Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Aussie Airpair raises 1m from y combinator pitch

Aussie’s AirPair raises $1m-plus after Y Combinator demo day!  

AirPair founder, Bondi-raised Jonathan Kresner betrayed his surfing roots by pitching without shoes at the Y Combinator demo day last month, and his start-up AirPair rode a wave to $1 million-plus funding within 48 hours. 

Investors include the Quora co-
founder and creator of Facebook Connect, Charlie Cheever, a linked in executive, Dennis Mars (who took airbnb to Europe ), a group of hni from Angel List (organised by Australian Ash Fontana) and has Australian entrepreneur Bardia Houseman on the board 

Airpair brokers video consultations between developers and software experts, 

 He will visit his family in Australia this month and see if there’s anything he can do to encourage the start-up culture in Australia!

Australia’s Campaign Monitor Raises $250 Million from Insight

Ben Richardson (left) and Dave Greiner grew up across the street from one another near Sydney, Australia. Now their email-marketing firm, Campaign Monitor, landed a $25m capital raise!

WSJ - ByShira Ovide 

A 10-year-old “startup” in Australia is joining the rarefied strata of buzzy young companies like Uber, Keynected , Referron and   Dropbox.
Sydney-based Campaign Monitor, which makes software for email-marketing pitches, has raised  $250 million from venture-capital firm Insight Venture Partners (its first raise!)
The injection is among the biggest recent venture rounds. Since the start of 2013, only a few companies, including Dropbox, Airbnb and Uber, raised more money from venture-capital firms, according to data provider Dow Jones VentureSource and Wall Street Journal reporting. It’s also unusual for a single firm to make such a large investment.
Campaign Monitor says its email templates are easy enough for non-tech-savvy employees to use, and it says its prices are flexible enough for companies that blast thousands of emails, or for people who just send a couple of emails a year.
The company is among a growing roster catering to an increasingly digital-obsessed marketing industry...technology firms are crafting software to help marketing departments manage digital pitches, keep tabs on social-media messages and analyze the impact of their spending.
Marketing-technology companies have been a hit with investors, too. ExactTarget and Responsys were acquired in the last year in billion-dollar-plus takeovers. Marketo, which went public in May 2013, reached a market value of $1.8 billion before falling about 30% in the past two months.
“Marketers are going to get more aggressive in their tech spend,” said Deven Parekh, a managing director at Insight, who also said email remains a core pillar of marketing campaigns. “When we look at the trends in marketing, [Campaign Monitor] certainly plays on those trends,” he said.
Campaign Monitor germinated out of a late-1990s university business started by Ben Richardson and Dave Greiner, who grew up across the street from one another in the Sydney suburbs. The pair said they grew frustrated when they tried to use email marketing tools for their company creating custom websites.
Richardson and Greiner spent their spare hours writing software to improve on those clunky tools. About a year after they launched Campaign Monitor software in late 2004, it had three times the revenue of their web-design firm. The pair decided to focus on that business.
The founders declined to say how much revenue the company generates, but said Campaign Monitor has been profitable every month of its life. That has allowed them to self-fund the company.
Richardson and Greiner said about six months ago they began to weigh bringing in an investor for expertise and to help the company expand.
“We’re proud of the last 10 years. If we look at the next 10 years there are a whole lot of growth opportunities ahead for us,” Greiner said.
The pair said they plan to use the fresh investment funds to expand their own marketing, and to hire more sales people to court new customers. Campaign Monitor also plans to open its first U.S. office. About 80% of the company’s customers are in North America and Western Europe, but roughly 40 of the company’s 65 employees are in Australia.
The company also plans to give its employees ownership stakes in the company for the first time, and may expand senior management.
Parekh said the unusually large $250 million investment reflects Campaign Monitor’s maturity and greater revenue than most young companies starting to bring in outside investors.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Sydney startup billionaires!

Australian Financial Review features a great story about the success of Aussie tech startup, Atlassian. The 34 year old founders, now billionaires.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

5 financial lessons from a famous baseball legend

Baseball players, among other sports figures, are often glamorized in the media. Signing big contracts, advertising deals driving around in expensive cars are all part of the game. 

All too often , fame and fortune can quickly disappear 

Here are some gems shared by Eric Sogard, a famous baseball player that  anyone can use to set themselves up for finanacial success.

1. Set and stick to a budget. 

Simple advice, right? Still, it applies to everyone.

Meet with your financial planner two or three times a year to review Your spending and goals. All too often, we’ve sat down and I didn’t realize we were spending that much on a monthly basis, and it just kind of opens my wife and my eyes.

Always live within your means, (spend less than you earn and put Aitken away on the sideboard! and keep a close eye on expenses.

 Checking in occasionally with a financial planner might make sense if you don't have the time, or the tools, to tackle this on your own.

2. Learn from those who came before

78 percent of former NFL players are bankrupt or under financial stress within two years of retiring and 60 percent of ex-NBA players are broke within five years of leaving the court. To avoid that fate, seek out advice from teammates who’ve been around the league longer. 

“We’re all in the same situation as ballplayers, we all have the same goal -- we want to continue to make money and invest smartly,” says Sogard 

Consult those who have been down your path before, learning from both their successes and mistakes. More than likely, someone close to you has faced a similar financial or business decision.

3. Plan for when there’s no money coming in.

Baseball is a summer game and for the players, it’s not unlike a summer job.

“We only have an income for six months, so you really have to be smart and save up for that offseason,” says Sogard. “If you’re going to go spend all the money you make during the season, you’re going to be stuck in the offseason thinking of what you have to do for money because you blew it all.”

Take this into account when planning both for the next year and the next 50.

Set aside at least six months’ living expenses in an emergency fund. If your business takes a turn for the worse, you'll want to avoid leaning on credit lines or falling into debt.

4. Make your assets work for you. 

As soon as he signed his first big-league contract, Sogard bought a house in his native Arizona.

"It’s been a great decision. I’ve been able to rent it out since then, and it’s been a cash flow coming in,” he says. “As I look back on it now, that’s the smartest thing I’ve done.”

 If you're ready to invest, consider assets that provide long-term cash flow. Options like rental real estate and dividend-paying stocks can provide income throughout retirement.

5. Lean on a team of trusted advisors. In addition to calling on his dad, Sogard sought out a financial planner to help manage his money and provide a financial education. His financial planner serves as a guard against suspect investment ideas and offers counsel—because even major league ballplayers need guidance.

You could make $100 million a year but if you spend $120 million a year you’re eventually going to end up broke.”

Know what you don’t know (or have the time to handle), and find trustworthy specialists to fill in the gaps. 

Sheldon laube - founder Of Artkick - some hidden gems

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how

Have a compelling vision of why your business is going to make a real difference in the world and get your team to share in that vision.

 Everyone wants to make a difference and your job as the CEO is to create an environment in which people can make a contribution to something they believe in. 

The CEO sets the vision and recruits people who share in that vision. If your team believes in the vision, it will drive the business to great success.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

I realized at an earlier age that I am not a detail/operations person and without other people around me who are I could not succeed. It is important to understand your own strengths and weaknesses as a leader and surround yourself with other team members whose strengths compliment your own.

Friday, April 18, 2014

More grants for Australian exporters

There have been changes to the Emdg act.... All good says Ivan Kaye at Business Strategies International.

The amendments have delivered on the Coalition's pre-election commitment to progressively restore funding to EMDG starting with an initial $50 million boost over four years.

These changes are:

>  An increase in the number of grants able to be received by an applicant from seven to  eight

>  A reduction in the minimum expenses threshold required to be incurred by an applican  from $20,000 to $15,000 -( great for new exporters )

>  A reduction in the non-reimbursable threshold from $10,000 to $5,000
(More money for you )

 > Enabling a grant to be paid more quickly where a grant is determined before 1 July following the balance distribution date.
(Money quicker for you)

 > if you lodge on your own - deadline is 1 dec 2014 -
If you lodge through an acreditted Emdg consultant (us) deadline is 3 march 2015

BSI have been EMDG and grant specialists for 27 years accessing hundreds of millions of dollars in grants for small business.

We would be more than happy to meet with you and identify ways that we can maximise any grants that you may be eligible for! 

Please feel free to call, email or text us.

Best regards 

Friday, April 11, 2014

The formula for a successful partnership

Part en rederij - Elizabeth Gilbert 

A partnership should be based on honest trade and plain dealing where tomorrow's profits are a result of today's promises and whether the cooperation of both parties equally contributes to prosperity 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Referron on Boston Radio!!!

Deloitte report shows industries at risk of “digital bang”

deloitte-bang-coverExtract from article by Andrew Grill 
Australia’s economy faces a “short fuse, big bang” scenario where the effects of digital disruption have been and will continue to be far reaching and greatly transform a number of industries.
For some, digital disruption will be explosive and immediate – a force that rocks the foundations of their business. 
For others less vulnerable to digital trends, the changes will be slower and more subtle. 
For others again, digital innovation will be the cornerstone for future value creation.
Finance, retail, media, information and communications technology have a short fuse and can expect a big bang. People who don't adopt digital will be history!
Miners, construction groups and many manufacturers face less incremental disruption to their business.
Education and health, while set to experience profound changes, have the opportunity to plan their response over the next few years
CEOs, CMOs and CIOs need to not only understand the changes affecting their industry by the onslaught of digital, but also ensure they have the right skills internally that “get” digital and the effects, and take advantage of the opportunities that present.

This is what Deloitte have to say
The digital economy isn’t just about speeding up communication across borders or changing the skills workers need; it’s about changing the very nature of consumption, competition and how markets work.
I have been fortunate to have been a part of three major "big bangs" in digital during my career...all have been really exciting!

The first was 30 years ago (the 80's where the PC and Microsoft  gave the ability for every person to have more computer power than the largest mainframe on their desk!
The 90's  delivered the Big Bang of the internet, providing instant connectivity between consumers and companies, email, online banking and online shopping.
The third digital bang has been social media, where together with mobile and android phones and tablets, has allowed consumers to talk back to brands in a way they were never able to until recently with Facebook, twitter, linkedin , Instagram, and a plethora of other apps. 
The explosion in connectivity and the availability of information is driving a significant shift in the balance of power between organisations and individuals. 

This has massively disrupted how brands advertise to and service customers. Now you can complain to thousands of people who follow you on twitter via your mobile while still be in the shop where you experience poor service.
Twenty years ago If you had a complaint, you would be sent to the complaints department fill out a form in triplicate, and maybe you would get an apology or a token compensation.
Now you would get a very public apology direct from the brand, and the issue is solved in minutes. This is just one small example of how this new social version of the digital bang is completely disrupting business as we know it.
The fact that your tweet can be amplified in minutes, means that traditional processes around customer service have to be immediately reworked for the social wave sweeping through the retail and service sectors.
Digital disruption has started. Those companies and Digital CEOs that can pivot and embrace digital as many did in the late 90′s and early 00′s will be successful.
Those that don't adapt will fall by the wayside!
To get digital, you need to be digital.

Venture-backed IPOs in 2013

Published Wed, April 9, 2014 - always on

As the nation’s leading business law firm for entrepreneurs, emerging growth companies and venture capitalists, we are frequently asked, “what’s market in an IPO?” We analyzed the 71 venture-backed companies incorporated in the United States that were involved in IPOs on U.S. stock exchanges during 2013, reviewing their IPO prospectuses and corporate governance documents. This report outlines what we learned, “by the numbers,” in the following key areas: JOBS Act accommodations, directors and independence, board committees, board policies, stock plans, key metrics and non-GAAP financial measures, and defensive measures.

About the Companies and the IPOs

2013 was the strongest year for venture-backed IPOs in almost a decade: 82 deals (the most since 2007) generated aggregate proceeds of over $11.2 billion, an average offering amount of $137.2 million. At least one venture-backed company went public each month in 2013, and the pace of IPOs has accelerated in the first two months of 2014.

Venture Backed IPOs (2002 - 2013) Source: Thomson Reuters and The National Venture Capital Association

This survey focuses on the 71 venture-backed companies incorporated in the United States that completed their IPOs in 2013.

Get more information on this report here.

Gunderson Dettmer is a business law firm for entrepreneurs, emerging growth companies, and venture capitalists. The firm consists solely of business lawyers and focuses on solving business problems, executing business strategies, and achieving critical business objectives.

- See more at: http://aonetwork.com/blogs/Venture-backed-IPOs-2013#sthash.2YzFxfHQ.dpuf

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Keynected: the mobile app for brand engagement, loyalty and revenue

Social is not so social. ‘Friend’ does not mean a friend, and ‘like’ – who really cares? We each accept the calls and texts from our inner circle of family and friends. Beyond this, communication is the noisy, impersonal interruption of eDM and social media. Volume gets bigger and louder, but relevance is lost.

Every brand wants relevant communication with their customers. They use social media but cannot measure its ROI nor customize their message to each customer’s preference, in order to increase engagement and revenue. Every brand knows it is all about mobile today.

Keynected helps customers and their favorite brands connect, meaningfully. Keynected creates a second circle, after family and friends.  Keynected provides a mobile platform for customers to consolidate all social messaging from their chosen brands, select the feeds and notification prominence they want, receive exclusive offers based on their preference and customer status; all on their mobile phone and all without surrendering their personal data. Keynected is a spam-killer.

Keynected cuts through the noise by giving brands a second circle to reach the 20% of customers who drive 80% of their business. Keynected allows brands to segment customers for targeted messages based on meaningful web-style analytics including user engagement rankings.  Keynected provides rich, mobile messaging and track-able content with click-to-book/-buy capability.

Customers cannot have an app for every favorite brand, nor keep up with every message on every social media site. Keynected aggregates all the brand messages customers choose in one place, on their mobile phone, and gives brands an accurate tool to understand how customers interact with these messages. With Keynected, brands can segment their audience to target a specific message to the correct customers - without infringing customers’ data privacy.  

Traditionally, brands communicated for presence, not for relevance. Social media networks are designed for whoever has the loudest megaphone. It’s a shotgun, not a rifle shot.  Social media is not truly social. And friends are not friends. Companies like Facebook and LinkedIn have cast huge, powerful nets but brands are realizing when they reel them in there are very few fish.

Keynected is going against the grain. We are on a quest for relevance: what truly matters to people who today get bombarded with interruption marketing.
Keynected is permission based – customers choose what is relevant to them.
Keynected is the death of spam.  Keynected is where customers and their favorite brands connect, on purpose and with purpose.

Keynected version 0.9.1 is available on the App Store with the enhanced Version 1.0 (including Category-based landing page) due for delivery at the beginning of April 2014.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Local start-up taps into Google ad campaign


Place your phone on a special tag that’s on a Google advertising campaign running on thousands of outdoor display units across the US and local start-up Tapit will be the outfit handling the connection.

Tapit is a Sydney-based specialist in near field communication technology, with NFC-enabled smartphones able to interact with special tags. The phone then serves up an experience to its owner after talking to Tapit’s software platform.

Tech start-up gets a leg-up from women


A START-UP company spun out of Australia’s National Centre of Excellence in Information and Communications Technology, better known as NICTA, has raised seed-capital from an investment venture designed exclusively for women.

Scale, which equips wealthy Australian women with the education and deal-flow opportunities to invest in high-growth, female-led businesses, has invested in Queensland visual search technology company See-Out.

What's hot in technology

Bob Pritchard - master salesman and strategist - talks about "what's hot"

Wearables…Google Glass

My big issue with wearables like Google glass and smart watches is that they are so bloody unattractive. Well maybe help is on the way, Google has just partnered with Ray-Ban and Oakley to make glass more stylish.


Google is really trying to make the Glass headset something worth wearing. They have just announced that they will be working with the Luxottica Group to bring designs from Ray-Ban, Oakley, Vogue Eyewear and other designers to its wearable display.


Google says that it envisions Glass as a natural evolution of everyday eyeglasses, since they are a reflection of both function and fashion. They believe Glass represents the next chapter.


I went to a presentation last week by Michio Kaku who is a theoretical physicist and television host and is an extraordinary speaker. Among a wide variety of amazing topics, he spoke about almost unbelievable development in contact lenses where the contact lenses will act as a computer and provide you all the information you need without those cumbersome glasses. 


Google still hasn't revealed when Glass will launch, and hasn't specified when we will see designs from the Luxottica Group. The company did say however that the technology will not appear "on your favorite Oakley's or Ray-Bans tomorrow."


The news comes just a few weeks after Google announced that it will offer prescription options for Glass. According to The Wall Street Journal, Google's partnership with Luxottica could bring Glass to more than 5,000 retail stores across the U.S., since the Italian luxury brand controls LensCrafters and SunGlass Hut.


We're hoping that we will learn more about Glass and how much it will cost for consumers later this year.   One thing is for certain, it is highly unlikely to hit the market at $1500 a pair because I think that sounds like a dealbreaker for most of the market.


Wearables…Smart Watches

We are finally getting close to understanding what we will be able to do with Google's new Smart watches.

Google plans to bring Android to smartwatches as part of its  Android Wear platform.  Android Wear will primarily focus on bringing snippets of information to your wrist that can be viewed at a glance. These include Google Maps, current weather in your area, you'll be able to conduct Google searches just by speaking to your watch, your text messages and social media updates will appear on your wrist but what is cool is that you can reply by speaking out loud to the watch.


Your smart watch can also display updates from sports teams, it can help you find out the name and artist of any song currently playing and  it will display updates on your flight's status and your boarding pass barcode directly on your wrist.

Your watch will also display fitness notifications, find nearby areas of interest based on your location and show you nearby transportation info.

Now, that is all fantastic and I am almost convinced. Now, all they need to do get me over the line is to produce a decent looking watch and not one that looks like a small clunky television set.

Apple iPhone..is the end near?

Apple needs to pull a rabbit out of the when they release their new  iPhone.  I was reflecting on the last few years and I am amazed how fickle we are.  We wanted a smart phone that would fit in our pocket  and when  iPads came out  they were an annoying size, they wouldn't fit in your pocket and they seemed cumbersome to carry.


Then came the phablet” — a phone / tablet hybrid, which is a huge,  almost 6" x 3” screen. Also cumbersome but nearly a quarter of all smartphones shipped world-wide in the third quarter of 2013 had displays of 5 inches or more.


The Rumor is that  Apple is planning an upgrade for iPhone 6, from its four-inch display to something bigger. If this big-screen iPhone happens, it will be because the Samsing's Galaxy phones proved that consumers want big screens.


On the big screen YouTube videos look amazing, you can read long articles without straining your eyes and photos look a million percent  better. You can frame each photo much better, and even something as simple as scrolling through Twitter was a more enjoyable experience with the big screen.


Big screens are here to stay, they provide an amazing overall experience. Everything a little phone can do, a big phone can do better, except they won't fit in your pocket.


If Apple doesn’t release a big phone this year, it’s going to be left in the dust as more people decided switch to Samsung and others to get their big-phone fix.   Maybe this is good news.  Suppliers of LCD panels for Apple's new iPhone will ramp up production soon, in line with a timetable for a worldwide launch as early as September.

 Rumor has it that the new phone, expected to be called the iPhone 6, will likely be offered in 4.7- and 5.5-inch versions, both of which are larger than the current generation's 4-inch screen.

Manufacturers have apparently begun making such components as fingerprint sensors and chips for liquid-crystal drivers.

The new handset's display resolution is expected to be significantly higher than that of current models


I have absolutely no doubt that drones are going to be the next big thing but they also could be the next big threat to your privacy as it hovers over head while you walk down the street.


Hackers have developed a drone that can steal the contents of your smartphone -- from your location data to your passwords -- and they've been testing it out in the skies of London. The technology equipped on the drone, known as Snoopy, looks for mobile devices with Wi-Fi settings turned on.


Snoopy takes advantage of a feature built into all smartphones and tablets: When mobile devices try to connect to the Internet, they look for networks they've accessed in the past. Your phone will be shouting out the name of every network it has ever connected to,


That's when Snoopy swoops into action sending back a signal pretending to be networks you've connected to in the past. Devices two feet apart could both make connections with the quadcopter, each thinking it is a different, trusted Wi-Fi network. When the phones connect to the drone, Snoopy will intercept everything they send and receive.


That includes the sites you visit, credit card information entered or saved on different sites, location data, usernames and passwords. Each phone has a unique identification number, or MAC address, which the drone uses to tie the traffic to the device.


CNNMoney took Snoopy out for a spin in London and in less than an hour of flying, obtained network names and GPS coordinates for about 150 mobile devices.


It was also able to obtain usernames and passwords for Amazon, PayPal and Yahoo accounts. Collecting metadata, or the device IDs and network names, is probably not illegal, however intercepting usernames, passwords and credit card information with the intent of using them would likely violate wiretapping and identity theft laws.


Installing the technology on drones creates a powerful threat because drones are mobile and often out of sight for pedestrians, enabling them to follow people undetected.


Of course, as well as being used for bad stuff, it could also be used for law enforcement and public safety. During a riot, a drone could fly overhead and identify looters, for example.


Oh, the joys of modern technology.


3D Printers

Apart from drones, I believe the next big disruptive change will be 3-D printers. My local Office Depot now has a 3-D printer although very limited in scope, but Local Motors is planning to 3D print a car in 5 days.

The concept is nothing new, and later this year Local motors will 3D print an electric vehicle in just five days, at the International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago.


A couple of years ago the company built an entire Rally Fighter off-roader at the show over the event's six days. But 3D printing a car presents entirely different challenges.


The demonstration is designed to show how advanced manufacturing techniques can deliver a stronger, safer, faster and more efficient vehicle. Other than being electric, details of the powertrain have not yet been revealed.


The vehicle aims to deliver a sustainable, green product, one that reduces production cost but also creates job opportunities. Hopefully,  it will be stunning  to look at and fun to drive, but ultimately, it needs to be a car people want to buy.


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