Thursday, 04 October 2018 02:21

StartCon 2018: Asia Pacific the growth engine as 'Silicon Valley eats itself'

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Australia’s StartCon says it's "on the hunt for the next global hotbeds of tech innovation and the startups emerging from them", with Silicon Valley "not on the list".

As Silicon Valley becomes embroiled in "growing controversy" around some of its biggest names, Australia’s largest start-up and growth conference, StartCon, reports "searching the entire Asia-Pacific region for the next global tech hotspots and their most promising start-ups".

These start-ups will then be given the chance to compete for $1 million at StartCon in Sydney on 30 November and 1 December.

StartCon chief executive Cheryl Mack said: “Silicon Valley’s reign as the world’s top tech start-up hub looks tenuous at best.

"The barriers to entry for young companies in Silicon Valley are skyrocketing because of soaring costs, and long-time locals fed up with the Valley are departing for greener, fresher pastures."

Mack continued: “Indeed, Peter Thiel, who co-founded PayPal with Tesla and SpaceX chief Elon Musk, left Silicon Valley after becoming dissatisfied with the culture in the Valley, among other reasons.

“In a way, Silicon Valley has become a victim of its own success. It has been the birthplace of some of the world’s biggest tech companies, many of which are now sucking up much of the local tech talent, leaving few resources for emerging startups that are just starting out.

“It’s no surprise that other regions around the world are emerging as new hotbeds of innovation, taking on some of the best parts of the Silicon Valley model and turning them into something entirely their own. Cities across the entire Asia-Pacific region, for example, are now vibrant breeding grounds for start-ups.

“These days, start-up founders are more likely to choose places like Singapore, Hong Kong, Sydney, Shanghai, Brisbane, Seoul, or Melbourne as home. This is why StartCon is going to over a dozen cities in the Asia-Pacific region to uncover the best, most innovative startups these places have to offer, and perhaps find the next Silicon Valley in the process."

We're told that the theme for this year’s premier StartCon event in Sydney, "Silicon Valley is dead. Long live Silicon Valley!", will "contrast the tremendous change that has swept through the tech sector’s traditional Californian hotbed, and shine a light on the emerging startup hotspots throughout the region".

StartCon 2018 also notes that will "host a major pitch competition at which the very best start-ups from across Asia-Pacific, a region with a population base of over four billion people, come together to battle it out for a $1 million investment from Australian Venture Capital firm, Right Click Capital".

As the largest event of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere, StartCon 2018 proudly boasts that it "showcase over 60 speakers who will appear in person in Sydney to share their insights with more than 4000 attendees.

"There will also be expert workshops, a tech expo, a blockchain hackathon, prizes, masterclasses, prizes a FinTech stage and an artificial intelligence (AI) stage."

As has been the case for the last two StartCons, the 2018 edition will once again be held at Sydney’s Randwick Racecourse. Tickets can be bought here.

More information on the keynote speakers can be seen here

Just some of the StartCon 2018 Speakers include:

Krista Seiden, Google: Krista Seidens is a product manager and the analytics evangelist for the Google Analytics team. A leader in the digital analytics industry with nearly a decade of experience specifically in digital marketing, analytics, and product management. She has led analytics and optimisation at companies such as Adobe, The Apollo Group, and Google.

Laura Behrens, Shippo: Laura Behrens is founder and chief executive of Shippo, which lets ecommerce businesses, marketplaces, and platforms connect to multiple shipping carriers around the world from one application programming interface and dashboard, lowering the barriers to shipping for businesses around the world.

Alana Podreciks, McKinsey: Alana Podreciks is head of McKinsey’s New Ventures Platform, which takes a venture capital approach to identify, fund and incubate start-ups inside McKinsey, while leveraging the consulting firm’s access to leading companies and go-to-market channels to help them move rapidly from startup to scale-up.

IBM Watson: IBM Watson is a cognitive computing system which uses artificial intelligence to analyse high volumes of data and process information more like a human than a computer. It does this by understanding natural language, generating hypotheses based on evidence and learning as it goes. In 2011, IBM Watson competed on the Jeopardy! gameshow, and won.

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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