Is San Francisco the New Epicenter of Silicon Valley?

September 6, 2010

For years it’s been an open secret – young entrepreneurs and tech-savvy folks who work for the big Silicon Valley conglomerates have been living in San Francisco while commuting to Silicon Valley. After all, does anyone really relocate to northern California to live in Mountain View?

Now it appears that many of these people also did not move to the Bay Area to commute. They’ve started companies in San Francisco proper – not 30 or 40 miles south on the 101 freeway in Palo Alto or San Jose, traditional epicenters of what’s typically considered Silicon Valley.

According to the San Francisco Sunday Examiner, San Francisco has been “beating out South Bay cities for venture capital, boosting key sectors and creating a hotbed of growing firms.” Software companies, social media, gaming, green tech and biotech are leading the pack of industry sectors attracting the VC dollars.

Good news for the entire innovative tech industry in the Bay Area (which includes Silicon Valley and San Francisco): “investors poured nearly $3 billion into Bay Area companies in the past three months – a 100 percent increase from the first quarter.” More than $283 million went to companies located in San Francisco. (Read more)

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.

Sign Up for ANZA’s Gateway to the US Webinars – They’re Free!

June 3, 2010

ANZA’s 2010 Gateway to the US program kicks off in July this year with a series of free webinars. We want to answer all your questions about the facts, the risks  and the opportunities for Australian entrepreneurs considering the US marketplace. We’ve assembled a lineup of speakers who understand the challenges Australian entrepreneurs and CEOs of innovative startups and SMEs face. Our speakers have launched, managed, raised capital, funded and sold businesses in the US – they are experts on commercializing Australian innovation overseas,and they are ready to share their experiences and answer your questions.

Click on the links below to read full descriptions of these free 1-hour webinars hosted by ANZA CEO Viki Forrest – and register now. Attend one, two or all three of our webinars. Speakers include Doron Ben-Meir, CEO of Commercialisation Australia, Dr. Larry Marshall, Managing Director of Southern Cross Venture Partners, Jennifer Zanich, General Manager of Xumii Services and more. Don’t miss out on this chance to get answers to your questions about doing business in the world’s largest marketplace.

Click here for complete details.

How to Nail the 5-Minute Pitch

May 27, 2010

Some helpful pointers from Chuck Dietrich, chief executive of online presentation startup SlideRocket, writing the Entrepreneur Corner in VentureBeat. Chuck sees thousands of these classic 5-minute pitches a year and is “surprised by how many presentations don’t convey a clear story.”

A great “company pitch” presentation leaves venture capitalists, prospects, and judges inspired. The audience should walk away with the ability to restate your company’s vision, a clear picture of how you will achieve that vision, and the economic ramifications of attaining it. If the audience is inspired and can accurately re-tell your story, then your presentation was effective.

He highlights three main points every startup CEO should remember and gives a good, basic pitch outline worthy of review. Click here to read these short, but effective steps for nailing your 5-minute pitch opportunities.

Web’s New Sharing Wave the Rage Among VCs

April 23, 2010

FourSquare, Blippy, Skimble, Swipely, Dopplr and Daily Booth? How many of these new “sharing” sites and apps have you heard of…yet? Think back to 2007 and if someone asked you the same question about Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn?

Venture capitalists are betting on the new online openness those three top social networking sites have fostered to bring on the Web’s next wave — openly sharing everything from where you’re having a beer at the moment to how much you just spent on DVDs, clothes or even a nose job!

See today’s story in the New York Times, “For Web’s New Wave, Sharing Is the Point” by Brad Stone for the scoop.

Funding Connect: Sydney, 22 April

April 11, 2010

If you’re an Australian entrepreneur in the Sydney area, come connect with leading investors, successful entrepreneurs and clever people from the government and research sectors at Funding Connect NSW on 22 April in Sydney.

Create exciting new opportunities and possibilities for partnerships, commercialization, funding and more with Funding Connect NSW’s invaluable insights and networking.  Discover which funding options are appropriate for your business by understanding the motivations and expectations of government grant programs, angel investors and venture capitalists. Panel discussions and networking.

when Thursday 22nd April, 2010
time 12noon – 6.30pm
venue Customs House, 31 Alfred Street, Circular Quay
cost $220 (AUD) inc. GST
(50% discount for entrepreneurs, Australian companies, government, and R+D)

Click here to register today.

Diary of an Australian Entrepreneur Raising Capital

February 17, 2010

Steve Sherlock, founder of, 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.