_SOUTHSTART, Australia’s innovation festival, is back in Adelaide from March 5 to 7 with a stellar lineup of speakers ready to share their insights, expertise, and inspire conversations.
Nestled in scenic South Australian locations like McLaren Vale and The Garden of Unearthly Delights, _SOUTHSTART is no ordinary festival. Since 2013, _SOUTHSTART has facilitated conversations, workshops, and immersive activities to create an environment that nurtures networks and hones essential skills and knowledge in the innovation space.
This year brings a diverse range of speakers from community builders to venture capitalists with so many draw cards, it’s hard to know who to look forward to the most. Here’s a glimpse of some of this year’s standout thought leaders.
Jessy Wu — Partner, AfterWork Ventures
Jessy Wu, Partner at AfterWork Ventures, brings a wealth of experience to this year’s _SOUTHSTART. With roots as a strategy consultant at Strategy& — formerly Booz&Co — Jessy has honed her expertise in healthcare, higher education, financial services, and government. As a trailblazer in diversity and inclusion, she led Strategy’s initiatives and pioneered a market-leading scholarship. Jessy’s multifaceted background positions her as a speaker with perspectives that break through industry boundaries, offering a mix of cross-sector expertise that’s set to inspire. Be sure to catch Jessy at _SOUTHSTART and learn her valuable lessons for creating inclusive and active workplaces.
Simon Thomsen — Editor, Startup Daily
Simon Thomsen is the mind behind the editorial success at Startup Daily — one of Australia’s most influential startup publications. As editor since 2019, Simon has been at the forefront of the startup scene, shaping conversations and driving innovation narratives. With a career spanning 30 years, including roles as an associate editor of Business Insider Australia and as a national restaurant critic, Thomsen is a seasoned storyteller with a plethora of experience to share. Join us at _SOUTHSTART to discover his insights into the trends and stories shaping the startup ecosystem.
Jess Walker — Programs and Community Manager, AirTree
Jess Walker is a force in the VC space who not only shares insights, but takes you on a rollercoaster ride through the highs and lows of the founder journey. With firsthand experience founding a startup in 2016 and being acquired, Jess intimately understands the entrepreneurial rollercoaster. At the helm of exciting programs, including AirTree’s Explorer Program, she leads efforts to cultivate the upcoming generation of Angel Investors in ANZ, injecting diversity and inclusion into a historically male-dominated industry. You won’t want to miss out on Walker’s captivating storytelling at _SOUTHSTART, where she brings you real stories, connection, and a unique understanding of the founder experience.
Pat Stewart — State Manager, Radium Capital
With over 15 years of experience in banking and sales leadership across Australia, plus an MBA, Pat Stewart is your gateway to knowledge that will heighten your _SOUTHSTART experience. His keen awareness of market trends and customer expectations guarantees a session filled with practical and relevant insights into finance, business, and market dynamics. If you’re a startup or business looking to boost your connections with clients and customers, Stewart is a must-see.
Paz Pisarski — Co-founder, The Community Collective
Paz Pisarski is a fervent supporter of community power, dedicating her efforts to community builders in the Australian and New Zealand startup ecosystem. Her track record of managing founder communities, expanding networks, and actively supporting diverse communities — such as migrant women through SisterWorks — showcases her success in driving positive change. Paz delivers a profound commitment to community building, offering a valuable perspective for those who are eager to learn about effective community building, fostering connections, and promoting diversity. Join Pisarski at _SOUTHSTART for an exploration of her experiences in community empowerment.
Matt Vitale — Co-founder and CEO, Birchal
Matt Vitale is the pioneering co-founder behind the evolution of Birchal into Australia’s premier licenced equity crowdfunding platform. Are you interested in the realm of equity crowdfunding, entrepreneurship, and financial services innovation? Make the most of your _SOUTHSTART experience by tapping into Matt’s evolution as he shares his perspectives as a legal professional and entrepreneur.
You can also check out the full list of _SOUTHSTARTS impactful voices and an in-depth look at their profiles here.
How to get tickets
Now that you know more about the people shaping _SOUTHSTART, don’t miss your chance to see them in action by securing your tickets here.
With _SOUTHSTART’S bundles of various ticket options, you can choose the package best suited to your needs.
Three-day Access Platinum Ticket:
Don’t want to miss a thing? This one is for you. Experience the full spectrum of _SOUTHSTART with this all-access pass, covering SOCIAL, VILLAGE, LANWAY AND UNTETHERED.
Two-day Access Gold Ticket:
Embark on a two-day adventure with the GOLD pass, immersing yourself in the vibrant energy of SOCIAL, VILLAGE and LANEWAY.