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West Tech Fest 2022 announces international speaker lineup

Liam Wignell
Liam Wignell
// // Lead conference speakers include Peter Vesterbacka, Rodric David, Grace Wong, Young Sohn and Bill Tai...

Premier tech and innovation event West Tech Fest (WTF) is returning to Perth this year from Sunday 4 December to Friday 9 December with an international speaker lineup.

Lead conference speakers include Peter Vesterbacka, Rodric David, Grace Wong, Young Sohn and Bill Tai.

WTF co-founder Paula Taylor said the increased interest of both global and Australian eastern state tech leaders and venture capitalists on the local technology ecosystem is reflected in the speakers.

“WA has the fastest growing ecosystem in Australia for technology startups, with mature support programs from startup hubs, universities and the State Government providing a thriving community with the best opportunities for startups to grow their companies,” Ms Taylor said.

The speakers

Peter Vesterbacka: the Finnish mobile game developer and former CMO of Angry Birds creator Rovio Entertainment, has built branded global communities including the HP Bazaar, Mobile Monday, Slush and Startup Sauna.

Rodric David: the President and Co-Founder at Infinite Reality, a Metaverse innovation and entertainment company providing tools and services to build open Metaverse experiences.

Grace Wong: the Co-Founder of Liven, a rewards and payment app that allows users to earn and spend LivenCoin every time they dine at tens of thousands of venues.

Bill Tai: the venture capitalist and lead seed investor in fun companies including Canva, Tweetdeck/Twitter, and Zoom Video. He co-founded the Extreme Tech Challenge (XTC), the world’s largest startup competition for entrepreneurs addressing global challenges, and West Tech Fest.

Young Sohn: the Silicon Valley entrepreneur whose passion is building businesses and fostering emerging technologies that have the potential to transform the world for the better. Currently, Sohn serves as Corporate President and Chief Strategy Officer of Samsung Electronics and Chairman of the Board of HARMAN. Sohn is a leader of the global Tech for Good movement.

The speakers will be joined by dozens of tech startup leaders including Sangha Capital founders Berta and Carolina Cass Forga, SungularityU Australia co-CEO Christina Gerakiteys and Nearmap CEO Rob Newman, whose company was recently valued at north of $1 billion.

Mr Tai, attending the festival in person for the first time since 2019, said he is excited to be engaging with the ecosystem again face-to-face.

“It’s incredible to think that what started as a simple kite surfing trip has grown into one of the most influential tech events in Australia,” he said.

I’m honoured to have witnessed firsthand the growth of WA’s tech ecosystem and can’t wait to get back to Perth to celebrate the achievements of local founders and investors.

Bill Tai

Ms Taylor noted that even with Covid restrictions in place during last year’s festival, WTF 2021 was one of the biggest since its inception, with more than 3,000 delegates across 13 events.

“We are grateful for long-standing partners such as Curtin University, the City of Perth, and Woodside Energy amongst many others who have supported the growth of the Festival over the last ten years,” she said.

“2022 is set to be even bigger thanks to the sponsorship of the Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation (JTSI) New Industries Fund of $500,000 over two years.”

In addition to the expansion of the festival itself, the JTSI sponsorship has allowed for two additional programs targeting both founders and investors.

The first was a trip last month to Singapore for several startups to explore opportunities in the region. The second is a retreat for both local and eastern states investors in the South West to discover new investment opportunities for WA tech.

Innovation Minister Stephen Dawson said innovation is a key driver to diversifying the economy, creating long-term jobs and improving the quality of life for the community, and the state government was proud to play a part in this year’s event.

“Our fantastic start-ups and tech innovators have the opportunity to showcase their solutions to a global audience at West Tech Fest 2022.

“It is important for our aspiring local innovators to see the amazing range of technical prowess and smart entrepreneurship that is growing in our State, as well as being inspired by world class speakers and visitors.

New programs…

Along with the return of the West Tech Fest Conference, West Tech Women and Freo Startup Fest, a suite of new initiatives and satellite events will be hosted, including:

  • An Opening Night Sundowner which will connect the international guests with the local startup ecosystem whilst overlooking the sunset over the Indian Ocean.
  • The Cybotics AI Day which will showcase the best innovations the local ecosystem has to offer in cyber security, robotics, data science and artificial intelligence. This will be delivered in partnership with the City of Joondalup.
  • The WA Innovator of the Year Awards, which will be taking place at the festival for the first time, celebrating outstanding WA companies that have developed an innovative product, technology or service.
  • A free multi-storey Innovation Showcase inviting the public to discover the diverse technology, entrepreneurs, and scalable businesses being developed in Western Australia.
  • Also on this day will be the Young Entrepreneurship Showcase powered by Student Edge. This will provide an opportunity for young, aspiring entrepreneurs to promote and showcase their startups to the business community, investors, and general public.
  • A revised format of Rotto Tech Fest, which will allow for greater access whilst maintaining the intimate nature of the event. This will take place at the conclusion of the festival on Friday 9 December.

Tickets are now on sale.


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Liam Wignell

Liam Wignell

Liam has extensive experience across marketing, procurement and project management roles in both the public and private sector. He contributed to Startup News from 2020 to 2023 and was contracted as Managing Editor in 2022.
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