‘Mad Men’ for Startups

August 3, 2010

USA Today business reporter Rhonda Abrams watched last week’s season 4 premiere of “Mad Men” with a group of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs. And why not? Season 4 of this hit TV show about life at a Madison Avenue advertising agency in the swinging ’60s kicks off with a startup launch of its own. What did the new firm Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce do right?

• Balance team strengths.
• Think “out of the box.”
• Move fast.
• Stay flexible.

And what did they do wrong?

• Rent expensive offices.
• Overdependence on one or two customers.
• Lack of staff diversity.
• Partner with people you don’t trust.
• Single tasking.

Read the full article, “Mad Men offers good business lessons” here. Hat tip to the Dateline Media blog for capturing this first.


Gateway to the US Webinars – Now Available On-Demand

August 1, 2010

The 2010 ANZA Gateway to the US program kicked off with a series of free webinars in July. Each of our three 60-minute webinars addressed specific concerns Australian entrepreneurs have about commercialization options in the US market, based on a recent survey of ANZA TechNet members. More than 600 Australian entrepreneurs and CEOs took part – which speaks volumes to the number of innovators out there getting ready to bring Australian technology to the world.

The webinars addressed the “myths and realities” surrounding establishing a presence in the US market, the “facts and fears” of doing business in the US and the funding options and opportunities available to Aussie businesses looking to expand overseas. The webinars are available to view on-demand at this link (brief registration required).

ANZA TechNet again extends our thanks to our network members who donated their time and expertise to share valuable information and insight on these webinars – David Evans, CEO Starplayit; Susan Hailey, Partner, CTPartners; Dr. Larry Marshall, Managing Director, Southern Cross Venture Partners; Sidney Minassian, Co-Founder and Chief Liaison, Liaise, Inc.; Doron Ben-Meir, CEO, Commercialisation Australia; Max Shapiro, angel investor, Keiretsu Forum; and Jennifer Zanich, General Manager, Xumii Services. It is the contribution of our network members throughout the year and across the platforms of our programs that is the underlying value and core strength of the ANZA Technology Network. It is why we are the leading independent organization connecting the Australian and American innovative tech sectors.

Our membership is free and you can sign up here to join today.

We’ve also got a great early bird discount of 25% off for our Gateway to the US Introductory Workshops in Australia later this month with Guidewire Group’s Chris Shipley. Chris will be bringing her exclusive G/Score assessment tool for startups Down Under for the first and only time in 2010 as part of these workshops. We encourage any entrepreneur or CEO serious about the US market to sign up for the Gateway workshops today. Spaces are limited and already filling up fast.


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.


Australian Federal Election Called for Saturday 21 August

July 18, 2010

Advance, the global network for global Australians, has put together guidelines for Australians living overseas on voting in the Australian federal election called for Saturday, 21 August.

It is not compulsory to enrol while you are living outside of Australia but if you wish to please go to: www.aec.gov.au/Enrolling_to_vote/Update_enrolment.htm

If you would like more information about voting whilst overseas, the AEC has produced Voting Overseas – Frequently Asked Questions.

If you are not sure if you are already enrolled to vote check online at oevf.aec.gov.au/

If you are not enrolled to vote:
• You must complete an enrolment form right now and return it to the AEC by 8pm (local time) Monday, 19 July 2010.

If you are already enrolled to vote but haven’t updated your address details on the electoral roll:
• Complete a new enrolment form and return it to the AEC by 8pm (local time) Thursday 22 July 2010.

For instructions on how to fax or email your enrolment form to the AEC see their latest advice at www.aec.gov.au/enrol/send-form.htm

For more general information about voting in the election go to the AEC’s website: www.aec.gov.au


ANZA’s 1st Gateway to US Webinar on US Business Opportunities a Hit with Aussie Entrepreneurs

July 13, 2010

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:

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.


Aussie entrepreneur moved to the US “because I wanted a career as an entrepreneur”

July 2, 2010

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Australian entrepreneur Andrew Lacy, co-founder of Tapulous, maker of the Tap Tap Revenge mobile music games for the iPhone and the iPad, has just sold the company to Disney for an undisclosed sum reported to be in the multiple millions USD.

Lacy started the company in Melbourne with Bart Decrem in 2008. As part of the deal, he will join Disney as a senior VP on its mobile app development team. Tap Tap Revenge the most popular game series on the Apple App Store, with over 35 million downloads and over a billion songs played.

Lacy said he “moved to the US because I wanted a career as an entrepreneur.” The move clearly allowed him to grow Tapulous, make the right connections and complete this significant deal. (Read more)


Growing Globally: ANZA Gateway Programs in US and China

June 28, 2010

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.

I just returned from a week in Shanghai, where ANZA TechNet worked with five New South Wales cleantech companies in our Gateway to China pilot program. You can see some photos of our trip here.

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.