Wed, 01 Feb 2023

SYDNEY, Jan. 17, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Australia's national deep tech incubator Cicada Innovations has acquired custodianship of Australia's longest-running annual deep technology conference Tech23 as the capital raised by their deep tech companies eclipses $5.7 billion.

Cicada Innovations CEO Sally-Ann Williams
Cicada Innovations CEO Sally-Ann Williams

Tech23 and Cicada Innovations have always been united by a shared mission to celebrate and support Australian deep tech innovators, with both organisations boasting a lengthy track record of nurturing some of Australia's most successful companies:

  • Combined capital raised by Cicada Innovations and Tech23 companies amounts to at least $5.7 billion
  • Notable 2022 milestones for Cicada Innovations include:
    • Residents and alumni collectively raised $310 million, including large raises by Morse Micro ($170 million) & Regrow ($54 million)
    • Resident SpeeDx won the 2022 Prime Minister's Prize for Science Innovation
    • Resident LLEAF attracted international investors in its $3.5M seed funding round
    • Resident Invertigro won the InnovationAus Award for Agri Food Innovation
    • Resident Gelion opened a local manufacturing facility attended by Ed Husic MP and Chris Bowen MP
    • Cicada Innovations was chosen by CSL, WEHI and The University of Melbourne as the operator for its new Melbourne-based biotech incubator to drive translation of world-class medical research
    • CEO Sally-Ann williams was appointed as the chairwoman of the Federal Government's "Pathway to Diversity in STEM" review panel

For 13 years, Tech23 has showcased and championed over 300 of Australia's most promising high-growth deep tech companies, while providing a mechanism for venture capital, other investors, media, advisors, policy makers, and potential local and global customers to learn about and connect with these companies.

The event, planned for July 2023, will ask big questions about how we build the future - from sustainable cities to game-changing climate solutions and completely new paradigms of human health. Creating a space to connect and spark meaningful conversations about the ideas, technology, and innovators that can propel humanity into a better tomorrow.

Cicada will take a proactive approach to finding the next 23 startups, setting out on a national road show in early 2023 to engage with local ecosystems and unearth emerging deep tech voices and give them national platform and vital exposure and support. 

Cicada will also implement a strategic shift from focussing on sectors like "agtech" or "spacetech" to looking at systemic solutions to broader problems, such as "reimagining the built environment" or "putting an end to waste", to ensure a holistic approach to problems and solution design. 

Sally-Ann Williams, CEO of Cicada Innovations, said: "Complex challenges require complex solutions that come from the intersection of technology and industry. If we wish to take a systematic approach to driving change, we need to start by asking the big questions around the problems we want to solve. We then need to gather the willing and the able around these problems in order to solve them. 

"We are so excited to be extending the work of Rachel Slattery over the past 13 years, and taking over the reins of such an important event in the rapidly growing deep technology ecosystem. Nurturing powerful deep technology connections is something we do all day, every day at Cicada Innovations. So we are looking forward to building on Rachel's excellent work to ensure the conversation continues throughout the year."

Rachel Slattery, owner of Slatterys, said: "I am delighted that Tech23 will now be steered and revitalised by the impressive team at Cicada Innovations, who was one of our foundation supporters. Having Cicada take the helm in driving Tech23's role in amplifying Australia's deep tech capabilities is a perfect fit.

"Tech23 has evolved steadily over the last 13 years, as deep tech has increased in prominence. The pandemic alone shone a long-awaited spotlight on deep tech innovation, providing us with a great example of how these innovations must be agile, solutions-focussed, and human centred at their heart. 

"The magic of Tech23 is the serendipitous connections and cross-fertilisation of clever, passionate people who are helping to build us all a better tomorrow. I am so delighted with Cicada's plans to supercharge this goal of a better tomorrow in Tech23 2023, and in years beyond. 

"My hat goes off to Cicada Innovations and the role it plays in championing Australia's deep tech ecosystem, passionately amplifying game-changing technology, nurturing entrepreneurs, and connecting the ecosystem in a bid to build us all a better future. Tech23 could not be in better hands."

Michael de Nil, CEO of Morse Micro, said: "Morse Micro was one of the 'Tech23' in 2017, and the recognition and platform it provided meant we gained exposure and connections to investors and industry leaders in those early days. Deep tech is often hidden and requires a different level of support to scale, so the fact that Cicada is going to be driving Tech23 forward is great news for early stage deep tech startups and the Australian ecosystem." 

Cicada Innovations (www.cicadainnovations.com) is the home of deep tech in Australia. The Sydney-based incubator with a twenty-one-year track record of developing deep tech ventures tackling some of the world's most pressing problems.                    

Working at the forefront of innovation, it supports ventures seeking to create life-changing technology - applying cutting-edge science such as advanced materials, synthetic biology and AI to challenges like the future of human health, food security and the climate crisis.                   

Since inception, Cicada has seen an unprecedented $1.3 billion in exits from six deep tech ventures in the last two decades, and helped over 300 companies to raise more than $1.7 billion in funding. It has twice been awarded 'Top Incubator in the World' by InBIA, and delivered commercialisation training to thousands working in science & technology. 

Tech23 (www.tech23.com.au) has brought together entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, scientists, and government agencies to focus on the latest emerging companies in deep tech for the past 14 years. It originally manifested as a one-day Conference showcasing 23 young companies and inviting influential Industry Leaders to engage with, and tease out the potential of their innovations on stage. Tech23 has long had the reputation of being a one-stop shop for three-hatted heavy hitters, VC and angel investors, potential enterprise customers, up-and-coming founders, successful serial entrepreneurs and anyone interested in a window on the future to immerse in conversations they would not be able to have anywhere else

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