Over ten years ago – when the GFC was looming and the Federal Government’s support for innovation was ‘under review’  – Tech23 was born. At the time, Cicada was the main game in town, Sydney Angels was just forming, and the University of Sydney’s Incubate and the University of Melbourne’s MAP were still a few years away from being established.

The tech23 2012

We saw great examples of local innovation every day and, motivated by the belief that these ideas deserved more attention, we created Tech23! The idea was simple. We wanted to showcase the best examples of how we, as Australians, were chipping away at wicked problems with clever tech. Deeptech was not what we called it then – actually we nicknamed it “ugly tech” and boasted it would “hurt your head”! The team at Slatterys was always passionate about showcasing companies that were tackling big problems and planning to make a contribution to our planet.

At Slatterys, we believe that what we do really matters. Good events, at their very heart, are all about making useful connections. And why does that matter for deeptech? Because deeptech takes time and the founders need a community of investors, customers, advocates, supporters and investors to help bring about real impact. At Tech23, we aim to bring this magic mix to life!

Deeptech startups are hard work and take time. Most of them begin with a relationship with publicly funded R&D organisations. Over the years many of the +250 stories shared by founders at Tech23 are about how to make real impact –  improving our health and well-being (Inventia, Presagen, ResApp); increasing food security (AgWorld, AgriDigital, AgriWebb, Flurosat); bringing about quality education (Practera, Smart Sparrow) reducing our footprint (BuildingIQ, Gelion, Redback) while others are about transforming industry (Fleet, MorseMicro, Myriota).  

We wanted to showcase the best examples of how we, as Australians, were chipping away at wicked problems with clever tech.

Deeptech is still a fledgling sector in Australia. Investors who are willing to bet on long-term, high-risk businesses are hard to find. And the government seems yet to fully realise the pivotal role they play. The amazing economist, Mariana Mazzucato has been shedding a light on the role government plays in leading the way. In her 2013 book The Entrepreneurial State she says: 

“Without the massive amount of public investment behind the computer and internet revolutions, such attributes might have led only to the invention of a new toy.”
Read more about Mariana here > 

Dr Geoff Garrett, who headed up CSIRO a while back, used to talk a lot about “innovation walking on two legs”. Events such as Tech23 help shine a light on the personality and passion that lies behind the incredibly clever tech our founders create. But, more than this: these events call on those who are captivated by these stories to get involved and be truly useful in ensuring these innovations provide us all with a better tomorrow.

Read more…

Why SynBio is critical to a sustainable future

By Claudia Vickers Synthetic Biology Future Science Platform Leader, CSIROThis article is an excerpt from the Tech23 2021 booklet Towards a Better Tomorrow.Some four and a half billion years ago, biology evolved on Earth. Through photosynthesis and other processes,...

A model for energy and community resilience

By Mara Bun Chair, Australian Impact Investments, President and Chair, Australian Conservation Fund, director, Australian Ethical InvestmentThis article is an excerpt from the Tech23 2021 booklet Towards a Better Tomorrow.We need integrated business model innovation,...

Capitalising on the benefits of nation-building investment

By DR PETER RIDDLES AM  Director and Advisor; science and innovationThis article is an excerpt from the Tech23 2021 booklet Towards a Better Tomorrow.I think like a scientist and ask, ‘What, what are we trying to improve?’ The innovation system is a sort of a process...

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