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First stop Silicon Valley, Next stop the world: the 20 young Queenslanders ready for startup stardom

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3 Dec

First stop Silicon Valley, Next stop the world: the 20 young Queenslanders ready for startup stardom

launch-admin Dec 3, 2014 0 1446


·      The 20 young Queenslanders selected from around 100 applicants

·      Project aims to inspire next generations of QLD tech entrepreneurs

·      Participants will share their experience through social media, blog and a documentary


Brisbane, 12 November 2014: River City Labs today revealed the 20 young, emerging leaders in the Queensland startup scene who will join the inaugural Startup Catalyst mission from 16 to 26 November 2014. Hailing from all over the state, from the Gold Coast to Brisbane to Cairns to Charters Towers, the group features twenty robots enthusiasts, coders and startup founders from 18 to 25 years old.  


The sponsors for the mission include QUT, University of Queensland, Griffith Film School, Inabox Group and McCullough Robertson, and media partners The Courier-Mail, Startupsmart.com.au and Techstreet Journal.


Throughout the ten-day mission, the participants will be immersed in Silicon Valley’s rich culture of high-growth entrepreneurship. They will visit the offices of global tech companies such as Google, Facebook, Apple and Twitter, 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, all of which will be documented along the way.


The highlight of the program will be participating in a joint Startup Weekend with local Silicon Valley entrepreneurs. It will take place during Global Startup Battle, the world’s largest startup competition involving teams in 200 cities around the world. Over the course of 54 hours the participants will brainstorm startup ideas, form teams, validate their assumptions, build prototypes and launch a product.


Throughout the journey, they will share their story via the Startup Catalyst blog and through other social media platforms to help inspire their friends, family and social networks. A film crew from Griffith Film School will also join the mission, and will produce an official Startup Catalyst documentary showcasing the Silicon Valley experience from a young Australian perspective.


River City Labs founder and Startup Catalyst’s Mission Leader, Steve Baxter, said: “We’ve had a great response to the project and have been really impressed with the depth of young startup talent in Queensland. If just one person can be inspired from the mission to take the steps to launch their own startup, it will be worthwhile. Through programs such as this, we can energize and excite the next generation, and who knows, perhaps the next global Australian startup can come from Queensland.” 


The 20 young Queenslanders joining the program are:


Luke Bermingham

Andrew Joy

Charles Nelson

Elliot Smith

Matthew Brown

Elizabeth King

Jared Page

Kelsey-Lee Stay

Alex Ghiculescu

Larene Le Gassick

Mitch Pierias

Reinard van der Leij

Anthony Guevara

Jack Lewis

Justin Rahardjo

Ben Wilkinson

David Hooper

Callum McColl

Tristan Roberts

Javan Wood



Alex Ghiculescu, the 22 year old founder of rapidly growing Brisbane startup Tanda said that the trip would allow him to make valuable connections in the US: “We’re ready to take our business and technology onto a global scale now. It would be fantastic to go and meet some of the very best people in the industry, learn from their experiences doing so, and bring that back to Brisbane.”


Larene Le Gassick, a 24 year old self-described “robot nerd”, said that the mission would give her valuable knowledge and insight: “This is a great opportunity to bounce ideas, and experience the culture and mindset behind global-tech and startup communities in Silicon Valley. Startup Weekend will be a great catalyst for a project a friend and I are working on, a robot for kids to program. I hope to learn as much as I can about everything, but especially the three M’s – market, money, and manufacture, and return with many valuable experiences to share.”


Professor Robina Xavier, Executive Dean, QUT Business School said: “QUT Business School is proud to be a joint gold sponsor of the Startup Catalyst along with Science and Engineering Faculty. Supporting this type of immersion opportunity highlights QUT’s commitment to providing real-world experience for our students, where they can take what they’ve learned into the international arena and test it and share it with the best minds in industry.  QUT Business School fosters entrepreneurship and responsible global corporate citizenship throughout its course offerings, because great ideas that change the world need to be backed up with the best business acumen.”


Professor Michael Rosemann, Head of the Information Systems School, QUT Science and Engineering Faculty said: “The Startup Catalyst initiative provides an exciting and unique opportunity for our emerging talent to gain first hand insights into the world’s most fascinating entrepreneurial ecosystem. Visiting some of the globally most admired companies will create aspiration, stimulation and complementary learning experiences.  All participants will enrich their leadership and innovation skills and experience the rich set of digital opportunities shaping tomorrow’s real world.”



To learn more about the 20 mission participants, visit the Startup Catalyst blog at: http://blog.startupcatalyst.com.au/.





Media Contact:

Louise Proctor louise@launchgroup.com.au 02 0402 1002 / 0452 574 244

Ashford Pritchard ashford@launchgroup.com.au 02 9492 1040 / 0411 020 680



About River City Labs:


River City Labs is Brisbane’s premier co-working community and central clubhouse for tech startups. They are 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 is a nationally recognised brand in the startup sector within Australia. The organisation is a proven leader in this field and has a strong reputation for continuously driving the digital startup economy forward.


The foundersstaff and mentors have established themselves as key people to know within the startup ecosystem in Australia have been recognised as key drivers in Queensland’s digital strategy.

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.  


RCL has facilitated over 100 events in two years all focussed on early stage startups and hosted 10 successful entrepreneurs who have given their time to come and speak with our members and community about their ‘Entrepreneurial Journey’.


For more info: http://www.rivercitylabs.net/

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