Muru-D cofounder Annie Parker will head a huge new startup precinct at Barangaroo in 2017.
Parker, who leaves Telstra’s startup accelerator at the end of the year, will become CEO of Lighthouse at Lendlease’s massive harbourside development.
Lighthouse will take up three floors of the International Tower Three, giving it a total floorspace of nearly 7000 square metres, making it the largest tech hub in the country.
Also driving the project is Vivant, the Sydney-based innovation and startup business whose client list includes Commbank (producing the smartphone app originally released as Kaching), Qantas, Paypal, Telstra and Westpac.
Vivant CEO Anthony Farah, one of Lighthouse’s architects, said the precinct would cater for thousands of founders each year and offer them the space to grow their companies too.
“Lighthouse is more than an accelerator, it’s a curated program which will give founders the opportunity to grow – and because of that, it will keep the startup community together and stop fragmentation,” he said.
Lighthouse arrives just as the Australian Technology Park, where Atlassian’s co-founders launched a failed bid to turn it into a tech hub, is transformed into the 10,000 person HQ for the Commonwealth Bank by 2020.
Meanwhile, a Baird government’s proposal to turn the former White Bay Power Station into a tech hub appears to have stalled as Google continues negotiations, more than a year on. to relocate its Australian HQ to the site,
Annie Parker’s plan is to make Lighthouse the city’s and the nation’s central location for founders and innovators to bring their visions to reality.
“It’s about bringing together the entire ecosystem in Sydney, and across Australia. When completed, we will have an amazing concentration of people and activity the likes of which we’ve never seen before in Australia,” she said.
“When someone has an idea anywhere across Australia, we want Lighthouse to be the place where they come to make it happen.”
Parker and Farrah have put together an advisory board for Lighthouse that shows how serious the venture is, including Susan Wu (Twitter, Square, Stripe, Canva), Peter Huynh (Qualgro, Optus Innov8, Hutchison) and Ted Pretty (Macquarie Group, RP Data, Fujitsu).