South Australia’s premiere startup showcase, SouthStart, returned with force in November 2018. The 3+ day event was an opportunity for those across the startup sector in SA to learn about other industries and participants, and to hear from world-class speakers about concepts and technologies that will be vital for businesses to survive and thrive in the digital future.
Our team took part in many of the activities: the Investor Showcase, the Icebreaker Networking event, the ‘Startup Alley’ party on Peel Street, and the two-day conference at Adelaide Town Hall (and in true Adelaide style, we really got involved – our CEO Rachel acted as MC for the 600+ Icebreaker event, and our front-end developer Sarah acted as Production Manager for the conference). We were delighted to see the event make a comeback as a major player in SA’s startup ecosystem.
The event kicked off with an Investor Showcase at Adelaide Town Hall, where a wide variety of companies pitched to a room full of startup ecosystem supporters and investors. Our CEO Rachel Kidwell had eight minutes to pitch the story of TCP, our traction to date and our plans for the future. We are currently open for a round of investment so this was a fantastic opportunity for us to get in front of investors and networked people.
— South Australian Chief Entrepreneur (@sa_chiefentrep) November 21, 2018
Networking IceBreaker Style
Flinders University and the New Venture Institute (NVI) brought together 600 people for the the NVI’s flagship networking event, “Icebreaker18” on 21 November 2018. Backed by Spiral Data’s innovative matching technology, guests enjoyed meeting their ‘perfect matches’ at data-matched tables over drinks and nibbles. Attendees heard from a number of speakers, including keynotes from Jared Brown and Sarah Thompson of Australian Fashion Labels, Adam Wardell and Dana Bell from Novartis, and Shane Pankhurst and Mike Duhne from Optus. Our very own Rachel Kidwell lead the proceedings as MC.
The SouthStart conference returned in 2018 with a mission to unite, connect, inspire and catalyze the disruptive ideas and amazing people making their mark on the world. The two-day festival delivered over 30 entrepreneurs, innovators,technologists and leaders on the stage Thursday 22 and Friday 23 November at Adelaide Town Hall.
— SouthStart | Adelaide | Nov 22/23 (@_southstart) November 22, 2018
Innovation Precinct at Lot Fourteen
Early on Thursday morning we heard from South Australia’s Premiere, Steven Marshall, and SA’s new Chief Entrepreneur, Jim Whalley. Both spoke about the state’s commitment to the Innovation Incubator and Business Growth Hub at Lot Fourteen – the former Royal Adelaide Hospital site. By mid-2019, their aim is to have 1000 people working on site in businesses across sectors such as defense, space, cyber security, blockchain, AI and machine learning, and film and television. Currently, they are working on a bid to bring the National Space Agency to South Australia, based at Lot Fourteen.
Data Capture, Data Intelligence and Data Interface
Unity and AR developer John Seitsma spoke about the opportunities for visualising data in augmented and virtual reality. We were particularly interested in his comments on the abilities to capture physical spaces in 3D digital environments, and to work with data and risk management in augmented reality environments. This was an interesting counterpoint to Katrina Donaghy’s talk on blockchain, which she spoke about as fundamentally a governance technology to record and store data. Machine Learning was another widely mentioned data topic across the conference, which will make data much more relevant and easy for users to find and interact with.
.@JohnSietsma at #southstart18 conference – “we should move risk management & reporting away from flat sheets, and into augmented reality”. Agreed – these are the sorts of innovations we’re looking to bring to the property industry 🏗️💻 pic.twitter.com/YWzLFDY5AR
— TCPinpoint (@TCPinpoint) November 22, 2018
Customer Experience in the Uncanny Valley
There were a number of talks on ways we can improve the customer experience – Gus Quoira of IBM quoted that by 2022, 50% of customers browsing won’t be interfacing via a screen, but likely through interfaces such as voice (think Siri, Google Assistant and Alexa). Jay Samit mentioned chatbots as an ‘exponentially disruptive technology’, and Greg Cross demonstrated the ‘digital humans’ being developed by Soul Machines, which aim to make the customer experience automated but not totally robotic.
#DigitalHumans being showcased by @gregcross today at #SouthStart18. @SoulMachine have the ability to create virtual, artificially intelligent humans in full 3D. We’re in the uncanny valley. This is the future. pic.twitter.com/aXmpZ0VBZx
— Sarah Brown (@SarahEsbie) November 22, 2018
Sights Set on Space
There was a focus on space and satellite technologies, covered by a number of speakers including Pamela Melroy, Lloyd Damp, and Anastasia Volkova. Fleet Space’s Flavia Tata Nardini spoke about constellations of nano-satellites designed to connect everything (even bees), followed by an incredible presentation from ‘astronaut artist’ Sarah Jane Pell, who turned the walls of the Adelaide Town Hall into a spectacle with projections of her interactive art.
Jay Samit closed out the conference with his keynote on massively disruptive businesses and technologies. He spoke about the changing way we use buildings: solar paint and solar windows that produce energy, the lessened need for bricks-and-mortar spaces with an automated workforce, and the fact that we won’t need parking lots in an era of self-driving cars. He also singled out the seven ‘exponential technologies’ that businesses should be paying attention to: 5G, Augmented Reality, Cloud Computing, Wearables, Artificial Intelligence, Chatbots and the Internet of Things.
— Jay Samit (@jaysamit) November 23, 2018
Watch the talks online
The two-day conference was extremely eye-opening, and the points above were just some of our key takeaways from the incredible presentations. Watch them all online here:
- Jim Whalley – Driving Entrepreneurship in Future Industries in South Australia
- Heather J Mackenzie – Founder Mental Health
- ‘Made in SA’ Panel Discussion with SA Antony Ceravolo, Mohan Koo, Michelle Perugini and Flavia Tata Nardini
- Address from Premiere Steven Marshall
- Julie Trell – Everything is Broken. What a time to be alive
- John Sietsma – Creation Tools Beyond the Laptop
- Penny Locaso – Human First
- Toby Pearce – Keynote Address on the story of Sweat
- John Henderson – Artificial Intelligence: Hype and Reality
- Gus Quiroa- Real-world applications for AI and Machine Learning with Watson
- Fang Chen – AI with Impact
- Greg Cross – The Future of CX : How Cognitive Models will herald a new phase for AI
- Katrina Donaghy – The State of the Blockchain: Beyond the Hype
- Andre Eikmeier – Wine Motherf**ker – the real story behind the making of $100m wine startup Vinomofo
- Money Talks Panel Discussion with Albert Bielinko, Larry Lopez, Samantha Wong, Elaine Stead & John Henderson
- Pamela Melroy – Launching a Space Startup: Challenges and Opportunities
- Lloyd Damp – Dreaming big and making it happen
- Anastasia Volkova – How satellites and AI grow crops: new horizons of digital agriculture
- Flavia Tata Nardini – A startup’s journey to space
- Sarah Jane Pell – Smart Arts in Space
- Michael J. Biercuk – Starting up the quantum economy
- Jay Samit – Exponentials Disrupted: Strategies for Success in the Era of Endless innovation