to learn about how global tech businesses are created and hope the experience will be able to guide me in my future in tech.”
Executive Dean, QUT Business School, Professor Robina Xavier, said: “QUT Business School is proud to once again be a gold sponsor of Startup Catalyst. Supporting this valuable opportunity for talented young entrepreneurs is well aligned with QUT’s commitment to providing real-world experiences for our students, where they can apply their academic skills in practical industry settings. Startup Catalyst is a fantastic program that allows our locally grown talent to network and learn from the best in the world.”
Head of the School of IT and Electrical Engineering at UQ, Paul Strooper, said: “Startup Catalyst is a fantastic initiative, which is allowing UQ to better support its students by bringing their great ideas and projects to life. I am looking forward to seeing the mission transform the successful applicants from UQ into potentially leading entrepreneurs, and learning from the ideas and lessons that they bring back to Australia with them.”
Over the course of the ten-day mission, the lucky 20 will share their experiences with friends, family and social networks via the Startup Catalyst blog. You can follow their journey at: http://www.startupcatalyst.com.au/
About River City Labs:
River City Labs is Brisbane’s premier co-working community and central clubhouse for tech startups. It is a not-for-profit organisation aimed at fostering Queensland’s startup ecosystem.
Current membership sits at over 100 members ranging from early stage startups and founders to established startups and entrepreneurs who have successfully raised capital in the last 18 months.
River City Labs focuses on providing the right environment for entrepreneurs to make valuable contacts while learning from peers, mentors and industry experts helping them to connect, work and grow.
About Startup Catalyst:
Startup Catalyst is an annual mission to Silicon Valley for twenty young people who have the potential to be Australia’s next batch of globally successful tech entrepreneurs.
The 2015 mission will take place over a ten-day period from 28 September to 7 October 2015 and will immerse the participants in Silicon Valley’s rich culture of high-growth entrepreneurship. The group will visit the offices of global tech companies such as Facebook, Twitter and Apple, attend networking events with startup founders and student entrepreneurs, meet with fellow Australians who are running startups in the Valley, and take part in educational events to equip them with an understanding of what is involved in launching a globally successful tech startup.