Freo Startup Fest ~ a feast for the blues

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// Building on last year’s Startup Christmas Party in Freo, the inaugural Freo Startup Fest featured a VC panel, a pitch comp, For Blue report, Awards and a blues band…

Rob Nathan and Paula Taylor had a vision to create a Fremantle tech event that would befit the eclectic nature of the port city and could fit into packed schedule of West Tech Fest.

Last week’s inaugural Freo Startup Fest had something for everyone, incorporating a variety pack of five startup happenings held harbourside at Little Creatures.

The pitch part of Freo Startup Fest was held in a packed out Sonar Room at Little Creatures

Kicking things off was a panel of venture capitalists, who reminded WA-based startups that they will not be disadvantaged if they are based in the west, and they should make contact early, and build a relationship well before they need to raise money.

The audience was warned that the space is hyper competitive: most of the VCs saw well over a thousand deals (often 2,500) a year and invested in perhaps 8 to 12.

The VCs were Jackie Vullinghs (Airtree Ventures), James Tynan (CEO of Startmate) and Nick Gainsley (One Ventures) and Elaine Stead (ex Blue Sky, now SA Venture Capital Fund).

Lucy Cooke pitching SpaceDraft

Innovation Bay then ran a Pitch Comp, with eight judges, and several of WA’s best known startups pitching for $1000 in prizes, courtesy of the sponsors.

The Pitch Comp was won by Richard Charlton, from Electro Aero, who is developing electric-powered planes and boats with his team. They have raised $1M, and are looking for $5M round in order to commercialise.

Dr Mary Webberley, from Noisy Guts, with the ever present ‘Flora’

After the Pitch Fest came the official publication of the ‘For Blue’ report with Andrew Outhwaite and a panel of experts talking blue tech and the aqua economy.

Andrew Outhwaite, author of the ‘For Blue’ Report at its launch

After this, Startup News held its annual awards, and then as the sun set the gathering partied away to the dulcet tones of the Blockchain Blues Band, made up of local IT and tech people.

Freo Startup Fest is set to become a favourite element of West Tech Fest, if this year’s event was anything to go by.

The Blockchain Blues Band in full voice

Thanks to the organisers and the many sponsors, chiefly the UK Department of International Trade, the City of Fremantle, Notre Dame University, Quay & Associates, Spacecubed, Innovation Bay, Upstart Investments, Wrays, Startup WA, Startup News, We Are Arising and Tekkon.

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MAIN IMAGE: Richard Charlton from Electro Aero.

Startup News was a sponsor of Freo Startup Fest.

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