Last weekend an event called #StartCon was on in Sydney’s Royal Randwick Racecourse.

StartCon is an opportunity for startups to pitch for funding, network with services & providers, gain access to the 88 exhibitors who happen to be some of the biggest companies in the world, compete in hackathons, or for investors to meet startups and discuss opportunities.

It’s also a chance for startups to hear from the world’s startup elite all the way from Silicon Valley.

Over 3000 attendees showed up to this year’s Microsoft sponsored event organised by Freelancer which housed some of Silicon Valley’s biggest internet marketing stars.

Andrew Chen from Uber on the mainstage at StartCon 2016
Andrew Chen from Uber on the mainstage at StartCon 2016


Andrew Chen Head of Rider Growth at Uber; Elena Verna, SVP of Growth at SurveyMonkey; Sean Ellis, founder of Growth Hackers; Nate Moch VP of Product Teams & Growth at Zillow; and Chandini Ammineni, Distribution Partner at 500 Startups. Tech industry heavyweights also gave a keynote including NASA’s Director of Advanced Explorations Systems, Jason Crusan; Bloomberg’s Global Tech Media Specialist, Christopher Lowe; Alibaba Group’s ANZ Managing Director, Maggie Zhou; and’s very own CEO, Matt Barrie, were just SOME of the speakers that graced the stages during the 2 day event.

In amongst the talks, and exhibitors a hackathon of massive proportions was taking place with some of the best engineers in a capture the flag competition. (Quite frankly I love CTF’s, essentially you need to “hack” servers in order to get keys, its cool and everyone has fun)

This was then followed up by the real competition which included the chance to win a whole bunch of swag, for these engineering startups as the teams then went into creation mode and spent 24hrs building and creating apps that helped to solve issues.

While this was going on startup companies pitched in one of Australias largest pitch competition in association with the Startup World Cup.

Maggie Zhou from alibaba shares the company story from the beginning
Maggie Zhou from Alibaba shares the company story from the beginning

The partnership opens up opportunities for Australian startups and entrepreneurs to gain access to Silicon Valley, global VCs and international tech leaders.

“StartCon is all about empowering and equipping Australia’s startup community and entrepreneurs. That is why we’re hosting big awards and pitch competitions on top of bringing in nothing but the best tech industry speakers from all over the world into our main stage,” says Matt Barrie, CEO. “Seeing all this potential in the community drives the StartCon team to make this a bigger and better event in 2017.”

To say that the 2-day event is full-on is an understatement.

StartCon was originally designed to enrich Australia’s technology and entrepreneurship sector by providing a forum for entrepreneurs and startups to learn from leading technology founders and has expanded since its debut last year.

Even exhibitors are providing tools and services and networking opportunities.

Microsoft’s startup dedicated arm bizspark_au held talks and 1-1 sessions with startups, even bringing a few startups along to the event to give them exposure while giving away hundreds of dollars worth of Azure credits.

Seriously if you are a startup, an investor, or a marketer – you will not want to miss next years event.

This is however for the serious entrepreneur, investor or marketer, tickets are around $300 AUD to access the event.

The event is truly worth it as you get once in a lifetime opportunities that you will not get anywhere else.

This event is a MUST, highly recommend and look forward to seeing you at StartCon2017 next year.