Saturday, May 21, 2016

Tech Sydney formed to build a Silicon Valley Precinct in Sydney

Extract from Paul Smith Aus Fin Review 

A who's-who of the Australian tech and  start-up scene have ploughed money into Tech Sydney - founded  by serial entrepreneurs Dean McEvoy, Mick Liubinskas, Kim Heras, Riley Batchelor and Gen George.

Tech Sydney aims to mentor fast growing tech companies and make Sydney the leading global tech centre.

The group will be signing up members from technology companies of all sizes, including start-ups and the local operations of fast growing and established global technology players.

It will operate as a not-for-profit and has been backed by companies including Atlassian, Tyro, Canva, SAP, Airbnb, Prospa, LinkedIn, Airtree Ventures, Reinventure, Blackbird Ventures and over 30 other funded start-ups.

Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes, TechSydney boss Dean McEvoy and StartupAus CEO Alex McCauley at the launch of ...


Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes, TechSydney boss Dean McEvoy and StartupAus CEO Alex McCauley at the launch of TechSydney

Trch Sydney will focus on numerous issues, with immediate concerns being the need to attract a lot more highly skilled workers from overseas, and a perceived need to create a physical precinct as a Silicon Valley-style focus for tech firms.

One such backer is co-founder of Nasdaq-listed Atlassian Mike Cannon-Brookes, who unsuccessfully sought to acquire the Australian Technology Park in Redfern, Sydney with a view to establishing it as a tech hub. 

The 2015 annual Compass startup ecosystem rankings saw Sydney falling against global peers.
The 2015 annual Compass startup ecosystem rankings saw Sydney falling against global peers. Compass

 Having a hub where Tech companies gravitate will be s goal.

"You are never going to get everyone to move into the same building, but you can certainly have a gravity towards a certain area of the city," Mr Cannon-Brookes said. 

"I had a mate from overseas running a unicorn business and asked me where in Sydney he should setup and there were really six or seven different options ... we need start-ups and overseas players like Dropbox, Uber and Airbnb together,  because they have the same set of issues and all hire lots of staff."        

Co-founder and managing partner of Sydney-based tech venture capital firm Airtree Ventures Craig Blair said that, while it had no urban bias in terms of backing companies from other Australian cities, his firm was backing TechSydney as it recognised that a deeper pool of concentrated tech talent was needed to breed more viable global companies. 

"Sydney needs a more vibrant technology ecosystem if it is to navigate the disruptive forces facing most industries and continue as a top place to live in the world," Mr Blair said.

He said he was encouraged by the people involved in TechSydney, that it would avoid the pitfall of becoming the latest in a long line of lobby groups asking for government assistance.

He said he believed the organisation could help make necessary changes, such as attracting skilled workers from around the world and initially championing the creation of a central tech precinct. 

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Friday, May 13, 2016

Do you want warm referrals?

Join us for a breakfast or lunch during May and June to find out how you can be an inaugural member of a bbg chapter! Join 30 other businesses with a view to collaborate and grow each other's business! 

Register at 

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Will Redbubble achieve Unicorn Status?

Excerpt through McKinsey

We are looking forward to the launch of Redbubble on the ASX on Monday!
It is listing at a valuation of $250m+ and the big question is whether Redbibble will be a Unicorn!
Historically, Companies with
  • a solid business of significant revenue - greater than $100m ,  
  • an historical growth rate of 50% plus,  
  • a strong foundation, 
  • an aligned team 
  • and a clear vision  
will have a good chance of achieving unicorn status ($1b plus valuation)

This bodes well for a tech company to achieve unicorn status! 

Looking forward to continue to be a part of  the journey of Martin Hosking and Redbubble! 

Many companies grow via acquisition, and McKinsey examined the acquisition activity of 578 software and online-services companies that surpassed $100 million in annual revenue2
and identified three lessons:
  • 1. Low-volume acquisition programs disrupt growth; high-volume programs accelerate growth. The software and online-services companies whose revenue grew most rapidly had high-volume acquisition programs.

  • 2. Successful acquisition programs complement organic growth. Among software and online-services companies that reached $1 billion in annual revenue, acquisition efforts preserved or accelerated organic growth. These companies completed more deals, squeezed more growth out of each deal, and managed to preserve high organic growth while investing energy in finding and incorporating acquisitions.

  • 3. Successful acquisitions align with growth strategy. Companies that accelerate revenue growth through acquisitions don’t treat deals as an opportunistic event to capture cost synergies. They use several different deal archetypes—all linked to their fundamental growth strategy.

Saturday, May 07, 2016

Who has the Midas touch in US venture capital?

Written by  Partner, Platinum Pacific Partners

In venture capital the sky appears to be the limit. Those who reach for the sky and manage to find it end up on the Forbes Midas List, a hot list of the best tech deal makers in venture capital. You can see the full 2015 Midas List at the end of this article. Here though we’ll focus on the best of the best – the top 3 – and the key investments that got them there.

Number One: Jim Goetz, Partner, Sequoia Capital (50, married with 3 kids)
Jim Goetz was the sole investor in a modest, up and coming outfit called WhatsApp. Goetz seemed to see something no one else did – an app company standing out country after country without any advertising...and growing fast. They were doing things differently to everyone else. They weren’t throwing bundles of cash into getting noticed and completely forgetting about actually engaging anyone. Their sole focus was creating a product that worked for its users. Goetz convinced Sequoia to invest $60 million in WhatsApp over three rounds, a hefty sum that was soon made to look extremely modest. Facebook bought WhatsApp for a staggering $22 billion rocketing Jim Goetz to the top of the Midas List with more than $3 billion worth of Facebook stock. His focus remains fixed on enterprises that are passionate and mission-based.

Number Two: Peter Fenton, Partner, Benchmark (43, married with 2 kids)
Peter Fenton, one of five partners, describes Benchmark’s approach to venture capital as ‘artisanal,’ implying that they’re more traditional bricklayers than fancy speculators. Whatever their approach Peter’s expertise has spanned Ebay and Uber and he now sits on the board of Twitter. Notably he invested in Twitter in its infancy around 2009, a rare growth phase for the company. His investments include Hortonworks and new Relic, both of which went public on the same day! Also helping to shoot him to number two were successes with Zendesk and Yelp.

Chris Sacca, Founder, Lowercase Capital (40, married with 2 kids)
How did former Google exec Chris Sacca break into the Top Ten for the first time? Well, here’s his impressive early bet list: Twitter, Uber, Stripe, Twilio, Docker, Lookout and Automatic. It also helped that Lowercase Capital was one of the first to throw money at Instagram, subsequently bought by Facebook for $736 million. Of his investment approach, Sacca says, “I ask founders two things - can I affect your outcome, and will I be proud to say I backed you?"

The Forbes Midas List

First Published by Victoria Biggs on LinkedIn on 20/04/16

Friday, May 06, 2016

Join us for a BBG Breakfast Briefing

Join us for a breakfast or lunch during May and June to find out how you can be an inaugural member of a bbg chapter! Join 30 other businesses with a view to collaborate and grow each other's business! 

Register at 

Thursday, May 05, 2016

App boy raises $20m series C

Appboy, a NYC-based provider of a customer relationship technology for mobile marketers, closed a $20m in Series C funding. 

The round was led by Battery Ventures with participation from existing investor Shasta Ventures and others. In conjunction with the funding, Neeraj Agrawal, general partner, Battery Ventures, will join Appboy’s board.

The company will use the funding to grow worldwide and further develop products.

Led by Mark Ghermezian, CEO, Appboy is a platform for brands to build relationships with their customers through mobile and other digital marketing channels. The solution features an audience segmentation and advanced multichannel messaging system that allow marketers to create and automate personalized lifecycle marketing campaigns in every relevant channel, from push, in-app, and web to email, wearables, and emerging technologies.
It is used by thousands of global marketers worldwide at brands like Domino’s, iHeartMedia, Wallapop, Tinder, Opera, and SoundCloud.
Appboy has over 120 employees with offices in New York, San Francisco, and London.


Ps. check out

Wednesday, May 04, 2016


Breaking news 4 May 2016

Two new initiatives designed to make investment in Australian startups more attractive will be in place for the 2016-17 financial year after passing the Senate today.

Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science Christopher Pyne said the measures were part of the Government’s National Innovation and Science Agenda, which would drive smart ideas that create business growth, local jobs and global success.
“These tax measures are designed to broaden and diversify the economy through economic policies that build growth and productivity,” Mr Pyne said.
“The Tax Incentive for Early Stage Investors and New Arrangements for Venture Capital Limited Partnerships will promote investment in innovative high-growth potential startup companies and improve businesses’ access to venture capital.
“Over 4,500 startups are missing out on equity finance each year. These measures will help startups get access to crucial funding to grow their startup.
“Investors, venture capital funds and innovative companies in all industries will benefit from these measures,” he said.
The Tax Incentive for Early Stage Investors gives tax concessions to eligible early stage investors who invest in qualifying companies. The concessions include a capped 20 per cent non-refundable tax offset and 10 year capital gains tax exemption for investments.
The New Arrangements for Venture Capital Limited Partnerships provide a range of changes that will improve access to capital and make investing in venture capital more user-friendly and internationally competitive.
More information on the National Innovation and Science Agenda and these measures can be found at