Upcoming ANZA TechNet Events in Australia

June 23, 2009

This year’s Bridge to the US program launches in Australia 8-17 July, with a combination of events designed for our partners and allies in Sydney, Adelaide and Melbourne. ANZA TechNet works with each partner to create a Bridge to the US program that delivers what they need to convince early stage companies with global appeal to take their first steps overseas, beginning with the US market and our Gateway to the US program.

In New South Wales we’ll be offering two teleconferences — one for Digital Media and Mobile companies and another for Security companies. We’ve assembled a panel of experts for each of these market sectors who will talk to companies about market opportunities live via video conference hookup from Silicon Valley.

In South Australia we’ll be participating in two roundtable luncheons designed to update participants on the current state of the US tech market and market entry options.

And in Melbourne, as well as Sydney and Adelaide, we’ll be hosting evening networking events. These are also excellent opportunities to meet with ANZA CEO Viki Forrest, who will speak at each event about the current state of the US market and talk with other Australian entrepreneurs who have participated in ANZA programs, like the Gateway and the Fast Track to the US.

To see the complete roster of July events, and registration details, click here.

Tips for Australian Companies on Raising Private Capital in Australia

June 19, 2009

At a recent ANZA-sponsored seminar here in Silicon Valley, we heard Tristen Langley, of Southern Cross Venture Partners tell a group of visiting Aussie start-ups to go back to Australia and “raise $400,000” and then return to the US ready to do business.

If you’re an Aussie start-up wondering how to raise private capital at home before going global, we’ve come across an Australian Anthill story by Reuben Buchanan, “6 Tips for Raising Private Capital in Australia”. All of these tips will put you in good stead for raising more money later on in the US. (Read more)

LinkedIn vs. Facebook; Boring Underdog vs. Flashy Competitor

June 18, 2009

CIO reports that LinkedIn, the social media site for professional networking is poised for profitability and more immediate financial success than its flashy competitor Facebook. LinkedIn’s loyal 29 million user base may prove in the long run that slow and steady growth could win the social media race. And, maybe serious professionals aren’t all that into receiving virtual martinis and seeing colleagues’ vacation pictures during their work day — at least not at every social media encounter. (Read more)

It’s Not a Toy! The Rise and Necessity of Smartphones

June 10, 2009

They are no longer techie gadgets or status symbols, Blackberries, iPhones and their lesser known competitiors — or Smartphones — are fast becoming a necesarry tool of everyday American business culture. The New York Times reports:

For a growing swath of the population, the social expectation is that one is nearly always connected and reachable almost instantly via e-mail. The smartphone, analysts say, is the instrument of that connectedness — and thus worth the cost, both as a communications tool and as a status symbol.

“The social norm is that you should respond within a couple of hours, if not immediately,” said David E. Meyer, a professor of psychology at the University of Michigan. “If you don’t, it is assumed you are out to lunch mentally, out of it socially, or don’t like the person who sent the e-mail.”

Hmmm. Think about it. And read more at “Smartphone Rises Fast from Gadget to Necessity” (registration may be required).

GAP Program Interactive Workshop Highlights

June 4, 2009

ANZA TechNet has partnered with Pyksis to run the first Global Acceleration Pilot (GAP) program, sponsored by the Victorian Government’s Department of Innovation, Industry and Regional Development (DIIRD). Pyksis has carefully recruited four of the most innovative regional Victorian companies and ANZA has prepared a 10-day US market immersion plan, showing these companies around Silicon Valley and San Francisco, as well as running them through a series of ANZA’s popular Gateway and Fast Track to the US program exercises, like perfecting their company pitch and working with mentors.

Yesterday the companies took part in a full-day interactive workshop at partner headquarters Plug and Play in Sunnyvale, CA. The companies spent the morning working with their mentors on a 5-minute pitch, and then delivered them to their first Q&A panel for feedback.

Results were impressive in this first go-round for the four companies, Rebound Sports (creator of the Boomerang portable basketball return system), Crawford Kitchens (fully transportable commercial kitchens for disaster recovery and industry kitchen renovation), PODD (which stands for Portable Operational Demountable Dwelling, very popular in the lucrative Australian mining industry) and Aussie Predator (inventor of the Spray King crop sprayer, which reduces the amount of chemicals sprayed and increases leaf coverage).

Perfected pitch highlights:

  • “This is a must-have for any competitive high school or college basketball program in the States,” (Phil Shelly, CEO Rebound Sports)
  • “We can cook you up a solution anytime,” (Andrew Crawford, CEO Crawford Kitchens)
  • “Quality, affordable temporary housing — fully furnished, green and can be assembled in just 4 hours” (Nikki Calcraft, Business & Marketing Development, PODD)
  • “We kill the competition,” (Leon Caccaviello, CEO Aussie Predator)

Following the presentations, an informal discussion was held with the panelists ANZA TechNet assembled for the afternoon — Tristen Langley (Southern Cross Venture Partners), Jon Baer (Threshold Ventures), Kathy Drasky (KazzaDrask Media) and David Wright (Monitoring Division, an ANZA Fast Track company). The panelists brought a mix of entrepreneurship, investment, startup and new media marketing experience that proved valuable to Aussie startups considering what is involved in creating a US market presence.

Take-home advice, included:

  • “Use your personal connections to raise angel funds in Australia. Try to get $400K and then get over here.” (Langley)
  • “[If you want to be in this market] You’ve got to act like a US company. Think and act and operate as though you are physically in the US. Translate your pitches into terminology that people in the US will understand – this is critical for funding and partnerships.” (Baer)
  • “Make a list of what you want to know [about the US market] and then start asking people you meet here. The response will be overwhelming.” (Wright)
  • “You can maintain your presence in the US by using tools like Skype, video conferencing, Twitter and Facebook. All of these tools are free. Start a blog and be a thought leader in your industry.” (Drasky)

The four companies will be in the Bay Area for another week, meeting with prospective clients and learning more about how they can fit their companies, all of which are successful in the Australian market, into their respective US market sector counterpart — a market that is 15 times the size of their own.

Advance Welcomes Victorian GAP Companies to Silicon Valley

June 3, 2009

IMG_6722Advance, the Global Network for Global Australians, welcomed four Victorian GAP (Global Acceleration Pilot) Program companies Silicon Valley-style last night, with its Word of Mouth networking event, held at Vino Locale wine bar in Palo Alto.

The four companies, Rebound Sports, Crawford Kitchens, PODD and Aussie Predator, are on a 10-day US market exploration trip sponsored by the Victorian Government’s Department of Innovation, Industry and Regional Development (DIIRD) run by ANZA TechNet and Pyksis.

Each company made a quick 30-second elevator pitch — and then wine, cheese and networking were enjoyed by more than 40 attendees.

Photo: Leon and Kerrie Caccaviello from Aussie Predator with Nikki Calcraft from PODD. See more photos here.

The Top 100 VC Blogs

June 3, 2009

If you think every venture capitalist has a blog — then guess what? You are probably right. Larry Cheng, a VC himself at Fidelity Ventures has compiled a list of the Top 100 VC blogs, by their Google subscriber rank. The most popular is Guy Kawasaki’s How to Change the World, with more than 17,000 subscribers. Considering Guy has more than 127,000 followers on Twitter, we’re half-wondering if someone’s claim earlier this year (was it a VC?) that blogging was dead and Twitter was the new blogging could have been true? Nah.

Good to see ANZA member Jeremy Liew’s LSVP (Lightspeed Venture Partners) in the Top 10 with close to 3,000 subscribers.

Remember, number of subscribers doesn’t count all those who may regularly visit a blog by bookmarking the home page or simply searching for the blog name or blogger on Google when they want a fix from their favorite VC. Nor does it include random searches that may find a particular blog by topic.

View the Top 100 VC blog list here, which Cheng promises to maintain as a directory and update regularly. Let’s hope this moves him up a few spots on his own list, from #71, where his blog, Thinking about Thinking (with 63 subscribers) is currently ranked.