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The Smart Startup

Scale up and grow your startup beyond a seed! This was the focus on Thursday in Sydney at an inspiring event hosted by SmartCompany and sponsored by AWS.


Over 5 hours, MC Rae Johnston, STEM journalist and broadcaster kept the audience engaged, inspired and connected. The sessions were rich in information, humble in learnings and inspiring in success.




Rae Johnston moderating Sydney startup panel
Rae Johnston moderating Sydney startup panel



Here is my own take aways from the day:



  1. To grow from seed to Series A funding rounds, VCs are looking at

    1. How charismatic is the CEO/Founder : Do they know how to hustle?

    2. Is the company agile : when market changes arise how quickly will and can the company pivot?

    3. Is there a clear connection between the market problem and the solution statement : The VC is a generalist so build a messaging narrative which is simple

    4. Who else believes in the vision?

  2. Scale-ups who have seen rapid growth all consistently speak about the need for strategic partnership and distribution channels: The Go to market strategy and execution is essential.

  3. The VC to Startup fit is essential

    1. Does the thesis of the VC match the objectives of the startup?

    2. Has time been allowed to build a relationship of trust?

    3. What is the ongoing communication channels?

  4. The key elements to a successful pitch:

    1. What is the idea: It needs to be exciting, visionary, simple

    2. How will you turn the idea into a business? Can you?

    3. What are your assumptions???? Be humble and transparent. Be prepared to talk through your thought pattern to reach these assumptions?

    4. What are your riskiest assumptions?

    5. How will you test and validate your assumptions?

    6. What resources and who is in your business to help turn your idea into a business?

    7. Do you have the market tail wind behind you or are you fighting the tide?

    8. Financials

    9. No more than 8-10 slides

    10. By the end of the presentation there must be a sense of inevitably that this idea is going to happen and can only be successful.

  5. Test small before investing large: Jim Collins was cited for this .



Simon Crerar and Ben Thompson share secrets to a startup success in Sydney
Simon Crerar and Ben Thompson share secrets to a startup success in Sydney




Overall, this day was an incredibly interesting and compelling investment of time. Friends and I walked away inspired, motivated and challenged in some of our bias of thought - for the better!



 Monica, Violetta, Alex, Michelle
Monica, Violetta, Alex, Michelle







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