Welcome toFuture Founders Festival 202023-27 September

Australia’s first digital startup festival for international students, innovators and founders.

Future Founders Festival 2020 was a free, multi-day event by business leaders from the international student community featuring workshops, expert panels, pitching and funding opportunities. Attendees heard from successful business founders and entrepreneurs about how to develop a viable startup business in Australia, learned business design skills in a series of expert-led workshops, and joined a vibrant community of business founders and emerging entrepreneurs.

Speaker portrait
Grace Wong
Co-founder & Chief Evangelist, Liven

Grace is a lawyer turned tech entrepreneur and the founder of Liven, a mobile payment and rewards online wallet. Motivated by a burning desire to make her mum proud, in 2014 she left her law career behind to start Liven. Today, Grace is the company’s Chief Evangelist. She travels the world spreading Liven’s mission and forges relationships with industry heavyweights like Bill Tai and Roger Ver. She even pitched to Sir Richard Branson himself on Necker Island. Along the way, she has won a slew of awards including B&T 30 Under 30 and recently took home Bitfury’s 2019 XTC Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Prize with her pitch at CES (Consumer Electronics Show), Las Vegas.

Speaker portrait
Ivan Lim
CEO & co-founder, Brosa

Ivan Lim is the CEO and co-founder of Brosa, the leading direct to consumer retail brand in Australia's $14 billion home and living market. Backed by some of Australia's most esteemed investors, including AirTree Ventures and Bailador, Brosa harnesses both software and deep vertical integration to simplify the painful and stressful process of buying furniture.

Ivan has been listed in Forbes Asia's 30 Under 30 list, which recognises leaders who are revolutionising their industries. Ivan continues to lead Brosa on its mission of making it simple for Australians to create a home they love.

Speaker portrait
Wai Hong Fong
Chieftain & co-founder, StoreHub

Wai Hong Fong is Chieftain and co-founder at StoreHub, an omnichannel operating system for over 15,000 retail and restaurant businesses across Southeast Asia. Raised in Malaysia, Fong spent four years in Singapore as an ASEAN Scholar and lived in Melbourne for a decade. Soon after completing his BA at the University of Melbourne, Fong co-founded OZHut – a multi-niche online retailer – and served as managing director for five years.

Fong was named Australia's Best Young Entrepreneur in 2011 by StartupSmart, and listed among Melbourne's top 100 Most Influential People by The Age that same year. Fong spent a year and a half studying Mandarin in Shanghai, before eventually returning to Malaysia in 2013 and founding StoreHub. 

Introducing ourSpeakers


10:00am 23 Sep 2020
Official launch

Join us for the official launch of the Future Founders Festival, brought to you by Study Melbourne and StartSpace.

10:30am 23 Sep 2020
Foot in the Door to Founder

Be inspired by an intimate conversation with Ivan Lim, CEO and co-founder of leading furniture and h...

11:30am 23 Sep 2020
Female Founders Forum

Hear from female founders who will discuss what they’ve learned about building their own businesses from the ground u...

12:30pm 23 Sep 2020
Lunch with music performance

Bring your lunch and enjoy some musical entertainment from dj pgz aka Paul Gorrie, who will serve up...

12:35pm 23 Sep 2020
Startup Ecosystem 101

Want to find out more about the startup world? This quick introductory session will give you a crash course on differ...

01:30pm 23 Sep 2020
Decoding Career Paths in the Tech and Startup World

Tech companies don't just hire tech people, and being a founder is not the only path into the world of start...

01:30pm 23 Sep 2020
How Not To Start a Startup

We all know the stats on how many small businesses fail in their early stages, so how can you make your startup one o...

01:35pm 23 Sep 2020
Cultural Connections and Entrepreneurship

The connection of culture to entrepreneurship is significant. What does it mean to be an entrepreneur in our global a...

03:00pm 23 Sep 2020
Startup Pitch Comp Finals

Watch your peers in action! Hear pitches from our three finalists in the Startup Pitch Competition, including a live ...

06:30pm 23 Sep 2020
The Impact of Gaming on my Approach to Business

Join us for an evening conversation with Wai Hong Fong, once listed in The Age’s Top 100 Most Influe...

07:15pm 23 Sep 2020
FFF Social Club

Bring a drink and kick back with musical entertainment, plus a chance to connect with other festival participants and...

10:00am 23 Sep 2020
Official launch

Join us for the official launch of the Future Founders Festival, brought to you by Study Melbourne and StartSpace.

Startup pitch competition

Pitch your early-stage startup to industry leaders

We asked teams to send us a two-minute video pitching their business.

Three finalists had their pitches played during the festival and took part in a live Q&A with a panel of expert judges to determine the winner.

Applications were assessed based on: 

  1. Market – how well you understand your audience and the problem you're solving for them (20%)
  2. Solution – how well your offering solves this problem (20%)
  3. Team – why your team is particularly set up for success (20%)
  4. Traction – what you've achieved so far (20%)
  5. Pitch – how engaging, creative and entertaining your pitch was (20%).


1st place: Gillian Ong with AI On Spectrum - $2000 AUD & StartSpace Loft membership
2nd place: Yeon Ju Chun with The Creative Co-Operative - $1000 AUD
3rd place: ​Alessio Bonti - Roots - $500 AUD

Hack Your Future

Design, build and pitch your project – all in 48 hours

The Future Founders Festival Hackathon, delivered by Hacker Exchange, asked participants to develop and build a product as part of a team, which they presented to our panel of judges. 

Using the theme ‘Hack Your Future’, teams designed post-COVID innovation solutions around:

  • health and well-being
  • employability
  • global and cultural connection
  • social inclusion.

Teams built and submitted a startup concept, a prototype and a 3-minute video pitch.

Our three winning Hackathon teams were:

First place – Our Pantry ($2000 AUD)
Second place – Aussie Gigsters ($1000 AUD)
Third place – Coffee Hacks ($600 AUD)

Watch submissions from all our Hackathon teams.

All members of the top three teams will also have the opportunity to participate in the Practera program of their choice in 2020/21. Practera programs offer a real-world business consulting experience where students will work in teams to solve a business or innovation challenge for a Victorian organisation.

Brought to you by

Frequently asked questions

Can I watch recorded festival events?
Yes. Festival sessions were recorded and selected events will be added to the website soon.

Photography credits: Images courtesy of City of Melbourne/ That Startup Show /Photographer Wren Steiner and LaunchVic