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Atlassian to host Launch48 Sydney

Monday, 10 October 2011 | By Michelle Hammond
Software company Atlassian will host Launch48 in Sydney later this month, an event where participants will pitch, build and launch online businesses over the course of a weekend.

 

After the success of Launch48 Melbourne earlier this year – which saw the launch of online resource WeTeachMe – a Sydney event will be held from October 28-30, hosted by Atlassian.

 

Founded in 2002 by Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar, Atlassian makes software collaboration and development tools. The business received more than $60 million in funding from US investors Accel last year.

 

Joris Luijke, Atlassian vice president of human resources and talent, says the company readily involves itself in events such as Launch48 because it “bleeds green and gold”.

 

“We want Australian companies to succeed. We have really smart entrepreneurs and awesome technologies but we really need to support each other,” he says.

 

“[Atlassian-hosted events give other start-ups the opportunity to] learn from our success but also our own learning process. It wasn’t that long ago that Atlassian was a start-up itself.”

 

The aim of Launch48 is to bring together professionals within the web industry to develop and launch online businesses over the course of one weekend.

 

The concept was conceived several years ago by online entrepreneur Ian Broom, who helped organise a Startup Weekend event and became inspired to launch something similar.

 

Launch48 is organised by a team of volunteers, together with sponsors and mentors.

 

Event organiser Daniel May says while the concept isn’t new, the unique value proposition of Launch48 is the tight nature in which it is run.

 

“It’s also focused on a mix of people – people in design, marketing, technical, etc – and we’re told a lot of people like that,” May says.

 

“At the end of it, we don’t have any winners as such because people get different things out of it. We had about 60 people [at Launch48 Melbourne], which is about the maximum for a good user experience.”

 

When people register for the event, they are also asked to register an idea. Then on the first day of the event, they are expected to pitch their idea in order to gauge the level of interest.

 

“The messier part is when the groups are forming,” May says.

 

“The groups are formed and then it’s like real life – if you want to work all night, go for it. Likewise if you want to sleep.”

 

May says the participants can attend “board meetings”, where they have access to mentors, although it’s entirely their choice.

 

“We also usually have an IT lawyer to talk about some of the issues, and provide perspective on things,” he says.

 

“[The weekend’s activities] are driving towards Sunday evening, when groups get up and present their product, and people ask questions. Then it’s a question on Monday of, where do we take it?”

 

May stresses that while it is encouraging for groups to remain intact and further their endeavours, this is not the sole purpose of the weekend.

 

“Some participants are like, ‘I have an idea and I don’t know how to execute it’ or ‘I have an idea but I don’t know what people think about’,” he says.

 

“Others come to code and work on something interesting with interesting people. Some come here to network.”