Home ANTBITES (Media Releases) Steve Baxter is taking these 20 young Australian entrepreneurs to Silicon Valley

Steve Baxter is taking these 20 young Australian entrepreneurs to Silicon Valley


Start-up hub and co-working community, River City Labs, recently revealed the names of the 20 young tech standouts selected to be part of the 2015 ‘Startup Catalyst’ mission to Silicon Valley which will run from 28 September to 7 October.

Following the huge success of the inaugural mission in 2014, Startup Catalyst recently announced that they are back for a second year aiming once again to give rise to Australia’s next batch of globally successful tech entrepreneurs.

Compared to the 95 entries for 2014’s inaugural mission, this year saw 131 high-quality applications lodged, with candidates hailing from across the state, from the Gold Coast to Cairns to Brisbane.

Who is behind the 2015 Startup Catalyst mission?

The sponsors for the 2015 Startup Catalyst mission include:

  • Gold sponsors: QUT Business School and The University of Queensland
  • Silver sponsors: Suncorp Group, Griffith University and Blacksheep Capital
  • Airline sponsor: Virgin Australia

Startup Catalyst is also supported by the Queensland Government’s Startup Queensland grant program.

Fronted by Queensland business leader and main financial backer, Steve Baxter (pictured) and Ezidebit founder Michael Dempsey, the ten-day mission will see the 20 participants immersed in Silicon Valley’s rich culture of high-growth entrepreneurship. They will;

  • visit the offices of global tech companies such as Facebook, Twitter and Apple,
  • attend networking events with start-up founders and student entrepreneurs,
  • meet with fellow Australians who are running start-ups in the Valley,
  • and take part in educational events to equip them with an understanding of what is involved in launching a globally successful tech start-up.

Who has been selected for 2015 Startup Catalyst?

The 20 young Queenslanders joining the program are: Jake Andersen (Tex), Nick Burge, Samuel Colbran (Sam), Sidney de Vries, Jaco du Plessis, Marisa Emerson, Jordan Gardiner, Jack Hallahan, Adam Hibble, Astrid Jonelynas, Thea Koutsoukis, Aimee Leong, Sam Lewis, Ben Maggacis, Tom Manderson, Krissy O’Farrell, Chris Rieger, Michael Sive, Tommi Sullivan and Kevin Upton.

QUT student, Adam Hibble, said, “Silicon Valley has some of the highest performance tech innovators in the world, I am ecstatic to be able to bring back the experience and share it with students like myself.”

“Maybe one day people will take a trip to Fortitude Valley to visit a company I start, how cool would that be?”

University of Queensland student, Marisa Emerson is also very excited to be selected.

“As an undergraduate engineering student at UQ, I am looking forward to the opportunity to meet some leaders in the field and hope that the trip will improve my professional network.

“I am excited to learn about how global tech businesses are created and hope the experience will be able to guide me in my future in tech,” she explained.

Over the course of the ten-day mission, the lucky 20 will share their experiences with friends, family and social networks via the Startup Catalyst blog. You can follow their journey here and to find out more about the 2014 mission, visit the blog or watch the highlights videos.