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Frontiers of the Future at SouthStart 2018


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.

Investor Showcase

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.

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.

Rachel Kidwell, Matt Salier and Tania Jolley at Icebreaker18

SouthStart Conference

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.

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.

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.

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.

Exponential Disruption

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.

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: