Two Australian entrepreneur community executives have brought TechCrunch Battlefield to Australia, allowing local startups a chance to pitch for $25,000 and an all-expenses trip to San Francisco to compete in the finals.
The Australian arm of the early stage startup competition is hoping to attract entries from all over the country before the event in Sydney on November 16. The same judges for the famous US competition will fly to the Australian contest.
Founders for Founders managing director and former AirTree head of community Julia French said that bringing the famous competition down to this country was “one of my big dreams for the Australian ecosystem”, but it all came together when she met Marisa Warren, Australian chief executive of female startup support organisation ELEVACAO.
“Marisa had independently had become a partner with TechCrunch,” French told Business Insider.
“Marisa and I had met at the end of March… next thing we know we were sitting with [AOL tech general manager] Ned Desmond at AOL on a Sunday, in a very Silicon Valley fashion, after having a beer with him on the Friday.”
The Australian startup community was now mature enough to have its own investment contest, French said, rather than having local entrepreneurs fly out to the US to seek finance and support.
“We have how many different [VC] funds with how many millions of dollars at this point? We’re not back ten years ago,” she said.
Warren told Business Insider that the event wasn’t just a pitchfest but an entire conference, featuring keynote speakers, Startup Alley showfloor and an investor lounge.
“One day event, VIP party the night before, and then afterparty after the event. We’re focusing on bringing all those key stakeholders together from both Australia and the US.”
French, Warren and others will take a roadshow around the mainland state capitals before November, to drum up entries and ensure the final event is not Sydney-centric. Successful contestants will receive pitch coaching in the weeks leading up to the contest.
York Butter Factory’s new Sydney facilities at Australian Technology Park, Hoist, will host the event, with founder Stuart B Richardson endorsing it as the “calibre of event” the venue wants to see going forward.
“From the YBF point of view, it’s about thinking ‘how do we create these innovation precincts’? And ATP happens to be one of those destinations. What does it take to get density and diversity at scale?”
TechCrunch Battlefield is open to pre-series A startups with a working product. The contest has previously crowned Yammer and Getaround as winners while they were in their infancy.