Google Cloud Championing Collaboration in the ANZ Tech Ecosystem 

Michael Langford, Head of VC & Startup Ecosystem JAPAC at Google Cloud, addressing the audience at the Innovation Bay & Google Cloud Mixer during SXSW Sydney week.

Google Cloud Championing Collaboration in the ANZ Tech Ecosystem 

As the longest running community for tech founders and investors in Australia and New Zealand, Innovation Bay sits at the epicentre of the ecosystem. Our community networks span early stage founders, later stage scale up founders & CEOs, angel investors and VC partners. But there’s a fifth element to the work that we do, which, without their support, networks and belief, we would struggle to exist. That is of our deeply valued corporate partnerships. 

Innovation Bay is beyond grateful for the support and encouragement we receive from our network partners. These organisations include Google Cloud, IAG Firemark Ventures, ASX, Gilbert + Tobin, Canaccord, Department of Industry, Science and Resources, Investment NSW, Preacta, TechVisa, Merton’s Lawyers, and IDA Ireland KC  Ventures. We feel privileged to be connected to these partners who all align on our values and mission to accelerate the success of visionary founders and investors through community, connection and education.  

Innovation Bay has a long standing and mutually valuable partnership with Google Cloud – who believe that strong, authentic networks are the lifeblood of a thriving tech community. They see their role as a facilitator, creating spaces and opportunities for connection, learning, and collaboration. Some of their key local initiatives include: 

Google Cloud Events: such as CTO Connect and Women in Tech Connect were specifically designed to bring technical founders, CTOs and engineers together to develop their network and build their leadership and technical competency. 

Google Developer Groups (GDGs): These vibrant communities operate across major Australian cities and provide a platform for developers to share knowledge, network, and participate in hands-on workshops and events.

Innovation Bay events: “We love the Investor and Founder events that Innovation Bay hosts, and are proud to be a platinum sponsor,” says Mike Langford, Head of VC & Startup Ecosystem JAPAC at Google Cloud. “I think these events set the gold standard for networking with a very high calibre audience.” 

Google Cloud has engaged in many strategic collaborative partnerships to date. “Our most successful collaborations are built on a shared vision and mutual benefit,” says Mike Langford, 

“We have active programs designed to support early-stage startups in the Australian tech ecosystem,” says Mike. Through the Google for Startups Cloud program, they provide credits, technical support and training designed to empower the next generation of innovators, with up to US$350k for AI-first startups. 

Google Cloud’s partnership with Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, has pushed the boundaries of scientific research. Leveraging Google Cloud’s advanced analytics and AI, CSIRO is able to tackle complex challenges ranging from climate modeling to disease prediction. “We’ve recently announced the AI Sprint that aims to help startups develop AI solutions to address national issues like cost of living, supply chain resilience and environmental well-being,” Mike states. 

They also collaborate with VCs to bring innovation to their portfolio companies through thought leadership roundtables, workshops and training. Given their leading AI capabilities, Google Cloud has been rolling out a series of gen AI workshops to help startups identify use cases for gen AI adoption and map out an activation plan to realise their potential. 

“Google and Google Cloud are deeply committed to being a positive force within the Australian tech community. We see our success as intertwined with the overall health and dynamism of the ecosystem,” says Mike. This commitment drives their key initiatives in the community. 

Skills Development: They offer extensive training programs, certifications, and hands-on labs to close the cloud skills gap in Australia, with a goal to equip Australians, from students to seasoned professionals, with the expertise necessary to thrive in the digital economy.

Sustainability: Google and Google Cloud are committed to working with Australian organisations to leverage cloud technologies in the pursuit of environmental sustainability goals. “Our carbon-intelligent cloud platform and expertise can help businesses optimise their operations and reduce their environmental footprint,” Mike says. “Google Cloud matches all of its energy usage with renewable options, with the most ambitious sustainability goals in the market, allowing startups to Start at Zero.”

Accelerating growth: Google for Startups supports founders through a number of initiatives, including mentoring, trainings and programs and they’ll soon be announcing a Google for Startups Accelerator program in Australia, focused on accelerating the next generation of AI startups. 

Mike encourages corporates looking to actively engage with and contribute to the thriving tech and innovation community to lead with the value they can provide. “The startup ecosystem is always looking for additional support but it will be resistant to companies that are just trying to extract revenue,” reflects Mike. “Remember founders are time poor and often revenue is tight.” Mike suggest three wise focus points for other corporates eager to engage the startup ecosystem:  

Listen First: Before offering solutions, take the time to truly understand the needs and challenges facing the community. Engage with startups, developers, and organisations on the ground to build authentic relationships.

Focus on Long-Term Impact: Look beyond one-off events or sponsorships. Consider sustained commitments, such as mentorship programs, collaborative research initiatives, or open-sourcing datasets that can benefit the community at large.

Collaborate, Don’t Dominate: The tech community is built on a collaborative spirit. Seek opportunities to work alongside existing initiatives and empower local leaders rather than seeking to control the narrative or start from scratch. 

Innovation Bay offers an unparalleled platform for engagement with our highly curated audience. Corporate ecosystem supporters seeking to showcase products, share thought leadership insights, or establish strategic partnerships are invited to join in fostering innovation and forging meaningful connections within our vibrant community. For more information, get in touch with Hayley Rynehart

More Innovation Bay content

Join the Innovation Bay community


Stay up to date

Sign up for monthly updates including exclusive interviews, pitch dates, event announcements, profile, news and much more.