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.
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.
Over 100 Australian entrepreneurs and CEOs of growing companies seeking US market commercialization advice attended ANZA’s first Gateway to the US webinar yesterday.
“Expanding Your Business to the US: Myths and Realities” took into consideration that most Australian entrepreneurs have some idea about US market opportunities, but the ability to explore and execute them from across the Pacific is difficult.
Susan Hailey, a veteran Silicon Valley insider with more than 20 years in elite recruitment for some of the Valley’s biggest tech companies – and most promising startups – talked about the culture of networking in Silicon Valley and how newcomers to the area can begin to immerse themselves in the unique Valley ecosystem. The front-page story from the San Jose Mercury News that she referenced, “Buck’s Café serves up venture capital with the granola” can be found here.
David Evans, CEO and Founder of Starplayit, an Adelaide startup now focusing on a US exit strategy from Silicon Valley, talked about the global opportunity the US offers in contrast with being based in Australia. For several years, David “commuted” between Australia and America, but even his presence in the States for considerable periods every few months was not enough for him to build and maintain the connections he will need for his successful exit. When asked how soon an Australian entrepreneur serious about the US market should relocate to America, David advised, “No reason you can’t start tomorrow.”
The webinar is the first in a 3-part series. There is still time to register for the next two free 1-hour webinars:
- July 21: Sizing Up the US Market: Facts and Fears with Dr. Larry Marshall of Southern Cross Venture Partners and serial entrepreneur Sidney Minassian, Founder and Chief Liaison with Liaise, Inc., an Australian startup that was launched in Silicon Valley.
- July 27: Funding Your Business: Opportunities and Options with Doron Ben-Meir, CEO of Commercialisation Australia; Max Shapiro, Angel Investor with Keiretsu Forum; and Jennifer Zanich, General Manager of Xumii Services.
Companies interested in exploring their US market opportunities in full are encouraged to sign up for ANZA’s Gateway to the US One-Day Introductory Workshops held in Australia, 23 August – 1 September. Early bird pricing is now available. Click here to register.
This is an exciting year for ANZA Technology Network! We are growing globally – with programs for innovative Australian entrepreneurs and CEOs in both the US and China.
The Gateway to China was a very full week for the CEOs of these five companies. They were engaged in a series of one-on-one business meetings and workshops with an experienced group of mentors and advisors from the ANZA and Advance networks. Along with our program partner, the NSW government department of Industry and Investment NSW, the Gateway to China companies were able to attend some World Expo 2010 events.
Meanwhile we have been moving ahead with plans for an expanded Gateway to the US program. This year, the Gateway to the US opens with a series of free one-hour webinars in July. We’ve assembled a fine group of panelists with American and Australian business experience. By signing up for our Gateway to the US webinars today, you will get answers to your questions about what it’s really like to do business in the US, what’s involved in exploring the world’s largest consumer market, what are the risks of expanding your business into the US – can you afford to do this? Can you afford not to?
We’ve got special promotional deals for organizations and businesses who want to work with us to sign up qualified companies and a great opportunity for Gateway alumni companies to come back to Silicon Valley for a chance to pitch again to potential partners and investors. For many of you, a lot has changed since the last time you were in Silicon Valley. And for those of you who have never been here before as part of our Gateway program we welcome you to find out more about your US market opportunities in our Gateway to the US webinars and grow globally along with us in 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’s Gateway to China program is modeled on our Gateway to the US program. More than 15 New South Wales companies took part in a full-day workshop in Sydney earlier this year and completed a rigorous assessment of their potential in the China market – from both investment and partnerships perspectives. While in Shanghai, the CEOs of these five companies will be immersed in a week of China business practices and one-on-one meetings with potential customers, partners and investors. The Gateway to China program is taking place during Expo 2010, when more than 70 million people are expected to visit Shanghai. It will be a great opportunity for these companies to raise their profiles and emphasize the important Australia-China connection.
The Gateway to China program is being run in in partnership with the New South Wales Government Department of Industry and Investment and Advance. Click here to find out more about this exciting new program.
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.