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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 six 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.



Dr Andrew Webb

Head of Proteomics Research Laboratory at Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research &  CSO/cofounder at Mass Dynamics


As Chief Scientific Officer at Mass Dynamics, Dr Webb is bringing a career-long vision to life - to enable millions of life scientists to unlock and leverage the magic of mass spectrometry and proteomics through transforming its unwieldy data to scientific knowledge - better, faster and easier than ever before. 

In addition to his role at Mass Dynamics, Dr Webb is an Associate Professor at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute and co-founder and inventor at IonOpticks. Across each of these dynamic positions, he is at the coalface of proteomics-based technology in both industry and academia.

Reeta Dhar

Former-National Head of Emerging Industries Team - Westpac


Reeta is an accomplished and engaging business executive and strategist with 15 years experience working across financial services, healthcare and the public sector. 

As a strategist, Reeta specialised in disruptive innovation, focusing on the application of digital technologies to innovate in banking and finance. Most recently, Reeta setup and led the Emerging Industries division in Westpac’s Business Bank, focused on the emerging digital and low carbon economy. Under her leadership, Westpac became the first major bank in Australia to develop a risk appetite to provide debt funding to ‘scale-ups’ in these sectors.

Reeta is currently enjoying a career break, using the time to explore and contribute towards the science of consciousness – having always been intrigued why no scientific consensus exists around something so fundamental to our ‘reality’. Reeta is also dipping her toe in the world of books and publishing – arguably the most disrupted industry of our modern times! She has co-founded an indie publisher, Wise As Stories, and is currently launching her first children’s book, Willow the Wonderer.

Gavin Appel

Ignition Lane


Gavin has 25 years of global strategic, operational and investing experience in the technology industry spanning startups, corporates and venture capital.

Prior to founding growth advisory firm Ignition Lane, Gavin was a founding Partner at venture capital firm Square Peg, Senior Vice President at Experian where he led global innovation and offshore engineering, and one of the first employees and CTO at Hitwise - a venture-backed startup that was acquired for US$240m where he was integral in growing the business to be one of the most recognised global internet measurement brands.

Kate Pounder

CEO- Technology Council of Australia


Kate has recently been appointed as CEO to lead the Technology Council of Australia, the peak body for Australia's tech sector. Contributing $167bn to GDP annually, and employing 861,000 people, the tech sector is a key pillar of the Australian economy.

Heading up the Technology Council of Australia, part of Kate’s mission is to improve the general public’s understanding of the tech sector, the significant contribution the sector is making and the job opportunities that exist within the industry. 

Kate is a former McKinsey consultant, and Accenture MD.

She has helped found Australian data analytics consulting company, AlphaBeta Advisers, opening and growing their Canberra office over four years.  She has over 15 years of technology policy experience, including with the Australian Industry Group, Network Ten, and Federal Government.

Kate is passionate about growing Australia's tech sector, creating new jobs and businesses, and helping all Australian businesses make the most of tech adoption.

Jodie Iman

Tractor Ventures


Jodie is co-founder and COO at Tractor Ventures which provides a flexible, revenue based financing alternative for founders who want to lead profitable technology companies. They believe that not all ambitious founders need venture capital. 

Prior to this Jodie was at SBE Australia where she led the team in accelerating some of Australia's most innovative female leaders. Jodie set up the Innovation Bay community in Melbourne, and was an advisor to multiple startups and a mentor at Startmate. Previously, she was co-founder of two-sided marketplace, Occasional Butler, which was acquired by rival Airtasker and depo8 co-working. 

At the Wade Institute she was a mentor, lecturer and Director of Startups. Prior to this she spent nine years as the General Manager for leading Australian fashion designer, manager for Ericsson Australia and also for NCR Corporation in both Sydney and London.

Barbara Sharp

CEO- Plaetos Group


Barbara is CEO of Plaetos Group- an advanced human analytics company turning human discussions into useful human data so that decisions are not just inclusive but are precisely informed about where - and where not - to put scarce resources to accelerate change. 

Barbara started her career as a journalist, before moving into politics as Press Secretary to state and federal ministers and then - in the last and longest stretch - she has had the great privilege of working as a crisis and strategic communication consultant, advising on some of the Asia-Pacific's most wicked reputational disputes between corporations and their host communities. 

Barbara is an alumna of Cranlana Centre for Ethical Leadership and the Springboard Enterprises accelerator for female founders. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree (English & Literature) and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (GAICD).




The 2020 Top Tech Trends Debate brought scintillating debate to our audience of over 120 fellow curious minds. Taking part online via Zoom, this year we had panellists dial in from the UK and audience members from all over the country.

This year’s panel gave us an intriguing window into what life could be like in 3-5 years, each pitching their vision for the next big thing in emerging tech. But ultimately, it was Anushka Wijendra’s trend on edge computing that took out the crown for this year’s top tech trend.

Anushka pointed out there will be 50 billion connected devices in just a few years time, and the cloud alone won't be able to handle the speed to generate mega tons of data. 

Enter the edge. Edge computing, together with the cloud, will bring computation and data storage closer to the location it's needed, allowing humans to engage with technology and AI in real-time with no lag. 

Quick links



The Cluster
Level 17, 31 Queen Street
Melbourne, Victoria

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