21May

Tech Sydney formed to build a Silicon Valley Precinct in Sydney

Extract from Paul Smith Aus Fin Review 

A who’s-who of the Australian tech and  start-up scene have ploughed money into Tech Sydney – founded  by serial entrepreneurs Dean McEvoy, Mick Liubinskas, Kim Heras, Riley Batchelor and Gen George.

Tech Sydney aims to mentor fast growing tech companies and make Sydney the leading global tech centre.

The group will be signing up members from technology companies of all sizes, including start-ups and the local operations of fast growing and established global technology players.

It will operate as a not-for-profit and has been backed by companies including Atlassian, Tyro, Canva, SAP, Airbnb, Prospa, LinkedIn, Airtree Ventures, Reinventure, Blackbird Ventures and over 30 other funded start-ups.

Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes, TechSydney boss Dean McEvoy and StartupAus CEO Alex McCauley at the launch of ...

Above:- 

Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes, TechSydney boss Dean McEvoy and StartupAus CEO Alex McCauley at the launch of TechSydney

Trch Sydney will focus on numerous issues, with immediate concerns being the need to attract a lot more highly skilled workers from overseas, and a perceived need to create a physical precinct as a Silicon Valley-style focus for tech firms.

One such backer is co-founder of Nasdaq-listed Atlassian Mike Cannon-Brookes, who unsuccessfully sought to acquire the Australian Technology Park in Redfern, Sydney with a view to establishing it as a tech hub. 

The 2015 annual Compass startup ecosystem rankings saw Sydney falling against global peers.
The 2015 annual Compass startup ecosystem rankings saw Sydney falling against global peers. Compass

 Having a hub where Tech companies gravitate will be s goal.

“You are never going to get everyone to move into the same building, but you can certainly have a gravity towards a certain area of the city,” Mr Cannon-Brookes said. 

“I had a mate from overseas running a unicorn business and asked me where in Sydney he should setup and there were really six or seven different options … we need start-ups and overseas players like Dropbox, Uber and Airbnb together,  because they have the same set of issues and all hire lots of staff.”        

Co-founder and managing partner of Sydney-based tech venture capital firm Airtree Ventures Craig Blair said that, while it had no urban bias in terms of backing companies from other Australian cities, his firm was backing TechSydney as it recognised that a deeper pool of concentrated tech talent was needed to breed more viable global companies. 

“Sydney needs a more vibrant technology ecosystem if it is to navigate the disruptive forces facing most industries and continue as a top place to live in the world,” Mr Blair said.

He said he was encouraged by the people involved in TechSydney, that it would avoid the pitfall of becoming the latest in a long line of lobby groups asking for government assistance.

He said he believed the organisation could help make necessary changes, such as attracting skilled workers from around the world and initially championing the creation of a central tech precinct.  

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