Sydney Women Startup Weekend

    Friday, September 7 - 9, 2018

  1. Overview
  2. Schedule
  3. Speakers
  4. Coaches and Mentors
  5. Organizing Team
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Sydney Women Startup Weekend

Friday, September 7 - 9, 2018

Friday, September 7 - 9, 2018
Event starts at 6:30 pm

UTS Startups (entrance via Mary Ann St)
Level 1
622-632 Harris St
Ultimo, NSW 2007

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Launch a business in 54 hours!

Do you have an idea you'd like to pursue or a problem you'd like to solve but don't know where to start or who to start with? The hardest part of starting up is starting out. So on 7th-9th September, UTS is hosting a startup weekend for women across Sydney who are interested in learning the basics of founding startups and launching successful ventures.

You'll be signing up for a 54-hour frenzy where you will experience the highs, lows, fun, and pressure that make up life at a startup. As you learn how to create a real company, you'll meet the very best mentors, investors, cofounders, and sponsors who are there to help you get your idea off the ground. Beginning with Friday night pitches and continuing through brainstorming, business plan development, and basic prototype creation, the weekend will culminate in Sunday night demos and presentations where your team will have the opportunity to pitch to judges and receive valuable feedback from local entrepreneurs.

Tickets are $40 for UTS students and $55 for everyone else. This covers your participation in the event as well as 5 meals across the weekend!

All participants will recieve $300 in credits for Google Cloud Platforms to help build web and mobile apps as well as a free .CO domain. Participating teams will also be in the running for several prizes with the winning team invited to the APAC Women showcase in Indonesia in October. Prizes include:
  • Co-working space at Fishburners and Wotso Workspace
  • Crowdfunding consultation with Jill Storey, CEO of ReadyFundGo
  • Mentoring session with Will Robinson, Vice President of Sales APAC at Techstars
  • Scholarships to Coder Academy courses


Pandora Shelley is the CEO of Fishburners which is Australia's oldest and largest coworking space for tech startups. While studying a Bachelor of Business at UTS, she started working at Fishburners as their first employee and has since grown the company from 30 entrepreneurs to close to 1,000 in Sydney, Brisbane and Shanghai. 

Julie Trell is Head of Telstra’s startup accelerator, muru-D. She has a vast and varied background spanning both startup and corporate environments, working most recently as the Founder & Chief Life Officer of Playful Purpose. Julie was instrumental in launching SheEO Radical Generosity in the US, a global initiative to transform how we support, finance and celebrate female entrepreneurs. Now, in Sydney, she has successfully launched the initiative in Australia as the SheEO Country Lead. When not working you can find her at the beach, probably attempting a yoga pose with a camera in her hand or hugging a random wild Australian animal.  

Sally-Ann Williams is the Engineering Community & Outreach Manager for Google Australia. She is responsible for leading Google’s efforts in CS and STEM education, outreach and research collaborations with universities and has helped create and drive national engagement strategies on innovation and entrepreneurship including contributing to the foundation of StartupAUS. She currently serves on the board of Fishburners, the advisory board of Inspiring Rare Birds and as a mentor in the Startmate program.  

Fishburners is not-for-profit dedicated to creating highly scalable Australian tech startups, through inspiration, collection and connection to support. Started in 2011, they have now become Australia’s largest community of highly scalable techstartups, largest host of startup-focused events and largest funnel for new startups. 

Wotso Workspace has a growing network of workspaces all providing coworking desks, serviced offices and meeting rooms for hire. From hot-desking in Sydney, to private suites in Brisbane and meeting rooms in Singapore, whatever your business needs, we have a space to suit. 

Sticker Giant is an e-commerce company that prints custom stickers and product labels. They make it fast, fun and easy to order with quality guaranteed. Every sticker has a story. What's yours?

Coder Academy's mission is to reduce inequality and drive innovation via high quality technology training. Known for operating Australia’s only accredited coding bootcamps, amongst many other high quality technology & STEM training options for people of all ages, Coder Academy provides a unique, innovative, and industry-driven educational experience.Through a variety of programs in Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane, Coder Academy equips Australians with the in-demand coding and technology skills they'll need to tackle the future of work.

ReadyFundGo is all about transforming the way innovative and inspiring ideas are funded in Australia by harnessing the power of the crowd. Our mission is to surround the ideas you care about with the support required to raise the funds you need. The team at ReadyFundGo is composed of entrepreneurs, creatives, support and leadership that are passionate about making a difference in the world.

UTS: Rapido is an advanced technology development unit, focused on supporting organisations to deliver cutting-edge hardware and software prototypes and solutions. UTS: Rapido Social, the social impact arm of the organisation, functions as a University-incubated start-up with a mission to harness technology as an engine for social good. Rapido Social uses the abilities of senior software and mechatronic engineers to provide pro/low-bono technological consultancy services, along with the creation of bespoke technologies, to particularly impactful social impact organisations. 

Refund Policy:  No refunds will be granted within 7 days of the event if food and drink have already been ordered. Apologies for any inconvenience this may cause.

Terms of Participation Agreement: It is our job to provide you with an incredible networking and learning opportunity. Our intention is that you meet some amazing people that you might actually start a company with, build relationships with coaches, and learn from your peers. The event is intended to be a collaborative forum for sharing, learning, building, and having fun. As such, by registering as a participant, you acknowledge that any ideas shared by you or anyone else over the course of the event are contributions to the overall experience and community. If you as a participant are worried about someone stealing your ideas, please reconsider your participation in the event itself or simply refrain from sharing specifics about your idea.   

As a member of your startup community, you agree to to be inclusive of any and all people and their ideas. You agree to act professionally, treat everyone with respect, and treat the event facilities with proper care. You agree that you are responsible for any accidents or damages that you cause. You also agree to not hold Startup Weekend, your local volunteer team, or any of the event supporters liable for any loss, damage, injury, or any other unforeseeable incident. 

By Participating at the event, you grant Startup Weekend permission to capture photo/video of the event. You can find the exact legal terms on our FAQ Page but to summarize, we want to share your success with the world.Any questions, please email the team at

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Friday September 7th

6:30 pm
Dinner & Networking
Arrive at the venue, eat food, share ideas, practice pitches, get to know fellow participants

6:50 pm
Welcome & Speakers
Review agenda for the weekend and introduce speakers, coaches, and community leaders

7:00 pm
Pitches Start
Optionally line up to give your pitch

8:30 pm
Attendees vote for the top pitches

8:45 pm
Form Teams
Teams start forming and discussing ideas

9:30 pm
Begin Work
Start to formalize teams and take an inventory of skills. Be honest, and direct about what resources and skills are needed for the weekend. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow

Saturday September 8th

9:30 am
Begin work
Teams formed and setting up workspace for the weekend

12:00 pm

1:00 pm
After-lunch check-in, status reports, call for help

2:00 pm
Coach Meetings
Coaches help teams one-on-one. They are here to help!

6:30 pm

7:30 pm
After-dinner check-in, status reports, call for help

10:00 pm
Finished for the day. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow

Sunday September 9th

9:30 am
Begin Work

10:00 am
Coach Meetings
Coaches arrive. Final opportunity to ask questions

11:30 am

12:00 pm
Coach Meetings
Coaches arrive… ASK QUESTIONS

3:00 pm
Presentation Prep & Tech Check
Final hours of worktime should be focused on perfecting your presentation, tech-check for final presentations also takes place

4:00 pm
Light Dinner

5:00 pm
Final presentations

7:30 pm
Judging & Awards

8:30 pm

9:00 pm
Go Home!


Marisa Warren
CEO, Chair & Founder, ELEVACAO Foundation

Marisa is a global startup advisor, investor, social entrepreneur and speaker, who is incredibly passionate about elevating women to higher levels and building a collaborative tech ecosystem. Whilst living in New York, Marisa founded ELEVACO, a global not for profit empowering women entrepreneurs to build and launch successful tech businesses.

Coaches and Mentors

Melanie Lewis
Founder, FOOD4FACE ®️: the nonpollution skin solution

Over 20 years in environmental impact roles, including conservation research and outdoor leadership. Committed to social enterprise and circular economy, and loves any discussion around lean canvas, design thinking and the future of work integrated learning. Currently venturing into the development of entrepreneurship mindsets for the next generation.

Eleni Karagounis
Principal, Sistemattika

Leader with broad business management experience in corporates who challenges the status quo and has been involved with transformational change. Passionate about the contribution of women to the economy and the importance of diversity. Find Eleni at her Facebook page: Sistemattika ( and listen to what she has to say at:

Aaron Ngan
CEO and Co-founder, Junior Achievement Australia

Aaron is the CEO and Co-Founder of JA Australia. JA (Junior Achievement) is one of the world’s largest youth-serving NGOs delivering cutting-edge, experiential learning in financial literacy, work readiness, and entrepreneurship. He believes that every young person has the potential to change the world, and that understanding personal finance, entrepreneurial concepts and tools, and how to navigate our constantly changing work environment, are the first steps that every young person needs to start taking charge of their future and making an impact in the world.

Matthew Kwan
Software Engineer, Google Australia

Matthew is a software engineer at Google, working on Google Maps. He has an MBA from Melbourne Business School and a PhD from RMIT, and has worked for over 20 years at various start-ups prior to joining Google.

Pete Lead
Accelerator Manager, BlueChilli

Pete spent the last 14 years in learning and teaching, executive support, and customer experience strategy at the University of Sydney. At BlueChilli, he currently manages the core curriculum, making sure that founders have what they need to create amazing products and businesses, and can demonstrate that they have established the governance structures that investors are looking for. To keep life interesting Pete teaches improvised comedy, coaches leadership and communication skills, and makes chocolates.

Claudia Barriga-Larriviere
Head of People, BlueChilli

Claudia has a passion for building team environments that are transparent, collaborative and effective. She has 12 years of change and team management behind her, specialising in innovation and team building. Named one of Sydney’s top ten startup mentors, Claudia is also a surgeon when it comes to ideation and startup strategy.

Laura Simmons
CEO and Founder, Theratrak

Laura is the CEO and Founder of Theratrak. Working in the private health sector for over 5 years, she noticed a distinct lack of innovative technology solutions targeting the ongoing care of clients outside of direct therapy and how this is impacting the client’s overall treatment. She is passionate paediatric occupational therapist who is energised to improve the healthcare system from the inside out to support the growth of younger therapists everywhere.

Organizing Team

Techstars Startup Weekend Australia is 100% led by volunteer community leaders.
Learn how to get involved here

  • Jessie
  • Maya
  • Aura
  • Nadine


Nadine Saadi
Product Manager

Nadine Saadi is an ambitious and well-rounded technology development and delivery professional with 5 years of progressive experience in a highly competitive, entrepreneurial and innovation-driven environment. Nadine started as a software developer at the commercialization arm at Flinders University in South Australia. She later spun out the company, leading the product development and taking it from a minimum viable status to a scalable award-winning enterprise SaaS platform through strategic planning, working with stakeholders at every level, proactively engaging and servicing users, and representing the company in boardrooms and international conferences in Australia, Canada and Malaysia. Nadine brings a natural ability for process and product optimization, achieving organizational targets, and effective communication. 

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