Monday, January 30, 2017

Innovation Victor Dominello rejects claims the NSW tech ecosystem is falling behind

Workplace messaging platform Slack has today announced that it has chosen to open its Australasian headquarters in Melbourne, following fellow global names Zendesk and GoPro.
Atlassian slammed the sale of the Australian tech park to Mirvac as a “missed opportunity” for the state, NSW Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation Victor Dominello has rejected this pointing to initiatives such as the Data Analytics Centre as signs that the NSW tech industry is well placed as a national leader.
The Minister sited Googles interest in the proposed  interest White Bay Power Station hub, announced by Premier Mike Baird last month. .
“We’ve got Google interested in White Bay, and Google is one of the biggest elephants in the room when it comes to this sector…[White Bay] will absolutely be a shining light, not just in NSW, but around the world, and that puts us on the map in a big way,” Dominello said.
Side note :- Atlassian's property head, Brett Hartman said that Whitebay had transport issues to make it a viable hub
 Dominello is working with Planning Minister Rob Stokes to see where the Government can put in place structures to support organic growth.
There are opportunities for hubs in Newcastle (for Mining), Illawarra (for Manufacturing)  and  Macquarie Park (for Pharma)…and the ATP opportunity hasn't gone away..
Image: Victor Dominello, Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation. Source: Victor Dominello MP Facebook page.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Zoom becomes a unicorn

From Techcrunch 


Zoom, the cloud video conferencing service, announced a $100 million Series D round, entirely funded by Sequoia. The company now boasts a $1 billion valuation, putting it in the unicorn club.

It also announced a significant update to the product that includes the ability for customers and third parties to build applications on top of the Zoom platform.

The company, which was cash-flow positive last quarter, had previously raised $45.5 million. It actually wasn’t even looking for funding, according CEO Eric S. Yuan, when Sequoia came knocking. Sequoia had been looking for a company in the video conferencing space when it heard about Zoom from its portfolio clients.

“We had been watching the video conferencing space for many years because we were convinced that it was a huge market primed for innovation. But we couldn’t find a product that customers loved to use. That changed when our portfolio companies started raving to us about Zoom,” a Sequoia spokesperson told TechCrunch.

As for Yuan, he said when Sequoia approached him, he decided to go for a large sum as a proactive measure. Instead of coming up with an idea, and trying to get budget, he wanted cash on hand — and he found a willing partner in Sequoia. In fact as part of the deal, Sequoia partner Carl Eschenbach, who led the investment, will be joining the Zoom board.

What Sequoia saw in Zoom, was an experienced founder, who helped launch WebEx before selling the company to Cisco for an impressive $3.2 billion in 2007. Yuan candidly states that he made a mistake when he sold it to Cisco, in spite of the huge acquisition price.

That’s because back in 2007, Cisco was purely a networking hardware company. He says the Cisco team never understood his company or SaaS for that matter, and eventually tried to fold it into a social networking product. It’s worth noting that since that time, Cisco has moved hard into software via an aggressive acquisition strategy, but those were early days in that approach, and he said that he struggled with the company to make changes to the software.

He decided to start his own company in 2011 to address some of the issues he was hearing about from customers. He says part of the problem was with WebEx’s core code, which he had written 1998. He wanted to create a new video service on top of a modern cloud architecture. WebEx remains a big rival for Zoom with a huge installed base.

As for the update, it’s a classic cloud platform play. The dream of most cloud providers is to offer more than a service. It’s to become a platform on top of which companies build products. Salesforce was the first company to try this approach when it launched in 2008, and pretty much every SaaS company since has wanted to become a platform. The trouble is getting to sufficient scale, but with 450,000 businesses, including 5800 educational institutions, Zoom certainly has that scale.

Zoom, which has over 400 employees, will likely expand with the massive new investment, but Yuan wasn’t going to commit to anything just yet. He describes himself as “a conservative entrepreneur” and he will bank the money and invest in the parts of the company that require it, as the time is right.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

5 innovators raise $55m in Venture Capital

From startup smart


Ahik's post

The elevator pitch: “Software for easy employee scheduling, time and attendance and communication.”

Led by: Ashik Ahmed and Steve Shelley.

How much: $US25 million ($33 million) in Series A funding.

From who: Boston venture capital firm OpenView.

Why? To speed up expansion across U.K., USA and Phillipines . The business turns over north of $10 million and serves over 28,000 clients, has outgrown its bootstrapping days.

“I decided that for us to allow the business to grow and meet the global demands, [we] really needed to invest a lot more into our marketing, sales and talent,” Shelley said.



The elevator pitch: “A technology company that is part of a new generation of energy innovators using smart software control to optimise the use of energy resources in electricity grids.”

Led by: Dr Phil Blythe.

How much: $11.5 million in Series B funding.

From who: The round was led by Clean Energy Finance Corporation (part of the Australian government’s Clean Energy Innovation Fund) and Southern Cross Venture Partners’ renewable energy fund.

Why? To develop the company’s suite of energy-tech products and expand overseas.

“The decision to raise a serious amount of capital is about how we build the technology that allows us to scale globally and move globally,” Blythe tells StartupSmart.



Elevator pitch: “Location based social media monitoring and customer experience management. Discover public content from social networks posted at your business.”

Led by: Jonathan Barouch.

How much: $4.5 million.

From who: Mix of private investors, funds and private equity firms from the Asia Pacific region.

Why? Local Measure is opening a sales and account management office in Dubai this month and will be setting up a new office in Los Angeles.

It already has offices in Sydney, Singapore, London and Miami.

“Our technology leverages the growth of social media to provide a new and powerful tool for hoteliers and tourism asset managers,” Barouch said in a statement.



Elevator pitch: “Postr puts brands on their audience’s lock screen and pays people to use their phone.”

Led by: Milan Reinartz.

How much: $3 million.

From who: The round was led by private investors from Singapore and supported by existing backers.

Why? To go global.

“New Zealand is a fantastic testing ground, but from a commercial perspective just too small a market to stay put. Our intention has always been to eventually grow globally,” said Reinartz in a statement.



Elevator pitch: “Process Street is the home for your teams’ recurring tasks. Create, track and optimise business process work-flows.”

Led by: Sydney expat Vinay Patankar (now based in San Francisco).

How much: $1.3 million seed funding.

From who: Round led by Blackbird Ventures and AirTree Ventures.

Why? To further product development and invest in sales and marketing.

“We create a collaborative checklist and workflow app used by over 49,000 businesses to help teams manage their processes and automate workflows,” Patankar said in a statement.

“We’re taking on companies like Atlassian and Microsoft who create bulky and unintuitive workflow software – Trello excluded.”

Monday, January 23, 2017

Collaborate and Flourish

Innovation in Australia: Collaborate and Flourish: Collaborating and connecting is happenning in a big way thanks to Eric Tjoeng of BGES. BGES is a firm that puts its words into action!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Business Builders Group: Niched Content events are the go

Business Builders Group: Niched Content events are the go: Karolin Geike Point 9 Capital's  Karolin Geike 2017 prediction

A rising “new guard” are officially the most valuable companies in the world

A rising “new guard” are officially the most valuable companies in the world: Apple, Alphabet/Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook.

We’re witnessing a staggering rotation of economic value. Out of incumbent “old guard” companies in the financial services, industrial, and consumer products spaces. And into “new guard” companies centered around software, data and technology-enabled services. You may have noticed that this year, for the first time, the top 5 companies by market cap are all technology-native businesses*. This is a huge shift from even ten years ago, when household names like Exxon, Walmart, GE and Citi ruled the S&P.

*In order as of 11/22/16:

  • Apple — $596B
  • Alphabet/Google — $551B
  • Microsoft — $478B
  • Amazon — $372B
  • Facebook — $348B

Roundup of 2017 VC Predictions and Tech Industry Reports

*Originally published on VC Cafe

2017 Predictions
“Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future.” Niels Bohr

Hope your 2017 is off to a great start. With more VCs blogging, it’s great to see the plethora of predictions being shared. Below is a selection of themes and predictions for startups/venture/tech in 2017. This doesn’t include the various lists of ‘hot startups to watch’ (where normally there’s a correlation between the startup and the recommending VC’s portfolio), but more general trends from VCs, sector specific predictions from other organizations, and 2016 annual industry reports.

2017 VC Predictions

  1. Accel 2017 state of the union —
  2. Fred Wilson — USV — What is going to happen in 2017 —
  3. Point Nine Capital — 2017 team predictions —
  4. Norwest Venture Partners — 2017 Enterprise predictions —
  5. Alexander Ruppert — Earlybird VC predictions 2017 —
  6. Blake Robbins — Ludlow Ventures — Predictions for 2017 —
  7. Chris Rust — Clear Ventures — Predictions for Enterprise IT 2017 —
  8. Thomas Grota -Deutsche Telekom Venture Capital — The end of Corporate VC as we know it & “assistant first” for developers
  9. Gil Dibner — Venture Capital forecasts in 2017 —
  10. VentureBeat — What top Silicon Valley investors expect in 2017 —
  11. Pitchbook — VC, PE and M&A Bold Predictions for 2017 —
  12. Matt Murphy — Menlo Ventures — 2017 will be a strong year for Venture Capital —
  13. — Top 5 VCs predict the biggest tech change coming in the next five years —
  14. Richard Dulude — — Three big tech predictions for 2017 —
  15. Boris Wertz — Version One Ventures — Cryptocurrency’s second act: the rise of Ethereum and what’s in store for 2017 —

Non VC Tech Predictions

  1. Kickstarter — Tech Predictions 2017 —
  2. John Battelle — My 2016 predictions — How’d I do?
  3. Recode — the top 10 tech developments for 2017 —
  4. Deloitte — Global TMT Predictions 2017 —
  5. MobileHealthNews — 8 digital health predictions —
  6. Mashable — Content Marketing in 2017 —
  7. Techcrunch — Digital Media Predictions 2017 —
  8. Signal Labs — Security Tech Predictions —
  9. PC Magazine — Business Tech Predictions: 10 Ways AI, Big Data, and Cloud Will Evolve in 2017 —
  10. Eric Newcomer — Bloomberg Technology — Predictions for 2017 —
  11. App Annie — 2017 Predictions for the app economy —
  12. Crowdflower — 7 AI predictions for 2017 —
  13. Forbes — Trends in tech investing 2017 —
  14. MedCityNews — What’s the Health Tech investment and M&A Outlook in 2017? —
  15. Forbes — Talent, Business and HR Predictions for 2017 —
  16. Time — Tech Predictions for 2017 —
  17. Gartner — Top 10 strategic predictions for 2017 and beyond —
  18. Nesta — 10 trends, social movements and technological breakthroughs set to shape the agenda during the next 12 months —
  19. Information Age — 10 Predictions for IOT and Big Data in 2017 —
  20. WSJ — 2017 — Chatbots will reshape messaging apps —
Gartner — Top 10 strategic predictions for 2017 and beyond

2016 Annual Tech & VC Reports

  1. Crunchbase 2016 annual report —
  2. CBInsights and PWC Moneytree report —
  3. Tracxn 100 investment themes VCs are excited about —
  4. SVB Health Investment trends report —
  5. KKR Macro economic outlook 2017 —
  6. Pitchbook NVCA Venture Monitor Q4 2016 —
  7. Frost & Sullivan — Stratecast predictions 2017 — the year ahead —
  8. Forrester Research — Predictions 2017 —
  9. CB Insights — 2016 Tech in Review —
  10. Dow Jones — US Venture Capital Report Q4 2016 —

See something missing? please link to it in the comments.