Niki Scevak says Australians need to learn about our startup successes in order to grow

The leading entrepreneurs behind some of Australia’s best-known tech companies, including Atlassian, Envato and, are set to share their experiences as startup founders at The Sunrise Conference, organised by Blackbird Ventures.


Blackbird Ventures managing director Niki Scevak told StartupSmart that Australia’s tall poppy syndrome meant  “part of our national psyche is that successful people aren’t standing on the rooftops” talking about their success.


As a result, Scevak says many aspiring entrepreneurs haven’t heard the story of some of Australia’s biggest startup successes.


“The inspiration was a recent blog post about failed startups by Nikki Durkin. We learn so much from the failures of startups that didn’t work. So why not from startups that succeeded?” he says.


“So the aim of this event is to retell the early stories of some successful companies, and look back at how things looked in their startup phase in terms of things like monthly revenues, products, the key metrics they looked at and the big decisions they made.”


Speakers at the event include Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes, RetailMeNot co-founder Bevan Clark, Freelancer co-founder Matt Barrie, RedBubble co-founder Martin Hosking, and Envato co-founder Collis Ta’eed.


Evan Thornley, co-founder of Looksmart and A Better Place will share his observations of different personality types and Rod Johnson will explain how he sold SpringSource to VMWare in 2009 for $362 million.


“Each session has time for a Q&A where people can ask the founders their own questions,” Scevak says. “Some people pay $100,000s to learn through case studies, from paper rather than from a founder,” Scevak says.


“This event is about giving people the deep learning they need to become a better founder.


“If  you’re a current uni or TAFE student  you can come along for just $30. It’s certainly an opportunity that would cost a lot more if you learnt it from a case study in a textbook.”


The Sunrise Conference will take place on Friday September 19 at Carriageworks in Eveleigh, Sydney, running from 9AM to 5.30 PM.


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