A 48-hour tour of Melbourne’s thriving startup ecosystem


Startup Muster 2016 launched late Monday night on the 4th of July, sparked by a single tweet calling out to the Australian startup ecosystem. Thursday morning I’d touched down in Victoria ready for a startup packed two days in one of my favourite cities.

This wasn’t my first (and it certainly won’t be my last) time to Melbourne for the startup ecosystem. The city is brimming with coworking spaces (70 and counting), has some of the largest Meetup groups in Australia (Silicon Beach Melbourne has over 60006 members and has been rated one of the most active Meetups in around) and oozes creativity.

Needless to say I won’t be bored.

Startup Muster 2016 is an opportunity for companies that support startups to share their progress, opportunities and challenges in the ecosystem.

These businesses range from coworking spaces, incubators, accelerators, mentors, investors, VC firms, universities, learning & development training, professional services, technical services and creative services – any business or person who supports startups and the ecosystem. Checking in with supporters was a real focus and a delight during my trip.

Startup Muster is comprehensive, capturing all facets of the ecosystem, so that everyone has the opportunity to be heard.

My first stop was the BSchool, a leading online course provider in entrepreneurship and leadership, with an impressive set of mentors (Emma Isaacs, Carolyn Crewell and Naomi Simson to name a few). Luke McInnes and I sat down for a chat followed by meeting some startup founders who arrived for a master session.

Thursday night and I know there are Meetups going on all around me, I rock up to Melbourne Silicon Beach and Athula Bogoda gets me up on stage to chat about Startup Muster and how important it is to have Melbourne and Victoria accurately represented in the national estimates.

Startup Muster is a national survey, the outputs are a direct reflection of survey participation. We’re not a membership organisation, we’re not focusing on a particular vertical or a certain geographical location within Australia and we don’t provide commentary or analysis to the data we collect.

We just want to collect and publish the data that’s needed to help our whole ecosystem work better together.

Following the ‘supporter’ theme and my Friday’s packed with coffee, teas, and mineral water with some of the most notable and impressive startup related institutions in Melbourne (and Australia).

I met Rory McNiece years ago when he was working with the music startup Omny. Now he’s the Innovation Community Animator (what a title) at Carlton Connect Initiative which is part of Melbourne University, it houses the highly regarded MAP (Melbourne Accelerator Program). It’s clear we’ve only just scratched the surface of what Melbourne University has in store when it comes to fostering innovation and technology.

I couldn’t come to Melbourne and not spend time in a coworking space, or 4. So many coworking spaces, so little time and in Melbourne they come in all different shapes and sizes.

From the well known institutions like York Butter Factory and Collective Campus, to the news kids on the block Dimension5 and the corporate provided NAB The Village, there’s something for everyone’s tastes.

Mid tour the crew at Campus Collective got down to the serious business, retro video games. There’s a hammock as well.

No Melbourne trip would be complete without checking in with some serious influencers in this space. I’d met Daniel Mumby on my last trip to Melbourne, and catching up with him, made me wonder when he ever gets time to sleep.

Luke Fitzpatrick had put me on to Ray Milidoni’s podcast and after listening to the first episode I was keen to catch up and get to know his story. If you’re a podcast addict like me check his out here.

No trip to Melbourne would be complete without catching up with Laura McKenzie from Scale Investors, a female VC fund that invests in women led startups.

Rounding out the experience was an after work catch up with some fellow LMBDW’s. It was great catching up with other female founders, and I also scored a lift to the airport.

This piece was first published on LinkedIn. 

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Monica Wulff is the co-founder and CEO of Startup Muster.