A JET full of Silicon Valley's leading entrepreneurs and investors will land in Queensland to showcase the rising local technology industry
Qantas and the State Government will partner to charter a 747 aircraft to bring more than 200 executives and venture capitalists to next year's Myriad startup festival in Brisbane.
No names have been released but those targeted to make the trip could include tech celebrities such as Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, Alphabet chief Larry Page and Tesla boss Elon Musk.
The highflyers from the tech capital control billions of dollars and are on the lookout for a stake in the next exciting opportunity.
Local startup and scaleup entrepreneurs will have the chance to apply to be among the 360 passengers on the journey from San Francisco to Brisbane next May, with a onceinalifetime opportunity to pitch their ideas to some of the world's most influential figures.
"You will have 14 hours of the most intensive networking on the planet on that flight, a 14hour maniacal session of networking," Queensland Chief Entrepreneur Mark Sowerby said.
"This will be one of the greatest concentrations of entrepreneurial talent ever in one spot
"We want the biggest names from the biggest companies."
"I want to make sure every seat is filled by someone who matters, who can make a difference. There will he so many lives changed as a result of this."
A similar flight last year to Slush, Myriad's sister festival in Europe, included Arielle Zuckerberg, sister of Mark, who is now a partner with capital venture specialist Kleiner Perkins and an "angel investor" in her own right.
An onboard discussion between one of Silicon Valley's sharpest investors, Steve Jurvetson, and the CEO of a company developing meat from animal cells rather than saughtering, resulted in $20 milllion of funding from backers including Bill Gates, Sir Richard Branson and Kimbal Musk, brother of Elon.
Myriad cofounder Martin Talvari, who also helped establish Slush, says the European event has so far generated more than $500 million in investments. It has become the northern hemisphere's biggest startup event with 17,500 people attending and a million live streaming.
He and partner Murray Galbraith from the Gold Coast, aim to make the Queensland event equally powerful in the AsiaPacific region.
The first Myriad this year attracted 2500 people despite being held in the torrential aftermath of Cyclone Debbie and the numbers will triple next year.
"This will be a lightning rod for Queensland," Mr Sowerby said. "It will bring all the right people here. We want to own the startup and scaleup space. We're creating a direct link from Silicon Valley to Fortitude Valley."
The Californian executives and investors will be joined by others from New York and Texas and China.
Queenslanders who join the flight will spend a few days in Silicon Valley getting to know the tech-preneurs before they depart.
The three day Myriad festival; May 16-18 2018, will be followed by a huge after-party day on the Sunshine Coast and the US contingent will be encouraged to spend several more days talking to local companies and enjoying attractions.
"We will give them every reason to be here beyond Myriad," Mr Sowerby said. "We want to make sure this is the most exciting thing they have ever been involved in. Minister for Innovation, the Digital Economy Leeanne Enoch said it was a rare opportunity to show off what Queensland had to offer and whet the appetite for all things innovation.
Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said Qantas was a start-up 97 years ago. "We are excited to be part of a festival that helps connect the world's most innovative thinkers".
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(Courier Mail Sunday September 17th 2017)