Best Startup Events for Early Stage Founders
My first encounter with the Melbourne startup ecosystem was three years ago when a friend from SF dragged me along to a Startup Victoria event. Susan Wu and Leni Mayo—two of the most impressive people you’ll ever meet — were on a panel discussing the budding ecosystem in Australia and how we compared to Silicon Valley (holy **** I found a recording of the actual discussion #memories).
You see, up until that night I thought startups only existed in the Valley and my only experience with them was through books and online. Suddenly, here I was surrounded by a couple hundred founders working on their startups in my own backyard. For the first time ever, I felt at home.
Events are a great place to start if you’re new to startups—here’s a select list—and this is my advice on navigating the numerous events now being held around the country.
1. Go to every event
It’s the best way to quickly learn which events are useful and which are not. Some focus on educating, others on socialising. You’ll also need to seek out different events and organisations as your knowledge advances.
2. Start with free events
Make the most of the free events before you start spending money. Yes, some are intros to paid programs but the knowledge sharing on offer is still valuable, especially in the early days. And don’t feel pressure to pay—I know plenty of successful founders who have never spent money on events.
3. Stop going to events
As soon as the information becomes repetitive you should stop going. Events are good but you’ll soon realise nothing beats working on your startup. Find the balance and allow the events to complement the work you put into your startup.
That’s it! Let me know if there are events in your city I should add to the list. Oh and one last thing. I’m a big fan of Susan Wu and if you don’t have time to watch the entire video, at the very least watch this clip of her observation on Aussie founders.
Applications for Monash University’s The Generator accelerator program are now open — $20k in seed funding and some of the best mentoring Melbourne has to offer. You can read more about the program here or apply directly here.