Tuesday, January 01, 2019

Dave Parker’s checklist before taking the plunge into a startup

If you’re thinking about leaving your day job and launching a new company in 2019, do David Parker’s Rubric Test 

The rubric scores you on these ten criteria, using a 1-to-4 score: 1 = bad, 2 = not good, 3 = good, 4 = great!

  • Team (Domain experts; diversity; serially-successful founders; from great companies; functionally competent)
  • Idea (Big “category” idea; early/late continuum; technically achievable; “pain pill or vitamin”; in investors’ “investment thesis”)
  • Product (Customer-first focus; clear value proposition; design/ease of use; clear launch and scale offering)
  • Market/Customer (How big is the market – TAM/SOM; unmet customer need; how many incumbents; nascent go-to-market system)
  • Competition (Barriers to entry; differentiation; well-funded competitors in Crunchbase)
  • Business model/Finance (High transactional value; clear profit model; capital efficient; scalable; no “bad” things on cap table)
  • Traction (Customer adoption; customer engagement; early revenue; know the unit economics)
  • Timing (Emerging innovation; “meta” factors are favorable — industry/market tailwinds vs. headwinds; established demand)
  • Intellectual Property (IP required or does the market require IP?; IP in process; how will you build a moat over time?)
  • Clear Ask (Do you want advice, capital, introductions, staff?)

How did you score? If you have some “4’s” — congrats! If you scored low in some categories, you know what questions you should answer before you make the leap.

Here are some tips to improve your scores:

  • Team: Don’t have a co-founder yet? A lot of investors see that as your first “sales” if you can’t get someone to join you on the journey. You won’t be able to get one for free — it will cost equity or cash comp. If you don’t want to give up anything, you’ll likely be in the same spot on Dec. 31, 2019.
  • Market: If you don’t have a big market, you won’t attract investment. It could still be a great business, but not the “venture scale” that investors will look for as an outcome. A low number here might just be due to how you describe the market. Don’t take for granted that the investor knows the market as well as you do!
  • Traction: Remember if you don’t have revenue or customers yet, you should have at least interviewed 50-to-100 prospects for feedback. If you have data from those interviews that validates your opinion, it will help. It’s not revenue, but is validation.

Finally, remember that all business models have three components you’ll need to unpack for an investor:

  • Creating Value: This is the product or service that you provide to your customer. There is a cost to build the product or deliver the service. This is development, hosting and support costs, if it’s a tech product.
  • Deliver Value: This is how you market and sell your product. There is a cost of selling the product. These are the unit economics involved with the sale of the product.
  • Capture Value: This is your ability to create margin and profit. Investors will want to know how they get their investment out of the company as well. If the profit is reasonable, you won’t attract a lot of interest. If your profit is exceptional, investors will be interested

All of these costs go into the spreadsheet and investors will want to know that you have a hypothesis on all of the costs, not just the cost to build the product. Having a product that no one knows about means it will be difficult to sell.

Take some time to answer key questions in advance and you won’t be surprised when you get to the investor meeting. 

Compressing the time from launch to revenue is the goal. You won’t need as long of a personal runway or to raise as much capital if you’re prepared.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Lime becomes a Unicorn

Last Friday’s transport from Edgecliff to Rose Bay! 

Founded in 2017 by Adam Zhang, Brad Bao, Charlie Gao, and Toby Sun Lime solves the first and last-mile transportation problem, in a sustainable way, using electric bikes powered by lithium batteries.

They can be seen all around the Eastern Suburbs and the City, and takes the pain away from riding uphill.

How it works

I used the bike a few times - which cost me approx $7 a ride.
It’s easy to use... download the app, find the nearest available ride, scan the QR code to unlock the ride and when done, lock the ride in a safe spot. 

 I was wondering how they get charged - apparently there are “lime juicers” who pick up the bikes at night (which are gps tracked) , charge them from home using an electrical outlet and redeploy them. 

Lime charges  a rental fee. It typically costs $8 for 30 minutes - a bit expensive after reading that it cost 50 cents for 30 minutes for students with a .edu email address. 

It also offers a monthly subscription of $29.95 for general users and $14.95 for students that allows them to get up to 100 rides.

It’s getting traction 

 Lime has been well appreciated by users. It recorded 6 million riders within a year of operations and within the next 6 months, this September, had nearly doubled to 11.5 million riders. The service is already available in more than 100 cities in the country. It is also looking at international markets and this year launched in Paris, Berlin, and Zurich snd Sydney.

Lime’s estimate its revenues at $34 million for the year, after having  raised $455 million in funding from investors including Fidelity Management and Research Company, Triton Funds LLC, Atomico, Green Bay Ventures, Frankline Templeton Investments, GV, and Uber. 

Its last round of funding was held in July this year when it raised $335 million in a round led by Google Ventures and Uber that valued it at $1.1 billion.

 Earlier this year, Uber announced plans to acquire bike-sharing company JUMP. In July this year, Lyft also acquired bike sharing company Motivate.

 Other competitors in the market include Bird and Spin.


Other bikes such as OFO and Mobike closed shop in Sydney and other Cities as residents were complaining about parking problems on sidewalks and bikes were being vandalised,  

There charging is a bit out of kilta. They charged me twice after I replaced a bike which was faulty (not happy!) 

What do you think? 

I used these bikes a number of times, and because there was no gears, they were difficult to ride up inclines. 

Lime’s solution of the “electric assistance” using batteries takes the edge off the uphill! 

They charged between 6-10 for up to 30 mins usage - which was a lot in my view! 

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Asana becomes a Unicorn

Asana - The collaborative workplace management software company , founded by ex facebookers  has reached 50,000 paying and has increased its revenue to north of $50 million in 10 years and has reached unicorn status.

Asana announced a $50 million series E round at a $1.5 billion valuation, led by London-based investment firm Generation Investment Management, bringing the total funding it has raised this year to $125 million. 

This is a key!!!

The company earned the position in part because of integrations with Slack and Microsoft Outlook, enabling many businesses to use Asana's software with tools they already rely on.

The pain

Dustin Moskovitz, and Justin Rosenstein started building Asana in 2008 after feeling bogged down by emails, spreadsheets, and general "work about work" while at Facebook. At the time, there were more traditional management tools like Yammer and Salesforce Chatter available, but not all employees in the workplace actually knew how to use them.​

The painkiller

Asana's allowed collaboration with purpose, alliwing you to easily deliver an outcome. If you were tasked with managing projects in addition to your day job, this was a much easier way to do it than trying to figure out and learn a formal project management tool."

The Growth 

Ten years after its founding, Asana has nearly 400 employees in San Francisco, New York, and Dublin. 

The Values

When first starting Asana, Moskovitz and Rosenstein did two things: 

  1. write the code for the software, and 
  2. make a list of company values. 

They took insights from their shared love of yoga and Zen Buddhism, including 

 clarity, responsibility, and mindfulness. 

The Results

In 2018 Asana was named in the Top 5 of 2018 Best Small and Medium Workplaces by Great Place to Work and Fortune magazine, and was honored as one of Inc.'s Best Workplaces.

The founders  hope their founding principles will continue to set an example for their employees and customers in 2018 and beyond. "For us, it's about demonstrating that great culture is a competitive advantage," Moskovitz says. "When you have great culture, that's not in contrast to a desire to succeed in business. It's actually the most effective way to succeed in business."

Appster goes broke

More than 400 jobs are at risk as software startup Appster collapses. The early tech success built apps for companies, and was created in 2011 with both founders, Mark McDonald and Josiah Humphrey, entering the AFR Young Rich List four years later. The company was on track to reaching $100m in revenue in 2018 but lack of sales and a series of issues had the chance mpany spiralling out of control

The liquidation has seen 23 employees in Melbourne out of a job – and some 400 staff in four offices across the world are facing a possibly grim future. These humans have been through a gruelling 22-hour job interview, featuring eight stages, four interviews, up to 10 reference checks and even a body language assessment.

This is clearly a massive asset that a smart app dev have the opportunity of acquiring .

How and Why did this happen ? 

Lack of sales

“The collapse was due to a “sharp drop” in work available over the last six months, leading to the business missing targets and losing revenue.”

Poor Service

“What they designed didn’t work, it was kindergarten stuff, So we terminated the contract and asked for a refund, but they were unable to repay it and put us on a payment plan instead.” 

More money going out than coming in 

Employing 400 people without regular revenue can be dangerous 

“We missed forecasted sales targets by around 50 per cent four months in a row. With expenses of roughly $1 million a month our cash reserves were depleted very rapidly despite attempting cost reductions.”

Lack of management  and technical  capability 

Competitor and potential acquisitor Anushka Bandara, founder of rival app development company Elegant Media said “When you are a tech business just marketing is not enough, you have to have that management and technical background to be successful.”

Great opportunity for another App developer

“We are willing do a free assessment for all existing Appster customers and provide a report on where the project is at, what stage it has been delivered, how long it’s going to take and the cost to complete.”

Despite the liquidation, the founders of the business are still active on LinkedIn, with Humphrey Posting 

 “Remember that no matter what situation you’re in, you have the power to change your reality,” 



Atlanta Incubator supported by Enterprise

Georgia Tech’s Advanced Technology Development Center, ATDC serves more than 100 companies in our incubator program at any given time. Entry into the program is competitive and by application or invitation. Depending on needs and company maturity, founders can apply to ATDC Accelerate or ATDC Signature.

Elavon, a global payments provider and subsidiary of U.S. Bancorp has made a three-year commitment - in finance and mentorship, to help fuel the growth of fintech companies and support of entrepreneurs at ATDC, the state’s incubator. 

Partnerships with sponsors and the entrepreneurs in the program, ATDC believes, are essentially for early-stage companies to acquire customers and work on business model development.

“Our investment in this program and local fintech companies brings us closer to the growing technology community in Atlanta and across the entire payments ecosystem, and is part of Elavon’s continued focus on integrated payments and ecommerce,” Wally Mlynarski, Elavon’s chief product officer, said in a statement. “With this partnership, we are able to directly impact and shape the future of payments as technology and business models continue to rapidly evolve.”

According to ATDC, program participants in the incubator’s fintech program are integrated into the states fintech ecosystem—commonly known as Transaction Alley for the significant amount of banking, fintech and payment providers in the city. ATDC’s fintech program provides access to the industry, investors and Georgia Tech resources, as well as additional support from the Technology Association of Georgia, FinTech Atlanta and the Metro Atlanta Chamber.

“We’re extremely excited to welcome Elavon as our partner in further developing Georgia’s early-stage FinTech startup community,” Jeff Gapusan, ATDC’s fintech executive-in-residence who secured the sponsorship, said. “Elavon is a world-class financial technology company. Its resources, mentorship, and insight will enable startup founders to also succeed in this highly complex space.”

Thirty-five early-stage fintech startups are enrolled in the ATDC fintech program. Since the program launched in 2015, ATDC fintech startups and recent graduates have raised more than $65 million in angel and VC funding.

Pindrop in Atlanta raises $90m Series D - looking for people

Voice security and authentication startup Pindrop has closed a $90 million Series D round led by London-based Vitruvian Partners.

Additional investors include Allegion Ventures, Cross Creek, Dimension Data, Singapore-based EDBI and Goldman Sachs, along with existing investors CapitalG, IVP, Andreessen Horowitz, GV (formerly Google Ventures) and Citi Ventures.

Vijay Balasubramaniyan, co-founder, CEO and chief technology officer of Pindrop, said that it’s 30-40pc job  growth is going to come from Internationalisation and IOT Internet Of Things,  as the business grows from traditional voice security markets into the IoT market.

Pindrop hopes to enable its security to voice-operated technology such as Alexa, Google Home, cars and even TV remotes.

“Doors in the future are going to be voice activated,” Balasubramaniyan said. “You can walk up to the door, say, ‘Open the front door,’ and it does it all with your voice.”

Pindrop’s patented technology extracts intelligence from calls and voice monitoring to help detect fraudsters and authenticate genuine customers.

“Voice-enabled interfaces are expanding how consumers interact with IoT devices in their everyday lives – as well as IoT manufacturers’ ability to offer smarter and stronger solutions,” Allegion Ventures President Rob Martens said in a statement. “We’re excited about the future of voice technology and see Pindrop as a pioneer in the space.”

The companym has seen exceptional growth with 137 percent compounded annual growth rate in revenue during the last three years.  Pindrop  has more than 200 million customer accounts, including eight out of the 10 largest banks and five of the seven largest insurance companies in the country.

“If anyone is looking for a job in the hottest startup in Atlanta, we’d like them to apply at Pindrop,” he said.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Nuggets from Startup Grind

follow Lacey here https://www.linkedin.com/in/laceyjfilipich/

I wasn’t sure what to expect of this conference, so was thrilled to walk away with some absolute gold from the presenters:

Guy Kawasaki

Hands down, Day 1’s highlight was Jules Lund’sinterview with Guy Kawasaki. Jules was brilliant as interviewer. His questions were succinct and he resisted the temptation to add his own opinions into things, focusing on drawing out depth from Guy (there's a not-so-suble hint for anyone finding themselves in the interviewer's chair there). It was pure pleasure to watch two consummate professionals do their thing.

Key takeaways were:

  • Sales fixes everything – having cashflow from sales will keep investors off your back and solve most problems. If there are problems sales don’t fix, at least sales give you the money to fix the other things.
  • Fear is healthy – an entrepreneur is either afraid or stupid/lying. Fear is an excellent motivator. Guy credits fear of having Steve Jobs’ critical eye land on him as one of the reasons he did some of his best work at Apple.
  • Declare victory – Silicon Valley is good at this (victory keeps the hype and therefore value of companies up) but Australians aren’t. We need to get better at it.
  • Implementing is hard – having the idea is the easy part. If you’re worried about your idea being stolen, then your idea isn’t a good one. Most of the work comes from the implementation which puts everyone off.

Jessica Alter

Jessica Alter’s chat with Sheree Rubinstein (another excellent interviewer) was fabulous, and Jessica’s attitude was awesome.

My key takeaway as a founder was to get good at receiving difficult feedback – you know, the stuff you don’t want to hear. If more than one trusted person is giving you the same feedback, you need to consider that they might be right, and be open to listening to it, then acting on it.

Justin Dry

The co-founder of Vinomofo Justin’s chat with Judy Anderson (again, fab interviewer) was equal parts funny and enlightening. 

I won’t embarrass Justin by sharing the words on his mirror that he repeats each morning – great work Judy finding out about that. I’ll share instead something I learned about Vinomofo’s hiring: 

Every new hire (and they’re over 100 people now) does the Gallup Strengths Finder test and the Five Love Languages test.

I think this is brilliant. 

For those who haven’t heard: Gallup Strengths Finder is a test to help you work out what you’re best at, so you can focus your energy there. You also acknowledge what you’re not good at, and accordingly you can make sure you have people around you that cover those weaknesses.
I’ve done Myers Briggs (ENTJ) , Belbin (Resource Investigator) and others. Gallup’s the closest I’ve come to feeling like it describes me and like I can apply it meaningfully (especially with Michelle Pope's help). If you’re curious, the below image is a couple of screenshots from my report ordering the 34 possible strengths from strongest (1) to weakest (34) in my case:
By knowing the strengths of his employees, Justin and his team can make sure they’ve got the right people working on the right stuff.
 Re: Love Languages, he theorizes that by understanding how an employee likes to be shown appreciation (a.k.a. love), Vinomofo can choose the best reward for them. It’s more commonly applied in personal relationships – between married couples and their children – but the application in the workplace seems like a no-brainer (I’ve not seen it done before).
Having read the book, I know I’m a ‘words of affirmation’ type.  
If you knew what kind of love your individual employees preferred, how much more effective would your reward and recognition programs be? 

Justin just might be a genius.

Craig Blair

The co-founder of AirTree Ventures shared a couple of gold nuggets:
  • Timing is critical – in fact, Craig considered timing more important than any other factor in a business’ success. This TED talk from Bill Grosssupports Craig’s belief.
  • Pitches are getting better and bolder – using storytelling and more TEDx-style delivery is improving the quality of the pitches they’re seeing (hear, hear), and Australian startups are getting bolder in their visions. Craig sees these as good things. 

Layne Beachley AO

Taking the stage barefoot on Day 2, Beachley knocked my socks off.

Using a story of riding a 50ft wave in Hawaii (two, actually) she illustrated what she calls the 3C’s of success:
  • Courage – to face our fears, to use the adrenaline to focus entirely on the moment. She loves fear for the clarity it gives her.
  • Conviction – the belief that you can do it, because you’ve done the work. Squashing that voice of self-doubt in your head, which is programmed to appear in times of crisis, and reminding yourself that you’ve got the skills to finish the task. What you focus on expands, so focus on what you can do.
  • Consistency – doing the 100 small things, again and again.

Jemma Green

Funny to find myself hearing Dr Jemma Green speak in person for the first time in Melbourne when I live in her hometown of Perth, where she speaks regularly. But absolutely worth it.

Her advice for hiring echoed Justin’s. To use her words: hire like your life depends on it, because it does.

PowerLedger’s founders interview all new hires (they’ve grown rapidly from 5 to 30 this year) and they intend to continue in this fashion. 

I also loved her advice to not sacrifice quality for speed. It’s tempting as a founder to rush everything, but demonstrating the care and attention to make the right decisions and produce quality results sets the culture of an organisation. Don’t be tempted to rush if it will jeopardise the quality of your outcomes.

Personally, I am absolutely thrilled that she sees building a market in Perth as a priority. We are lucky to have her in our city.

At this point, my brain exploded with all the goodness and depth of advice from these and 60-odd other awesome people, and I had to take a break. 

I’ll go back for the wrap-up this afternoon when I’ve reassembled my head :)  

Thursday, December 06, 2018

Buzzoole secures $8.9m series A funding

Influencer marketing platform Buzzoole has today (December 5) announced it has secured $8.9 million in Series A funding from StarTIP (Tamburi Investment Partners) and Vertis Venture 2 Scaleup.

 The new funding will be used to expand its global market presence, invest more in its technology and accelerate its research and development, which reflects more than 35% of Buzzoole’s global team. 

Buzzoole has seen international traction this year and it has plans to grow in key markets abroad, especially in the UK and USA. 

The company, founded in 2013, serves in the region of 850 international brands and supports a network of more than 270,000 creators from all over the world. The funds will also help Buzzoole expand its headcount by a third next year.

This year, the platform has developed advanced tools GAIA and True Reach to address marketplace concerns, like sourcing talent, fraud and transparent metrics. 

“Buzzoole remains at the forefront of the evolving influencer marketing ecosystem. Now much more than a buzz term, influencer marketing is predicted to become a $10 billion industry by 2020, likewise Buzzoole has moved beyond its successful start-up credentials and is on the cusp of a new and promising chapter,” said Fabrizio Perrone, co-founder and CEO said of the investment.

“In Buzzoole we found the best possible solution to this growing need which, combined with the expertise shown by its management team and the strength of its proprietary platform, convinced us to invest in the company,“ commented Amedeo Giurazza, CEO of Vertis.

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Innovation and our Aussie Tech Sector is under Attack

The fin review article today came as no surprise to me!

It seems as if Innovation and companies willing to take risks and innovate and export their Innovations are under attack by our Government!

When the Libs came to power - the goal of Australia being an innovation nation and “smart exporter” of technology, software and services was squarely on the agenda. 

Innovation was encouraged by the Innovation Ministers for Companies to Innovate, to take risks and “give it a go” and the Government would support this! 

The Government was talking up a national Innovation agenda and ideas boom!

As a result, the industry started to boom , venture capital started to flow , there was a buzz and we were gaining momentum up the innovation curve and start punching above our weight.

I am not sure what happened , but after the 2016 Election, Innovation took a back seat - as there was obviously more important issues to deal with! 

Was it because many in the Coalition perceived that voters were worried about the impact on jobs from new technology, and dialled back support for the sector? 

If so , I believe that is very short sighted and should rather focus on upskilling and re-educating workers to embrace the inevitable growth of machine learning and artificial intelligence, and use these technologies as a tool to help us grow as a nation ! 

The R&D tax incentive programme is arguably one of the most important and successful programmes for emerging technology start-up and innovative companies in Australia, and there is quantifiable evidence that Australian Industry has had the benefit of more than a 10X return to the Country.

The programme has been under attack and at risk of becoming totally ineffective as a tool to help innovative companies grow.

The R& D tax Incentive Programme

The R &D tax Inventive programme financially rewards companies for investing in developing new ideas. 

The new definition and the way it is being being applied by Ausindustry is totally inappropriate and not in sync with what R&D and innovation is happenning in the marketplace, and what actually is R&D and innovation. 

Theoretically every software and innovative company doing real R&D could potentially come under attack for being ineligible, making every innovative software company claiming the R&D tax concession at risk of having to reimburse the incentive claimed.

Case in point 

Airtasker and Digiviser are Australian software and tech success story - have been hit by shock demands to pay back millions of dollars in Research and Development incentives, because of draconian qualification measures and definitions of what constitutes R&D.

Many Companies have been using their accountants to lodge their R&D tax incentive claims without being aware of the potential risks that their claims are not eligible. 

There was an alert from the ATO back in February 2017 which manages the scheme that said they were concerned that companies were claim for work, which didn't count as “pure R&D.”

However, crucially, AusIndustry has been cracking down on previously awarded incentives, applying a rigid ATO definition Where 

“companies must prove that they were working on experiments for the purpose of "generating new knowledge". These must be seeking to determine results that could not have been already worked out, and be conducted in certain prescribed ways.”

“Ask any software developer whether a technology will work and they will say that with platforms that are available now - any software can be developed with relative certainty and a plan!”

Ausindustry base the definition around a framework known as the Frascati Manual to audit the self-assessed applications.

The Frascati Manual classifies research into three categories:[1]
  • Basic research is experimental or theoretical work undertaken primarily to acquire new knowledge about observable phenomena and facts, not directed toward any particular use.
  • Applied research is original investigation to acquire new knowledge directed primarily towards a specific practical aim or objective.
  • Experimental development is systematic effort, based on existing knowledge from research or practical experience, directed toward creating novel or improved materials, products, devices, processes, systems, or services.

The Airtasker fiasco

Airtasker co-founder and chief executive Tim Fung told the AFR that his company's two most recent R&D rebates have been completely rejected under audit, and he faced paying back millions of dollars, plus a potential 75 per cent penalty for making erroneous claims.

At the time of applying for the rebates he had engaged a tier-one professional services firm at a cost of tens of thousands of dollars to ensure the claims were watertight, and he said Airtasker would have been unable to grow as it since has, without securing the funds.

During the audit, Airtasker had to devote a huge amount of time and resources to walking AusIndustry through the details of its work, including thousands of pages of documentation and many days for its chief engineer and financial controller explaining the importance of the relevant research.

Airtasker's failed R&D claims involved working out how to combine two previously separate software languages, which it had demonstrated via web searches had not been done elsewhere before. It also developed machine learning and artificial intelligence algorithms to apply to online content moderation and detect undesirable behaviour on its platforms.

However, he said, the Frascati model required documentation that was more akin to scientific laboratory experiments, rather than agile software development methods, which are common across the tech sector.

Its claims were disallowed saying it didn't meet the requirements.

Airtasker has the luxury of paying back the rebates and not needing to rely on future incentives as its rapid growth has resulted in a $33 million funding round from Venture Capital.

This success story would not have been able to have been achieved without the massive spend on a research and Development and the support of the R and D tax Incentive scheme during it’s time of need - having grown from 15 (when it claimed its first R&D incentive to 200 employees now with 110 on Australia!

James Spenceley Chairman of Airtasker snd owner of the Illawarra Hawks National Basketball League team. He is both a seasoned entrepreneur, having founded telecommunications company Vocus, and an increasingly prolific investor in Australian start-ups through MHOR Asset Management business. 

James has this to say 

“I have noted a change in the approach from the government towards supporting technology start-ups, and is worried because he believes the R&D incentive scheme has been central to the developing strength of the local tech scene.

Out of the blue, the government just came back and said we're not accepting any of your previous claims going back two years ... I've done 10 years of R&D claims, but I've never seen sort of black and white behaviour like this,".

The Digivizer Fiasco

Digivizer Emma Lo Russo said her company also faces repaying more than $1 million in rebates after AusIndustry deemed its research "does not constitute new knowledge".

Ms Lo Russo, who spent $80,000 on professional advice to help ensure Digivizer's claims complied with the R&D rules, said the finding was both baffling and "very, very frustrating".

The creation of Digivizer's analytics software for businesses and content creators, was a direct result of her team's research and development efforts.

The R&D rebate allowed them to create something new, innovative and different said Miss Lo Russo who was proud to be a poster Australian technology brand that others in the industry can aspire to

So is Software Development R&D and part of the Innovation Ecosystem” as Defined by the Government ?

If not we are in danger of Killing a Young and Vibrant Tech Industry

"It will definitely change that position for us as to whether we make a decision to stay in Australia, or move elsewhere” says Airtasker CEO Fung 

“We hire software engineers in Australia and are creating jobs in that regard, but certainly if the incentives exist elsewhere to do that more economically, we have to think about that."

What the industry expert has to say 

Daniel Petre, cofounder of Airtree Ventures and board member of Innovation and Science Australia, an independent statutory board set up in the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science to advise government on innovation, research and science matters
said that the government needs to address this issue QuickSmart 

“the fact that this key programme for supporting start-ups was not suited for software companies is ludicrous”

"Whether we like it or not, the future is a world where everything is underpinned by software and one where all the growth in employment will come from tech-focused firms, many of them scaled start-ups," 

"Job growth is not coming from the banks adding more people, big end mining adding more jobs, retail adding lots more jobs. It is all about tech, healthcare and maybe education.”

"The government pulled $2.4 billion out of R&D last year and now you are seeing software companies getting audited and told to pay all the money back ... “

“They don't have the cash and will go out of business, it is a clusterfuck!! “

“Everyone in the start-up industry, which is creating thousands of jobs, has no idea how to engage in a sane conversation with government and so has no idea what to do."

A New definition of R&D – relevant to tech start-ups is urgently required.

“R&D incentives were the difference between small software companies having the chance to grow or die . “

“rorting of the system was more likely at large institutions with armies of accountants than at emerging start-ups.”

He said access to the funding meant start-ups could grow bigger before seeking external VC funding, which in turn meant founders were less diluted, made more money when they exited and would then pour more money back into the local ecosystem in future.

"Software is developed in agile teams, which try things and discard things, it doesn't map well to the structure that the Frascati model tries to create," Mr Petre said.

"They really need a new definition for what counts as R&D in software, but we are all going to be dead by the time the government decides on one."

What the Minister has to say

When confronted with concerns about the sector, Minister for Industry Science and Technology Karen Andrews said the government was 

“listening to the needs of start-ups, and recognised the importance of these businesses to the economy.”

"Being a self-assessment program, companies are responsible for their own claims and need to ensure the advice they receive is of a high quality”

“We are basing the definition on the same basis as that if Britain and Canada”

What the Opposition has to say

Shadow Minister for the Digital Economy Ed Husic said he had raised concerns with previous Minister Kelly O'Dwyer about concerns that software companies would simply stop applying for R&D incentives, out of fear of failing future audits.

"While it's crucial that all firms use the incentive according to the rules, we've been concerned for a while that a sledgehammer is being used to crack a walnut," he said.
"We've got to get the balance right and we'll be seeking a briefing from the Minister about this particular matter."

It will be interesting to hear what Marcus, Mick and the team at BSI Innovation have to say during their 2018/19 update in Brisbane on Friday! They are the leading experts in this field and have been involved with this programme for the past 25 years! 

If you want to have a chat with them, hit me up and I will refer you to them! 

Ps feel free to download my business card https://members.referron.com/bsivc

If you would have invested $1000 in Microsoft in 1986 it would now be worth.......

Monday, December 03, 2018

Looking for Innovative Companies looking to raise money and have an advisory board

We are looking to host a BSI Investor Forum in February/March 2019 for 8 innovative companies looking to grow - to present to 50-100 High Net Worth Individuals and Venture Capital Funds in Sydney , Melbourne and Brisbane. (we currently have 3) If you know of any that are looking for mentors and money, please share this with them or refer me on. hashtagbusiness hashtagstartup hashtagblockchain hashtagbitcoin hashtagmachinelearning hashtagcollaboration hashtaginvestments hashtagmentoring