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The Truth About How The Octopus Inhabited Sydney Startup Hub.

-Can you tell the difference between a startup founder and a cephalopod?

After my first startup, I said no more but ended up working in a few. It was an unforgettable experience that I wouldn’t be without. It was so much fun as well as priceless growth on a professional and personal level.

I loved being a member of the co-working space. It is a high impact zone where startup teams create what no one has ever done before, achieving the unachievable. Like an octopus, they are curious opportunists and craftsmen of inventive thinking.

“I said no more after my first startup experience, but shortly found myself being sucked back.”

When I was approached to create a mascot for Tank Stream Labs, Sydney Startup Hub office space, I leaned on my personal journey to help inform my decision, and I am grateful to the community for trusting my creation.

The research was dedicated to finding the best representation to reflect the core characteristics of a founder and startup community.


A Founder’s brain is an engine for creativity and innovations. When they come up with ideas some people go “Whaaat?” yes, to Mr Ordinary it could sound like they disregard laws of physics. They turn visions into global businesses before others see it as a possibility. Innovative thinkers who see industry gaps and make products that help millions of people.

“An octopus can independently move all 1920 suction cups, designed as powerful grips as well as data collection sensors.”

Startup founders are intelligent and creative. This makes them the most desirable people to employ, but the thing is they don’t do well within limitations. Like the octopus, they can’t be forced to do anything. Turning their back to a scientist is a classy behaviour of one.

Hunting Agility

Startup founders want to make a difference on a social scale, to be able to look back and say, “I did that”. As true agile hunters, they manage to raise capital ahead of time to scale up and grow their business. It is always a big day and party-time when $$ are in the company account as well as a realization that it is one way to The-Deliver-Land. VC expects the product to stay top-notch.

As a reflection, the cephalopods is an advanced nocturnal and daytime predator that hunts on both land and water. They close in on their prey by mimicking colours and texture or just chase it down. Nine brains allow arms to work independently and yet towards the same goal, for example, to trick their prey to run towards them.


Startup founders are eternal optimists and masters of ambitious commitments. Persistent people who sometimes have to navigate through eventualities and crash moments. I believe the secret of resilience lays in their positive attitude combined with a good sense of humour.

“Startup founders are perpetual motion machines fueled with the adventure spirit.”

While octopuses are known as curious opportunists who can adapt to life circumstances by regenerating their lost arms after a fight, for example, they also have a unique sense of humour. Sometimes when cephalopods get bored in laboratories they eat their arms then regrow them back.


From my observation, startup founders are never-ending energy sources that are so much fun to work with. They have a unique ability to find complimenting people to build the product together and scale their business. They treasure growing talent and to elevate them to the best of their ability.

“Tank Stream Labs is a startup community where tech-driven innovative thinkers succeed together.”

Octopuses are also social animals. They communicate by posturing and changing colours. As one of the smartest animals in the ocean, they form an opinion about everyone. Scientists did an experiment, and they found that even dressing staff identically the octopus would still recognize the disliked person and squirt a jet of water on their back.

The end

Startuppers are philosophers of the business space who change the world with technologies, form trends and future economies. And not only that, they can brainstorm and improve everything around.

I painted the mural on a weekend and the co-working space was buzzing with creative minds. TSL residents were giving their feedback and inputs on the creative process. I believe the Octomural is a result of the communal collaboration, and I am lucky to have been asked to create this piece of art to symbolise the nature of Tank Stream Labs community and its multi-faceted features.

Artist Marí Koval

Marí Koval is an artist, muralist and illustrator who creates atmospheric and motivational art. You can find out what Marí is up to and connect on social media Instagram, LinkedIn and Facebook or check out

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