Venture Capitalists: We are open for business, but take our advice…

October 30, 2008

Doug van Gelder of ClearFalls, one of the presenting companies at this year’s Gateway to the US Summit, follows up by sending this story from Venture Beat by Rafe Needleman. The title of this post essentially says it all. As Doug writes, “It is positive, goes over things we have picked up, but also supports what we learnt.”

ANZA Gateway to US Summit — PHOTOS!

October 29, 2008

To say this year’s ANZA Gateway to the US Summit was a success is an understatement! The caliber of the companies and their camaraderie, the partnership with Plug and Play for the Extreme Pitch, the top-tier Silicon Valley talent on the business forums, the tri-tip at the closing night BBQ — the list is endless. We’ll let the pictures tell the story. Click here.

ANZA 2008 Gateway to the US Companies

ANZA 2008 Gateway to the US Companies

ANZA Gateway to US Summit Business Forum Notes

October 26, 2008

Maria Alegre from Abiquo, a Spanish start-up, took advantage of the ANZA invite to all international companies to join the Aussies on Business Forum Day of the Gateway Summit. She’s blogged her notes from the Australian Success Story with Ryan Junee, the marketing discussion between Chris Shipley and Brian Solis and the CEO Leadership panel. You can read what she learned by clicking here, go to the heading “ANZA event in Plug and Play”.

Neuro Vision Technology Wins Hottest Company Award at ANZA Gateway to US Summit

October 23, 2008

Big congratulations go to Gayle Clarke and Allison Hayes of Neuro Vision Technology (NVT) from Adelaide. They were the winners of the Guy Manson Award for Hottest Company at the 2008 ANZA Gateway to the US Summit.

While the competition this year was especially tough with such a wide array of advanced technologies in several key market niches, NVT best demonstrated its US market readiness with a much-needed product in an underserved market, a compelling product pitch and preparedness for the US market demonstrated by $1 million worth of orders in its US sales pipeline.

Read our press release on NewsMaker, another Adelaide-based company headed by Leila Henderson, a long-time ANZA TechNet member and supporter.

From left to right: ANZA CEO Viki Forrest, Gayle Clarke and Allison Hayes of Neuro Vision Technology and Larry Marshall of Southern Cross Venture Partners, who sponsored the award.

Start-ups Adapting to Lean Times

October 22, 2008

The San Jose Mercury News was at the Plug and Play Expo on Tuesday and covered the extreme pitch session — our 12 Aussie companies added to the “Olympian flavor” of the event. Here’s the link:

Markus Weichselbaum, TheBroth, Extreme Pitch Top Three

October 22, 2008

43 companies competed in Plug and Play’s International Start-Up EXPO Extreme Pitch Tuesday afternoon, including all 12 of the Gateway companies. 5 finalists were selected to deliver 10-minute pitches and take Q&A from Valley VCs. Gateway participant Markus Weichselbaum of TheBroth made the Final 5 and placed second among the Top 3. Congratulations, Markus! It was great to have such a strong showing for the Aussies!


October 21, 2008

Now onto the DEMO hall, where the 12 Aussie companies will join 30+ international start-ups from around the world in showcasing their products. At 2 pm, we go to an Extreme Pitch, in which the Aussies will deliver 2-minute pitches alongside companies from Canada, Asia and Europe. Three finalists will be chosen by a panel of Silicon Valley experts and deliver 5-minute pitches and take audience Q&A. More than 30 investors are in the house!

12:04 pm — Presentations concluded. Great job, everybody!

11:54 am — Jack Cohen, Digistore Solutions International. Optical storage solution. Centurion CD and Centurion DiscHub are desktop, fast response, CD-based data storage systems. Hold up to 100 CDs or DVDs. Stackable, up to 5 units. Has sold over 100,000 units so far. Boeing is a key US customer. Seeking $6M in funding.

11:47 am — Ian Cumming, Travellr — “Ask questions about anywhere” — First travel website to focus exclusively on Q & A, optimized for search engines. Matches your question with someone who is member that will deliver local knowledge. Back packers connect with other back packers; business travelers connect with other travelers. Eliminates using a social network to get the answer you want. Want 100,000 users in first year of operation = $4.5 million in four years. Seeking $1M in funding and partnerships. Sign up for beta invite at

11:38 am — Charles Lattuca, Surity, — premier productivity and solution provider for the pathology laboratory. 80% market share in Australia pathology market. Productivity improvement 25-30%, $1.5M savings per year. Seeking $3M for establishing US operations.

11:32 am — Saul Midler, Linus Information Security Solutions. Disaster recovery software. “When disasters strike, companies go out of business. Our software revives the company after disaster strikes.” Foresight beats hindsight, every time. Gone head to head with competitors in US and been successful. Government and utilities markets — will pursue finance market “once it gets back in the black”. Large unadressed market opportunity in the US. Will provide demo this afternoon.

11:25 am — Gayle Clarke, Neuro Vision Technology. 3.5 million people in the US with traumatic brain injury can’t see. Combat troops, stroke. Poor clinical assessments and ineffective treatments. Patients see 80% better after using the NVT Vision Rehabilitation System. Increases field of vision by 3 to 10 times more than competitive products. $1.2Bn US market. $1 million sales pipeline in the US. Looking for $3M US investment for US staff, hardware and software production and online professional training.

11:20 am — Justin Barrie, Perkler — the online community for loyalty and rewards program. We all have on average 20 rewards/loyalty cards in our wallets. Simplify the rewards experience for consumers and retailers (increase sales). Manage this online. Developing iPhone app — “Perk Me, Baby” — use your phone wherever you are to find out what rewards you’re entitled to.

11:13 am — Markus Weichshelbaum, TheBroth — a Facebook application developer. Focus on social games. Self-funded, profitable and recently incorporated in the US. Patent filed for PuzzleBee Jigsaw puzzles. Other produst is Kickmania! 30 applications total, 17M installs. Seeking $5M expansion capital. Ready for the iPhone.

11:07 am — Carman Rossi, TridentGLOBAL — software for import export business. 500,000 exporters and importers in US, it is a $2 trillion market. Seeking $2 million to hire US team, complete full web version, launch with SAP US resellers. Exit strategy: Acquisition. “Let’s talk about making international trade for American exporters easy.”

11:00 am — Steve Bleistein, Enterprise Analysts — Stragellen. “IT far too frequently fails to deliver what businesses need. $500 billion in wasted investment (Gartner).” Stragellen will be modeled for your business at the demo.

10:51 am — Peter Tapscott, puttoo — “Can do for web forms what Quicken’s done for checkbooks.” “Integrate or disintegrate”. Simple business forms, built in minutes; define and design on our website, deploy on yours. Reach tens of thousands of new customers. Beta available now. Seeking $700K.

10:42 am — Marshall Couper, Global Mind Screen — 1 in 4 people have a diagnosable mental health disorder. Over 70% of these people are untreated because practitioners are overwhelmed. “The Mind Screen is a web-based, mental health self-assessment tool.” It assesses 36 diagnosable disorders, generates treatment plans and monitors patient progress over time. Saves the doctor time, reduces practice costs, generates additional revenue (third-party payer) and better patient outcome. Unique situation — doctor, patient and insurer all benefit — “a triple win, win, win.” Seeking $5.6m for expansion capital. 500,000 primary care physicians in the US.

10:36 am — Doug van Gelder from ClearFalls, — Developed “Real Fusion” — revitalize your ITC environment and “operate within the cloud”. Software –> Real Fusion –> Multicore. “Multicore is here and current software and methods not easy to use.”

10:35 am — Company Pitches!

10:19 am — Short break — and then, Company Pitches!

10:16 am — “Negotiation is an art, not a science.” John

10:15 am — “Do the best job you can negotiating.” Brian

10:13 am — What is valuation? “Willing buyer meets willing seller.” Jeremy

10:11 am — “As a matter of practice, you should not expect to exit for 4 years.” Jeremy

10:10 a, — “100% of exits in the past year were by acquisition.” John and Jeremy

10:06 am — Different kinds of exits: IPO, acquisition, liquidation.

10:04 am — Differences between angel investment and VC investment and expectations on exit.

10:03 am — “Make sure you and your investors are in alignment on what you both want when structuring a deal.” — Jeremy Liew

9:58 am — “VCs are in the ROI business. Once you start making money we become your partners.” — John Scull

9:50 am — Q & A: Explanations of payouts for founding team/investors and levels of financing. Explanations of percent of ownership. Discussion of adding investors.

9:48 am — “Life sciences need to set up here for FDA purposes, but clinical studies can be done elsewhere. Australia is a great place to conduct your clinical studies.” — Brian Frenzel.

9:42 am — Importance of being in Silicon Valley. “If you decide venture capital is the best funding form for you, then it’s probably appropriate that your headquarters need to be based here. Your tech team can be located elsewhere. But your CEO, your sales, your marketing should be in the US.” — John Scull

9:38 am — John agrees with Jeremy on all his points. “The biggest problem for Australian and New Zealand companies, for any company not familiar with Silicon Valley for that matter, is not understanding the way things work here. How to get a meeting. There’s a process here.”

9:35 am — Jeremy gets 10 pitches on email and voicemail per day! Over the course of the year he invests in 1 or 2 of these companies. “Don’t ask me to sign an NDA — I get 2,500 pitches per year; don’t ask me to read your business plan. Do send me an executive summary — 1 or 2 pages. The purpose of an executive summary is not to explain your business — it’s to get me to want to know more about your business. Get an introduction from someone who knows me to get to meet me in person.”

9:33 am — Getting a meeting with a venture firm. “You’ve done your homework, clearly understand what your company does and its market space and what venture firms will be a good match. Best to go find somebody who knows the VC and can make the introduction — better chance than cold-calling, or just introducing yourself after a panel.” John Scull

9:31 am — “We’re looking for more situations we can get in on early and not be so dependent on a large venture round coming in.” — Brian Frenzel

9:27 am — “Angels are getting their wings clipped. We’re seeing the same things we saw with the dot-com crash…. We won’t even look at companies that don’t have some revenue coming in.” — Tom Cervantez

9:25 am — “People that buy your products — their businesses are under pressure.” — John Scull

9:19 am — Current economic climate. “Most people would agree we’re heading into a recession, if we’re not already in one. … More information will come available in the next few months. There may be some mismatched expectations between investors and entrepreneurs over the next few months as things settle down and we really understand the state of the economy.” — Jeremy Liew.

9:17 am — Introductions.

9:11 am — Kickoff! ANZA CEO Viki Forrest and Adrian Turner, Chairman of Advance. Advance presents this first business forum in collaboration with ANZA.

9:10 am — Funding Your Business / VC Business Forum — moderated by Philip Korn (SVB Capital). Panelists: Jeremy Liew (VC, Lightspeed Ventures), John Scull (VC, Southern Cross Venture Partners), Brian Frenzel (angel investor, AnVent), Tom Cervantez (angel investor, Davis Wright Tremaine)

9:07 am — Starting to get a crowd now.

9:05 am — ANZA showing video about Silicon Valley, produced by Santa Fe Films. Great clips with ANZA CEO VIki Forrest, Steven Marder (Eurekster), Jeremy Liew (Lightspeed Ventures), David Wright, one of the ANZA Gateway companies from 2007, whose company Monitoring Division Inc. is now doing business here in Silicon Valley.

8:59 am — We’ll start a little late — accident on 101 South near San Mateo — half the audience stuck in traffic!

8:55 am — Good morning from the 2008 ANZA Gateway to the US Summit here at the Plug and Play Tech Center in Sunnyvale, CA.