Sponsored by City of Sydney and Jobs for NSWSpark Festival presents thirteen days of insightful events and activities.


The festival showcases and supports the vibrant startup ecosystem that exists in Sydney, and across all of NSW.

Here at The Polyglot Group, we specialise in helping innovative businesses to grow and expand overseas. Through our involvement in this space, we’ve noticed an increasing importance in staying up-to-date with the innovation agenda occurring within each market.

This is just one of the reasons why we consider the Spark Festival to be so relevant.

The festival showcased some incredibly insightful talks, which I will now gladly revisit.


Impact Investment Evening

Investible‘s event was dedicated to empowering 6 start-ups, namely by helping them to attain impact investment.  In partnership with Remarkable, SheStarts, Fingerprint for Success, SBS and Ernst & Young, Investible offered the founders an opportunity to deliver a 5-minute pitch to a room of investors and individuals.

This event placed a particular emphasis on social change.

As such, the startups shared innovative business ideas in how to address local (& global) community problems. Such topical ideas included in-home caregiving, aboriginal art inclusion, 3D printed prosthetics and a new city for entrepreneurs.

Impact Investment



Created by Claude Drulik from PIIP, SocialHack also enables social innovation, but specifically through the Internet-of-Things (IoT). In partnership with Benojo and Techboard, SocialHack unites charities, startups and corporates who are dedicated to bettering society.

In the process, SocialHack helps charities to innovate their programs, whilst also assisting startups to develop new product-service systems.

Airtasker’s CTO Paul Keen, and Thinxtra’s VP of Ecosystem & Marketing Renald Gallis, delivered a thoughtful prediction into the future of work. Specifically, they explored the impact of flexible work on communication and everyday work processes.

Curious? Check out the recaps of talks, SocialHack IoT & Work and SocialHack IoT & Food.



ON Tribe Forum 2017

Organised by CSIRO, this year’s On Tribe Forum inspired participants with stories about creative thinking and the experience of being an intrapreneur.

CSIRO is all about connecting & networking, so there’s no surprise that the ON Tribe Forum was interspersed with opportunities to connect with others. One such networking activity was known as the ‘Mentor Marketplace’, where ON Mentors and Alumni could exchange ideas and plan potential collaboration. This networking ran along with themed workshops which were organised by expert facilitators such as Ian Brown, Entrepreneur in Residence at INSEAD.

ON Tribe Forum


NASDAQ pitching competition

Facilitated by Tulla Private Equity Group, the NASDAQ Pitching Competition is an opportunity to deliver an app proposal. The winner receives a free AUD20,000 prototype.

Startups such as Share with Oscar and GeoPik (or Urban Rider Society) put their oratory skills to use, which was met with helpful feedback from Jeremy Liddle (CapitalPitch), Phoebe Zhang (NASDAQ) and  Kevin O’Hara (Tulla Private Equity Group).

NASDAQ pitching competition


Seed Money Meetup

Seed Money meetup is an event organised by Glen Frost, in partnership with Tank Stream Labs. During this meetup, 3 new startups were showcased, and deemed ‘ready to change the world’.

The meetup group united investors and innovative startups with a global vision. Typically, the presenters seek seed investment between $100- $600k with investment parcels starting from as little as $25k.

This Spark Festival presented 2 editions, during which we learned more about Home Care Heroes, FARMpay and VetChat, among other great startups.

Seed Money Meetup


The Lean Startup Sydney Meetup

Lean startup Sydney is a monthly event where attendees can learn about Eric Ries’ renowned book and its principles.

This event was a great opportunity to hear insights from Australian founders or other key stakeholders from the ecosystem (such high-profile investors and incubators). Attendees were presented with the opportunity to examine and discuss some of the key strategical decisions.

The night offered an additional feature: a platform for sharing (or seeking) job opportunities.

Elicia McDonald (Investment Associate at Airtree Ventures) and Gary Elphick (Founder of DisruptSports) were amongst some of the attendees at this year’s event.

The Lean Startup Sydney Meetup


Startup&Angels on Emerging Markets

Organised by Australiance and Wombat Capital, Startup&Angels is a highpoint on the networking calendar.

Startup&Angels offers the opportunity to meet local inspiring doers and investors, not only from Australia, but also those doing business in South East Asia.

This month focused on emerging markets. As such, the event delivered many insights about booming African markets, such as renewable energy and housing industry in Malawi. We also explored the Automotive industry in Indonesia, as well as perspective stories from Thrive Refugee Enterprise, Agsol, Tyroola and Emerging Classifieds Ventures.



Overall, the 2017 Startup Festival certainly addressed today’s need in staying up-to-date with the ecosystem. Through the array of diverse events and talks, I was fortunate enough to explore the latest ways which startups and the ecosystem are influencing and transforming one another.


About the Author:

As Polyglot Group's Partnerships Manager, Alex dedicates his time to explore new business ideas and increase brand visibility. Particularly passionate about start-ups and scale-ups, Alex believes in the power of innovation and is always looking for ways to shine a light on those leading the way for change.