Why Is Sydney Hosting Two Major Start-Up Events This Week?

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Australian investors and entrepreneurs face two major conferences in Sydney this week after negotiations broke down between the organisers of SydStart and CeBIT.

Organisers had intended to host a joint event that would combine the bi-annual grassroots SydStart with CeBIT Australia’s first ever conference stream to be dedicated solely to start-ups.

Sources said negotiations fell over at a late stage, forcing SydStart organiser Pete Cooper to scale his sold-out event down to 600 attendees instead of its usual 1200. SydStart takes place at the Federation Conference Centre in Surry Hills today.

“We thought it was a good fit but unfortunately couldn’t come to an agreement,” Cooper told Business Insider.

CeBIT Australia managing director Jackie Taranto said the German-born technology conference would host 100 startups on its exhibition floor from Tuesday to Thursday, with an additional 500 startups and 80 investors attending conference sessions.

Taranto declined to disclose details of the CeBIT-SydStart negotiations. CeBIT’s StartUp and Investor days take place in the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre on Wednesday and Thursday, alongside its more established conference streams for enterprises and government organisations.

SydStart and CeBIT share a number of exhibitors and speakers, including Jana Matthews of the ANZ Innovyz Start accelerator program and Jonathan Barouch, founder of Roamz and Local Measure.

Barouch told Business Insider that most entrepreneurs and investors planned to attend both events, explaining that SydStart tended to be more community-driven while CeBIT StartUp would likely involve more “corporates and technology strategy people”.

“Three years ago, we wouldn’t even have an option [to attend a large event for Australian startups],” he said. “As an entrepreneur, I’m thrilled to have more opportunities to mingle with investors and the startup community.

“In San Francisco, there’s something on almost every day.”

Freelancer.com founder Matt Barrie, who will speak only at SydStart, said CeBIT StartUp was a “good start” in modernising the 11-year-old CeBIT Australia.

“Last year I was at CeBIT, it was like my grandfather’s technology conference, with a stodgy ICT style and very, very old-school ICT services companies,” he said.

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