Startup Weekend Tourism Gold Coast

    Friday, May 1 - 3, 2015

  1. Overview
  2. Schedule
  3. Speakers
  4. Judges
  5. Coaches and Mentors
  6. Sponsors
  7. Organizing Team
  8. Blog
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Startup Weekend Tourism Gold Coast

Friday, May 1 - 3, 2015

Friday, May 1 - 3, 2015
Event starts at 6:00 pm

WOTSO WorkSpace
194 Varsity Parade
Varsity Lakes, Queensland 4227

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Startup Weekend Tourism

A tourism themed Startup Weekend: pitch and work on new ideas to innovate the global tourism and hospitality industries.

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What is Startup Weekend?

Startup Weekend is a 54-hour whirlwind event where you get to be part of building a business in a weekend, Silicon Valley style.  It's about pitching, business model creation, coding, designing and market validation. The weekend culminates with presentations in front of a panel of judges and an opportunity to win great prizes.

This event is Tourism themed, meaning that the ideas pitched will need to be related to tourism and hospitality.  Maybe it's a new travel app, a new piece of software for hotel management, a new tool to improve aircraft management or passenger flow at airports, or maybe it is taking an existing innovation used in the tourism industry and applying it to another industry.

All Startup Weekend events follow the same basic model: anyone is welcome to pitch their startup idea and teams organically form around the top ideas. All ideas, applications and platforms are welcome – remember that the sky is the limit!

How does it work?

We're mashing the geeks with entrepreneurs and everyone in between, and locking them in a building together for a weekend, pouring in a heap of caffeine and free food, to see what new ideas come out the other end.This 54 hour event brings together creatives, technologists, designers and developers to experiment with rapid idea generation, Silicon Valley style. 
It is a fast-paced and highly creative event that challenges everyone who attends to make innovative new projects in 54 hours.

Who can attend?
Anyone. Whether you're 8 or 88, a painter, actor, software engineer, writer, graphic designer, geek, entrepreneur, photographer, musician, programmer, museum curator, or startup specialist. Whether you have an idea, or have no idea. Everyone is welcome. (We even allow bankers and used-car salesmen to come along!) 

What you will get out of it

The professional and personal challenges, the high and lows, the failures and the success? Startup Weekend  is a global grassroots movement of active and empowered citizens who are learning the basics of founding startups and launching successful ventures or products.  Whether participants found companies, find a cofounder, meet someone new, find a creative collaborator, or learn a skill far outside their usual 9-to-5, everyone is guaranteed to have a heap of fun, and to leave the event better prepared to navigate the chaotic but fun world of startups. If you want to put yourself in the shoes of an entrepreneur, register now for the best weekend of your life!

Watch this video from Startup Weekend Sunshine Coast:

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See what it's all about

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Friday May 1st

6:00 pm
Doors open
Arrive at the venue and get checked in

6:30 pm
Dinner & Networking
Eat food, share ideas, practice pitches, get to know fellow participants

7:00 pm
Welcome & Speakers
Review agenda for the weekend and introduce speakers, coaches, and community leaders

7:45 pm
Pitches Start
Optionally line up to give your pitch

8:30 pm
Attendees vote for the top pitches

9:15 pm
Form Teams
Teams start forming and discussing ideas

10:00 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

11:55 pm
Venue closes
It's time to leave

Saturday May 2nd

8:30 am
Doors open
Begin work - less talk, more action

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

12:00 pm
After-lunch check-in, status reports, call for help

12:30 pm

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

4:00 pm
Mentors leave

6:30 pm

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

11:55 pm
Venue closes
Finished for the day. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow

Sunday May 3rd

8:30 am
Doors open
Begin work - less talk, more action

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

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

10:00 am
Mentors arrive

12:00 pm

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

5:00 pm
Final Presentations

7:30 pm
Judging & Awards

8:30 pm

9:00 pm
Go Home!


David Pearson

Straight out of school into the business world, David and his brother Richard, took a small seaside fairground and transformed it into the south west of England's largest Amusement Park. 26 years on, after successfully selling the business, David has now realised his long term dream of living in Australia and is looking forward to starting his next project here on the Gold Coast

Event Judges

Rick Anstey
Founder/Director iQFunds

Rick has a career spanning more than 35 years, with more than 28 years building and managing own companies. He has a Technology industry background, moving into Corporate Advisory and Venture Capital 12 years ago. Rick manages his own early stage/seed VC fund with a portfolio of 8 active investments in:
  • Convergent Technologies (IT, Telecommunications, Entertainment and Mobility
  • Cleantech (Renewable Energy and Life Sciences)
Rick specialises in Capital raising, Corporate advisory, Funds management, Technology and Innovation.

Michael Dempsey
Founder, Ezidebit

Mick founded and led Ezidebit Pty Ltd from a start up working out of a garage in Browns Plains Brisbane to become Australia’s leading payment processor.

Ezidebit  is a market leader in SaaS based payment products and innovative payment solutions.
Ezidebit was sold to Global Payments Limited, a Nasdaq listed fortune 1000 entity, for $305M.

Apart from Ezidebit Michael has had and continues to have a wide range of entrepreneurial interests from wholesale bakeries to liquor and gaming hotels. Michael holds a Bachelor of Engineering and prior to his entrepreneurial career worked for national firms Leighton Contractors and Pioneer Concrete    

Marie Phillips

Career spanning over 20 years selling solutions primarily to Local Government in Australia and New Zealand.  Co-founder and CEO of ICON Software Solutions, with a successful trade sale to TechnologyOne for $10m in January 2015

Dr Clarence Tan
Ambassador, Asia Pacific at Singularity University

Dr Clarence N.W. Tan is currently the Asia Pacific Regional Ambassador for Singularity University. He is the founder of Bond Wireless, and CEO of private equity fund Austanco. Dr Tan was inducted into the Queensland Government Innovation Hall of Fame in 2014 and received the Queensland Government’s Entrepreneur-in-Residence Fellowship for 2010.  He was selected as a Queensland Innovation Champion for his outstanding achievement in leadership in the Queensland ICT sector in 2014.

He is an Adjunct Professor at Bond University and Griffith University and a founding member of the Gold Coast Angel Investors Group.  He currently mentors a number of companies and is a mentor at the iLab Accelerator. He has over 45 academic publications including a book, book chapters and peer-reviewed papers in the area of soft computing and mobile applications. In addition Dr Tan holds two patents in mobility technology.
Dr Tan obtained his Ph.D. from Bond University and his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering (Computers) from the University of Southern California, where he went on to simultaneously complete a Master of Business Administration (Finance), and a Master of Science in Industrial and Systems Engineering.  Prior to his academic career Dr Tan has worked for a number of MNCs including Citibank in New York and Hong Kong, Xeroc EPC in the USA and Genreal Instruments in Malaysia. 

Coaches and Mentors

Chris Drake

Darren Rogan
Tech Entrepreneur

Darren is a Tech Entrepreneur, repeat Founder, Lean Advocate, a Startup Techie with high scale aspirations and strives for continuous improvement. He has been involved in startups as Founder, early stage Employee and Advisor both Locally and in the US. He is was the Entrepreneur in Residence at iLab and now Mentor and Advisor at iLab. He is also a Mentor at River City Labs and Ipswich Fire Station 101.

Lauren Clemett
Branding Specialist

Vodka Quality Control Expert, Sailer, Personal Branding Specialist and Pocket Rocket.

Peter Laurie
Startup Mentor

Peter is a software engineering professional who focuses on delivery of projects to a high level of quality in an effective, efficient and elegant manner. He has been in the software industry for 17 years.

Peter is an electrical engineer by training, a software engineer by choice, a business analyst by necessity, and a consultant when required. He has a Bachelor Electrical Engineering, a Graduate Diploma of Computer Engineering, and an MBA that focused on Strategy and Entrepreneurship.

Peter runs a small software engineering firm called Junta. Junta focuses most of its energy on developing prototypes and proofs of concepts for people with great ideas or interesting problems.

Steve Baxter
Entrepreneur, investor, and ‘Shark’ on Shark Tank Australia

Tech start-up multi-millionaire Steve Baxter is a proud Queenslander, born in the remote town of Cloncurry and raised in Emerald in the State’s central highlands. 

He left school at 15 and joined the Army, enlisting in its apprenticeship program. There, he became an engineer working in the field of electronics, telecoms and guided weapon systems.

In 1994, at the age of 23, Steve put his life savings of $11,000 on the line to launch his first start-up, the pioneering internet service provider SE Net, from the spare room of his Adelaide home.Servicing more than 35,000 customers, SE Net was eventually acquired by Ozemail/UUNet under the stewardship of its founding Director and now Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull.

In 2001, Steve teamed with a schoolmate to launch his second start-up, PIPE Networks. Eight years later they sold it to the TPG Group for $373 million.Steve spent a year working with Google in California in 2008, leading a project to deliver high-speed telecommunications systems across North America.In the past three years he has become a major early-stage investor in Australian start-ups, helping to launch a host of companies which together boast a valuation of more than $100 million.

Three years ago, Steve launched River City Labs in Brisbane, a leading co-working community to encourage entrepreneurs in Queensland.

In 2013 he co-founded Right Pedal Studios, a mobile gaming accelerator, and StartupAUS an advocacy group for Australian tech startups.

In 2015, Steve joined SharkTankAU as one of the 5 "Shark" investors. 

Tres West
Startup Mentor

in 2009 after a successful career in IT in London and The Netherlands. Tres returned to study law at Bond University specialising in Energy, Mining and Natural Resources, and Emissions Trading Law. He is also the co-founder of the Bond Business Accelerator, a 12 week program that help Bond University students take their concepts from ideas to commercialization.

Brett McCallum

Well travelled Entrepreneur, Unicorn Hunter, Disruptor, Networker, Award winning mentor, Connector, Sports Addict, Duel Tough Mudder and lover of all things life. Father of 4 and loving husband.

Aleksandar Svetski

Young entrepreneur with 9yrs experience in business. Aleksandar was a millionaire by the age of 22 with a record earning day of $154k NET profit in a 24hr period. Broke by the age of 24. Went on a sabbatical to the US, came back to Australia & started up one of the fastest growing franchises in Australia's history at between the age of 25 & 26, building 1 shop per week in a single 12wk period. Now working on other projects, in particular, a tech project which will be the focus for 2015 & 2016.

Bryan Vadas

Bryan Vadas has been involved in international business for almost 20 years, consulting to multi-nationals like Vodafone, Del Computers and BHP right through to governments. His consultancy firm, Time Masters (Australia), operates around Australia and globally, primarily in project management and management consultancy, and is heavily involved in commercialization of startup ideas and companies. Bryan has played a key role as advisor to many startups under both State and Federal government commercialization schemes and is regularly engaged by organizations in both the private and public sectors to provide mentoring and facilitate strategic planning. His passion for small business and startups drove Bryan to start iPledg – Australia’s most broad based crowd funding platform. Whilst largely unheard of in Australia, crowd funding is the fastest growing form of ecommerce on the planet, assisting creative, commercial, charitable and community projects raise funds for their projects. Since its inception, iPledg has not only facilitated the funding of a wide range of projects, but has been white labeled around the world.

Mihajlo Naumovic

After graduating from Griffith University in 2003, Mihajlo spent over six years in the video game industry. In 2011 Mihajlo ventured into digital marketing and SEO as Chief Operating Officer at DEJAN where he is responsible for the daily operations of the company. His obsession is to reach optimal production outcomes and achieve great results for DEJAN’s clients.

Tys Bradford

-Lead Mobile Developer @ Klyp -Founder + Director BlueTropical - making mobile apps for ourselves and clients -Winner Startup weekend Sydney 2013 -Judge Favourite Startup weekend Brisbane 2014

Event Sponsors, and Partners

The Startup Weekend Tourism Gold Coast team is grateful for the support of local community partners without whom this event would not be possible.
Learn how to become a sponsor here.

Signature Sponsors



Venue And Logistics

Prize Sponsor

Swag & Freebies

Catering Sponsor

Media And Promotion


Organizing Team

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

  • Greg
  • Tanya
  • Aaron
  • Sharon
  • Sam


Aaron Birkby
EIR @ RCL Accelerator

Entrepreneur In Residence at River City Labs Accelerator powered by muru-D.  Co-founder and CEO of Silicon Lakes. Startup Weekend Australia. Weekly tech segment on ABC Coast FM.14 businesses, 4 successful exits.

Event Blog

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