GAP Program Interactive Workshop Highlights

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.

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