WA: The State of Startups - Event Insights and Highlights

StartupWA, Techboard and our other event partners kicked of WestTechFest with an insightful review of the WA startup scene this year, including the Techboard 2017 WA Awards, presentations from a host of industry experts and the Minister for ICT & Innovation, Hon. Dave Kelly MLA.

City of Perth generously hosted StartupWA's WA: The State of Startups event, kicking off WestTechFest with  150+ startup community members, founders, industry partners and local, national and international guests coming together at Council House.

You can watch the video below and read on for relevant links and highlights.

The evening began with an introduction from Startup WA Co-Ordinator, Sam Birmingham, followed by presentations from:

  • Hon. Dave Kelly MLA, Minister for Innovation and ICT; Science - who outlined the State Government’s focus and support for innovation following from the recent announcement of their New Industries Fund.

  • Peter van Bruchem and Rafael Kimberley-Bowen, Co-Founders of Techboard - who showcased the year’s investment highlights and trends in local and national capital markets.

  • Monica Wulff, Co-Founder of StartupMuster - who presented a range of interesting WA and Australia-wide startup data hot on the heels of releasing the 2017 Startup Muster Report.

  • Alex McCauley, CEO of StartupAUS - who highlighted some of the key recommendations from the latest 2017 Crossroads report; and

  • Andrew Outhwaite, Chairperson of StartupWA - who passionately articulated StartupWA's vision and path forward for WA as an innovative, sustainable and economically diverse place to launch and grow global ventures.


Minister Kelly began his keynote with a comparison between the State Government's first twelve months in office and startup life - "full of ideas but no money, the the classic definition of a startup."

He then went on to outline the Government's focus on initiatives that are likely to create and support new West Australian industries, including training and re-training workers, developing the critical thinking and problem-solving skills that are crucial to the jobs of the future.

Central to this is the New Industries Fund, which Minister Kelly went on to explain is a $16.7m investment in broadening the economy - not just doing better at what we've always done, but also encouraging new industries to come forward and blossom. 

You can read StartupWA's more detailed summary of the New Industries Fund announcement here. Key points from Minister Kelly's address included:

  • $4.5m of the total pool allocated to regional investment
  • Continued support of programs such as the Innovator of the Year and innovation vouchers
  • Support for industry-led innovation hubs
  • And perhaps most relevant of all to those in the room - not all the money is committed yet; the Government is looking at new ideas for how to invest New Industries Fund resources to help create new Western Australia jobs.

The Minister's keynote was followed by data-intensive presentations from event partners, Techboard (16:30 - 28:30 in the video above), StartupMuster (29:30 - 39:00) and StartupAUS (39:30 - 50:30), all of whom then joined StartupWA's Chairperson for a panel discussion (1.01:30 - 1.09:30). 

Observations from the panel that piqued the crowd's interest included:

  • Andrew Outhwaite's practical invitation to keep giving back to the ecosystem - "whatever we can do to collaborate and increase the likelihood of startups and founders getting the support they need"; and reiterating the value of data collection, evaluation and mapping of ecosystem growth.

  • Peter van Bruchem advocating for more visibility and sharing - not just of startup's raw data, but also their news, stories, successes "to encourage and enable others to achieve what they might not otherwise have been able to achieve"

  • Monica Wulff's challenge to the whole startup community to take our story mainstream, highlighting our achievements and the globally-scaleable businesses we are building, and how they are going to benefit Australia in the long-term - "change the narrative - tell your stories loudly and proudly" 

  • Alex McCauley on the importance of connectedness - not just within co-working spaces and local startup communities, but across states and the whole nation.


After the crowd adjourned for startup community drinks and nibbles generously provided by the City of Perth, all while overlooking the picturesque Swan River, Peter and Raf returned to the stage to announce the winners of Techboard's 2017 WA Awards. 

You can watch the full video below. Congratulations to the winners winners for each category:

  • Top Trending Up and Coming Company - Credi
  • Top Trending Company - PowerLedger
  • Community Award - Nate Sturcke

Insightful events on big-picture topics are just one of the activities StartupWA undertakes in service of its mission to create the local conditions, enabling the global success for the ventures of tomorrow.

Thanks to our event partners who made this possible:

Finally, thank you to everyone who came along in person or participated online, it was great to kick off the festive season with so many friendly startup community faces in the audience.

If you haven’t already, please subscribe to our email list for periodic updates on events, surveys, advocacy and opportunities to help develop and support WA's startup community. You can also follow us on Twitter for more frequent updates, and even more opportunities to connect with the wider ecosystem through spaces, networks and events.