The founders of Atlassian, Canva and other “big idea” startups set to share their secrets at Vivid

The brains behind some of Australia’s biggest startup success stories will be coming together to speak at a Sydney conference as part of the Vivid festival in Sydney.

Hosted by Blackbird Ventures and Startmate, The Sunrise startup conference will celebrate founders who took a leap of faith to launch “big ideas”.

Guest speakers at the conference will include Atlassian CEO and co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes, Canva CEO Melanie Perkins and former NASA scientist and Planet Labs co-founder Chris Boshuizen.

“They are great people, but they’re just people,” Blackbird Ventures co-founder Rick Baker tells StartupSmart.

“Our aim is to provide education for current founders through stories of the early days of these really successful startups and to inspire the next generation of founders.”

He says the speakers will share the critical lessons they learnt across their long and grueling startup journeys.

“Things they did really well, things they did badly, pivotal decisions they made and how they did it,” Baker says.

From the first landing page to startup success

The event will feature hour-long talks by guest speakers, beginning with a detailed presentation of pivotal moments in their journey followed by an interview with either Baker or his fellow Blackbird co-founder Niki Scevak, along with audience questions.

“We ask them to show revenue growth graphs, emails they sent to illustrate what they were doing at the time, pictures of their offices, what their first landing pages looked like,” Baker says.

The event’s speakers come from a variety of backgrounds, like Vinomofo co-founder and CEO Andre Elkmeier who created an online wine store from his Adelaide garage about four years ago.

Today, it boasts nearly 350,000 of the “most awesome wine loving mofos in the country”.

“That company looks like an overnight success but Andre has worked really hard on many startup ideas and ventures before this took off,” Baker says.

The Sunrise at dawn

On a mission of founders helping founders, Baker and Scevak decided to create the Sunrise conference to support the growth of the startup community in Sydney and across the country.

Baker says most of the 100 investors at Blackbird Ventures are tech founders and he wants them to not only invest with money but with ongoing support, mentoring and advice.

“We make investment decisions on financial criteria but we also wanted to be part of a growing startup community, and that benefits us in the long term in looking for ventures to invest in,” he says.

Now in it’s third year, Baker expects about 700 people at the Sunshine conference, which will be held at Carriageworks on May 30th.

“It’ll be a good atmosphere and a celebration of everything that’s good in our startup communities,” he says.

“You’ve heard so much about these founders so it’ll be great to see them in person.”

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