Sydney Startup Games – 5 Observations

Last week, I was invited by Andrew Corbett Jones (Head of Tyro FinTech Hub) to attend the Sydney Startup Games, organised by UK’s Department for International Trade. I was grateful to be one of 10 mentors/professional investors from the ecosystem to participate as a “mock investor”. Below are my 5 observations of the event.

1. The Sydney Startup Games rock! The format is exciting, engaging and delivers results. There were 10 “investors” and 52 startup’s in a day of pitch practice frenzy, and competition between startups (and investors!) There was a great prize for the startup who had the greatest valuation at the end of the games: a business class airfare to London to scale into the UK market.

2. Pitch Practice makes perfect. All startup’s know they must master the delivery of a great pitch. Through out the day, there was advice offered from the investors, with presentations from Allan Jones and the sublime Naomi Simson. Startup’s were reminded that pitching isn’t only to VC’s, but to families, friends and anybody else who is interested in learning about the startup.

3. The women founders were outstanding. And I don’t just mean their startup idea – but their passion and enthusiasm was obvious. And talk about grit. These ladies are very smart and taking their businesses global – we just needed more women entrepreneurs at the Games.

4. Startup’s are avid listeners and truly grateful for feedback. From the first moment the event started, right through to (and even after) the event, the founders were seeking out investors for their advice and guidance. Their thirst for advice and guidance was insatiable.

5. As an amateur “investor”, I was a little nervous about putting myself out there with professional investors. Going through the process of researching the startup’s, hearing their pitch, learning about the founders and their team were all part of my process – and fun! It was the startup’s I invested, despite my instinct saying “no”, which didn’t perform. (And on the flip side – I invested well…. very well!) 

Congratulations to “nod” ( for winning the games and to all the startup’s who participated. And special callout to, Skppr and Paydoc…. see you in TyroHub!

Trena is Founder/CEO of FD Global Connections which works with Australian companies to prepare for, and enter, the USA market. And no – just because she participated in an event organised by UK, doesn’t mean she is shifting alliances! (fdglobal:8888)