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26th August 2021, Thursday, 5:00pm - 7:00pm  

Venue:  Online

The Top Tech Trends Debate returns in 2021 with a great line up and online networking rooms.  The 2020 Top Tech Trends Debate moved on line to keep the conversation going while we were all in lockdown.   

Unlike anything that exists in Australia, the Top Tech Trends Debate showcases the visions of five leading industry professionals. They pitch their ideas on the next big thing, and the audience votes.

The event is a replica of the Top Tech Trends event that has been successfully run by the Churchill Club in Silicon Valley for 20 consecutive years. It has now become a Melbourne feature event not to be missed.

The event features as a headline event for the emerging technologies powering investment stream of the State Government of Victoria's Digital Innovation Festival.



Be a part of the audience which will help shape the top tech trends whilst learning how these emerging technologies are set to impact our lives. It’s an opportunity to peer inside the minds that are investing in our future, to understand how they see our world.

Each speaker will deliver one trend that must meet the following criteria:

Are not obvious today, but may well be in the future; and

There'll be an explosive impact in these areas in 3-5 years time.




Sarah Nolet

Sarah Nolet is an internationally recognised food systems innovation expert, the CEO and Founder of AgThentic, a global food and agriculture strategy firm, and co-founder of Tenacious Ventures, Australia’s first dedicated agrifood tech VC firm. Sarah has been instrumental in building the early stage agtech ecosystem in Australia - from advising dozens of startups, designing accelerator programs and consulting to established agribusinesses, to helping industry, universities and government develop and implement forward-looking initiatives in food system innovation.

Sarah is also the host of the AgTech...So What? podcast, and co-founder of Farmers2Founders, a national innovation program that supports Australian primary producers to commercialise inventions and new businesses, as well as gain early access to emerging technologies.

Sarah holds a Masters in System Design and Management from MIT, and a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Human Factors Engineering from Tufts University.

Gala Comacho

Gala is the Head of Analytics at Neighbourlytics, a start-up in the civic and property tech space. She leads the data and analytics strategy and implementation - from ideation through to production. She is in charge of the research and development of their core analytics IP as well as the delivery of special projects with bespoke analytics. Gala has a teaching background, and as such, relies on many of the strategies she developed as a teacher to build analytics collaboratively and with purpose.

Gala's technical career has focused mostly on working with non-technical people to develop analytics for measurement, in many different contexts, and that help inform decisions. She is experienced across a broad range of technologies and has experience managing technical, non-technical and mixed teams.

Gala is committed to elevate the voices of those who are marginalised - mostly, but not limited to, the technology space. She is currently on the board of Women in STEMM Australia and The Victorian Student Representative Council.

Charlie Day

Charlie is an investor, adviser, and entrepreneur in the fields of innovation, science, research and commercialisation. He has over 20 years’ experience working in commercial, academic, and policy settings, and has spoken at conferences in this field in the US, Europe and Asia.

Charlie currently provides commercialisation advisory services to a range of clients in advanced technology sectors. He also serves on the investment committee for the commercialisation fund of the Murdoch Childrens’ Research Institute, is a senior adviser to Skalata Ventures, and is a mentor and investor at Moonshot Space Accelerator.

Simon Wardley 

Simon Wardley is a researcher for Leading Edge Forum, a global research programme dedicated to helping large organisations reimagine their organisations and leadership for a technology-driven future.

He is also the inventor of Wardley Maps. Previously CEO of Fotango and Vice President of Cloud for Canonical.

Twice voted in the UKTech50, Judge in Nesta's Open Banking and Netflix's Open Source competitions, Co-Chair of OSCON Europe, Cloud Camp and Map Camp. He is a regular speaker on the global tech circuit.

Anushka Wijendra

Anushka is a digital leader, with a focus on building high performing teams. She has worked in the technology industry for 15 years and managed teams across ANZ, Asia and Europe. Anushka has a passion for understanding how technology and humanity can co-exist, grounded in the belief that leaders need to balance both the promise and the responsibility that digitisation brings.

Anushka is currently the Chief Operating Officer for MessageMedia. She has previously held a number of leadership roles across REA Group, Microsoft and Optus across a breadth of functions: product, pricing, business model strategy, marketing, commercial management, governance and operations.

Originally from Sri Lanka, Anushka moved to Melbourne where she earned a Bachelor of Laws / Bachelor of Commerce (Hons) degree from Deakin University. Having lived interstate and in multiple countries overseas, she has an interest in travel and different cultures. She is a Partner and a Board Director for Social Venture Partners in Melbourne.

Moderator - Nina Muhleisen

Nina is enthusiastic about change and making our future a great place to live, work and play. To get there, Nina believes we need to improve the way we do things. With the tools and technology already available and continuously emerging we need to build capability and mindset in our organisations to adapt.

With a background across a variety of industries, corporate and startups, Nina now has her own business, Three6, and develops not only strategies but robust plans to embed emerging technologies into businesses and building the capabilities in their people for success, making her an industry expert in simplifying the way we work.




2019's Top Tech Trends Debate was a huge success and sold out with over 250 guests in attendance at PwC Australia. Biohacker extraordinaire, JJ Hastings, impressive background in bioscience includes positions as Director of Alpha Space, lecturer at RMIT and the University of Melbourne, and Director of x0.lab.

Discussing the rapidly accelerating market for synthetic biology (a market with an estimated global valuation of almost $14b by 2026), Hastings captured the audience’s attention with her impassioned explanation of the power of bio-manufacturing.

With the power to optimise existing productions of biological materials and organisms, she proposed that AI and machine learning will be able to create entirely new materials – ones that have never existed on Earth.

Quick links



The Cluster
Level 17, 31 Queen Street
Melbourne, Victoria

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