Freelancer Just Bought Tech Conference Sydstart And Hired Its Founder Pete Cooper

Freelancer CEO Matt Barrie. Image: Supplied.

Matt Barrie’s has acquired leading Australian annual startup conference Sydstart and hired its founder Pete Cooper as regional director for Australasia.

Cooper, a respected figure in the Australian tech community, previously had a career in banking which saw him in business technology leadership roles at Macquarie and Standard Chartered. He will lead business development, media and communications in Australia and New Zealand.

Freelancer, whose platform allows businesses to commission small parcels of technology and creative work from its user base, now has more than 13 million users worldwide. The company, which listed on the ASX just over one year ago and is widely credited with having unleashed a new wave of confidence in the Australian tech sector, bought online marketing marketplace Warrior Forums for more than $3 million earlier this year, but acquiring a general technology conference – along with its information assets – will give Freelancer an intriguing new platform for connecting with Australia’s technology community.

Pete Cooper, right, with the 2014 Sydstart winner earlier this year.

Sydstart recently announced plans to have an ongoing physical presence in Sydney but this was not included in the deal.

The appointment follows the departure last week of Asia-Pacific regional director Nikki Parker, who left to join US data security company Covata.

Freelancer boss Matt Barrie said: “For the last five years, Pete has run what I think is the best technology conference in the country and we’re pleased to welcome him to the team. I’m excited to now be working together, and to also be taking Sydstart to the next level.”

The terms of the deal have not been disclosed. Cooper told Business Insider: “From my point of view it was more about the resources Freelancer were going to put into Sydstart.”

In the five years it has been going Sydstart has had more than 5000 people come through the event.

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