Reboot of That Startup Show will put founders front of stage

That Startup Show founders Ahmed Salama and Anna Reeves

That Startup Show founders Ahmed Salama and Anna Reeves. Source: Supplied.

That Startup Show is back for a second season, and co-founder Anna Reeves tells StartupSmart its new distribution formats and deep-delving themes will bring the limelight onto people, and the philosophies, behind startups.

The team wrapped on the first season, filmed in Melbourne’s The Savoy Tavern, back in 2015. Reeves notes: “People seemed to like it.”

Since then, That Startup Show has toured Australia and New Zealand, run one-off special episodes and, crucially, focused on fundraising.

This new season is supported by major partner LaunchVic and main media partner Gizmodo, plus the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, Academy Xi and Girl Geek Academy. An additional media partnership also means episodes will be available on Virgin Australia flights.

Episodes will still be filmed in front of a live audience, although the Savoy is no longer standing. Reeves is tight-lipped on the new location, saying all will be revealed in the first episode, available on Gizmodo on July 17.

The new format also sees Gizmodo editor Rae Johnston co-hosting alongside journalist and author Benjamin Law. They’re well matched, Reeves says, adding: “Their chemistry is really great on screen”.

Getting Johnston on board and bagging Gizmodo as a partner were separate things, Reeves says. The team approached Johnston first, and they later agreed to try to “cross-pollinate audiences”.

“We were really searching for a different distribution model, synergies and alignment with similar audiences,” says Reeves.

Then, approaching Law was a case of Reeves “thinking outside of the box”, she says.

He had worked on That Startup Show specials before, with Reeves calling him “very intelligent” with an “inquisitive approach to the world”.

“We wanted to create opportunity for diversity on screen culture,” she says.

Where do startups stand?

Touted as a reboot of the original show, this iteration of That Startup Show is intended to tackle the role of technology in our everyday lives, something Reeves says “people are more and more concerned about”.

“They want to know who’s behind it, and what they’re doing,” she says.

Four or five years ago, the huge technology companies were perceived as doing new and exciting things. Now, Reeves says, with data sharing and privacy scandals emerging, some of “the dark side” has come out.

“People want to explore how that affects them,” she says.

“How are we going to navigate humanity in the face of unprecedented change?”

According to Reeves, startup founders should be considering their own role in that. Are startups solving some of the problems, or creating new ones?

“Startups need to ask themselves that. Is something going to create more problems than it solves? Making people’s lives better, and making money?”

According to Reeves, That Startup Show will look beyond the deals and the fundraising, and focus on the people behind the businesses, and their ethos.

She asks: “Who are the companies? Who are the people? … What does an entrepreneur look like?”

Episodes will cover issues including diversity, mental health and burnout, and how to make a difference and a profit at the same time.

“That’s what we learnt from doing the first season,” Reeves says.

“Talking to startups about their own journeys, these are the things that aren’t talked about. The hidden things.”

NOW READ: LaunchVic unveils $2.9 million in funding to further educate and upskill Victorian startup founders


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