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Innovation Bay looks to tap into growing Brisbane start-up scene

Thursday, 1 March 2012 | By Oliver Milman

Innovation Bay, the network that budding entrepreneurs to pitch directly to investors, has expanded to Brisbane, pointing to surging activity among the Queensland capital’s start-up community.

 

Mitchell Lake, the Sydney-based recruitment firm that runs the network, says that it will hold the first Innovation Bay dinner – where start-ups pitch to selected business angels – in May.

 

There are plans to hold up to four pitching dinners in Brisbane throughout 2012, adding to Mitchell Lake’s role in bringing Silicon Beach, a networking event for tech start-ups, to Queensland early last year.

 

The arrival of Innovation Bay adds to a growing start-up ecosystem in Brisbane, which recently saw the unveiling of River City Labs, an incubator for new businesses. 

 

Mike Page, managing director of Mitchell Lake, says that the expansion of Innovation Bay to Brisbane is indicative of a growing start-up scene in the city.

 

“We have a Silicon Beach chapter in Brisbane and the Gold Coast and we’ve been blown away by the response from local entrepreneurs,” he says.

 

“We’ve found that there are a lot of people who have started up in their garage and need somewhere to share their experiences and connect with others. We’ve also had quite a few large corporates turn up looking for start-ups to potentially buy.”

 

“It’s a trend we’ve been seeing in San Francisco – large businesses will choose to buy a start-up rather than build their capabilities themselves.”

 

Page says he doesn’t expect overseas investors to start flocking to Brisbane, but says that the city is moving in the right direction for start-ups.

 

“The cost of starting up and a running a business is a bit less in Brisbane than some of the other capital cities,” he says. “There’s plenty of talent available here at a cost that isn’t as high as Sydney or Melbourne.”

 

“I think we’re seeing the birth of a start-up scene here and Innovation Bay will create a great forum for investors to get involved.”