Gateway to the US 2009 Companies Demonstrate Innovation at Every Level

September 29, 2009

ANZA TechNet is pleased to announce this year’s Gateway to the US companies, who will be pitching their companies and demo’ing their products next Tuesday, October 6, at 9 am at the Plug and Play Tech Center in Sunnyvale.

The companies are:

  • Earth Utility, a sustainable utility company that makes sustainability simple and affordable.
  • iPOWOW!, an integrated platform and tools for online video, which collects attitude and opinion from any video in real-time, and allows for sophisticated reporting on responses.
  • myCaRMS, enterprise software that addresses the dual requirements of regulatory compliance and risk assessment for financial institutions.
  • Myownpad, social networking and social gaming integration into a unique virtual world platform that provides an immersive, interactive and social 3D experience.
  • Software Shortlist, a proprietary method to help businesses identify software that is most appropriate for their business.
  • Tradeslot, combination optimization technology and auction technology that creates transparent and efficient primary markets for scarce resources such as carbon, timber, grain, iron ore, water and more.

They will be joined on stage by a select group of Australian-founded companies already up and running in Silicon Valley: Aruspex, 5th Finger and Embedster.

“Australia is known for its world class innovation,” said Viki Forrest, ANZA CEO. “This is our chance for a great group of companies to show Silicon Valley some Down Under innovation at every level — technology, business models and customer acquisition.”

The companies will pitch before a panel of judges including VC John Dyson (Starfish Ventures), tech guru Eliane Fiolet (Ubergizmo.com) and serial entrepreneur Simon Anderson (Pictage.com). Tickets are just $55 can be purchased at this link.


12 Facts about Entrepreneurs that May Surprise You

September 26, 2009

by Viki Forrest, CEO ANZA Technology Network

Thought I’d share this part of a study from a report “The Anatomy of an Entrepreneur” by the Kauffman Foundation.

It’s important to note that this is a study of US-based entrepreneurs, so the majority of those surveyed are Americans. It also covers industries outside of the tech world —  including aerospace and defense and health care. I think the findings would be somewhat different if focused only on Australian entrepreneurs. In the first instance, I think Aussie tech entrepreneurs tend to be younger than 40 before they start their first business and the emphasis on having a university degree is somewhat less intense in Australia — although that is changing. Here’s the list of 12 facts, though, as compiled by Dharmesh Shah for Entrepreneur Corner. Overall, they’re more interesting than surprising.

1. The average and median age of company founders when they started their current companies was 40.

2. 95.1 percent of respondents themselves had earned bachelor’s degrees, and 47 percent had more advanced degrees.

3. Less than 1 percent came from extremely rich or extremely poor backgrounds

4. 15.2% of founders had a sibling that previously started a business.

5. 69.9 percent of respondents indicated they were married when they launched their first business. An additional 5.2 percent were divorced, separated, or widowed.

6. 59.7 percent of respondents indicated they had at least one child when they launched their first business, and 43.5 percent had two or more children.

7. The majority of the entrepreneurs in the sample were serial entrepreneurs. The average number of businesses launched by respondents was approximately 2.3.

8. 74.8 percent indicated desire to build wealth as an important motivation in becoming an entrepreneur.

9. Only 4.5 percent said the inability to find traditional employment was an important factor in starting a business.

10. Entrepreneurs are usually better educated than their parents.

11. Entrepreneurship doesn’t always run in the family. More than half (51.9 percent) of respondents were the first in their families to launch a business.

12. The majority of respondents (75.4 percent) had worked as employees at other companies for more than six years before launching their own companies.


2009 Gateway to the US Summit

September 21, 2009

Registration is open for attendees to the 2009 Gateway to the US Summit. This year’s companies are shaping up to be one of our best mixes yet — ANZA CEO Viki Forrest says, “This year’s companies demonstrate innovation at every level — technology, business models and customer acquisition.”

We formally begin announcing which companies have been included in the 2009 Gateway to the US lineup later this week. But trust us — you don’t want to miss out on a chance to hear their 5-minute pitches in front of a select panel of judges and to see the product demos on October 6th at the Plug and Play Tech Center in Sunnyvale. We’ve already filled half of the 100 available seats. A ticket to this event is just $55. Register here.

On October 7th, the Gateway switches gears and offers one of the most complete all-day sessions designed for any international startup launching in the US. The Gateway Business Forums address funding options, legal and tax concerns, marketing and PR in the world’s largest marketplace and what it takes for effective CEO leadership. You do not have to be an ANZA TechNet member to attend. The price is $55 — and you can register here.

Finally, ANZA TechNet is known for its Gateway Closing Night BBQ at the Plug and Play Tech Center. This is one of the most engaging networking events in Silicon Valley, and the most fun. Come mix and mingle with our 2009 Gateway companies, ANZA and Advance members and other Aussies, Kiwis and Americans, too. During the course of the evening we announce the winner of the Guy Manson Hottest Technology Award for the best in show Gateway company. You can buy your ticket to this popular event now for just $55. Click here to register.


DEMOfall09 Announces Companies

September 19, 2009

DEMOfall09 kicks off in San Diego on Monday. VentureBeat has provided a list of this year’s companies taking the stage as well as its group of “Alpha Companies”, which will give sneak previews of their products.

DEMO is the top-notch platform for early stage companies from around the world to launch products, and several ANZA Gateway companies have taken part in this show in the past. We work closely with Chris Shipley, who has been the Executive Producer of the DEMO show for many years. As many of you know, this will be Chris’ last DEMO before completely handing over the reins to VentureBeat’s Matt Marshall, and we wish both of them a succesful show.

Chris will continue her work with the Guidewire Group and as an ANZA mentor who has graciously taken part in our Gateway Focus Workshops since 2006 . Chris’ invaluable contributions each year help us select our Gateway to the US companies. Chris will be moderating our CEO Business Forum at this year’s Gateway Summit here in Silicon Valley, October 6-7. Registration is now open, and we encourage you to register as soon as possible, as tickets are limited.


World Nomads Group Invests in Travellr.com

September 18, 2009

Congratulations to Ian Cumming and Scott Woodhouse of Travellr.com, who have landed an investment deal with World Nomads Group. Travellr is the service that lets travelers to connect with like-minded locals and past visitors to get the most insightful, relevant, and personalized answers possible about places to visit and what to do — based on “local knowledge” — once you get there.

“Our investment in Travellr.com represents an ongoing commitment to innovative technologies and presents a great opportunity to work more closely with our partners by enabling them to deeply connect with the travel community,” said Stewart Hindmarsh, CEO, World Nomads Group.

Travellr was a 2008 ANZA Gateway to the US company. Read more about their deal here.


Xumii Acquired by Myriad Group

September 18, 2009

Myriad Group AG (SIX: MYRN), a global leader in mobile technology with software in over 2 billion phones, announced this week that it has acquired the brand, technology and 17 employees of privately-held Xumii, Inc., a provider of mobile social networking services based in San Mateo, California and Sydney, Australia.

Xumii was the first software developer to combine social networks and instant messaging into a seamless mobile experience.

Jennifer Zanich, CEO of Xumii is an ANZA mentor and a long-time member of ANZA Technology Network. Once again, a job well done by Ms. Zanich, who is well known throughout the tech industry in Silicon Valley, Sydney and all points beyond.

Read the press release about this deal here, as well as additional input from Kim Heras at TechNation Australia.


California Dreaming Can Become a Reality for Gateway to US Participants

September 14, 2009

by Viki Forrest, CEO ANZA Technology Network

When Robert Castaneda, the founder of Sydney-based software company Customware decided to open an office in Silicon Valley last February – in the middle of the worst financial crisis in 70 years – every customer and industry affiliate questioned the move. “They all said I was crazy – every single person, bar the board,” Castaneda says.

Timely story in SmartCompany that coincides with our work putting together the 2009 Gateway to the US Summit here in Silicon Valley, October 5-7. Why? Because every year, while there are great companies willing to take the risk that is needed to participate in our Gateway program, there are a handful of risk-averse companies that tell us “it’s too early” for them to come and check out the US market.

As I always say in our Gateway workshops and in my one-on-one meetings with Aussie entrepreneurs, “It’s never too early.” Australian companies need to be thinking globally from Day One. And if they’re not, they are selling themselves terribly short.

The US is still the world’s largest marketplace and Silicon Valley is still the epicenter for making innovative ideas into marketable commodities, for making start-ups realize potential, for the opportunity to increase projected revenue 10 times (or more) than what it could be in just the Australian marketplace alone.

When Australian companies think globally, the natural first choice for expansion is into the US market. After all, the language is the same which makes learning the business practices relatively easy.

“…the key thing to do is to get close to your customers – and you can’t do that from Australia. So it’s not the time to be defensive. We saw it was more of a risk not to be there… and that’s paid off for us really well compared to our competitors who went into their shells…”

says Customware’s Castaneda. His move to the US earlier this year has already paid off with several high profile contracts, including internal systems development for the Office of the President of the United States.

While we are about to close registration for companies to be a part of the 2009 Gateway to the US Summit, we will hold the door open to any innovative Aussie company that reads this and agrees with us at ANZA TechNet that it’s never too early to come find out your company’s potential in the US. Don’t let the economic downturn (which the Valley is already showing healthy signs of recovery from) or a belief that your company or product is “too early” in its development bring about risk-averse behavior that leads to you putting off the all-important task of thinking globally now.

Over the years that I have been involved with the Gateway to the US program, many of our participating companies have initially thought it was “too early” for them to come find out more about the US market. But they took the leap, came across the Pacific and said at the end of their Summit experience, “I wish I knew about the Gateway earlier!” Watch this short video of the 2008 Gateway to the US companies and hear what they have to say after completing the program.

Can we sign you up now? Please contact me at viki@anzatechnet.com if you would like to discuss your options.