12 Top Aussie Online Entrepreneurs Worth Watching

February 23, 2010

Brad Howarth has compiled the 2010 “Digital Dozen” for SmartCompany.com — it’s a comprehensive list of 12 of the top Australian online entrepreneurs worth watching. Some are strictly home-based at the moment, while others have been testing (and having success) in the global landscape. And — we are happy to see a number of ANZA TechNet members in the mix, like Mick Liubinskas, Dean McEvoy, Antony McGregor Dey and Sidney Minassian and Alon Novy of Liaise.com.

Congratulations to this year’s Digital Dozen — click here to see them all and read about the innovative things they are doing Down Under — and beyond.

Should Startup Employees Be Expected to Work More Hours?

February 18, 2010

Venture Beat takes a harder look at a question from AnswersOn Startups: “If you, as a startup founder are working 60+ hours a week, should your employees be expected to do the same?”

Is it the quality of work that goes into a 40-hour work week that should be valued over the quantity of a body at a desk for hours of overtime? If your employees work more than 40 hours a week, do you pay them for those hours — or is it expected of them as being a part of a startup? Read the VB take on this, and weigh in with your own response to the question here.

Diary of an Australian Entrepreneur Raising Capital

February 17, 2010

Steve Sherlock, founder of Oodles.com, one of Australia’s leading online car rental aggregators, has been blogging a multi-part series at Australian Anthill on his quest to raise a multimillion dollar Series A funding round. He rules out nothing, seeking funding in the US, Europe and taking advantage of Australia’s grant system. In fact, this week’s installment focuses on the process of applying for a Commercialisation Australia (CA) grant.

We’re just picking up on the ninth installment of Sherlock’s experience, but the previous posts are all available. Click here to read “Diary of an Entrepreneur Raising Capital” and to get up to speed with Sherlock’s other eight experiences in raising capital to date.

The Next Web Australia Startup Tech Award Winners Announced

February 11, 2010

It’s an exciting day Down Under. The results are in, and The Next Web Australia has announced its 1st annual list of Australian Tech Startup winners.

ANZA Gateway participants Perkler (Gateway ’08) take home the “Break Out” award, while Atlassian, founded by ANZA member Mike Cannon-Brookes is voted “Most Likely to Change the World”.

It’s also exciting to see We Are Hunted and Posse, two companies we saw showcased at Tech23 last October, place 1st and 2nd, respectively, in the “Best New Startup” category.

Credit for these awards is due to The Next Web Australia editor Kim Heras for taking this on and establishing a much needed way to recognize the Australian tech startup industry. Let’s hope more folks around the world will take note of the exciting quality companies taking shape in Australia and their potential in the global marketplace.

(Click here to see the complete list of winners)

Six Things You Should Know Before Meeting with a US Venture Capitalist

February 7, 2010

It’s great to see 2010 Australian entrepreneur of the year, Khimji Vaghjiani, CEO of Solar-Gem getting some press in Australian Anthill. We worked closely with Solar-Gem and the other state finalists in this year’s G’Day USA Innovation Shoot Out in Silicon Valley. Part of our coaching was to prepare CEOs of these companies on what to expect when they started meeting with American VCs and other investors, who approached them after the Shoot Out. Khimji reveals to Anthill some of our advice in “Six Things You Should Know Before Meeting with a US Venture Capitalist“:

  1. Drive-bys don’t work. In order to raise capital in the US, you have to establish yourself there. VCs like to be close to their investments, and they more often invest in companies that own the IP they are investing in. US VCs often take a board position and expect that board to have the final say on company matters … not take direction from a ‘parent’ company in Australia.
  2. Think global, think BIG. Projecting $10M revenue in Australia is considered a reasonable success metric, but this number will not interest a US VC. In the US, $100M revenue projections are common and 10x returns on investment are expected.
  3. Know your competition. Spend time familiarising yourself with your competition in the US market. If a VC names a competitor that you have not heard of, close your laptop and leave — the meeting is over.
  4. Team. Option 1: You have the best team, proven track-records, no question that your team is the right team to execute the plan. Option 2: You have team gaps, you know it and one of your criteria for selecting your investor will be that you believe they can help you build the team.
  5. Focus, focus, focus. Since Australia is such a small market, a company has to sell broadly across many market sectors in order to be considered successful. In the US, however, this could become a company’s downfall. Large, complex markets (like the US) need focus. Your VC wants to see a laser-sharp market entry strategy that will take the company to the next level (profitability or next investment round) as quickly as possible. Be prepared to give the ‘blue sky’ opportunities, but don’t make this part of your pitch.
  6. Learn from every meeting. There are hundreds of quality VCs in Silicon Valley alone. Every meeting will provide you with invaluable advice and ideas that you can incorporate into your pitch and plan for the next meeting. Ask for feedback, and you’ll be able to improve your pitch with every meeting.

Solar-Gem, a company from New South Wales, has an interesting story. They’re an Australian company seeking US funding to develop business opportunities in India, Africa and the Middle East. (Read more)

Top 25 Most Active VCs

February 2, 2010

TechCrunch has published its CrunchBase Dealmaker Ratings on the leading top 25 investors for 2009, as well as 4Q 2009. Overall, for 2009:

The most active VC was Draper Fisher Jurvetson, which invested in 57 deals throughout the year by our count, followed by Kleiner Perkins (49), New Enterprise Associates (47) Intel Capital (46), Sequoia Capital (42), First Round Capital (34), and Accel (33).

See complete tables here.