Thursday, March 31, 2016

Sparkmag: Are you an entrepreneur?

Sparkmag: Are you an entrepreneur?: As an Entrepreneur - you belong to a club - club fear!!!  Take Risks You are willing to take risks - sometimes unsupported by logic or reaso...

Launch of BusinessBuilders Group - exciting times

We're really excited to announce a new partnership with the Business Builders Group (BBG) to help you grow your business via a powerful referral marketing community.

The BBG process is specifically designed to overcome the key challenges that small business owners face when attracting referrals ... through their community, unique BBG Structure, Professional Mentoring and best-of- breed online tools.
We are hosting a breakfast briefing, where you will find out how BBG can help you achieve your growth objectives. And - we're looking for proactive small business owners to become Founding Members.

Join us for breakfast - register at

To find out more go to

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

If you do what you love - you won't have to balance your life.

Make sure you believe in the vision , and what you do lights your fire or floats your boat. If the job or investment or activity is not going to do that - if you are able - do not do it! 

So what's different since I started my business 20 years ago - I focus on what I am good at , whilst other members of my team do what they are best at. When I first started - I had to do everything - 80pc of which I was  not great at - which is where most of my energy went - Now, there  are definitely fewer forms to fill in, audits to complete, less writing up meeting notes and reconciliations and auditing  - Today, I spend my time on things that I am passionate about; namely looking for new opportunities, working with our team, our brand and Referron, Business Builders and attending events .

By spending my time on topics I am interested in and passionate about and good at, I find I rarely need to unwind, reboot and refocus; instead I feel energised by my work. 

And just as I like to incorporate fun and passion into my everyday work, I also like to incorporate work into my everyday fun and passions. I’m always on the look out for business opportunities, whether it’s meeting with fellow golfers, walkers, travellers or golf enthusiasts or spending downtime with my family - and yes let me say it - Facebook and linked in!!!!. Often the best business ideas spring from unexpected places. 

When I am overwhelmed with work, I like to get my head back in the game by going for a long walk or having a game of golf. Secondary to being with my family, I am most happy when I am in the golf course. 

Golf helps me focus and get clarity . In this state, I can put everything into perspective, and huge issued don't seem so huge anymore.

I’ve even managed to turn it into a business opportunity – sponsoring out clubs pro-am - having regular golf days together with a charity  , managing a BBG community of golfers ( just though of this) - networking events on In exotic places bringing together entrepreneurs who are golf nuts from all over the globe to generate and grow business ideas.  

Whatever your passion is - yoga, Pilates, golf, massage , tennis, walking or running - do it - enjoy your downtime and try incorporate it in your work life 

One of the best ways to help you unwind and refocus is to take a break and do what you love 

Alongside the meetings, appointments, and email replies, it’s important to just be. If you slow down, breathe, and be present in the moment you will find balance more easily. As well as taking yoga breaks , I do this by putting time in my diary to play golf  and spend time with my family. 

By focusing on the things you are passionate about, having fun, enjoying some downtime, and prioritising the things you care about the most, you will be able to avoid having a work-life burnout. You will be much happier, engaged and productive in work and in life.

Inspired by richard Branson

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The Whatsapp Story

Have you ever been rejected for a job? Brian Acton has. After 11 years at Yahoo! and out of a job at 38 years old, Brian went job hunting... first to Twitter (rejected) then to Facebook (rejected).

What do you do when you’re 38 years old, competing unsuccessfully against 20-somethings for a job as a systems engineer? If you’re Brian, you go out and play frisbee... 

Two years earlier, he had travelled South America playing ultimate frisbee with Jan Koum, who he had met while working at Ernst & Young as a security tester. Now, in the midst of his job rejections, he met up with Jan again for a game of frisbee. 

It was while playing, Jan told Brian he was working on a start-up to create a new kind of mobile app, but he had run out of money. Jan had lived on welfare with his parents when he first arrived to the US from Ukraine. Not wanting to go back on food stamps, he asked Brian for advice on whether he should quit and start looking for a job.

Admiring Jan for his courage in starting his own company, Brian replied “You’d be an idiot to quit now. Give it a few more months.”

The topic turned to Brian’s success in getting a new job (which was non-existent) and it was only a matter of time before Jan (who had previously been rejected from a job at Facebook) had turned Brian’s advice on himself.

He persuaded Brian to quit the job hunt and join him on his start-up, creating a new messaging app, “WhatsApp”.

Brian and Jan had one thing in common - Ultimate Frisbee. Other than that, they turned out to be complimentary to each other in every other way. As Brian says, they are “Yin and Yang, I’m the naive optimist, he’s more paranoid. I pay attention to bills and taxes, he pays attention to our product. He’s CEO. I just make sure stuff gets done.”

In a job hunt, all your weaknesses are exposed. In a start-up, your weakness can be supported by your team member’s strength. So becoming an entrepreneur is easier than being an employee. 

It took a few months of convincing but Brian finally decided to take the step, reject the rejecters, and join Jan.

Brian managed to raise some funds to keep the two going, while they worked out of the Red Rock Cafe in Mountain View. With no office and no overheads, they put 100% focus at growing WhatsApp as the messaging app with “No Ads. No Games. No Gimmicks.”

In the first year, revenue grew to only $5,000 a month, but user growth boomed. Brian and Jan would switch from “free” to “paid” for the app (charging $1) when users began growing too much. When they saw people would even pay for the app, Brian said “You know, I think we can actually stay paid.”

The company stayed on an exponential growth path and, four years later, Facebook - the company that had rejected both founders - bought WhatsApp for $19 billion, making both Brian and Jan multi-billionaires.

As a symbolic gesture to their difficult beginnings, the two signed the purchase papers on the steps of the building where Jan’s parents would pick up their food stamps. 

And Brian remembers a second thing outside of Frisbee that the two have in common, and which led to their success: “We’re part of the Facebook reject club.”

It took 4 years from ultimate frisbee and ultimate rejection to Brian and Jan’s $19 billion success. 

4 years from now will be the year 2020. Where will you be in 2020?

Where you are in 2020 will have everything to do with the decisions you make today.

> Are you focused at finding a job instead of adding value to those already around you?

> Are you chasing opportunities instead of seeing the ones that are right in front of you?

> Is your latest rejection hiding a doorway behind it? A doorway to an entirely new, more exciting adventure?

Sometimes, it just takes a change in focus.

“Sometimes the best gain is to lose.” ~ George Herbert

Thanks Roger Hamilton

The secret is sparking the desire for private enterprise to invest ininnovation and startups

Audience member Pete Cooper set the tone for the evening on Q And A last night , after he interrupted Assistant Minister for Innovation Wyatt Roy to demand the dollar figure matched the ambitious rhetoric - for Government support of innovation and start ups. 

"Why aren't we supporting [start-ups] in the budget statement and innovation statement? Why are we doing slow lane innovation strategies?" Mr Cooper asked.

Assistant Minister for Innovation Wyatt Roy said Australia could be a world leader in innovation. The Turnbull government announced its $1.1 billion national innovation and science package in December under the slogan "Welcome to the Ideas Boom".

Mr Roy spoke of his deep optimism for Australia's future as a global leader in innovation. 

Pete Cooper, left, questioned the government's financial commitment to innovation. "We have to create something that is uniquely Australian," he said, arguing our lifestyle would attract the "best and brightest" to our shores.

Wyatt spoke of the need for a "cultural change". "We need to embrace more risk, we need to accept failure, we need to celebrate success," he said.

Part of the ABC Q&A innovation panel. Photo: ABC Q&A  

The secret is sparking the desire for private enterprise to invest in innovation and startups 

"Really, you know, Uber's doing four times what you put over four years in four months." Host Tony Jones also seized on the funding discrepancy."Samsung, one company, one year [will spend] $18.6 billion in research and development," Jones said."Compare that to $250 million a year the government has put out," he said. 

Mr Roy told the Q&A audience the real success of the government's role in supporting innovation would be how well it generated private sector involvement. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Singapore a landing hub for Aussie Innovation

Aussie startups and established tech companies are heading to Singapore, which is vying to be one of 5 landing pads as part of the Aus governments $1.1b innovation package, which will give Aussie Startups access to mentors, investors and innovation hubs.The founder of Sydney-based Gemstar Technology, Gemma Manning, says some Australian companies can find it easier to expand by tapping into Singapore, where the government has dedicated $US1.3 billion ($A1.72 billion) to innovation. She is taking 6 companies on a trade mission to Singapore this week. 
On offer are government financing and incentives to entrepreneurs looking to set up in Singapore, which ranked seventh in 2015's Global Innovation Index. Australia was 17th.
"The funding environment in Singapore is very attractive, as is the drive for public-private partnerships. They want to commercialise technology to help drive their future income."
One of the people going is founder Lincoln Easton. Progress claim offers a cloud-based billing solution for building firms and their contractors. 
Mr Easton, whose clients include Mirvac, says that while Australia's R&D incentives are good, there is often too much bureaucracy involved. Australia also has a risk-adverse culture when it comes to investing in startups.
"What Malcolm Turnbull's government is doing with new incentives to invest in startups is really exciting but in our case it has probably come a bit late.
"It's aimed at quite early-stage companies. They shouldn't discount people who are a bit further down the line."

New appointments strengthen Innovation and Science Australia

The new board members and one reappointment are:
  • Dr Alan Finkel AO, Chief Scientist (Deputy Chair)
  • Ms Maile Carnegie, CEO Google Australia and New Zealand
  • Mr Scott Farquhar, Co-founder and CEO Atlassian
  • Mr Daniel Petre AO, Partner AirTree Ventures
  • Mr Paul Bassat, Co-founder Square Peg Capital and Co-founder SEEK
  • Dr Chris Roberts, Non-Executive Director ResMed
  • Dr Michele Allan, Chancellor Charles Sturt University (reappointed)
  • Mr Bill Ferris AC has already been appointed as Chair of ISA.
A new look Innovation and Science Australia Board was unveiled today by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science Christopher Pyne.

The Turnbull Government has, after a thorough process, appointed some of the best minds in innovation and science in Australia today. The talent on this new board represents innovators and entrepreneurs with a proven record of success.
Innovation and Science Australia (ISA) is a new statutory board which will be tasked with placing innovation and science at the centre of government policy making.
ISA will play a key role in helping deliver the Turnbull Government's $1.1 billion National Innovation and Science Agenda, which is supporting the transition of the Australian economy.
The new board will have broader functions than its predecessor, Innovation Australia, including advising the Government on strategic innovation and science priorities and investment.
The appointment of leading figures from the innovation and science sectors will add deep commercial and research expertise across areas as diverse as agriculture, biotechnology and software.
More information on all board members is available on the Innovation and Science Australia website:

Do You Recognize the 8 Early Warning Signs of a Failed Startup?

Friday, March 11, 2016

Property Partner raises $22.5 million Series B round

Property Partner, a UK crowdfunding platform allowing investors to buy a stake in rental properties, has raised $18.5 million in a Series B round led by Octopus Ventures, with participation from Index Ventures and Dawn Capital. The startup has also secured a $4.25 million venture debt facility from Silicon Valley Bank, bringing the total raised to $22.5 million.

bridging the gap from an idea to commercialisation in Tassie

The Tasmanian government has injected half a million dollars into two innovation hubs - in Launceston and Hobart, helping to leverage the region’s emerging innovation activity.

The hubs will create a connection point for local innovators, entrepreneurs and startups to commercialise their ideas through a collaborative design space.

With educational institutions, government and industry on board, and access to capital - Tasmania will be able to leverage its talent in science, business and tech, which currently operate in clusters around the state.

“With the right programs, the right supports, we’ll be able to build a startup ecosystem in Hobart, Launceston and anywhere in the state that can compete with Melbourne or Sydney on a per capita level,” Farrell  - the Incubator guru says.

The announcement follows the government’s $3 million investment in the Macquarie House Innovation Hub. 

Proposed fees for the Macquarie House are $50 a day for casual access, $225 per month for part-time membership or $450 per month for full-timers or $1800 per month for a private office. 

Industry and government-funded scholarships and grants will be offered to entrepreneurs with the aim to create fairer access towards a diverse and inclusive community of young talent and experienced professionals.

“It’s really about being able to hold up our heads and say it’s a bit smaller here but these are some of the great things that we’re working on,” Farrell says.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Sydney and Melbourne Property Overvalued, over loved and over indebted?

My take on Olivers insights! 

Overvaluation is evident in numerous indicators - but is their cause for concern? 

The two basic problems with Australian housing are that it is expensive 
  • According to the 2016 Demographia Housing Affordability Survey the median multiple of house prices in cities over 1 million people to household income is 6.4 times in Australia versus 3.7 in the US and 4.6 in the UK.  In Sydney it’s 12.2 times and Melbourne is 9.7 times.
  • The ratios of house prices to incomes and rents are at the high end of OECD countries and have been since 2003. 
and household debt is high....  however, interest payments on household debt as a % of household disposable income is low (same as 1990) 

  • Real house prices have been above trend since 2003..... but not majorly

  • Home construction is solving the problem of housing shortfall. Completions are solving the underlyiong demand for housing - but is this enough based on projected growth of population through immigration? 

  • Vacancy rates still under 3% - however trend increasing

  • Sydney and Melbourne Property prices - where to? 

It seems as if Housing Price Growth in Sydney and Melbourne will continue in 2016/2017 - but at a lower rate. 

Bottom line.... their is no indication that properties will be coming down soon!!

CultureAMP raises $10m

Culture Amp, a startup headquartered in Melbourne, Australia that helps businesses know just what their employees think about work, has raised US$10 million (A$13.5 million) in a new funding round. 
The Series B funding was led by Index Ventures, along with Felicis Ventures and Blackbird Ventures.
Culture Amp banks on the fact businesses now recognise a good workplace culture can provide a competitive edge, Peter Haasz, vice president said "culture is key to effective growth"
Culture Amp aims to help companies grapple with these issues by offering an analytics platform that can provide them with quantitive and qualitative data about their employee satisfaction.
The company will use the cash injection to add new features to its platform and to begin a push into Europe, Haasz said. They're just about to open a London office, to compliment those in Melbourne, San Francisco and New York.

The Culture Amp founders, Rod Hamilton, Doug English, Didier Elzinga and Jon Williams [L-R].
Monday's news marks the company's biggest funding round so far, Haasz said. It raised US$6.3 million (A$8.5 million) in March, 2015.

The company, which began in its current form in 2013, claims to have some high profile, high-tech clientele, including Slack, Namely, Airbnb, Etsy, Eventbrite, Pinterest and Warby Parker.
When asked if the company intends to one day go public, Haasz said they didn't have any specific exit goals. "Our vision is the primary motivator for us — change the world of work for 10,000 organisations," he said.
Currently, Culture Amp is in more than 500 workplaces. While it began working mostly with technology companies, it has started to field interest from a wider circle of businesses. "We got our start in technology in 2014, and partly I think that was because tech companies are inherently innovative and willing to do things differently," he said. 
"What we found last year is the credibility of working with those companies has helped us branch out into hospitality, media and mining companies."
In fact, Culture Amp is now used by five Australian Football League teams. "We have quite a large number of sporting teams," Haasz said. "Organisations where performance matters."

Monday, March 07, 2016

What do these 15 Billionaires have in common

Complements of Business Insider, Indian Times and Referron 

Facebook, Airbnb, Snapchat, Flipcart, Atlassian, Stripe , Theranos and DJI have created the top 15 billionaires under 35! 

1. Mark Zuckerberg

This List Of 15 Youngest Tech Billionaires Will Make You Rethink About Your Life Choices

Age: 31

Professional qualification: Facebook CEO
Estimated wealth: $45 billion

The Facebook co-founder and CEO became the youngest self-made billionaire in history at age 23, thanks to Facebook's IPO. Today, Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla are the ninth-wealthiest couple in the world and active philanthropists.

2. Eduardo Saverin

This List Of 15 Youngest Tech Billionaires Will Make You Rethink About Your Life Choices

Age: 33

Professional qualification: Facebook co-founder
Estimated wealth: $5.6 billion

The Facebook co-founder is no longer as involved in the company after legal disputes with his fellow co-founders, but he still holds a small stake in Facebook. The Brazilian-born entrepreneur is now an active angel investor as well as the director of 99, a Singapore-based property rental and sales website.

3. Sachin Bansal

This List Of 15 Youngest Tech Billionaires Will Make You Rethink About Your Life Choices

Financial Express

Age: 34

Professional qualification: Flipkart co-founder
Estimated wealth: $1.4 billion

In 2007, Bansal teamed up with Binny Bansal — no relation, despite the same surname — to found Flipkart as an online seller of books. Today, it's India's top internet retailer, with 30 million products and 44 million registered users.

4. Binny Bansal

This List Of 15 Youngest Tech Billionaires Will Make You Rethink About Your Life Choices


Age: 34

Professional qualification: Flipkart co-founder
Estimated wealth: $1.4 billion

The co-founder of Flipkart has been the chief operating officer for years, but is slated to take over as CEO. Sachin, the CEO since the early days of Flipkart, will take on the newly created role of executive chairman.

5.Dustin Moskovitz

This List Of 15 Youngest Tech Billionaires Will Make You Rethink About Your Life Choices

Age: 31

Professional qualification: Facebook CTO
Estimated wealth: $10 billion

The Facebook co-founder was the company's first CTO. He left to launch Asana in 2008 with fellow Facebooker Justin Rosenstein, but Moskovitz still holds a significant stake in the company.

6. Nathan Blecharczyk

This List Of 15 Youngest Tech Billionaires Will Make You Rethink About Your Life Choices


Age: 32

Professional qualification: Airbnb co-founder
Estimated wealth: $3.6 billion

The Harvard graduate was working as a product manager at Microsoft when his former roommate Joe Gebbia recruited him to co-found Airbnb. As the current CTO, he led the company's recent push into Cuba.

7. Joe Gebbia

This List Of 15 Youngest Tech Billionaires Will Make You Rethink About Your Life Choices

Age: 34

Professional qualification: Airbnb co-founder
Estimated wealth: $3.6 billion

After starting a handful of smaller, less profitable business and tech ventures, Gebbia struck gold when he co-founded Airbnb with Blecharczy. He currently serves as the company's chief product officer.

8. Evan Spiegel

This List Of 15 Youngest Tech Billionaires Will Make You Rethink About Your Life Choices


Age: 25

Professional qualification: Snapchat CEO
Estimated wealth: $1.8 billion

At the ripe age of 25, the Snapchat CEO is the youngest billionaire in the world after launching the popular photo-sharing app with two of his former Stanford classmates.

9. Bobby Murphy

This List Of 15 Youngest Tech Billionaires Will Make You Rethink About Your Life Choices

Age: 26

Professional qualification: Snapchat CTO
Estimated wealth: $1.8 billion

Just five years out of college, the CTO of Snapchat is one of the youngest billionaires in the world, along with his Snapchat co-founder Spiegel. The two met during their days as Kappa Sigma fraternity brothers at Stanford.

10. John Collison

This List Of 15 Youngest Tech Billionaires Will Make You Rethink About Your Life Choices


Age: 26

Professional qualification: Stripe co-founder
Estimated wealth: $1 billion

The Harvard dropout co-founded Stripe, an online payment company, with his brother Patrick in 2011. The Irish-born brothers now live in San Francisco, where the company is based.

11. Patrick Collison

This List Of 15 Youngest Tech Billionaires Will Make You Rethink About Your Life Choices


Age: 27

Professional qualification: Stripe co-founder
Estimated wealth: $1.0 billion

The Stripe co-founder and CEO dropped out of MIT to partner with his brother John and pursue an entrepreneurial path. Their start-up was most recently valued at $5 billion in October.

12. Elizabeth Holmes

This List Of 15 Youngest Tech Billionaires Will Make You Rethink About Your Life Choices

Business Insider

Age: 31

Professional qualification: Theranos co-founder
Estimated wealth: $4.3 billion

Holmes founded healthcare-technology company Theranos as a sophomore at Stanford. Within months, she dropped out to pursue her entrepreneurial path and build her company. Today, she's America's youngest female billionaire at age 31.

13. Scott Farquhar

This List Of 15 Youngest Tech Billionaires Will Make You Rethink About Your Life Choices

Business Insider

Age: 35

Professional qualification: Atlassian co-founder
Estimated wealth: $1.9 billion

The Australia native co-founded software company Atlassian with a university buddy, Mike Cannon-Brookes, in 2002. Atlassian grew at a rapid rate and pulled off a successful IPO in 2015, the fifth-largest US IPO of that year.

14. Mike Cannon-Brookes

This List Of 15 Youngest Tech Billionaires Will Make You Rethink About Your Life Choices


Age: 35

Professional qualification: Atlassian CEO
Estimated wealth: $1.9 billion

Cannon-Brookes and Farquhar share the role of CEO at Atlassian, which now has 15 software products and serves clients including Citigroup, NASA, Twitter, and Tesla.

15. Frank Wang Tao

This List Of 15 Youngest Tech Billionaires Will Make You Rethink About Your Life Choices


Age: 35

Professional qualification: Dajiang Innovation Technology founder
Estimated wealth: $3.4 billion

In 2006, Frank Wang Tao founded Dajiang Innovation Technology (DJI) from his dorm room at Hong Kong University of Science