The Hon Philip Dalidakis MP - travel report - United States of America, September 2016

Minister The Hon. Philip Dalidakis MP
Portfolio Minister for Small Business, Innovation and Trade
Countries visited United States of America
Date of travel 17 - 29 September 2016
No. of official travel days 13
Number of accompanying ministerial staff 1
Accompanied by spouse in an official capacity No
Funding for the overseas trip was paid by (list department/s or agency) Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources
Air fares $20,864.00*
Accommodation $19,764.00*
Other expenses (includes surface travel and travel allowances) $16,086.00*
Travel cost for minister and staff $56,714.00*

*The above costs are not final and complete

Purpose of travel

I travelled to the United States of America (USA) to lead a Victorian Cyber Security Trade Mission and meet with key innovation leaders from government, industry and academia in San Francisco, New York, Washington DC and Virginia.

The high level meetings provided the perfect opportunity to promote Victoria's ambitious trade and investment agenda plus market Melbourne and Victoria as Asia Pacific's number one destination of choice for innovation and as a regional hub for cyber and data security.

The mission was also designed to be a platform to attract international tech and start-up companies including accelerators and incubators to establish regional headquarters and operations, supporting local job growth in Victoria. 

Benefits of travel to the State of Victoria

I attended more than 40 high-level meetings, events, briefings, interviews with senior business leaders, industry heavyweights, government bodies and media outlets were conducted on the mission.

Qualitative outcomes for the mission for Victoria

  • I secured the exclusive rights in Australia to the Girls in Tech - Catalyst Conference making Melbourne the first place in the southern hemisphere to host the organisation's premier event from 2017. The conference showcases and promotes women at the forefront of technology.
  • I met with the CEO of at their global headquarters to review and finalise the announcement of's decision to establish their ANZ Headquarters in Melbourne and the creation of 20 jobs.
  • I toured the GuardLab facility and met with their CEO to jointly announce the establishment of their Asia Pacific Headquarters in Melbourne and the creation of 50 high-skilled jobs.
  • I visited US tech giant Cognizant to announce a big expansion and the creation of 110 jobs in Melbourne with the opening of a new digital collaboration space 'Collaboratory' to help power our local digital economy, one of only three such spaces in the world.
  • I met with the CEO and Founder of New York-based logistics software company GetSwift and initiated talks that ultimately led to moving its global headquarters from New York to Melbourne.
  • I established a dialogue with the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and confirmed DHS' intent to expand its relationship with the Government of Victoria moving towards the formal establishment of a research partnership and broader collaborative efforts with the Oceania Cyber Security Centre.
  • I facilitated a global partnership with Life Journey CEO to develop CyberVictoria, a comprehensive cyber skills initiative which will be modelled off their highly successful CyberMaryland/USA program. Discussions also centred around the announcement of Life Journey's Asia Pacific headquarters out of Melbourne.
  • I negotiated the initial groundwork and development of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Victorian Government and the Commonwealth of Virginia, the largest defence state in the US and one of the world's foremost authorities on cyber security which will allow our two states to work closely together and share research on combating cybercrime, protecting online privacy and safeguarding the digital economy. The MoU has been signed by the Premier of Victoria and the Governor of Virginia.

Meetings to stimulate trade, investment and business opportunities for Victoria

  • I met with the Directors of a highly successful Australian Accelerator program to discuss the relocation of their program to Victoria in 2017.
  • I was hosted by the President & CFO of a technology campus exclusively designed to deliver high-end services to its members including programming, consulting, events, and office-as-a-service, creating the perfect ecosystem for innovation to thrive. We discussed their US operations and plans for international expansion in Australia and Victoria.
  • I discussed the Asia Pacific expansion of a leading female founder's conference and their annual start-up demo day with the Directors of one of the world's most powerful start-up incubators.
  • I received a tour of the Austrade Landing Pad with the Australian Consul-General & Senior Trade Commissioner. I discussed my desire to formulate a joint program that would allow a cohort of Victorian start-ups to utilise the resource to its full potential.
  • I toured COVO's brand new community led co-working space with state-of-the-art facilities equipped to meet the needs of innovators and entrepreneurs from all backgrounds. I spoke with their CEO and Investment Director about the opportunity to expand their new business model in Victoria.
  • I met with the CEO and Partner from a very successful early-stage venture fund and seed accelerator to promote Victoria's vibrant start-up ecosystem and champion Victoria as credible option for expansion of their program in our region.
  • I received a top level briefing from senior representatives of the Cyber Threat Alliance at Palo Alto Networks global headquarters. I also met with executives from Palo Alto Networks to discuss joint cyber skills initiatives with Victorian TAFE's, participation in the Government's cyber security trade mission to Israel and corporate support and participation in the Oceania Cyber Security Centre out of their Melbourne office.
  • I visited Cisco's global headquarters and received a tour of their hi-tech cyber security services facility. I met with their Security Principal and Managing Director, and I discussed collaboration between their Melbourne office and the Oceania Cyber Security Centre, participation in the cyber security trade mission to Israel and their recently launched Global Cybersecurity Scholarship Program.
  • I was given a behind the scenes tour of a semi-secret research-and-development facility by X, where I was briefed on moon-shot tech projects such as self-driving cars, Project Loon, Project Wing and Mikani. I reaffirmed Victoria's appetite for future partnerships on such projects that could help solve huge problems with radical solutions using breakthrough technology.
  • I met with senior management of a leading American software and services company, specializing in big data analysis whose clients include US federal agencies, law enforcement bureaus and the intelligence community. I was briefed on the latest tools to assist in the identification of emerging cyber threats using data analytics. I also discussed growth opportunities of their Australian operations.
  • I visited PARC (Palo Alto Research Centre) where I was briefed on the rise of artificial intelligence, machine learning, big data, encrypted domain analytics and how governments can harness these new capabilities to deliver services more affectively. I also discussed the potential of utilising their innovation training certificate in the public service.
  • I toured Singularity University, a campus that's using advanced technologies to tackle some of the world's biggest challenges and was hosted by their cyber initiative team. Conversations centred around their global expansion plans and potential for collaboration on their Global Summit, Global Solutions Program and Start-up Accelerator.
  • I was hosted by the CEO of OpenGov at their global headquarters where I received a demonstration of their Smart Government Platform, one of the world's first integrated cloud solution for budgeting, management reporting and open data that serves over 900 government entities across the US today.
  • I met with the President and CEO of Gemini, the US' first licensed bitcoin exchange that is fully-regulated by the State of New York. I was briefed on the regulatory and compliance complexities they faced to build their digital asset exchange and the potential for cryptocurrencies to disrupt and reshape the global financial system. I also spoke of the opportunities for international expansion into the Victorian market for their portfolio companies.
  • I was hosted by Accenture at their FinTech Accelerator and Innovation Lab where I was updated on the advancements of block chain and how they are utilising the new technology. I was also briefed on their FinTech Accelerator model and began discussions about replicating a program they administer with the Singaporean Government that could benefit Victorian FinTech start-ups.
  • I led the pre-mission briefing and pitch practice session for the Victorian Cyber Security Trade Mission delegates in preparation for the high level meetings my Department had organised for them in Washington DC during the mission.
  • I convened a roundtable discussion with Virginia Economic Development Partnership and delegates on our trade mission in conjunction with the Secretary of Commerce for the Commonwealth of Virginia. The business luncheon gave our delegates access to leading cyber security companies from Virginia and the DC area.

Meetings to promote global relationships and brand building for Victoria

  • I co-hosted a diversity workshop with Zendesk and 30 female representatives from the US tech industry to promote the work that the Victorian Government is undertaking in promoting gender equality and more women in the tech sector.
  • I convened a round table discussion with senior Silicon Valley figures on how the Victorian Government can harness the power of digital disruption, innovative technology trends and advanced future developments to improve internal capabilities in the public sector.
  • I was briefed by a Director of Comet Labs about their investments in and support for artificial intelligence and deep technology companies that are transforming some of the world's biggest industries.
  • I was hosted by software giant Slack at their global headquarters for a fireside chat with their Director and circa 50 tech leaders from Silicon Valley in attendance to promote Victoria to potential investors and highlight the growth of Slack's Melbourne operations since they opened their HQ.
  • I attended a networking function with the Chairman of the Premiers Jobs and Investment Panel in celebration of the New York Philharmonic's 175th Anniversary Season.
  • I met with the Global Head of Digital for Citi Bank to discuss trends and outlooks for digital initiatives in financial services and potential collaboration with the Victorian Government's FinTech accelerator initiative.
  • I was the keynote speaker at the sold out Livetiles - GoVictoria! event held in conjunction with Down Under NY MeetUp to promote developments in the Victorian start-up and tech ecosystem, celebrate successful Victorian tech companies in New York and explain how entrepreneurs can tap into and benefit from the LaunchVic initiative.
  • I toured MasterCard NYC Technology Hub and met with their Global Head of Payments and received a demonstration from their product and technology team on smart and IOT devices that are integrating with digital payment innovations paving the way for a world beyond cash.
  • I met with the Honourable Joe Hockey, Australian Ambassador to the United States of America and discussed opportunities for increased trade and investment for Victoria, particularly focusing on the innovation, tech and cyber security sectors.
  • I hosted a major dinner event at the Embassy of Australia, Washington DC in honour of the Victorian Cyber Security Trade Mission delegates. The networking event was attended by close to 120 local Washington DC cyber security, defence and corporate leaders with the keynote address delivered by Ms Karen Jackson, Secretary of Technology for the Commonwealth of Virginia.
  • I visited the United States Capitol Hill and met with Congressman Joe Courtney, Member of the US House of Representatives from the 2nd District of Connecticut, Member of the House Committee on Armed Services. Congressman Courtney shared knowledge about the development of one of the largest cyber security clusters in the US that he has built in his home State. We also spoke broadly about the great trade opportunities between our two States.

Media interviews

  • I was interviewed by global publication Forbes Magazine about the mission and Victoria's vision to be the number tech destination in the Asia Pacific region.
  • North American Business Correspondent for The Australian, Elizabeth Redman interviewed and wrote a story about the mission and Victoria's ambitious plans to encourage growing American companies to choose Melbourne as their Asia-Pacific headquarters, while also talking to Australian expats about setting up an Victorian office.

Next steps / Follow up

A number of trade and investment opportunities and potential collaboration activities arose as a result of the mission and are being followed up by the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources.

The department will continue to liaise with the individual companies and organisations I met with on this visit to quantify their expected outcomes in terms of potential investment opportunities.

Page last updated: 10 February 2017