The Sunrise Alpha

A startup conference like no other. Hear Australia's best founders tell their stories, from high school, to university all the way to founder and CEO of their own company.

The Sunrise brings together Australia’s most successful tech leaders to tell stories from their beginnings. They talk about the pivotal decisions, the big mistakes, the near misses and the ah-ha moments. Their tales are embarrassing, exhilarating and inspiring.

Learn first hand what it takes to build a successful startup here in Australia, and get to hang out with a bunch of founders at all stages of their own journeys.

This conference is for high school students and aspiring founders who want to hear from and meet the founders of Australian startups who have built Internet businesses worth over $100 million. These people are the rockstars of the Australian startup scene and they'll talk about how they got to found their companies.

Google and Blackbird Ventures want to offer you and your students free tickets to The Sunrise (valued at $230 each).


Wednesday, 31 May 2017 from 8:00 AM to 2:00pm PM


Carriageworks - 245 Wilson Street, Eveleigh, NSW 2015, Australia

Who is behind it?

The Sunrise Alpha is put on by Blackbird Ventures, Google and Vivid Sydney (NSW Government). Blackbird Ventures is a leading venture capital firm in Australia. We invest capital into early stage startups. We're made up of Aussie founders (and dads) and are very keen to inspire the next generation of founders here in Australia. We also run the Startmate accelerator, which helps founders through the first months of their journey to greatness.You all know Google! What you may or may not not know is that Google has a team of hundreds of engineers in Australia, and they are super active in promoting startups and STEM in Australia. You probably know Vivid Sydney too. Run by the NSW Government, Vivid Sydney is an amazing cluster of light, music and ideas which attracts millions of people to the heart of Sydney every year.All these guys have kindly stepped up to make sure that The Sunrise Alpha is free for you and your students!

What is new this year?

Last year we ran the entire program in a big theatre. It was a fantastic experience but for students it was a long day. This year the program will be shortened and divided in to two segments. The schedule will look roughly like this:

8am Arrival and Check in

9am program starts

10:30am First break

12:30pm Lunch and workshops

2:30pm Students finish.

Students will get a chance to watch the keynote presentations and at lunch time we will be running a workshop program that will see students spending time in small groups with Sunrise presenters and also founders and experts from the startup community.

Tech Girls are Superheroes

This year we are partnering with the Tech Girls Movement to give all attending students access to the Tech Girls Are Superheroes program. When you register for The Sunrise we will supply you with the link to register your students for the Tech Girls competition. 

The program has your students identify a problem in your local community and then create and code an app to solve that problem with the support of a team of entrepreneurs and mentors. No prior coding or app experience is necessary and teachers receive all the materials needed to run the program. 

Your attendance at The Sunrise will be the kick off for the competition at your school. Your students will have the opportunity to meet last year's Tech Girls Are Superheroes winners and be inspired for your own projects.


Jodie Fox, Chief Creative Officer and Co-founder of Shoes of Prey (AUS/USA)

Jodie the Co-founder and Chief Creative Officer at - the world's first website where women can design their own shoes. Started in 2009, Shoes of Prey broke even at 2 months, hit multimillion dollar revenue in under 2 years and today is a global multimillion dollar enterprise, with more than 6 million pairs of shoes designed and $24.6 Million USD in funding to date.

Didier Elzinga - CEO and Co-founder of Culture Amp

Didier Elzinga is the CEO and Founder of Culture Amp - the world's leading all-in-one employee feedback and analytics platform and one of Australia's fastest growing technology startups with offices in Melbourne, San Francisco, New York & London. He is passionate about making the world a better place to work, and is committed to keeping Culture Amp a culture-first company. He presents widely on culture and creativity, speaking at a number of high-profile conferences. He was previously the CEO of Rising Sun Pictures (a prominent Hollywood visual effects company), founder of Rising Sun Research (winner of a Technical Academy Award) and Non-Executive Director at Tourism Australia. He is currently a non-executive director at The Atlassian Foundation and The Alfred Research Foundation.

Shan-Lyn Ma (USA) CEO and Co-founder of Zola

Shan-Lyn Ma is the CEO and Co-Founder of Zola. Launched in October 2013, Zola ( is an online wedding registry for millennials. In just three years, Zola has become the fastest growing wedding registry in the country, seeing 10x revenue growth year-over-year, and 3x growth this year. Over 7 million guests have attended a Zola wedding and $350 million in gifts have been added by Zola couples.

What will they be talking about?

The founders talk in detail about some pivotal decisions they made in the early years of starting their business, they will also talk about their journey from high school to founding their business.They'll talk about what it’s like to start a business from scratch, what it takes and how they got there. They'll take lot of questions from the audience and be available to chat afterwards. Most of all they’ll tell you how they were just normal people who followed their passion!

How do we apply?

We’ve invited a handful of schools from our networks to start. If you’re seeing this, you’re probably on this list. We’re inviting school groups, accompanied by a teacher.

If you’re interested, apply by filling in the form below. We’ll let you know as soon as possible if we can accept your application. It’s not far away, so please get onto this quickly! YOU NEED TO APPLY BY MAY 1ST.

How much does it cost?

Nothing…. thanks to Google! You just need to get yourselves there and back. You’ll also need one teacher to attend per 25 students.