Photos from ANZA TechNet’s Gateway to US Workshops in Australia

September 1, 2010

We’ve just completed our annual Gateway to the US workshops, with Guidewire Group’s CEO Chris Shipley. As a key component of the workshops we rated innovative Australian businesses with global potential on 7 critical dynamics using the Guidewire Group’s G/Score. The G/Score has been used exclusively in the US, Europe and Asia, but this was its first use Down Under. ANZA TechNet is hoping to see many of the companies we scored over the last two weeks in Silicon Valley at the Gateway to the US Summit in November.

Check out some photos from the workshops at this link. Portraits of the entrepreneurs and ANZA TechNet partners are courtesy of Chris Shipley. (Pictured: Greg Boundy, Innovate SA Chief Executive.)

Should Australia Build a Great Technology Sector?

July 18, 2010

by Viki Forrest, CEO ANZA Technology Network

First, I’d like to go on record and congratulate two recent Australian technology success stories – Atlassian and its co-founders Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar and Tapulous co-founder Andrew Lacy. For all who have been following Aussie tech news this month, Atlassian’s closing on a $60 million (USD) round of funding from Accel Partners here in Silicon Valley and Tapulous’ multi-million dollar sale to Disney prove yet again that America looks to Australia’s innovative tech sector for fresh ideas that are well executed.

I didn’t join in on the dust up over at the Delimiter blog, when blogger Renai LeMay chose to call out the Atlassian founders for taking American VC, rather than trying to raise such money in Australia. As the CEO of the ANZA Technology Network it’s our business to link the Australian and American tech communities. Since 2002, when ANZA was founded, that link has been one-way – Aussie innovation toward American dollars and customers.

While ANZA strives to accelerate Australian entrepreneurs getting a foothold in the US market, while reducing costs and risks – it is also our goal to see Australian companies succeed here in the US. It’s not about Australian companies coming to America and creating jobs for Americans. It is about Australian companies taking advantage of the welcoming climate for their innovations in Silicon Valley – and ultimately, to see those who are as successful as Mike and Scott and Andrew to “give back” to Aussie innovative technology by working with – and maybe someday investing in – the next generation of entrepreneurs.

I have met with Mike and I have very recently corresponded with Andrew and I can assure you that both men are eager to work with Aussie entrepreneurs. Not to create a “brain drain”, but rather to help get some top-class Aussie innovation to the world stage. From there anything is possible – including more jobs for Australians in R&D and engineering (these positions tend to stay in Australia when a company expands into the US) and reinvestment back into the community (not necessarily as VC, but into the universities, the incubators, the industry organizations).

So – to answer Renai’s blog post question, “How Can Australia Build a Great Technology Sector?”, by which presumably he means one that is its own ecosystem including funding, I have to ask the question “Why does it need to?”

I need to look no further than a webinar ANZA is hosting tomorrow called “Sizing Up the US Market” and the words on my own website. The US market is 15 times the size of Australia’s. Stop. In a webinar we’ve scheduled for next week on funding – we note that less than 1% of companies – worldwide – ever even receive venture capital. Case closed. Australia needs to continue to do what it does best – innovate. The US market demands it.

Australia’s Key Role in US / China Relations

June 12, 2010

Peter Beattie, former premier of Queensland and former state commissioner for the Americas, proposes how Australia can play a key role with the world’s two largest economies – the US and China, in the 12 June edition of The Australian.

In “Here’s Our Chance to Share the Spoils with the Emerging Gang of Two,” Beattie explains:

…The dominant players in the global economy, the US and China, form a Group of Two, giving the world a leadership team of Hu Jintao and Obama. The days of world economic dominance by the US are coming to an end; it will now have to share the power.

The US is by far the world’s biggest economy. Next year China will be No 2 instead of Japan…. Both countries are critical players in global security and nuclear non-proliferation issues. For all the wisdom of the creation of the G20 group of countries to replace the G8, the reality is that there will be in effect a G2…. [and] fortunately for Australia we are strategically located in the Asia-Pacific region, with unsurpassed historical links to both the US and China…. we are a clever country supported by a culture of innovation…we are well placed to be a key partner of the Sino-American generation of the immediate future.

…It’s in everybody’s interest that [the US and China] co-operate and bring new technologies on line, at industrial scale, as quickly as possible. With the prospect of world domination in clean energy, it’s also in their economic interests.

For America’s part, it wants clever international partners who can bring innovative technologies and processes to the US economy, then sell them to the world.

This is Australia’s opportunity…. The formula is simple: partner with the US to help it co-operate with China and Australia cements a meaningful place in the US-China-dominated economy of 2030 and beyond. (Read more)

ANZA TechNet’s Gateway to China Program Featured on CleanTech TV

May 27, 2010

ANZA CEO Viki Forrest talks with Giles Parkinson from CleanTech TV about our upcoming Gateway to China pilot program. In partnership with the New South Wales Government Department of Industry and Investment and Advance, the Gateway to China program will take five NSW companies to Shanghai next month. The majority of the companies are focused in the cleantech space, which offers great potential for strategic partnerships between Australia and China.

Watch this space for exciting announcements about the program and the 5 companies that will be formally announced next week.

If you are an Australian entrepreneur in the cleantech space and would like to be featured on CleanTech TV, click here for more info.

The Size of the Market: Who Will Buy the iPad? – 20 Million Consumers, That’s Who

April 1, 2010

by Viki Forrest, CEO ANZA Technology Network

Every now and again I’m reminded about the size of US market vs. the size of the Australian market in terms worth pointing out. Having worked with hundreds of Australian CEOs who want to find out more about whether to do business in America, I often say what a great test market Australia is for the US. If your innovation makes inroads in the Aussie marketplace, multiply that customer base by 10-15% and consider the possibilities that await you in the US market.

Since iPad pre-sales started earlier this month, reports have been mixed from an American consumer point of view. Newsflash: Not every American is going to buy an iPad. If Apple was planning on 300 million sales in 2010, they’re going to fall quite short of that mark. But one mark they will hit, according to Mashable is 9% of consumers surveyed indicated they are likely to buy an iPad in the next 6 months.

What does 9% of American consumers translate to? More than 20 million people over the age of 18, that’s who. Or, roughly the equivalent of the entire population of Australia.

Another Look at the Australia-US Free Trade Agreement (FTA)

March 8, 2010

In January we posted some info on the Australian’s position on the Australia-US Free Trade Agreement (FTA) on its 5th anniversary (click here for that story). Now we have another take on the FTA published in the Sydney Morning Herald (“Mind the Gap: Benefits from Free Trade Haven’t Really Gone the Distance”). While the earlier story focused more on what the US has done investment-wise into Australia as a result of the FTA, and the E-3 visa that allows Australians easier access to working in America than workers from most other countries, what has been the real upshot for Australian exports as a result of the FTA?

Rodney Tiffen, a professor of government and international relations at the University of Sydney goes so far as to call the agreement a “dud”. But while Australian exports to the US are meager, Aussie exports to Asian countries continues to grow.

Australia’s exports to the US in the five years to last year grew by only 2.5 per cent, compared with double-digit growth for exports to all the major Asian trading partners. Since the signing, America has slipped from third to fifth among Australian export destinations, overtaken by Korea and most recently India.

In general, it seems these FTA deals “favour…the biggest countries, such as the US and China. Their power affords them superior bargaining leverage to win concessions favouring their domestic constituencies. Australia and most other countries have an interest in more global agreements.”

Overall, however, the FTA has been a good thing for Australian entrepreneurs looking to set up business in the US. The E-3 visa allows for relatively easy relocation for those who are establishing a US entity while keeping parts of their business back home (typically R&D). In this scenario, both countries win. If anyone has any details on studies done that show where these US-based, Aussie-led companies exports go let us at ANZA TechNet know. The IT that is produced here by Australians that is sold to US customers is not considered “export” — or is it?

Enter the Dragon: Shanghai, Sydney, Silicon Valley Venture Capital Forum, November 19/20

November 10, 2009

enterdragonsvIs Shanghai the next Silicon Valley? Will China’s formidable economic presence on the world stage bring entrepreneurs and venture capitalists together to build solutions for the next generation?

Come find out the answers to these questions and more when Advance presents “Enter the Dragon”, a video conference linking Silicon Valley, Shanghai and Sydney, November 19/20. Click here for times and location in each city and to register now.

Learn more about: China’s emerging opportunities for innovative entrepreneurs in the global economy; the difference between Silicon Valley and China VC ecosystems; building your global networks for business opportunities; navigating a foreign market with trusted resources; China’s growing clean and green tech market opportunities; how Silicon Valley’s innovation and Australia’s unique blend of resources, clean fossil fuels, water and solar technologies will neatly fit in this vast market sector as the world reshapes itself in the next two decades.

Panelists include:

  • Ford Tamer, Operating Partner, Khosla Ventures
  • Matt Jones, Partner, Nth Power
  • Ron Cao, Managing Director, Lightspeed Venture Partners, China
  • Alison Leopold Tilley, Partner, Pillsbury, co-leader South East Asia team
  • Darren Ho, Managing Partner, CMHJ China
  • Tony Surtees, Executive Director, Prime Digitalworks Pty Ltd
  • Dr. Mannie Liu, Director, Renmin University, Venture Capital Research Center
  • Victor Westerlind, General Partner, RockPort Capital Partners

Moderated from Silicon Valley by Dr. Larry Marshall, Managing Director, Southern Cross Venture Partners and from Shanghai by Joseph W.K. Chan, Partner and Head of China VC & PE, Pillsbury.

This event is FREE to ANZA TechNet and Advance members. Sponsored by Advance, with support from ANZA TechNet, Southern Cross Venture Partners and Pillsbury. Click here to register as well as to get the locations and time for this event in Silicon Valley, Sydney and Shanghai.