As you’ve probably gathered TechCrunch is headed to Australia to find the most disruptive early-stage startups, in partnership with ELEVACAO. As we like to say these days, ‘all roads lead to Disrupt’ and our focus now is to reach out internationally to find the best startups for our Disrupt stages, from all around the world.

TechCrunch’s Startup Battlefield Australia is our first ever, and it’s particularly sweet for me to be able to leave London and come ‘down under’. It’s a little-known fact that I have dual nationality, being both born in the UK but also holding an Australian passport. But more of that in a moment.

Australia is increasingly known as a tech startup hub, witnessing Atlassian’s $1.1 billion IPO, a $250 million equity growth round for Australia’s Campaign Monitor and a $150 million round for New Zealand’s Xero. High-growth startups are inspiring a healthy crop of early-stage startups in the region.

TechCrunch’s Startup Battlefield Australia will also see a number of great people joining us on stage including the following:

Mike Cannon-Brooks, Co-ceo and co-founder, Atlassian

Catriona Wallace, founder at Flamingo

James Cameron, partner at Airtree Ventures

TechCrunch’s Startup Battlefield has been bringing world-class founders into the spotlight since 2007, and in the past decade almost 700 contestants have gone on to raise nearly $7 billion in funding and rack up nearly 100 exits.

Our community of Battlefield Alumni include companies like Mint, Dropbox, Yammer, TripIt, Getaround and Cloudflare. We are excited to showcase a diverse group for Australia’s first ever TC Battlefield.

The winner of TechCrunch Battlefield Australia will be the recipient of a $25,000 equity-free cash prize and an all-expense-paid trip (for two) to exhibit at TechCrunch’s flagship global competition, Disrupt Battlefield SF 2018 and compete in the Startup Battlefield, assuming the company still qualifies for that competition. The entire event will be live-streamed (and later available on demand) and carried on, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.

To bring Battlefield to Australia, TechCrunch is partnering with the ELEVACAO Foundation, whose mission to empower women tech entrepreneurs globally aligns with TechCrunch’s Include program to encourage more diversity in tech.

As for my history with Australia, the short story is that my family moved over for my father’s job as a malaria scientist, working on programmes which were run in Newcastle and Canberra. In the process, I even ended up going to the ANU. During that time I did two main things (apart from my degree in literature). The first was get the bug for journalism by co-founding a student newspaper. The second was playing drums on the growing thrash/grunge/rock scene (hey, it was the late 80s). This led me to meet and play in the legendary (well, in my mind) ANU student band “The Pleasureheads.” With Tim leading on song-writing, and his scorching Telecaster, backed up by Adrian on bass and me on drums, we supported many headliner acts passing through Canberra.

The Pleasureheads: Adrian, Tim, and Mike

But rock bands are rarely forever, and eventually, Tim moved back to Sydney and formed another band, while I moved back to London to became a journalist. Tim’s band became You Am I, one of the most successful bands ever to come out of Australia. I’ve since had the pleasure of seeing the now-famous Tim Rogers and his band tour the UK, and I’m relishing the idea of catching some always-fantastic Aussie music while I’m there.