Some of the world’s top tech entrepreneurs descended on Perth last week to talk shop and kiteboard.
Former Salesforce and Twitter engineering boss Chris Fry who is now an advisor to Aussie VC Adventure Capital told Business Insider kite surfing is about taking risks and tech investments can be risky so the two fit together nicely.
“It also relates to risk taking in your career,” he said, adding both are about “how high you can jump.”
The event was part of the Mai Tai festivities, hosted by Curtin University lecturer and tech entrepreneur Bill Tai.
A self-confessed kiting “addict”, Fry explained the event attracted an interesting group of people including Blackbird VC Rick Baker, BlueChilli founder Sebastian Eckersley-Maslin, the Canva founders and a number of pro kiters. The mornings were full of tech sessions, including a talk from the Square Kilometre Array team which are exploring the universe with the world’s largest radio telescope.
Organisers from the Red Bull kitesurfing race from Rottnest Island to Perth came along to explain how they put the event together.
Mai Tai is a community of entrepreneurs, innovators and athletes who gather together to push each other in business and sport while giving back to the environment. They host events all around the world.
Fry said events like this are “important because they provide a way for you to meet other tech investors and it brings you together around common interests.”
Baker estimated about 10 people from Silicon Valley, including former Twitter and Facebook employees, who made the trip to Perth this year.
One of the big draw cards was having pro kiteboarders like Jesse Richman on hand to show the entrepreneurs and VCs how to really kite.
“It’s a fantastic event, it combines a really fun sport that founders and tech people tend to gravitate to,” Baker said.
“It’s the kind of sport that’s attractive to people who found companies.
“It’s an adrenalin sport, it takes a lot of perseverance, then you go on this steep learning curve.”
Baker said one of the most interesting sessions was a talk about how fish are being used to find a cure of Motor Neurone disease.
“It’s a mixture of tech and interesting people who are doing interesting things,” he said.
“We were hanging out talking about the latest trends in technology and trying to growing companies.”