Major executives from TechCrunch and 500 Startups will be flying Down Under for Brisbane’s anticipated international startup conference after the Queensland government committed $2.1 million to the event till 2019.
Myriad is inspired by global startup conferences Slush and South by South West (SXSW), which draw tens of thousands of investors, entrepreneurs and startup enthusiasts from around the world to Finland and Texas, respectively.
The event will host up to 2000 people at The Powerhouse in Brisbane from March 29 to March 31, next year.
The conference, which opens registrations this week, has listed 500Startups creative director Yiying Lu, TechCrunch editor-at-large Josh Constine, GigaOM founder Om Malik and Airtree Ventures partner John Henderson in its first reveal of headline speakers.
The event’s advisory board includes representatives from Buzzfeed, GoDaddy and 500 Startups.
“The whole idea designed from scratch is really to embody the idea of diversity,” Myriad co-founder Murray Gilbraith tells StartupSmart.
Galbraith says the event will bring together cultures, ideas and perspectives, and will give the 20,000 plus “Aussie mafia” who’ve taken their startup adventures to Silicon Valley a compelling reason to come back.
“Forty-three percent of Aussies are first and second generation I think [and we want] to be able to activate that, to show all technology is not white, short, chubby guys like me,” he says.
This means spotlighting startup heavyweights like Yiying Lu who grew up in Shanghai, China, and lived in Australia and the UK before becoming the the creative director of 500 Startups.
“She’s just such an interesting person and she looks at Australian culture and Asian culture through such a multi-faceted way,” says Gilbraith.
“She’s got a very strong opinion and she’s really driven to make change for female founders and female investors.”
Galbraith, who formerly worked for PauseFest, is working with Myriad co-founder and Slush’s former chief strategy officer Martin Talvari to spark excitement for startups and technology across the broader public.
“We want it to be like a rock concert where people get excited and go and make out backstage and have really good experiences,” Galbraith says.
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Galbraith and Finland-based Talvari, who has set up tech events in more than 40 countries, feel that Australia’s burgeoning community of startups and unique position in the Asia-Pacific region make it an ideal location to drive the sector into mainstream society.
“It’s about turning mums and dads and everyday Aussies into fans of startups,” says Galbraith.
“Startups are the original professional underdogs and Australians love underdogs.
“I think Australians are going to love startups, they just don’t know it yet.”
*This article was updated at 5.40pm on June 22, 2017.