Startup Daily http://www.startupdaily.com.au Startups | Business | Politics | Australia Tue, 16 Sep 2014 04:41:55 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.3 There is a very simple reason why Allure Media just put $6 million into bellabox http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/09/simple-reason-allure-media-just-put-6-million-bellabox/ http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/09/simple-reason-allure-media-just-put-6-million-bellabox/#comments Tue, 16 Sep 2014 01:19:28 +0000 http://www.startupdaily.com.au/?p=33295 bellaboximage

Everyone keeps calling bellabox a beauty box company. It's not. bellabox is a media company, no matter how you slice and dice it. That is why an investment from one of Australia's fastest growing media companies makes perfect sense. Allure Media is a Fairfax-owned subsidiary that operates with complete independence, after parent company Netus set up by entrepreneur and investor Daniel Petrie, was acquired in 2013. Allure publishes titles such as Business Insider and Lifehacker. Founded in October 2011, by twin sisters Sarah and Emily Hamilton, bellabox has grown rapidly in three short years to become the leading beauty subscription service in Australia with 70 percent market share. bellabox is the clear leader in the Australian space when it comes to subscription beauty boxes. They have 40,000 active subscribers across Australia and Singapore who pay a monthly fee of AUD$15.00 and SG$19.95 and receive a themed box of a dozen different beauty and lifestyle-related products every four weeks. Based on these figures, and given active subscribers are paying at least the standard amount, it would be safe to say the revenues for bellabox are in the vicinity of about $550,000 per month. Most of bellabox’s competitors have failed to gain the traction that the Hamiltons have been able to achieve. In Singapore, startups such as VanityTrove which also have a weak presence in Australia have pivoted from the sampling experience and become almost a beauty aggregator / newsfeed of sorts. Her Fashion Box is obviously one of the stronger competitors that is still around, and there are murmurs of a pending capital raise, but nothing solid as of yet. Of course Marie Claire have also just launched their quarterly beauty box called The Parcel, which is sent out in conjunction with the seasons - this is also a media extension to Pacific Magazines offerings. When Startup Daily spoke with co-founder and CEO, Sarah Hamilton last week, she was very clear on the fact that she viewed bellabox as being a media company. The $6 million raised by the company from Allure Media will go towards paying outgoing shareholders; and well over $3 million dollars will be put into the business to fund a more aggressive growth strategy, including the hiring of more full-time staff in management positions and the potential launch into other markets across the Asia Pacific region. This is why the investment is so strategic from where both parties sit. There is significant crossover between bellabox and a couple of Allure's high performing products. For instance, Popsugar and Shopstyle currently attract over 1.4 million engaged visitors monthly who are of the same demographic that bellabox is targeting. The new partnership allows both parties to extend their reach, with bellabox able to attract more customers and Allure Media able to offer more innovative solutions to beauty and lifestyle advertisers. It's a classic win-win. [caption id="attachment_33316" align="aligncenter" width="900"]Sarah and Emily Hamilton now part of the Allure Media family | image:Business Insider Sarah and Emily Hamilton now part of the Allure Media family | image:Business Insider[/caption] "Beauty brands know that sampling works, especially in conjunction with a solid advertising campaign," says Sarah Hamilton. "Sampling on street corners is still to this day one of the most effective advertising methods that beauty companies use when launching new products, bellabox help companies do this in a more systemised and scalable manner, we know our customers are actually using the products and always give honest feedback about those products." Brands love the targeted approach too. George Bingham, Director of Accounts at KORA Organics by Miranda Kerr says, “We know when consumers try KORA Organics they fall in love with our product so targeted sampling is one of our key strategies to generate sales for both our Australian retail partners like David Jones and for our own ecommerce site. "bellabox is able to target our samples to the right demographic for KORA Organics. As bellabox members have paid to be part of the club, you know they are guaranteed to try the products in their monthly box. This beats sampling by traditional methods as these can be very expensive and do not always hit the right consumer,” he adds. The current $6 million capital raising round follows the January 2013 round from a syndicate of tech, beauty, logistics and financial investors in Sydney and Melbourne, led by current investors, Yes To Carrots co-founder Lance Kalish and Trevor Folsom of Elevation Capital and including Square Peg Capital. On the investment, Jason Scott, CEO of Allure Media said, “Like Allure Media, bellabox is a great business at a pivotal time in its development. There are many synergies between the two companies from the markets we operate in, to the audiences we attract. In combination, we offer the brands we work with a truly unique set of capabilities and expertise.” Jason Scott, CEO of Allure Media, and Guy Reypert, Group Director of Fairfax Digital Ventures, will take up new board seats as Directors of bellabox, effective immediately. ]]>
bellaboximage

Everyone keeps calling bellabox a beauty box company. It's not. bellabox is a media company, no matter how you slice and dice it. That is why an investment from one of Australia's fastest growing media companies makes perfect sense. Allure Media is a Fairfax-owned subsidiary that operates with complete independence, after parent company Netus set up by entrepreneur and investor Daniel Petrie, was acquired in 2013. Allure publishes titles such as Business Insider and Lifehacker. Founded in October 2011, by twin sisters Sarah and Emily Hamilton, bellabox has grown rapidly in three short years to become the leading beauty subscription service in Australia with 70 percent market share. bellabox is the clear leader in the Australian space when it comes to subscription beauty boxes. They have 40,000 active subscribers across Australia and Singapore who pay a monthly fee of AUD$15.00 and SG$19.95 and receive a themed box of a dozen different beauty and lifestyle-related products every four weeks. Based on these figures, and given active subscribers are paying at least the standard amount, it would be safe to say the revenues for bellabox are in the vicinity of about $550,000 per month. Most of bellabox’s competitors have failed to gain the traction that the Hamiltons have been able to achieve. In Singapore, startups such as VanityTrove which also have a weak presence in Australia have pivoted from the sampling experience and become almost a beauty aggregator / newsfeed of sorts. Her Fashion Box is obviously one of the stronger competitors that is still around, and there are murmurs of a pending capital raise, but nothing solid as of yet. Of course Marie Claire have also just launched their quarterly beauty box called The Parcel, which is sent out in conjunction with the seasons - this is also a media extension to Pacific Magazines offerings. When Startup Daily spoke with co-founder and CEO, Sarah Hamilton last week, she was very clear on the fact that she viewed bellabox as being a media company. The $6 million raised by the company from Allure Media will go towards paying outgoing shareholders; and well over $3 million dollars will be put into the business to fund a more aggressive growth strategy, including the hiring of more full-time staff in management positions and the potential launch into other markets across the Asia Pacific region. This is why the investment is so strategic from where both parties sit. There is significant crossover between bellabox and a couple of Allure's high performing products. For instance, Popsugar and Shopstyle currently attract over 1.4 million engaged visitors monthly who are of the same demographic that bellabox is targeting. The new partnership allows both parties to extend their reach, with bellabox able to attract more customers and Allure Media able to offer more innovative solutions to beauty and lifestyle advertisers. It's a classic win-win. [caption id="attachment_33316" align="aligncenter" width="900"]Sarah and Emily Hamilton now part of the Allure Media family | image:Business Insider Sarah and Emily Hamilton now part of the Allure Media family | image:Business Insider[/caption] "Beauty brands know that sampling works, especially in conjunction with a solid advertising campaign," says Sarah Hamilton. "Sampling on street corners is still to this day one of the most effective advertising methods that beauty companies use when launching new products, bellabox help companies do this in a more systemised and scalable manner, we know our customers are actually using the products and always give honest feedback about those products." Brands love the targeted approach too. George Bingham, Director of Accounts at KORA Organics by Miranda Kerr says, “We know when consumers try KORA Organics they fall in love with our product so targeted sampling is one of our key strategies to generate sales for both our Australian retail partners like David Jones and for our own ecommerce site. "bellabox is able to target our samples to the right demographic for KORA Organics. As bellabox members have paid to be part of the club, you know they are guaranteed to try the products in their monthly box. This beats sampling by traditional methods as these can be very expensive and do not always hit the right consumer,” he adds. The current $6 million capital raising round follows the January 2013 round from a syndicate of tech, beauty, logistics and financial investors in Sydney and Melbourne, led by current investors, Yes To Carrots co-founder Lance Kalish and Trevor Folsom of Elevation Capital and including Square Peg Capital. On the investment, Jason Scott, CEO of Allure Media said, “Like Allure Media, bellabox is a great business at a pivotal time in its development. There are many synergies between the two companies from the markets we operate in, to the audiences we attract. In combination, we offer the brands we work with a truly unique set of capabilities and expertise.” Jason Scott, CEO of Allure Media, and Guy Reypert, Group Director of Fairfax Digital Ventures, will take up new board seats as Directors of bellabox, effective immediately. ]]>
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Will FitTech startup Classium find success with a business model that its competition pivoted away from? http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/09/will-fittech-startup-classium-find-success-business-model-competition-pivoted-away/ http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/09/will-fittech-startup-classium-find-success-business-model-competition-pivoted-away/#comments Tue, 16 Sep 2014 01:18:40 +0000 http://www.startupdaily.com.au/?p=33302 DennisFav

Many prefer to exercise solo; they hop onto the elliptical machine and listen to Spotify or Pandora to tune out their surroundings. Others enjoy the social nature of fitness classes. But more and more Australians are looking for flexible, less-structured alternatives, rather committing to a single workout routine or class. A new Sydney-based startup Classium wants to get more Australians prioritising their daily fitness and health. Launched in August this year, Classium allows Australians to search for and book a fitness or recreational class like they would book a restaurant - and all on a web-based platform.

Founded by fitness enthusiast and IT veteran, Dennis Au, Classium is a new meeting place for fitness class seekers and their local specialised studios, gyms, bootcamps, instructor groups and personal trainers. Rather than having fleeting motivation to exercise, and then being put off by the need to sift through thousands of search results on Google, Classium allows Australians to expedite the process of finding the right class for them.

On Classium, users to search for all kinds of physical and recreational activities: strength and cardio, Pilates, yoga, martial arts, bootcamps, sports, fitness for kids, pre/post natal and dance. Class seekers can also filter the search results by time, budget, fitness level and age group.

The best part (or perhaps the worst) is that users are not required to make any long-term commitments to a particular fitness class or gym membership. Classium users have the option of participating in casual classes or programmes, so those who don’t want to be locked into a long-term contract or membership have a way of staying active regardless of whether they just moved suburbs, are on a business trip, or just wanting to try something new.

“The reason that Classium is disruptive is because it is the only website that allows users to book a class online without first having to purchase a gym membership or courses upfront.  Our system does not take commissions from anyone booking a class and it empowers users to try a class without the commitment of long-term memberships,” Au explains.

“It also assists providers in establishing their classes online minus the associated expense of building a website, a booking management system and advertising costs.”

Classium does not only function as a search and booking engine, but also a social media platform, allowing users to invite their friends to join, rate and review classes or instructors. This means that users are able to make an informed decision, removing some of the uncertainty associated with trying a new activity or instructor.

“Some of our competitors are focused upon catch-all booking platforms that sell pre-paid classes or vouchers. Other sites are little more than basic fitness directories without booking functionality or backend systems linked to existing websites,” says Au.

For fitness providers, Classium functions as a promotional platform wherein they acquire new customers. They can share images and videos and create a community around their business, and also offer discounts to fill up empty spots. Or if they want, providers can simply use Classium as a booking management system. After setting up their profiles, they can invite their existing client-base onto the system so that they have full control over their bookings in one place.

When asked about what inspired Au to create Classium, he recalls a holiday in Vietnam. Midway through 2012, Au took a break from his career and spent six months cycling across Vietnam from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City.

“I needed to clear my head and cycling provided the perfect opportunity for introspection and thought.  One day on the bike it occurred to me that if I wanted to locate and book a cycling class in Sydney there was no easy way to do it,” he says.

Upon returning to Sydney, Au decided to put his theory to the test. During a BBQ gathering, Au’s friends explained that when moving to a new suburb it’s often difficult to find a local yoga class or fitness provider without first having to wade through many websites.

“The worst part is, when you do find an instructor that you’re happy with, nine times out of ten you can’t get in contact with them or the class time you want is not available. And so the idea for Classium was born,” Au adds.

[caption id="attachment_33310" align="alignnone" width="1398"]Screen Shot 2014-09-16 at 10.12.16 am Classium.com.au[/caption]

When it came to the design of the www.classium.com.au, there were four values important to Au. The website has to communicate: energy, enthusiasm, inclusiveness and empowerment.

“I believe physical activity enlivens these attributes in a person when they discover an activity that they enjoy participating in,” Au explains.

He had to bear in mind the needs of a wide variety of consumers, rather than focus solely on fitness fanatics.

“Because I am entering into a “chicken and egg” or two-way market … the site design focuses on those feelings I believe we all share when we enjoy a physical activity, whether we are a professional or beginner,” says Au.

He admits that he initially wanted to create a website that catered for all types of class bookings - including painting. But the market research he undertook revealed that there are 4 million Australians participating in the fitness industry, which is predicted to increase to 7 million users by 2020.

“Most of this demand is satiated by small to medium-sized businesses with total revenue of over $1.2 billion in 2012 (Fitness Australia). However, walking the streets and talking to a number of class providers, I discovered that there is a huge gap in the fitness industry,” says Au.

“There’s currently a growing demand for fitness classes from time poor fitness enthusiast and there’s no easy way to find providers and suitable fitness classes.”

Au came to the conclusion that a platform allowing clients to locate services close to their home and work was an emerging need; and in order to fully capitalise on this market, Classium would have to be more than a booking management system. It would need to incorporate a social element.

“By adding this social aspect to fitness we provide a valuable user-based feedback mechanism that acts like a word of mouth referral system,” says Au.

Classium has been bootstrapped to date, though Au admits he has received investment offers during the initial stages of development. Whilst the offers were appealing, Au decided to decline. He says that he needed to maintain independence in order to realise his full vision for the site.

“It has been a lot of hard work getting to this point; and while I am not actively looking to raise funds, I would be very interested to find the right partner who can help me grow the business quicker,” Au adds.

Classium is currently based on three-fold monthly subscription model - solo, group and venue.  Fitness providers pay a monthly subscription fee to set up their profiles from which they can schedule as many classes as they wish. This model has been explored before by startups such as FitUsIn who chose to go with a different model after doing their own market research before they launched and went through the Innovyz START program.

Booking a class is completely free for the end-user, which was a deliberate choice on behalf of Au.

“We didn’t want to put up any barriers for booking classes and so that’s the reason that we chose not to charge users to book. Users instead pay the provider in person when they attend the class,” Au says.

“There may be other monetisation opportunities available further down the track but right now our primary concern is to grab market share.”

Au is fully cognisant of the fact that there are competitors in the FitTech marketplace - one being startup FitUsIn, which is slightly different in that  it allows fitness enthusiasts to find, compare and book the best fitness deals via fitusin.com.au or through the startup’s smartphone app. Gyms also have websites that have booking systems integrated into it - however, classes are usually exclusive to members.

Au stresses that rival platforms often require up-front purchases of class packs or vouchers, which creates another task for the user.

“Competitors’ websites force the user to ring the class provider after they make a purchase in order to find out their fitness schedules. Worse still, after they attend the first class it may not be to their liking however in some cases they are stuck with multiple prepaid sessions,” he adds.

There are currently over 30 fitness providers offering more than 1,000 classes on Classium. Au confidently says that their user base is growing at 100 percent week on week - including fitness providers and participants. There are also more than 100 people actively booking classes on Classium.

“Encouragingly, we are already seeing providers direct their current clients to book through the site.  In this way our fitness providers are helping us to promote the site through their own networks,” says Au.

Much of this growth has been attributed to social media promotion and word-of-mouth referrals. LinkedIn has been the most effective tool for acquiring fitness providers - though Au admits that the ‘chicken and egg’ paradox presents a significant challenge for the startup.

“Classium needs to secure one end of the market (providers) in order to attract fitness users, and vice-versa,” says Au. “We are conscious that the benefits for providers are very different to those offered to participants.”

To address this challenge, Classium is offering fitness providers a three-month membership for free, and is also set to launch campaigns that encourage users to refer other fitness providers. The plan is to grow the number of classes offered on Classium, so that consumers have a wider range to choose from.

Given Classium is still in its infancy, Au says the focus for him at the moment is to grow the user base, prior to developing an app. There are also a number of new features and tweaks already in the pipeline based on early customer feedback. Au says global expansion is not on the cards, at least not until Classium is operating on a proven, sustainable business model.

More information is available via www.classium.com.au.

]]>
DennisFav

Many prefer to exercise solo; they hop onto the elliptical machine and listen to Spotify or Pandora to tune out their surroundings. Others enjoy the social nature of fitness classes. But more and more Australians are looking for flexible, less-structured alternatives, rather committing to a single workout routine or class. A new Sydney-based startup Classium wants to get more Australians prioritising their daily fitness and health. Launched in August this year, Classium allows Australians to search for and book a fitness or recreational class like they would book a restaurant - and all on a web-based platform.

Founded by fitness enthusiast and IT veteran, Dennis Au, Classium is a new meeting place for fitness class seekers and their local specialised studios, gyms, bootcamps, instructor groups and personal trainers. Rather than having fleeting motivation to exercise, and then being put off by the need to sift through thousands of search results on Google, Classium allows Australians to expedite the process of finding the right class for them.

On Classium, users to search for all kinds of physical and recreational activities: strength and cardio, Pilates, yoga, martial arts, bootcamps, sports, fitness for kids, pre/post natal and dance. Class seekers can also filter the search results by time, budget, fitness level and age group.

The best part (or perhaps the worst) is that users are not required to make any long-term commitments to a particular fitness class or gym membership. Classium users have the option of participating in casual classes or programmes, so those who don’t want to be locked into a long-term contract or membership have a way of staying active regardless of whether they just moved suburbs, are on a business trip, or just wanting to try something new.

“The reason that Classium is disruptive is because it is the only website that allows users to book a class online without first having to purchase a gym membership or courses upfront.  Our system does not take commissions from anyone booking a class and it empowers users to try a class without the commitment of long-term memberships,” Au explains.

“It also assists providers in establishing their classes online minus the associated expense of building a website, a booking management system and advertising costs.”

Classium does not only function as a search and booking engine, but also a social media platform, allowing users to invite their friends to join, rate and review classes or instructors. This means that users are able to make an informed decision, removing some of the uncertainty associated with trying a new activity or instructor.

“Some of our competitors are focused upon catch-all booking platforms that sell pre-paid classes or vouchers. Other sites are little more than basic fitness directories without booking functionality or backend systems linked to existing websites,” says Au.

For fitness providers, Classium functions as a promotional platform wherein they acquire new customers. They can share images and videos and create a community around their business, and also offer discounts to fill up empty spots. Or if they want, providers can simply use Classium as a booking management system. After setting up their profiles, they can invite their existing client-base onto the system so that they have full control over their bookings in one place.

When asked about what inspired Au to create Classium, he recalls a holiday in Vietnam. Midway through 2012, Au took a break from his career and spent six months cycling across Vietnam from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City.

“I needed to clear my head and cycling provided the perfect opportunity for introspection and thought.  One day on the bike it occurred to me that if I wanted to locate and book a cycling class in Sydney there was no easy way to do it,” he says.

Upon returning to Sydney, Au decided to put his theory to the test. During a BBQ gathering, Au’s friends explained that when moving to a new suburb it’s often difficult to find a local yoga class or fitness provider without first having to wade through many websites.

“The worst part is, when you do find an instructor that you’re happy with, nine times out of ten you can’t get in contact with them or the class time you want is not available. And so the idea for Classium was born,” Au adds.

[caption id="attachment_33310" align="alignnone" width="1398"]Screen Shot 2014-09-16 at 10.12.16 am Classium.com.au[/caption]

When it came to the design of the www.classium.com.au, there were four values important to Au. The website has to communicate: energy, enthusiasm, inclusiveness and empowerment.

“I believe physical activity enlivens these attributes in a person when they discover an activity that they enjoy participating in,” Au explains.

He had to bear in mind the needs of a wide variety of consumers, rather than focus solely on fitness fanatics.

“Because I am entering into a “chicken and egg” or two-way market … the site design focuses on those feelings I believe we all share when we enjoy a physical activity, whether we are a professional or beginner,” says Au.

He admits that he initially wanted to create a website that catered for all types of class bookings - including painting. But the market research he undertook revealed that there are 4 million Australians participating in the fitness industry, which is predicted to increase to 7 million users by 2020.

“Most of this demand is satiated by small to medium-sized businesses with total revenue of over $1.2 billion in 2012 (Fitness Australia). However, walking the streets and talking to a number of class providers, I discovered that there is a huge gap in the fitness industry,” says Au.

“There’s currently a growing demand for fitness classes from time poor fitness enthusiast and there’s no easy way to find providers and suitable fitness classes.”

Au came to the conclusion that a platform allowing clients to locate services close to their home and work was an emerging need; and in order to fully capitalise on this market, Classium would have to be more than a booking management system. It would need to incorporate a social element.

“By adding this social aspect to fitness we provide a valuable user-based feedback mechanism that acts like a word of mouth referral system,” says Au.

Classium has been bootstrapped to date, though Au admits he has received investment offers during the initial stages of development. Whilst the offers were appealing, Au decided to decline. He says that he needed to maintain independence in order to realise his full vision for the site.

“It has been a lot of hard work getting to this point; and while I am not actively looking to raise funds, I would be very interested to find the right partner who can help me grow the business quicker,” Au adds.

Classium is currently based on three-fold monthly subscription model - solo, group and venue.  Fitness providers pay a monthly subscription fee to set up their profiles from which they can schedule as many classes as they wish. This model has been explored before by startups such as FitUsIn who chose to go with a different model after doing their own market research before they launched and went through the Innovyz START program.

Booking a class is completely free for the end-user, which was a deliberate choice on behalf of Au.

“We didn’t want to put up any barriers for booking classes and so that’s the reason that we chose not to charge users to book. Users instead pay the provider in person when they attend the class,” Au says.

“There may be other monetisation opportunities available further down the track but right now our primary concern is to grab market share.”

Au is fully cognisant of the fact that there are competitors in the FitTech marketplace - one being startup FitUsIn, which is slightly different in that  it allows fitness enthusiasts to find, compare and book the best fitness deals via fitusin.com.au or through the startup’s smartphone app. Gyms also have websites that have booking systems integrated into it - however, classes are usually exclusive to members.

Au stresses that rival platforms often require up-front purchases of class packs or vouchers, which creates another task for the user.

“Competitors’ websites force the user to ring the class provider after they make a purchase in order to find out their fitness schedules. Worse still, after they attend the first class it may not be to their liking however in some cases they are stuck with multiple prepaid sessions,” he adds.

There are currently over 30 fitness providers offering more than 1,000 classes on Classium. Au confidently says that their user base is growing at 100 percent week on week - including fitness providers and participants. There are also more than 100 people actively booking classes on Classium.

“Encouragingly, we are already seeing providers direct their current clients to book through the site.  In this way our fitness providers are helping us to promote the site through their own networks,” says Au.

Much of this growth has been attributed to social media promotion and word-of-mouth referrals. LinkedIn has been the most effective tool for acquiring fitness providers - though Au admits that the ‘chicken and egg’ paradox presents a significant challenge for the startup.

“Classium needs to secure one end of the market (providers) in order to attract fitness users, and vice-versa,” says Au. “We are conscious that the benefits for providers are very different to those offered to participants.”

To address this challenge, Classium is offering fitness providers a three-month membership for free, and is also set to launch campaigns that encourage users to refer other fitness providers. The plan is to grow the number of classes offered on Classium, so that consumers have a wider range to choose from.

Given Classium is still in its infancy, Au says the focus for him at the moment is to grow the user base, prior to developing an app. There are also a number of new features and tweaks already in the pipeline based on early customer feedback. Au says global expansion is not on the cards, at least not until Classium is operating on a proven, sustainable business model.

More information is available via www.classium.com.au.

]]>
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Social startup TravelGiver celebrates first birthday, new travel partners and launch of corporate programme http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/09/social-startup-travelgiver-celebrates-first-birthday-new-travel-partners-launch-corporate-programme/ http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/09/social-startup-travelgiver-celebrates-first-birthday-new-travel-partners-launch-corporate-programme/#comments Mon, 15 Sep 2014 23:00:37 +0000 http://www.startupdaily.com.au/?p=33312 Untitled design (4)

It's been a little over a year since TravelGiver - a travel booking site for socially-conscious travellers - was launched by founder Kimi Anderson. In celebration of its first year of growth, the startup has announced a range of new travel partners and charity projects, a corporate program for businesses, and the launch of a new website that will making the booking process easier.

Prior to embarking on her philanthropic startup venture, Anderson spent 12 years working in the hospitality and tourism industry for global brands including Best Western Australasia. Her passion for travel isn't therefore unprecedented, but neither is her passion for philanthropy.

Anderson was adopted from Vietnam at a young age, and she has since enjoyed growing up in a loving family and creating one of her own. While life was good for her – having a supportive husband, a beautiful daughter, and a great job – last year, she strongly felt she needed to do more with her life.

“I have enjoyed a life full of opportunities … I feel very lucky, and by way of giving back, I launched TravelGiver.com with clear objectives – firstly, to raise awareness of amazing projects that are out there – give them a voice and help them raise funds,” says Anderson. Launched in August 2013, TravelGiver allows travellers to book flights, accommodation, packages, car rentals, cruises insurance and travel guides - practically everything a traveller needs to plan a holiday. The real kicker is that travellers are able to donate up to 8 percent of their booking cost to a community project of their choice at no extra cost. 

In the past year, TravelGiver has expanded from 40 projects in four countries to over 300 in 50 countries, giving travellers a greater choice of where their money goes. The site has also become a social platform for travellers to research projects, share experiences and discover initiatives to visit in-person when overseas.

Anderson has told Startup Daily previously that many people these days want to make a change but don’t know where to begin.“TravelGiver.com allows people to feel good about giving; and if they are visiting the project destination, they can volunteer or see for themselves what kind of impact they can make,” she says. “I can guarantee you that a few hours at a good project will be the highlight of everyone’s two week holiday”.

This month, 15 new booking partners including major travel brands Etihad, Booking.com, Intrepid Travel and Hertz will be joining existing partners including Expedia, Lonely Planet, Zuji, Best Western and Accor.

"After a year in business, I’ve been overwhelmed by how many people have got onboard with TravelGiver and the concept of giving while travelling. Long may it continue!”

A new corporate program has been added so that business travellers have the option to select their preferred community project to make giving quick and easy every time they hop on board a plane.

The new website will also include features making it even easier to navigate and book with more booking specials, social media streams where users can share their experiences and rate community projects, and a new animated How To video. 

]]>
Untitled design (4)

It's been a little over a year since TravelGiver - a travel booking site for socially-conscious travellers - was launched by founder Kimi Anderson. In celebration of its first year of growth, the startup has announced a range of new travel partners and charity projects, a corporate program for businesses, and the launch of a new website that will making the booking process easier.

Prior to embarking on her philanthropic startup venture, Anderson spent 12 years working in the hospitality and tourism industry for global brands including Best Western Australasia. Her passion for travel isn't therefore unprecedented, but neither is her passion for philanthropy.

Anderson was adopted from Vietnam at a young age, and she has since enjoyed growing up in a loving family and creating one of her own. While life was good for her – having a supportive husband, a beautiful daughter, and a great job – last year, she strongly felt she needed to do more with her life.

“I have enjoyed a life full of opportunities … I feel very lucky, and by way of giving back, I launched TravelGiver.com with clear objectives – firstly, to raise awareness of amazing projects that are out there – give them a voice and help them raise funds,” says Anderson. Launched in August 2013, TravelGiver allows travellers to book flights, accommodation, packages, car rentals, cruises insurance and travel guides - practically everything a traveller needs to plan a holiday. The real kicker is that travellers are able to donate up to 8 percent of their booking cost to a community project of their choice at no extra cost. 

In the past year, TravelGiver has expanded from 40 projects in four countries to over 300 in 50 countries, giving travellers a greater choice of where their money goes. The site has also become a social platform for travellers to research projects, share experiences and discover initiatives to visit in-person when overseas.

Anderson has told Startup Daily previously that many people these days want to make a change but don’t know where to begin.“TravelGiver.com allows people to feel good about giving; and if they are visiting the project destination, they can volunteer or see for themselves what kind of impact they can make,” she says. “I can guarantee you that a few hours at a good project will be the highlight of everyone’s two week holiday”.

This month, 15 new booking partners including major travel brands Etihad, Booking.com, Intrepid Travel and Hertz will be joining existing partners including Expedia, Lonely Planet, Zuji, Best Western and Accor.

"After a year in business, I’ve been overwhelmed by how many people have got onboard with TravelGiver and the concept of giving while travelling. Long may it continue!”

A new corporate program has been added so that business travellers have the option to select their preferred community project to make giving quick and easy every time they hop on board a plane.

The new website will also include features making it even easier to navigate and book with more booking specials, social media streams where users can share their experiences and rate community projects, and a new animated How To video. 

]]>
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FinTech startup Stockspot launches free pinwheel widget for investors to compare ETFs http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/09/fintech-startup-stockspot-launches-free-pinwheel-widget-investors-compare-efts/ http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/09/fintech-startup-stockspot-launches-free-pinwheel-widget-investors-compare-efts/#comments Mon, 15 Sep 2014 03:04:13 +0000 http://www.startupdaily.com.au/?p=33284 7bb8355c-6430-4a25-b321-3b9b85fee612

FinTech startup Stockspot has today announced the launch of a new online widget which allows investors to compare Australia’s booming $12.4 billion exchange-traded fund (ETF) market.

Using Stockspot’s free pinwheel widget, investors can compare 94 ASX-listed ETFs based on fees, distribution yield, bid/ask spread and more. In a media release, Stockspot Founder Chris Brycki explains that one of the main reasons why advisors and fund managers are able to charge exorbitant fees is because there is very little decipherable information available to investors.  He says, finance industry has been a “black box, indecipherable to the average investor”. According to Stockspot, “unfair fees” made up 45 percent of managed fund returns between 2008 and 2013.

“Information asymmetry between the financial services industry and investors creates a moral hazard that has been rich pickings for unscrupulous financial advisors who have for too long been enriching themselves at the expense of consumers,” says Brycki.

[caption id="attachment_33287" align="alignnone" width="774"]Stockspot Pinwheel Widget Stockspot Pinwheel Widget[/caption]

Stockspot, on the other hand, aims to be ‘the fourth estate’ of the finance industry, bringing much needed transparency with the help of modern technology. Founded in 2013, Stockspot offers an automated investment service, combining personal investment advice with portfolio construction and a cloud-based architecture.

Brycki is fully cognisant of the fact that his startup has entered the $2 trillion investment industry, dominated by Australia’s four big banks and their distribution networks. But as an experienced trader, Brycki knows the industry inside-out.

“Where people do seek advice they are becoming increasingly aware of the conflicts of interest that exist within the industry. We want to help Australians cut through the many confusing messages out there to achieve the best possible long-term returns on their investments,” Brycki has stated in a previous media release.

The launch of the online pinwheel widget also couldn’t come at a better time, with the Australian ETF market hitting a record high of $12.4 billion in assets under management in August, according to BetaShares. This is up almost 50 percent in just a year.

According to Stockspot, this is being driven by self-managed super funds seeking a simple way to build diversified portfolios that include a range of asset classes including local and international shares and bonds.

The pinwheel widget, which will be updated regularly, reveals that of the 94 ASX-listed ETFs: 70 have more than $5 million under management; average fee is 0.26 percent compared to 1.91 percent for bank platform managed funds; average yield (dividend/distribution) is 3.25 percent; and average return over the last year was 9.25 percent.

In April this year, Stockspot was the first of many startups to receive funding ($250,000) from AWI Ventures – a venture fund launched by Federal Minister for Communications, Malcolm Turnbull. The startup was more recently named runner-up in the SydStart pitching competition.

]]>
7bb8355c-6430-4a25-b321-3b9b85fee612

FinTech startup Stockspot has today announced the launch of a new online widget which allows investors to compare Australia’s booming $12.4 billion exchange-traded fund (ETF) market.

Using Stockspot’s free pinwheel widget, investors can compare 94 ASX-listed ETFs based on fees, distribution yield, bid/ask spread and more. In a media release, Stockspot Founder Chris Brycki explains that one of the main reasons why advisors and fund managers are able to charge exorbitant fees is because there is very little decipherable information available to investors.  He says, finance industry has been a “black box, indecipherable to the average investor”. According to Stockspot, “unfair fees” made up 45 percent of managed fund returns between 2008 and 2013.

“Information asymmetry between the financial services industry and investors creates a moral hazard that has been rich pickings for unscrupulous financial advisors who have for too long been enriching themselves at the expense of consumers,” says Brycki.

[caption id="attachment_33287" align="alignnone" width="774"]Stockspot Pinwheel Widget Stockspot Pinwheel Widget[/caption]

Stockspot, on the other hand, aims to be ‘the fourth estate’ of the finance industry, bringing much needed transparency with the help of modern technology. Founded in 2013, Stockspot offers an automated investment service, combining personal investment advice with portfolio construction and a cloud-based architecture.

Brycki is fully cognisant of the fact that his startup has entered the $2 trillion investment industry, dominated by Australia’s four big banks and their distribution networks. But as an experienced trader, Brycki knows the industry inside-out.

“Where people do seek advice they are becoming increasingly aware of the conflicts of interest that exist within the industry. We want to help Australians cut through the many confusing messages out there to achieve the best possible long-term returns on their investments,” Brycki has stated in a previous media release.

The launch of the online pinwheel widget also couldn’t come at a better time, with the Australian ETF market hitting a record high of $12.4 billion in assets under management in August, according to BetaShares. This is up almost 50 percent in just a year.

According to Stockspot, this is being driven by self-managed super funds seeking a simple way to build diversified portfolios that include a range of asset classes including local and international shares and bonds.

The pinwheel widget, which will be updated regularly, reveals that of the 94 ASX-listed ETFs: 70 have more than $5 million under management; average fee is 0.26 percent compared to 1.91 percent for bank platform managed funds; average yield (dividend/distribution) is 3.25 percent; and average return over the last year was 9.25 percent.

In April this year, Stockspot was the first of many startups to receive funding ($250,000) from AWI Ventures – a venture fund launched by Federal Minister for Communications, Malcolm Turnbull. The startup was more recently named runner-up in the SydStart pitching competition.

]]>
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If your core team is made up of ‘yes men’, they shouldn’t be part of your core team http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/09/core-team-made-yes-men-shouldnt-part-core-team/ http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/09/core-team-made-yes-men-shouldnt-part-core-team/#comments Mon, 15 Sep 2014 00:43:51 +0000 http://www.startupdaily.com.au/?p=33138 Untitled design

Last week, I was put in my place by a member of my team. As entrepreneurs, feedback about our business in general can be hard to swallow - but personal feedback about yourself IS personal, no matter what way you choose to spit and shine the situation. Sitting down last night, and doing a run through of last week's activities in my head before bed - something I do on most Sundays - I thought to myself, 'Fuck Yeah! A member of my team put ME in my place last week'. Confused? Don't be. It's a pretty simple situation. Given my background in senior management in a corporate environment, I recognised what was happening immediately: that person is turning into a strong leader. I'm proud they put me in my place. 'Yes men and women' present a very dangerous problem for entrepreneurs. As the founder of a startup, you are constantly seeking validation to ensure you are on the right track, and the first place you usually look for that is your team - even before your customers. It sounds counterintuitive, but it's reality. Undue validation can often result in fostering 'ego' within a founder; and that is the worst possible place to operate from. Having a group of people around you that praise you, never question you and always agree with everything you say actually sabotages your business. To operate a business successfully, to know what it is you actually need to do in order to grow your company, you need the whole story - this includes the good, the bad and the ugly truth. 'Yes people' are focused on you as the business owner. They are not focused on the business, and they certainly are not keeping abreast of what is happening in the wider industry. As a leader, you need to counteract that by making sure your employees' focus is primarily on the customers of the business. Your feelings, your pride and your opinion should always be the last part of the decision-making process. When my employee put me in my place the other day I had two choices: 1. Feel vindicated 2. Feel validated I am going to be perfectly honest here and say my knee jerk reaction was to feel vindication and I became defensive. But then, my employee said to me, "You are now being defensive, you need to listen". Tension. But I did sit back and listen. I let a mirror be held up to my faults and it was extremely uncomfortable. The validation part never came until about 24 hours after. I should be proud that I chose THAT person to be part of my core team. They genuinely care about the business first - and as a founder, that is important for me. Selecting the people that will become part of your core team is perhaps the most important task a founder of a startup will ever do. Susan Tardanico, CEO of the Authentic Leadership Alliance, spoke of the different roles you need to have within your inner circle in a Forbes article a few years ago:
Inner Circle Roles There is a range of perspectives that, when combined in an inner circle, can be a powerful leadership asset. The Contrarian pushes you to think differently by taking opposite views; constantly questions, using worst-case and “what if” scenarios to challenge your thinking. The Everyman is plugged into the lower levels of the organization and can help you understand the impact of your actions from that perspective. The Optimist provides best-case scenarios and positive energy during difficult times. The Voice of the Customer is an advocate for your clients and helps you stay aware of their needs, perspectives, expectations and competitive choices. The Bleeding Heart is the empathetic member of your circle and keeps you aware of the potential impact of your decisions and actions on people. The Sage is hard to come by. If you’re lucky enough to have one, a sage helps you stay calm amid the storm; is a thoughtful strategist; plays the role of coach; and has the most impartial point of view of all.
As a leader you need to encourage an environment of candid and critical feedback. Yes, it is important to have a can-do positive work environment. However this can only be achieved when you as a leader are aware of everything happening within the organisation - you need to know this so you are making good decisions. In my case, I needed a contrarian to make me think long and hard about a particular perception I was creating about myself - it's awesome to have nipped it in the bud before it became a problem within the growing organisation. Now THAT would have been a disaster. ]]>
Untitled design

Last week, I was put in my place by a member of my team. As entrepreneurs, feedback about our business in general can be hard to swallow - but personal feedback about yourself IS personal, no matter what way you choose to spit and shine the situation. Sitting down last night, and doing a run through of last week's activities in my head before bed - something I do on most Sundays - I thought to myself, 'Fuck Yeah! A member of my team put ME in my place last week'. Confused? Don't be. It's a pretty simple situation. Given my background in senior management in a corporate environment, I recognised what was happening immediately: that person is turning into a strong leader. I'm proud they put me in my place. 'Yes men and women' present a very dangerous problem for entrepreneurs. As the founder of a startup, you are constantly seeking validation to ensure you are on the right track, and the first place you usually look for that is your team - even before your customers. It sounds counterintuitive, but it's reality. Undue validation can often result in fostering 'ego' within a founder; and that is the worst possible place to operate from. Having a group of people around you that praise you, never question you and always agree with everything you say actually sabotages your business. To operate a business successfully, to know what it is you actually need to do in order to grow your company, you need the whole story - this includes the good, the bad and the ugly truth. 'Yes people' are focused on you as the business owner. They are not focused on the business, and they certainly are not keeping abreast of what is happening in the wider industry. As a leader, you need to counteract that by making sure your employees' focus is primarily on the customers of the business. Your feelings, your pride and your opinion should always be the last part of the decision-making process. When my employee put me in my place the other day I had two choices: 1. Feel vindicated 2. Feel validated I am going to be perfectly honest here and say my knee jerk reaction was to feel vindication and I became defensive. But then, my employee said to me, "You are now being defensive, you need to listen". Tension. But I did sit back and listen. I let a mirror be held up to my faults and it was extremely uncomfortable. The validation part never came until about 24 hours after. I should be proud that I chose THAT person to be part of my core team. They genuinely care about the business first - and as a founder, that is important for me. Selecting the people that will become part of your core team is perhaps the most important task a founder of a startup will ever do. Susan Tardanico, CEO of the Authentic Leadership Alliance, spoke of the different roles you need to have within your inner circle in a Forbes article a few years ago:
Inner Circle Roles There is a range of perspectives that, when combined in an inner circle, can be a powerful leadership asset. The Contrarian pushes you to think differently by taking opposite views; constantly questions, using worst-case and “what if” scenarios to challenge your thinking. The Everyman is plugged into the lower levels of the organization and can help you understand the impact of your actions from that perspective. The Optimist provides best-case scenarios and positive energy during difficult times. The Voice of the Customer is an advocate for your clients and helps you stay aware of their needs, perspectives, expectations and competitive choices. The Bleeding Heart is the empathetic member of your circle and keeps you aware of the potential impact of your decisions and actions on people. The Sage is hard to come by. If you’re lucky enough to have one, a sage helps you stay calm amid the storm; is a thoughtful strategist; plays the role of coach; and has the most impartial point of view of all.
As a leader you need to encourage an environment of candid and critical feedback. Yes, it is important to have a can-do positive work environment. However this can only be achieved when you as a leader are aware of everything happening within the organisation - you need to know this so you are making good decisions. In my case, I needed a contrarian to make me think long and hard about a particular perception I was creating about myself - it's awesome to have nipped it in the bud before it became a problem within the growing organisation. Now THAT would have been a disaster. ]]>
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Can FindaConsultant gain enough traction to play with the ‘big boys’? http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/09/can-findaconsultant-gain-enough-traction-play-big-boys/ http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/09/can-findaconsultant-gain-enough-traction-play-big-boys/#comments Sun, 14 Sep 2014 23:44:01 +0000 http://www.startupdaily.com.au/?p=33217 Untitled design (4)

Let's be honest, the consulting industry is dominated by pinstripe suits and fat cigars. There are also a select group of major players that possess a majority marketshare in this space globally. However, the tides are turning. Entrepreneurs such as Expert360's Bridget Loudon and Emily Yue, as well as FindaConsultant's Sharon Melamed are proving that the future of the consulting space is all about disrupting the gender imbalance that currently exists and forging a path for the upcoming generation of young women.

FindaConsultant is the latest online service to help bring businesses and consultants together. The Australian startup aims to disrupt the B2B sector where there has been a notable lack of tailored recommendations for businesses.

Sharon Melamed says that idea for FindaConsultant came from her initial business, Matchboard, which was an online tool to help companies find the right vendors for their sales, service and back office needs. These needs eventually extended to consulting services where Melamed noticed a potential market gap she could exploit.

“What we found was that our clients were requesting consulting services beyond the niche we specialise in,” she said.

“They loved the customer experience consultant we recommended, but now they wanted a marketing consultant, a change management consultant, a strategy consultant with diverse industry experience.”

Melamed has setup FindaConsultant so that it makes money through a commission on the consulting revenues the consultant earns from their referral for a one year period. What is unique is that this is an honesty system where Melamed relies on the consultants to report their revenues accurately every month.

This particular model could potentially prove an inherent risk to the business as competitors like Expert360 have developed a robust and failsafe backend that negates the need for this type of process. Melamed could also face some challenges in the consulting market through tough competition where a select few companies dominate making it difficult for the smaller players to crack.

Regardless, Melamed is not phased. If the reception of the service if the past 24 hours is anything to go by, FindaConsultant could grow rapidly as it receives more publicity. Melamed says that they’ve already already received clients and their first official announcement is exclusively through Startup Daily.

There are already a few competitors on the market who connect people with experts but Melmed says she isn’t too phased. She identifies a key difference of FindaConsultant being that they are not a middleman platform. “Consultants bill the users of our service directly, they have a direct relationship.  We don’t stand in the middle,” she says.

Melamed similarly explains that they’ve developed a proprietary matching software which connects the buyers with consultants based on specific needs entered into their intuitive online wizard.

If variety is what the customer needs, Melamed also has that base covered. She says that at the moment, there is no one on the market offering the range of consultants that her service has.

“A small business might prefer to deal with a sole practitioner consultant, while a large organisation may need to work with a big brand consultancy to endorse their recommendations to the Board. And of course there are many boutique consultancies in the middle.”

Melamed assures the quality of her service by pre-screening consultants - a task which she says is too big for other players to do. “We check multiple client references, the consultancy’s website, social media reviews and ABN just to start.”

There weren’t many challenges in developing FindaConsultant as Melamed had already leveraged a lot of the software development knowledge from her previous business, Matchboard.

She says that her end goal is to make it easier for all businesses, of any shape or size, to find the right consultants. “We want to save people time and minimise the risk of a poor consulting experience through our pre-screened approach.”

]]>
Untitled design (4)

Let's be honest, the consulting industry is dominated by pinstripe suits and fat cigars. There are also a select group of major players that possess a majority marketshare in this space globally. However, the tides are turning. Entrepreneurs such as Expert360's Bridget Loudon and Emily Yue, as well as FindaConsultant's Sharon Melamed are proving that the future of the consulting space is all about disrupting the gender imbalance that currently exists and forging a path for the upcoming generation of young women.

FindaConsultant is the latest online service to help bring businesses and consultants together. The Australian startup aims to disrupt the B2B sector where there has been a notable lack of tailored recommendations for businesses.

Sharon Melamed says that idea for FindaConsultant came from her initial business, Matchboard, which was an online tool to help companies find the right vendors for their sales, service and back office needs. These needs eventually extended to consulting services where Melamed noticed a potential market gap she could exploit.

“What we found was that our clients were requesting consulting services beyond the niche we specialise in,” she said.

“They loved the customer experience consultant we recommended, but now they wanted a marketing consultant, a change management consultant, a strategy consultant with diverse industry experience.”

Melamed has setup FindaConsultant so that it makes money through a commission on the consulting revenues the consultant earns from their referral for a one year period. What is unique is that this is an honesty system where Melamed relies on the consultants to report their revenues accurately every month.

This particular model could potentially prove an inherent risk to the business as competitors like Expert360 have developed a robust and failsafe backend that negates the need for this type of process. Melamed could also face some challenges in the consulting market through tough competition where a select few companies dominate making it difficult for the smaller players to crack.

Regardless, Melamed is not phased. If the reception of the service if the past 24 hours is anything to go by, FindaConsultant could grow rapidly as it receives more publicity. Melamed says that they’ve already already received clients and their first official announcement is exclusively through Startup Daily.

There are already a few competitors on the market who connect people with experts but Melmed says she isn’t too phased. She identifies a key difference of FindaConsultant being that they are not a middleman platform. “Consultants bill the users of our service directly, they have a direct relationship.  We don’t stand in the middle,” she says.

Melamed similarly explains that they’ve developed a proprietary matching software which connects the buyers with consultants based on specific needs entered into their intuitive online wizard.

If variety is what the customer needs, Melamed also has that base covered. She says that at the moment, there is no one on the market offering the range of consultants that her service has.

“A small business might prefer to deal with a sole practitioner consultant, while a large organisation may need to work with a big brand consultancy to endorse their recommendations to the Board. And of course there are many boutique consultancies in the middle.”

Melamed assures the quality of her service by pre-screening consultants - a task which she says is too big for other players to do. “We check multiple client references, the consultancy’s website, social media reviews and ABN just to start.”

There weren’t many challenges in developing FindaConsultant as Melamed had already leveraged a lot of the software development knowledge from her previous business, Matchboard.

She says that her end goal is to make it easier for all businesses, of any shape or size, to find the right consultants. “We want to save people time and minimise the risk of a poor consulting experience through our pre-screened approach.”

]]>
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Google offering startups $100,000 in Cloud Platform credit for one year http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/09/google-offering-startups-100000-cloud-platform-credit-one-year/ http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/09/google-offering-startups-100000-cloud-platform-credit-one-year/#comments Sun, 14 Sep 2014 22:49:29 +0000 http://www.startupdaily.com.au/?p=33249 google-cloud-internal-nologo

Demonstrating its love for startups (and need for requited love from startups), Google is offering early-stage startups $100,000 in Cloud Platform credit for one year. This is a fairly clever customer acquisition strategy because chances are startups will continue using Google’s suite of products, but will have to start paying their bills after 12 months.

The Google Cloud Platform for Startups initiative was announced last Friday at the Google for Entrepreneurs Global Partner Summit, by Urs Hölzle, Senior Vice President, Technical Infrastructure and Google Fellow. The initiative is intended to help startups “quickly launch and scale their idea”.

“[W]e want developers to focus on code; not worry about managing infrastructure,” writes Google’s Director of Developer Relations, Julie Pearl, on the company’s blog.

In addition to the $100,000 worth of Cloud Platform credits, startups will also be able to schedule office hours for one-on-one technical architecture reviews, and have access to 24/7 phone support.

To be eligible for this offer, startups must be less than five years old, have raised less than $5 million in funding, and generate less than $500,000 in annual revenue. They must also be part of one of 50 accelerator programmes, incubators and VC funds around the world that Google has already partnered with - such as Y Combinator, 500 Startups, SV Angel, Techstars and of course Google Ventures.

The company plans to grow its partner-base, and is interested in hearing from other accelerators, incubators and VCs around the world who want to join the programme.

On Google’s blog, Pearl doesn’t shy away from boasting the success of companies like Snapchat and Khan Academy that have built applications on Google Cloud Platform.

“It has been amazing to watch Snapchat send over 700 million photos and videos a day and Khan Academy teach millions of students. We look forward to helping the next generation of startups launch great products,” Pearl writes.

Google Cloud Platform for Startups isn’t a first-of-its-kind initiative. Amazon Web Services (AWS) has been offering its ‘Portfolio Package’ to accelerators, incubators and VC funds since late-2013, through its programme AWS Activate. In this programme, Amazon offers startups up to $15,000 in AWS credit, which is admittedly small compared to Google’s offering. Then again, it’s unlikely that startups will be using $100,000 ($8,300+/month) worth of infrastructure - not that it would be a bad idea to take advantage of the offer.

More information on Google Cloud Platform for Startups is available via cloud.google.com/startups.

]]>
google-cloud-internal-nologo

Demonstrating its love for startups (and need for requited love from startups), Google is offering early-stage startups $100,000 in Cloud Platform credit for one year. This is a fairly clever customer acquisition strategy because chances are startups will continue using Google’s suite of products, but will have to start paying their bills after 12 months.

The Google Cloud Platform for Startups initiative was announced last Friday at the Google for Entrepreneurs Global Partner Summit, by Urs Hölzle, Senior Vice President, Technical Infrastructure and Google Fellow. The initiative is intended to help startups “quickly launch and scale their idea”.

“[W]e want developers to focus on code; not worry about managing infrastructure,” writes Google’s Director of Developer Relations, Julie Pearl, on the company’s blog.

In addition to the $100,000 worth of Cloud Platform credits, startups will also be able to schedule office hours for one-on-one technical architecture reviews, and have access to 24/7 phone support.

To be eligible for this offer, startups must be less than five years old, have raised less than $5 million in funding, and generate less than $500,000 in annual revenue. They must also be part of one of 50 accelerator programmes, incubators and VC funds around the world that Google has already partnered with - such as Y Combinator, 500 Startups, SV Angel, Techstars and of course Google Ventures.

The company plans to grow its partner-base, and is interested in hearing from other accelerators, incubators and VCs around the world who want to join the programme.

On Google’s blog, Pearl doesn’t shy away from boasting the success of companies like Snapchat and Khan Academy that have built applications on Google Cloud Platform.

“It has been amazing to watch Snapchat send over 700 million photos and videos a day and Khan Academy teach millions of students. We look forward to helping the next generation of startups launch great products,” Pearl writes.

Google Cloud Platform for Startups isn’t a first-of-its-kind initiative. Amazon Web Services (AWS) has been offering its ‘Portfolio Package’ to accelerators, incubators and VC funds since late-2013, through its programme AWS Activate. In this programme, Amazon offers startups up to $15,000 in AWS credit, which is admittedly small compared to Google’s offering. Then again, it’s unlikely that startups will be using $100,000 ($8,300+/month) worth of infrastructure - not that it would be a bad idea to take advantage of the offer.

More information on Google Cloud Platform for Startups is available via cloud.google.com/startups.

]]>
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Want to pitch your startup to Elon Musk in Dublin? http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/09/want-pitch-startup-elon-musk-dublin/ http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/09/want-pitch-startup-elon-musk-dublin/#comments Fri, 12 Sep 2014 01:17:32 +0000 http://www.startupdaily.com.au/?p=33204 Screen Shot 2014-09-12 at 11.43.04 am

The startup space can be fragmented at the best of times with entrepreneurs caught in their own bubble. Global technology conference Web Summit aims to change this by allowing entrepreneurs from over 100 different countries pitch their startup to the world’s biggest investors and names in the scene.

Web Summit 2014 is being held in Dublin, Ireland from the 4th to the 6th of November, and will bring together major founders to the likes of Jack Dorsey (Twitter), Reed Hastings (Netflix), Elon Musk (PayPal, Tesla, Space X), Arianna Huffington (Huffington Post) and Niklas Zennström (Skype), who will all be onboard to judge contestants from around the world. Big name investors such as Accel, Google Ventures, Goldman Sachs will also be in attendance to look for the next recipient of major cash injection.

If publicity is your game, major media outlets Reuters, The New York Times, BBC and Forbes will be on hand to provide global coverage of the competition. Still keen?

'Pitch' is eligible to any startup that has received under $3 million in funding to date with no discernible changes to the core business model in the past 3 years. If you make it into the top 200 startups, you will be eligible to present your idea to the panel of investors alongside major media outlets and thousands of attendees.

The competition will be held over 3 days with 2 tracks - one for seed companies and the other for early stage companies.

Partners of the event include Coca-Cola, Atlassian, PayPal, Twitter, TripAdvisor, and Box, among many other big names in the tech space.

Startups can apply to pitch or buy tickets as a spectator via Web Summit. ]]>
Screen Shot 2014-09-12 at 11.43.04 am

The startup space can be fragmented at the best of times with entrepreneurs caught in their own bubble. Global technology conference Web Summit aims to change this by allowing entrepreneurs from over 100 different countries pitch their startup to the world’s biggest investors and names in the scene.

Web Summit 2014 is being held in Dublin, Ireland from the 4th to the 6th of November, and will bring together major founders to the likes of Jack Dorsey (Twitter), Reed Hastings (Netflix), Elon Musk (PayPal, Tesla, Space X), Arianna Huffington (Huffington Post) and Niklas Zennström (Skype), who will all be onboard to judge contestants from around the world. Big name investors such as Accel, Google Ventures, Goldman Sachs will also be in attendance to look for the next recipient of major cash injection.

If publicity is your game, major media outlets Reuters, The New York Times, BBC and Forbes will be on hand to provide global coverage of the competition. Still keen?

'Pitch' is eligible to any startup that has received under $3 million in funding to date with no discernible changes to the core business model in the past 3 years. If you make it into the top 200 startups, you will be eligible to present your idea to the panel of investors alongside major media outlets and thousands of attendees.

The competition will be held over 3 days with 2 tracks - one for seed companies and the other for early stage companies.

Partners of the event include Coca-Cola, Atlassian, PayPal, Twitter, TripAdvisor, and Box, among many other big names in the tech space.

Startups can apply to pitch or buy tickets as a spectator via Web Summit. ]]>
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Home automation startup Wattcost wins Rackspace’s Small Teams Big Impact competition http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/09/startup-wattcost-wins-rackspaces-small-teams-big-impact-competition/ http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/09/startup-wattcost-wins-rackspaces-small-teams-big-impact-competition/#comments Fri, 12 Sep 2014 00:02:07 +0000 http://www.startupdaily.com.au/?p=33185 STBI Event-182

Last night, at the Cell Block Theatre in Sydney's National Arts School, six Australian startups delivered 5-minute pitches in front of a star-studded judging panel that included Robert Scoble, Ben Chong, Melissa Widner, Rick Baker and Chris Ridd.  The winner of Rackspace's second annual Small Teams Big Impact competition was Wattcost, the creator of a consumer-oriented WiFi-based technology that captures real-time data from electricity meters with a "stick-on" optical sensor. Co-founded by David Soutar, Wattcost disaggregates individual home appliance use and costs for real-time appliance-level safety alerts and personalised savings advice on users smartphones and tablets. 
[caption id="attachment_33189" align="alignnone" width="1398"]www.wattcost.com www.wattcost.com[/caption]
All finalists in the competition were of high calibre, and included:
  • Elex Ratio, a legal professional services organisation offering consulting and systems integration services to Courts around the world.
  • Makers Empire, developers of 3D printing software for schools and learning applications.
  • Pasa, an e-commerce platform that aims at assisting ethical co-operatives in low-income countries in exporting their products all over the world.
  • RecycleSmart, an organisation that specialises in providing visual bin inspections, community engagement and incentives for households to dispose of waste more consciously.
  • Today We Learned, an application designed to encourage parent engagement in school education.
Angus Dorney, Rackspace ANZ General Manager, said they were "blown away with the quality of entrants in this year’s Small Teams Big Impact awards." "[T]he six finalists represent the impressive levels of innovation we are seeing in the ANZ startup community." Soutar won a round-trip to San Francisco with four nights' accommodation to meet with investors and profile his product to the world. He will also be interviewed in Scoble’s recording studio, which will then be featured on Scoble's social media channels that have strong followings: 400,000+ followers on Twitter, 600,000+ followers on Facebook.  ]]>
STBI Event-182

Last night, at the Cell Block Theatre in Sydney's National Arts School, six Australian startups delivered 5-minute pitches in front of a star-studded judging panel that included Robert Scoble, Ben Chong, Melissa Widner, Rick Baker and Chris Ridd.  The winner of Rackspace's second annual Small Teams Big Impact competition was Wattcost, the creator of a consumer-oriented WiFi-based technology that captures real-time data from electricity meters with a "stick-on" optical sensor. Co-founded by David Soutar, Wattcost disaggregates individual home appliance use and costs for real-time appliance-level safety alerts and personalised savings advice on users smartphones and tablets. 
[caption id="attachment_33189" align="alignnone" width="1398"]www.wattcost.com www.wattcost.com[/caption]
All finalists in the competition were of high calibre, and included:
  • Elex Ratio, a legal professional services organisation offering consulting and systems integration services to Courts around the world.
  • Makers Empire, developers of 3D printing software for schools and learning applications.
  • Pasa, an e-commerce platform that aims at assisting ethical co-operatives in low-income countries in exporting their products all over the world.
  • RecycleSmart, an organisation that specialises in providing visual bin inspections, community engagement and incentives for households to dispose of waste more consciously.
  • Today We Learned, an application designed to encourage parent engagement in school education.
Angus Dorney, Rackspace ANZ General Manager, said they were "blown away with the quality of entrants in this year’s Small Teams Big Impact awards." "[T]he six finalists represent the impressive levels of innovation we are seeing in the ANZ startup community." Soutar won a round-trip to San Francisco with four nights' accommodation to meet with investors and profile his product to the world. He will also be interviewed in Scoble’s recording studio, which will then be featured on Scoble's social media channels that have strong followings: 400,000+ followers on Twitter, 600,000+ followers on Facebook.  ]]>
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New Sydney startup lets you crowdsource your co-founder http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/09/new-sydney-startup-lets-crowdsource-co-founder/ http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/09/new-sydney-startup-lets-crowdsource-co-founder/#comments Thu, 11 Sep 2014 22:26:16 +0000 http://www.startupdaily.com.au/?p=33158 catcofounder

Naval Ravikant, Co-Founder and CEO of AngelList once said that "The ideal founding team is two individuals, with a history of working together, of similar age and financial standing, with mutual respect. One is good at building products and the other is good at selling them." Though Australians are quite tight lipped about it, there have been plenty of co-founder breakups - a recent example being Melbourne-based FitTech startup BodyWise that lost its co-founder and lead developer. Shoe String Media Group's Founder Mat Beeche was also left unhappy and financially burdened following a co-founder breakup last year. The importance of finding the right co-founder to share the startup journey with has been echoed by many Australian entrepreneurs including Fiona Anson from Workible and Kate Kendall from CloudPeeps. Some even say that finding a co-founder is the biggest business decision an entrepreneur can make. A new Sydney-based startup Crowdsurfa has embarked on a mission to make this process easier. Similar to US counterparts CoFoundersLab and founder2be, Crowdsurfa is an online platform connecting entrepreneurs with skilled co-founders. "Crowdsurfa helps you find someone with specific skills to share your vision and take your startup into its next phase," it says on a media release. "An alternative way to fund your growth". Founder of Crowdsurfa, Vache Aknian is fully cognisant of the fact that there are competitors in the marketplace, but believes others aren't strongly focused on skills and equity. "With Crowdsurfa, it's more like a crowd or online marketplace for startups to find a co-founder," he says. How does it work? Entrepreneurs simply list their venture and specify the top skills their potential co-founder needs to have, and how much equity they’re entitled to. Once the venture is listed, potential co-founders are able to apply for the job by sending a resume through. 

“With a vested interest in the company, the skills you need and a tool to connect you, we hope to influence ongoing growth of homegrown talent and make sure no GREAT idea ever suffers,” says Aknian who will be using the platform to find a co-founder for Crowdsurfa.

[caption id="attachment_33180" align="alignnone" width="1347"]Screen Shot 2014-09-12 at 7.56.51 am Crowdsurfa[/caption]

Aknian is not unfamiliar with the struggles of getting a startup off the ground and finding the right partner to help the process. He explains that he's always felt like he had some great ideas that were missing the skills necessary - like IT, marketing, etc. - to take it to the next level.

"With insufficient resources and next to no finance (like most start-ups) I knew that I needed someone like myself to help grow something from the ground up," he says. This is why Aknian created Crowdsurfa, hoping to grow the platform so that it's less a product and more a community. "It then hit me one day. I wish I could see a list of skilled co-founders with specific skills and why not offer them a piece of the pie. Someone who has equity is definitely going to be just as dedicated," says Aknian. When asked about what Crowdsurfa's best feature is, Aknian says "its ability to receive applications from potential co-founders who love your idea and want to grow your startup as much as you do." 
"Where else can you get a bunch of skilled co-founders in your inbox ready to work?" In some ways, then, Crowdsurfa can be seen as a fusion of LinkedIn and Seek.

From now until September 30, the Crowdsurfa crew is urging entrepreneurs with diverse skill-sets to take part in Crowdsurfa’s beta testing. While in its beta phase, listing a project on Crowdsurfa will cost just $0.01. A proper monetisation model will be implemented at a later stage, according to Aknian.

]]>
catcofounder

Naval Ravikant, Co-Founder and CEO of AngelList once said that "The ideal founding team is two individuals, with a history of working together, of similar age and financial standing, with mutual respect. One is good at building products and the other is good at selling them." Though Australians are quite tight lipped about it, there have been plenty of co-founder breakups - a recent example being Melbourne-based FitTech startup BodyWise that lost its co-founder and lead developer. Shoe String Media Group's Founder Mat Beeche was also left unhappy and financially burdened following a co-founder breakup last year. The importance of finding the right co-founder to share the startup journey with has been echoed by many Australian entrepreneurs including Fiona Anson from Workible and Kate Kendall from CloudPeeps. Some even say that finding a co-founder is the biggest business decision an entrepreneur can make. A new Sydney-based startup Crowdsurfa has embarked on a mission to make this process easier. Similar to US counterparts CoFoundersLab and founder2be, Crowdsurfa is an online platform connecting entrepreneurs with skilled co-founders. "Crowdsurfa helps you find someone with specific skills to share your vision and take your startup into its next phase," it says on a media release. "An alternative way to fund your growth". Founder of Crowdsurfa, Vache Aknian is fully cognisant of the fact that there are competitors in the marketplace, but believes others aren't strongly focused on skills and equity. "With Crowdsurfa, it's more like a crowd or online marketplace for startups to find a co-founder," he says. How does it work? Entrepreneurs simply list their venture and specify the top skills their potential co-founder needs to have, and how much equity they’re entitled to. Once the venture is listed, potential co-founders are able to apply for the job by sending a resume through. 

“With a vested interest in the company, the skills you need and a tool to connect you, we hope to influence ongoing growth of homegrown talent and make sure no GREAT idea ever suffers,” says Aknian who will be using the platform to find a co-founder for Crowdsurfa.

[caption id="attachment_33180" align="alignnone" width="1347"]Screen Shot 2014-09-12 at 7.56.51 am Crowdsurfa[/caption]

Aknian is not unfamiliar with the struggles of getting a startup off the ground and finding the right partner to help the process. He explains that he's always felt like he had some great ideas that were missing the skills necessary - like IT, marketing, etc. - to take it to the next level.

"With insufficient resources and next to no finance (like most start-ups) I knew that I needed someone like myself to help grow something from the ground up," he says. This is why Aknian created Crowdsurfa, hoping to grow the platform so that it's less a product and more a community. "It then hit me one day. I wish I could see a list of skilled co-founders with specific skills and why not offer them a piece of the pie. Someone who has equity is definitely going to be just as dedicated," says Aknian. When asked about what Crowdsurfa's best feature is, Aknian says "its ability to receive applications from potential co-founders who love your idea and want to grow your startup as much as you do." 
"Where else can you get a bunch of skilled co-founders in your inbox ready to work?" In some ways, then, Crowdsurfa can be seen as a fusion of LinkedIn and Seek.

From now until September 30, the Crowdsurfa crew is urging entrepreneurs with diverse skill-sets to take part in Crowdsurfa’s beta testing. While in its beta phase, listing a project on Crowdsurfa will cost just $0.01. A proper monetisation model will be implemented at a later stage, according to Aknian.

]]>
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Startup Daily EDUCAST #1 | Please Buy Me! http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/09/startup-daily-educast-1-please-buy/ http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/09/startup-daily-educast-1-please-buy/#comments Wed, 10 Sep 2014 21:58:28 +0000 http://www.startupdaily.com.au/?p=33140 LIVE WEBCAST'Please Buy Me' (1)

If you missed out on yesterday's LIVE Educast, you can check it out now and see Mat Beeche sit down with Jane Lu (Showpo.com) Julie Stevanja (Stylerunner.com) and Landon Ray (Ontraport.com) to talk about how they built their businesses in the ecommerce sector. ]]>
LIVE WEBCAST'Please Buy Me' (1)

If you missed out on yesterday's LIVE Educast, you can check it out now and see Mat Beeche sit down with Jane Lu (Showpo.com) Julie Stevanja (Stylerunner.com) and Landon Ray (Ontraport.com) to talk about how they built their businesses in the ecommerce sector. ]]>
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‘Anti-marketing is the new marketing’: Black Milk Clothing’s hipster philosophy pivotal to its growth http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/09/anti-marketing-new-marketing-black-milk-clothings-hipster-philosophy-pivotal-growth/ http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/09/anti-marketing-new-marketing-black-milk-clothings-hipster-philosophy-pivotal-growth/#comments Wed, 10 Sep 2014 21:54:57 +0000 http://www.startupdaily.com.au/?p=33151 black

Nylon is used for various things in this world: fish nets, rope, the odd machine part. James Lillis used nylon to build a multi-million dollar clothing empire instead. Black Milk Clothing is the name of a label synonymous with women’s tights and leggings that are as loud as you can get. What started as an attempt to sew out of boredom and a lack of life direction from Lillis soon became an online success story that would ride the global hipster movement. It goes a little something like this: a broke guy from Brisbane who didn’t know what to do with his life decides to buy a sewing machine and the cheapest fabric he could afford. He had no experience in fashion but teaches himself how to sew and eventually ends up with a half decent pair of African print leggings which he gets a friend to model for a shoot. That friend buys the garment and the rest is history. Well, close. The prominent rise of Black Milk Clothing since 2008 has been about building an online cult following as much as it has been about just selling clothes. In the digital age where every second retailer has an online presence to spruik their goods, businesses must transcend the ‘show and tell’ marketing model to secure sales and compete on a global scale. Some Australian startups such as Frank Body and Showpo have succeeded at this, but none more than Black Milk Clothing. Cameron Parker who is the Head of Sales for the brand has seen through its meteoric rise since the beginning and explains that in order to grow Black Milk into the multi-million dollar business it is today, a genuine identity and distinct voice in the brand is critical. This goes for any brand looking to build their customer base, or as Parker likes to put it, “community”. As in the world of fashion, things can become old news as soon as they hit Instagram, so what Black Milk did differently is completely ignore the conventions of the scene - they don’t follow seasons or trends and don’t even consider themselves in the fashion community. They also have no presence or desire to be a part of fashion parades or any Australian Fashion Weeks. “We run our race and we design for the customer,” explains Parker. “We pump out 100 new designs a month and a lot of those collections are based around what our customers want. We’re not sitting in our offices dictating what people should be wearing.” According to Parker, this is what forms their community and contributes most to their success story. And this success story is no small feat. Since launching, the brand has been able to build their social media presence to figures exceeding major department stores like Myer (317,000 likes) and David Jones (307,000 likes). Black Milk’s Instagram following is the largest at 935,000 followers whilst their Facebook hovers at 685,000 likes. How has Black Milk achieved this cult-like following and community around their brand? “We spend zero money on advertising; no money on radio, television, print, even online banner ads or search - literally nothing,” says Parker. “What we do spend on is marketing team, events; we do community events all around the world, parties and then photoshoots. That’s where my budget goes.” This isn’t technically a zero dollar budget on marketing, but it does reveal the significant shift of marketing funds from where traditional businesses would have invested. Black Milk works and grows their market and builds their community specifically in the online medium by using today’s vast range of social media platforms. Currently they are present across eleven platforms which includes Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube, Vimeo, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+, Snapchat, Vine and MySpace - twelve if you include their blog which sparked the initial Black Milk Clothing movement before Lillis had sewn his first pair of tights. A unique business model can help drive branding and revenue  Parker says that because the business is based entirely in Australia and vertically integrated, it doesn’t matter if they sell 100 or 10,000 units, they are still able to react directly to their customers’ needs which is a core requisite in the business. “We’re not made in China so we don’t bulk buy in China; we don’t need those minimum order quantities,” he says. “If 100 people buy it, we’re happy. We have great flexibility in terms of production. If we went offshore it would change our business model entirely.” In saying that, Parker revealed that the business has no plans to send manufacturing offshore even though they plan to expand into America. The move will likely feature the country’s own line that is made in America following Black Milk’s Australian manufacturing principles. Additionally, all garments are made to order just in time. This process ensures that their product will never go on sale. Parker says that “we don’t have the situation where we’ve made an error with a couple of products then try to flog it for 50% off. This devalues the brand.” “We keep a very lean production model, a lot of stuff is limited in our line due to fabric availability and we’re constantly keeping stuff fresh. That’s why some of our items increase in value and end up selling for twice the price on eBay.” Black Milk Clothing currently has no shareholders and still calls itself a “family run business”. Anti-marketing is the new marketing Due to Black Milk Clothing’s unique product appeal, it can easily latch onto the lucrative and evasive hipster movement - a trend in which anything anti-mainstream is deemed cool. The label has achieved this to great effect as seen by their ever growing fanbase which exceeds that of many commercial companies in the same market. More importantly though, it has been able to do this whilst retaining its 'it' factor over the years. How does it work? Parker says that their main customer engagement platform is Facebook and every one of those engagements are organic. He claims that they’ve never done a Facebook campaign or paid for likes and that the quality vs quantity ideal is what helps set them apart. More specifically, “remaining grassroots” and allowing people to discover the brand is the unconventional yet effective strategy that Parker attributes to the brand’s underground success. He says that he actively avoids telling people about the brand. “The thing in advertising is I hate it when clients ask their logo to be made 20% bigger. I’d never do that for a marketing role so I’m going the opposite and telling people to get rid of our logo.” “If I increase your logo by 20%, it’s not going to increase your sales by 20%.” Building your brand’s community The business currently employs over 180 staff across 3 sites who are all under 30 and also fans of the label. The marketing strategy is aggressive so that it ensures no potential customer is left unattended. When it comes to customer service, Black Milk has invested heavily and this is what forms part of that “community” that Parker identifies with. The marketing team consists of five girls who take this part of the business very seriously. Staff are rostered on at 7:30am to 3:30pm, then 3:30pm to 10:30pm. This is on shift of 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Parker explains that providing that constant presence builds that essential bond in the community. Whenever their customers are posting a photo, asking a question, or commenting, they’ll always have someone from Black Milk engaging with them and liking or commenting on what they say - much like a friend than a business. Instagram is another crucial tool that Parker notes as part of their sales success. Traditionally, businesses cannot track anything with Instagram but what it provides for Black Milk is social proof that their strategy works. “It allows user generated content - if you hashtag ‘#blackmilkclothing’, there’s over 230,000 selfies and how we use that is if you go to our website, every product has its own corresponding hashtag and those people’s selfies below that product.” “After they’ve bought the product, they don’t only hashtag ‘#BlackMilkClothing’ but also the actual product that we know sells.” “When a new customer sees this garment, they go to customer photos to see those real girls in all shapes and sizes and they can identify with someone in that Instagram feed.” This reinforces the social proof that Parker says has absolutely worked for them. The brand has in effect, turned user engagement into sales. This is something brands with huge followings have yet to achieve. Be as human as a business can possibly be Big fashion stores operate with the baggage of a board, shareholders and resulting bureaucracy. Fashion-tech businesses such as Black Milk are free of such trivialities and can hence focus more on building that human connection. Parker says that it’s all about building a meaningful relationship through transparency and honesty. “We have our Friday podcast where James (Lillis) is talking in front of the camera and it’s just girls playing dress ups around him. We bring people into our warehouse for tours and people can walk into our selling factory.” “There’s story behind a product. We treat each product like a story and you can see that in our store with the product captions. Telling a story is important.” Parker says that there’s a tribe out there for every business and if you’ve got a unique product, there’s potential to psychographically target that customer and speak to them in their own genuine language as a person rather than a brand. He adds that the worst thing any brand can do in this regard is have a stale website for four weeks. “Fresh is important.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rnDKwNv8cUg ]]>
black

Nylon is used for various things in this world: fish nets, rope, the odd machine part. James Lillis used nylon to build a multi-million dollar clothing empire instead. Black Milk Clothing is the name of a label synonymous with women’s tights and leggings that are as loud as you can get. What started as an attempt to sew out of boredom and a lack of life direction from Lillis soon became an online success story that would ride the global hipster movement. It goes a little something like this: a broke guy from Brisbane who didn’t know what to do with his life decides to buy a sewing machine and the cheapest fabric he could afford. He had no experience in fashion but teaches himself how to sew and eventually ends up with a half decent pair of African print leggings which he gets a friend to model for a shoot. That friend buys the garment and the rest is history. Well, close. The prominent rise of Black Milk Clothing since 2008 has been about building an online cult following as much as it has been about just selling clothes. In the digital age where every second retailer has an online presence to spruik their goods, businesses must transcend the ‘show and tell’ marketing model to secure sales and compete on a global scale. Some Australian startups such as Frank Body and Showpo have succeeded at this, but none more than Black Milk Clothing. Cameron Parker who is the Head of Sales for the brand has seen through its meteoric rise since the beginning and explains that in order to grow Black Milk into the multi-million dollar business it is today, a genuine identity and distinct voice in the brand is critical. This goes for any brand looking to build their customer base, or as Parker likes to put it, “community”. As in the world of fashion, things can become old news as soon as they hit Instagram, so what Black Milk did differently is completely ignore the conventions of the scene - they don’t follow seasons or trends and don’t even consider themselves in the fashion community. They also have no presence or desire to be a part of fashion parades or any Australian Fashion Weeks. “We run our race and we design for the customer,” explains Parker. “We pump out 100 new designs a month and a lot of those collections are based around what our customers want. We’re not sitting in our offices dictating what people should be wearing.” According to Parker, this is what forms their community and contributes most to their success story. And this success story is no small feat. Since launching, the brand has been able to build their social media presence to figures exceeding major department stores like Myer (317,000 likes) and David Jones (307,000 likes). Black Milk’s Instagram following is the largest at 935,000 followers whilst their Facebook hovers at 685,000 likes. How has Black Milk achieved this cult-like following and community around their brand? “We spend zero money on advertising; no money on radio, television, print, even online banner ads or search - literally nothing,” says Parker. “What we do spend on is marketing team, events; we do community events all around the world, parties and then photoshoots. That’s where my budget goes.” This isn’t technically a zero dollar budget on marketing, but it does reveal the significant shift of marketing funds from where traditional businesses would have invested. Black Milk works and grows their market and builds their community specifically in the online medium by using today’s vast range of social media platforms. Currently they are present across eleven platforms which includes Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube, Vimeo, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+, Snapchat, Vine and MySpace - twelve if you include their blog which sparked the initial Black Milk Clothing movement before Lillis had sewn his first pair of tights. A unique business model can help drive branding and revenue  Parker says that because the business is based entirely in Australia and vertically integrated, it doesn’t matter if they sell 100 or 10,000 units, they are still able to react directly to their customers’ needs which is a core requisite in the business. “We’re not made in China so we don’t bulk buy in China; we don’t need those minimum order quantities,” he says. “If 100 people buy it, we’re happy. We have great flexibility in terms of production. If we went offshore it would change our business model entirely.” In saying that, Parker revealed that the business has no plans to send manufacturing offshore even though they plan to expand into America. The move will likely feature the country’s own line that is made in America following Black Milk’s Australian manufacturing principles. Additionally, all garments are made to order just in time. This process ensures that their product will never go on sale. Parker says that “we don’t have the situation where we’ve made an error with a couple of products then try to flog it for 50% off. This devalues the brand.” “We keep a very lean production model, a lot of stuff is limited in our line due to fabric availability and we’re constantly keeping stuff fresh. That’s why some of our items increase in value and end up selling for twice the price on eBay.” Black Milk Clothing currently has no shareholders and still calls itself a “family run business”. Anti-marketing is the new marketing Due to Black Milk Clothing’s unique product appeal, it can easily latch onto the lucrative and evasive hipster movement - a trend in which anything anti-mainstream is deemed cool. The label has achieved this to great effect as seen by their ever growing fanbase which exceeds that of many commercial companies in the same market. More importantly though, it has been able to do this whilst retaining its 'it' factor over the years. How does it work? Parker says that their main customer engagement platform is Facebook and every one of those engagements are organic. He claims that they’ve never done a Facebook campaign or paid for likes and that the quality vs quantity ideal is what helps set them apart. More specifically, “remaining grassroots” and allowing people to discover the brand is the unconventional yet effective strategy that Parker attributes to the brand’s underground success. He says that he actively avoids telling people about the brand. “The thing in advertising is I hate it when clients ask their logo to be made 20% bigger. I’d never do that for a marketing role so I’m going the opposite and telling people to get rid of our logo.” “If I increase your logo by 20%, it’s not going to increase your sales by 20%.” Building your brand’s community The business currently employs over 180 staff across 3 sites who are all under 30 and also fans of the label. The marketing strategy is aggressive so that it ensures no potential customer is left unattended. When it comes to customer service, Black Milk has invested heavily and this is what forms part of that “community” that Parker identifies with. The marketing team consists of five girls who take this part of the business very seriously. Staff are rostered on at 7:30am to 3:30pm, then 3:30pm to 10:30pm. This is on shift of 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Parker explains that providing that constant presence builds that essential bond in the community. Whenever their customers are posting a photo, asking a question, or commenting, they’ll always have someone from Black Milk engaging with them and liking or commenting on what they say - much like a friend than a business. Instagram is another crucial tool that Parker notes as part of their sales success. Traditionally, businesses cannot track anything with Instagram but what it provides for Black Milk is social proof that their strategy works. “It allows user generated content - if you hashtag ‘#blackmilkclothing’, there’s over 230,000 selfies and how we use that is if you go to our website, every product has its own corresponding hashtag and those people’s selfies below that product.” “After they’ve bought the product, they don’t only hashtag ‘#BlackMilkClothing’ but also the actual product that we know sells.” “When a new customer sees this garment, they go to customer photos to see those real girls in all shapes and sizes and they can identify with someone in that Instagram feed.” This reinforces the social proof that Parker says has absolutely worked for them. The brand has in effect, turned user engagement into sales. This is something brands with huge followings have yet to achieve. Be as human as a business can possibly be Big fashion stores operate with the baggage of a board, shareholders and resulting bureaucracy. Fashion-tech businesses such as Black Milk are free of such trivialities and can hence focus more on building that human connection. Parker says that it’s all about building a meaningful relationship through transparency and honesty. “We have our Friday podcast where James (Lillis) is talking in front of the camera and it’s just girls playing dress ups around him. We bring people into our warehouse for tours and people can walk into our selling factory.” “There’s story behind a product. We treat each product like a story and you can see that in our store with the product captions. Telling a story is important.” Parker says that there’s a tribe out there for every business and if you’ve got a unique product, there’s potential to psychographically target that customer and speak to them in their own genuine language as a person rather than a brand. He adds that the worst thing any brand can do in this regard is have a stale website for four weeks. “Fresh is important.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rnDKwNv8cUg ]]>
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Contractors and Tax: What is the 80/20 Rule? http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/09/contractors-tax-8020-rule/ http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/09/contractors-tax-8020-rule/#comments Wed, 10 Sep 2014 21:44:14 +0000 http://www.startupdaily.com.au/?p=33144 shutterstock_215582377

So you’ve decided to go out on your own. You may be a marketing / IT / Events / PR / Human Resources consultant. You’ve just landed your first client - check! It’s a big client too - even better. This means that most of your company income will come from the one customer. Makes no difference for tax, right? Wrong. If 80% of your income comes from one client (including their related entities), you may find that you fall within the Tax Office’s Personal Services Income Provisions. What is Personal Services Income? Personal Services Income is where the majority of your income is earned by your personal effort or skill. Think an IT contractor who mainly contracts to one client, or a Public Relations consultant who earns their income from representing one business. I’m a contractor and 80% + of my income does come from one client. What are the tax and accounting implications? There are two main implications: (1)  Regardless of what structure you operate under, if the Personal Services Income regime applies in your situation then there are certain tax deductions you are not able to claim. These include:
  • rent
  • mortgage interest, rates and land tax (bear in mind that claiming these ordinarily would also trigger capital gains tax)
  • payments to associates (remuneration, superannuation, an allowance, reimbursing an expense, rent, interest on a loan) for support work
  • car expenses for more than one motor vehicle
(2)  Under the Personal Services Income regime, it also means that all income received in your chosen business structure is attributable back to you personally. So, if you operate under a company structure, then all income has to be recorded in your own personal tax return. This means that any of the perceived tax advantages which are associated with creating a company structure are no longer relevant. Are there any exceptions? Yes, there is an exception even if 80% of your income comes from one client. If you satisfy the ‘results’ test then the PSI rules will not apply. To satisfy the results test, you must answer yes to the following three questions (for at least 75% of your income which is a result of your personal effort or skill): (1)  Under your contract or arrangement, will your business only receive payment when the work has been completed, that is, after producing the contracted result? (2)  Does your business need to provide the equipment or tools necessary to do the work? (3)  Do you have to rectify defects in the work, or is your business liable for the cost of rectifying defects? If you’re a contractor or consultant, it’s important to track which clients your revenue is coming from and be aware of if and when the personal services regime may impact you and your startup. This article is general in nature and is not intended to replace in any way professional accounting and legal advice.

Image: Shutterstock.

]]>
shutterstock_215582377

So you’ve decided to go out on your own. You may be a marketing / IT / Events / PR / Human Resources consultant. You’ve just landed your first client - check! It’s a big client too - even better. This means that most of your company income will come from the one customer. Makes no difference for tax, right? Wrong. If 80% of your income comes from one client (including their related entities), you may find that you fall within the Tax Office’s Personal Services Income Provisions. What is Personal Services Income? Personal Services Income is where the majority of your income is earned by your personal effort or skill. Think an IT contractor who mainly contracts to one client, or a Public Relations consultant who earns their income from representing one business. I’m a contractor and 80% + of my income does come from one client. What are the tax and accounting implications? There are two main implications: (1)  Regardless of what structure you operate under, if the Personal Services Income regime applies in your situation then there are certain tax deductions you are not able to claim. These include:
  • rent
  • mortgage interest, rates and land tax (bear in mind that claiming these ordinarily would also trigger capital gains tax)
  • payments to associates (remuneration, superannuation, an allowance, reimbursing an expense, rent, interest on a loan) for support work
  • car expenses for more than one motor vehicle
(2)  Under the Personal Services Income regime, it also means that all income received in your chosen business structure is attributable back to you personally. So, if you operate under a company structure, then all income has to be recorded in your own personal tax return. This means that any of the perceived tax advantages which are associated with creating a company structure are no longer relevant. Are there any exceptions? Yes, there is an exception even if 80% of your income comes from one client. If you satisfy the ‘results’ test then the PSI rules will not apply. To satisfy the results test, you must answer yes to the following three questions (for at least 75% of your income which is a result of your personal effort or skill): (1)  Under your contract or arrangement, will your business only receive payment when the work has been completed, that is, after producing the contracted result? (2)  Does your business need to provide the equipment or tools necessary to do the work? (3)  Do you have to rectify defects in the work, or is your business liable for the cost of rectifying defects? If you’re a contractor or consultant, it’s important to track which clients your revenue is coming from and be aware of if and when the personal services regime may impact you and your startup. This article is general in nature and is not intended to replace in any way professional accounting and legal advice.

Image: Shutterstock.

]]>
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New series premiering this Sunday merges e-learning with reality TV http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/09/new-series-premiering-sunday-merges-e-learning-reality-tv/ http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/09/new-series-premiering-sunday-merges-e-learning-reality-tv/#comments Wed, 10 Sep 2014 14:48:27 +0000 http://www.startupdaily.com.au/?p=33135 Untitled design (3)

No More Practice Transformation Series is a new project merging e-learning with reality TV and will premiere on Foxtel’s SkyNews Business Channel this Sunday at 8.30pm EST. It will also appear on Free to Air station Channel 74 (4ME) on Tuesdays at 7.30 PM. In the reality TV series, three wealth advisers will be pitted against each other; and at the same time, an online e-learning programme will challenge viewers to improve their business performance. The University of Sydney's Business School’s Associate Dean (Undergraduate), Associate Professor Nigel Finch, will join leading business experts to provide the television contestants and online participants with expert advice on issues ranging from leadership to strategy and implementation. The three TV contestants - which includes Caxton Pang of Linton Solutions, Dominique Bergel-Grant of Leapfrog Finance and John Tyson of Northern Wealth Advisory Group - will be taken on what's been deemed a “transformational journey” by industry experts. “This project is designed to help time poor, dedicated professionals grow strong businesses which will allow them to better serve the Australian consumer,” said No More Practice’s Group CEO, Vanessa Stoykov, in a media release. Finch said the future of business education is going to be "accessible and deliverable into a lounge room.” “The combined TV series and online No More Practice 30 Day Business Challenge will immerse professionals in a relaxed learning environment in which they can reflect on their leadership approach, business purpose, strategy, structure, objectives and priorities. At the end of the challenge, they will be provided with a tailored action plan,” said Dr Finch in a media release. The project is supported by the Financial Planning Association (FPA), CPA Australia (CPA Australia) and the Mortgage and Finance Association of Australia (MFAA). Members of these bodies, including CEO of the FPA, Mark Rantall, General Manager of Public Practice of CPA Australia, Peter Docherty and President of the MFAA, Tim Brown, will be mentoring the contestants.   A sneak peek into the series can be viewed here. ]]>
Untitled design (3)

No More Practice Transformation Series is a new project merging e-learning with reality TV and will premiere on Foxtel’s SkyNews Business Channel this Sunday at 8.30pm EST. It will also appear on Free to Air station Channel 74 (4ME) on Tuesdays at 7.30 PM. In the reality TV series, three wealth advisers will be pitted against each other; and at the same time, an online e-learning programme will challenge viewers to improve their business performance. The University of Sydney's Business School’s Associate Dean (Undergraduate), Associate Professor Nigel Finch, will join leading business experts to provide the television contestants and online participants with expert advice on issues ranging from leadership to strategy and implementation. The three TV contestants - which includes Caxton Pang of Linton Solutions, Dominique Bergel-Grant of Leapfrog Finance and John Tyson of Northern Wealth Advisory Group - will be taken on what's been deemed a “transformational journey” by industry experts. “This project is designed to help time poor, dedicated professionals grow strong businesses which will allow them to better serve the Australian consumer,” said No More Practice’s Group CEO, Vanessa Stoykov, in a media release. Finch said the future of business education is going to be "accessible and deliverable into a lounge room.” “The combined TV series and online No More Practice 30 Day Business Challenge will immerse professionals in a relaxed learning environment in which they can reflect on their leadership approach, business purpose, strategy, structure, objectives and priorities. At the end of the challenge, they will be provided with a tailored action plan,” said Dr Finch in a media release. The project is supported by the Financial Planning Association (FPA), CPA Australia (CPA Australia) and the Mortgage and Finance Association of Australia (MFAA). Members of these bodies, including CEO of the FPA, Mark Rantall, General Manager of Public Practice of CPA Australia, Peter Docherty and President of the MFAA, Tim Brown, will be mentoring the contestants.   A sneak peek into the series can be viewed here. ]]>
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Apple live-streaming was a disaster as they unveiled the sleek iPhone 6 and iWatch http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/09/apple-live-streaming-disaster-unveiled-iphone-6-iwatch/ http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/09/apple-live-streaming-disaster-unveiled-iphone-6-iwatch/#comments Wed, 10 Sep 2014 00:21:55 +0000 http://www.startupdaily.com.au/?p=33010 Screen Shot 2014-09-10 at 10.16.46 am

The world wide streaming of today's Apple event began with a bit of a embarrassing start. In fact, the entire live stream experience could be best described as touch and go, with this screen appearing a number of times throughout the broadcast:

Screen Shot 2014-09-10 at 3.05.46 am

Screen Shot 2014-09-10 at 2.56.35 am

Apple has just unveiled the iPhone 6 as well as the company’s first smartwatch. Following the demand for bigger sized screens already popularised by Samsung and Sony, the next generation iPhone 6 will feature a 4.7 inch screen for the standard model and 5.5 inch screen for the the 'Plus' version. For those looking to camp out when it arrives, the handset will be available in Australia on September the 19th and cost an eye-watering $1129 for the 128BG model, $999 for the 64GB model and $869 for the 16BG model. It will come in gold, silver or space grey. The new phone which is notably thinner will also allow its users to tap their phones to pay for goods and services with iOS 8, a clear push to drive mobile payments and win over customers by saving them time at the shops.

Screen Shot 2014-09-10 at 3.23.49 am

apple watch

Screen Shot 2014-09-10 at 4.34.14 am

Steve Jobs' successor Tim Cook also said to the crowd that the arrival of their first smartwatch also marked "the next chapter in Apple's story." The wearable touchscreen device will be available in three variations - sports, classic and gold. Users can also choose from two different sizes. Other features include pulse rate and health tracking apps, photos, maps, music and messaging. The watch will only work if the user also has an iPhone, which could be a deterrent for some potential buyers but not uncommon amongst their competitors who have done the same. The sale date is set to be early 2015 in the US with a price tag from USD$349. With Samsung releasing their revolutionary curved screen phone just days ago, Apple is up against stiff competition in the large screen 'phablet' market. The Galaxy Note Edge which has a bigger screen than the iPhone 6 will be released later in the year whilst the current Galaxy S5 will hold the market off as a more budget friendly option at $788 for the 16GB model. The launch also saw Apple get cosy with high profile fashion editors and bloggers. These claims came from Reuters and could well allude to Apple’s latest ambitions of forging a merger between the fashion and tech industry with their smartwatch. It’s no easy task as fashion is a highly critical market, but Lea Goldman, who is the features and special projects director for Marie Claire magazine, told Reuters that “this suggests Apple is serious about tapping into the fashion world, which often sits on the sidelines.” This move is also an unusual one as Apple have rarely in the past favoured the fashion crowd over the tech or general press. Startup Daily previously reported on the company’s smartwatch potential in the e-commerce sector and all the signs now appear to be pointing in that direction with Apple's most prominent target market sitting pretty in fashion and retail. It's a natural progression that Apple are embarking on at the moment as the overall market shifts towards more wearable or lifestyle integrated devices such as Google Glass. Samsung, Motorola, Garmin and Sony are already on board with products available on Amazon's wearable tech section. ]]>
Screen Shot 2014-09-10 at 10.16.46 am

The world wide streaming of today's Apple event began with a bit of a embarrassing start. In fact, the entire live stream experience could be best described as touch and go, with this screen appearing a number of times throughout the broadcast:

Screen Shot 2014-09-10 at 3.05.46 am

Screen Shot 2014-09-10 at 2.56.35 am

Apple has just unveiled the iPhone 6 as well as the company’s first smartwatch. Following the demand for bigger sized screens already popularised by Samsung and Sony, the next generation iPhone 6 will feature a 4.7 inch screen for the standard model and 5.5 inch screen for the the 'Plus' version. For those looking to camp out when it arrives, the handset will be available in Australia on September the 19th and cost an eye-watering $1129 for the 128BG model, $999 for the 64GB model and $869 for the 16BG model. It will come in gold, silver or space grey. The new phone which is notably thinner will also allow its users to tap their phones to pay for goods and services with iOS 8, a clear push to drive mobile payments and win over customers by saving them time at the shops.

Screen Shot 2014-09-10 at 3.23.49 am

apple watch

Screen Shot 2014-09-10 at 4.34.14 am

Steve Jobs' successor Tim Cook also said to the crowd that the arrival of their first smartwatch also marked "the next chapter in Apple's story." The wearable touchscreen device will be available in three variations - sports, classic and gold. Users can also choose from two different sizes. Other features include pulse rate and health tracking apps, photos, maps, music and messaging. The watch will only work if the user also has an iPhone, which could be a deterrent for some potential buyers but not uncommon amongst their competitors who have done the same. The sale date is set to be early 2015 in the US with a price tag from USD$349. With Samsung releasing their revolutionary curved screen phone just days ago, Apple is up against stiff competition in the large screen 'phablet' market. The Galaxy Note Edge which has a bigger screen than the iPhone 6 will be released later in the year whilst the current Galaxy S5 will hold the market off as a more budget friendly option at $788 for the 16GB model. The launch also saw Apple get cosy with high profile fashion editors and bloggers. These claims came from Reuters and could well allude to Apple’s latest ambitions of forging a merger between the fashion and tech industry with their smartwatch. It’s no easy task as fashion is a highly critical market, but Lea Goldman, who is the features and special projects director for Marie Claire magazine, told Reuters that “this suggests Apple is serious about tapping into the fashion world, which often sits on the sidelines.” This move is also an unusual one as Apple have rarely in the past favoured the fashion crowd over the tech or general press. Startup Daily previously reported on the company’s smartwatch potential in the e-commerce sector and all the signs now appear to be pointing in that direction with Apple's most prominent target market sitting pretty in fashion and retail. It's a natural progression that Apple are embarking on at the moment as the overall market shifts towards more wearable or lifestyle integrated devices such as Google Glass. Samsung, Motorola, Garmin and Sony are already on board with products available on Amazon's wearable tech section. ]]>
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Will Citrix’s GoToMeeting make Skype video calls redundant? http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/09/will-citrixs-gotomeeting-make-skype-video-calls-redundant/ http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/09/will-citrixs-gotomeeting-make-skype-video-calls-redundant/#comments Tue, 09 Sep 2014 22:55:04 +0000 http://www.startupdaily.com.au/?p=33115 g2m_screenshot_step4_EN

Having a board meeting in your pyjama pants just got a whole lot easier. GoToMeeting Free is a browser-based online meeting tool which allows up to three users to logon to a private video conference session. The big drawcard? It requires no signup, costs nothing and is entirely web-based. Users simply need a Chrome or Firefox browser to use the tool which can also be accessed on some modern Android devices. They log onto the site, click to start a video session and then provided with a personalised link which they can copy and send to a colleague or friend. Once clicked, the users can see each other via their webcams. Not functional enough? There’s also file sharing capabilities in the latest version of the tool. Lindsay Brown who is the Regional Director of APAC, Citrix SaaS Division explains that the idea originally came from wanting their customers to be able to work in any way they wished and from any location. This idea was driven in accordance with the fact that business collaboration needs are different and sometimes a premium or expensive product is not required for ‘on the fly’ type activity. Being free, this tool is likely to take off as the word of it spreads. Currently customers across Australia, New Zealand, and Asia have been experimenting with GoToMeeting Free and are discovering different  ways to work with the tool. Most commonly, it is being used for three kinds of interactions: one-on-one catch up meetings, the ‘I need to show you something’ meeting and the ‘should we work together’ meeting. Brown says that they made the tool free for a very good reason. GoToMeeting Free caters for a specific type of meeting – as in it is only suitable up to a point. “We want to invest in our customers’ workspaces in the hope that when the need arises, in turn they will invest back in us,” says Brown. “GoToMeeting Free is a way  for our customers to get familiar with the GoToMeeting format whilst still enjoying a business grade  product for video communication.” With Australia’s backwards internet speeds, GoToMeeting would likely face some lag issues. Brown disagrees with this however and says that as Australia’s internet connections improve, so too will the software which run on them. “Certain remote areas are bound to struggle with any internet based service,” he says. Another challenge he has encountered in developing GoToMeeting Free involves the minor issue of user accessibility.  GoToMeeting Free takes advantage of the latest, standards based (W3C) HTML5 browser functionality currently only available in Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. As other browsers update, GoToMeeting Free should become even more accessible to the masses. Brown says that the goal behind GoToMeeting Free is to make it stand out from consumer video chat tools like Google Hangouts and Skype. There are also plans for additional functionalities in the future versions. Users can give GoToMeeting Free a try on Chrome or Firefox. ]]>
g2m_screenshot_step4_EN

Having a board meeting in your pyjama pants just got a whole lot easier. GoToMeeting Free is a browser-based online meeting tool which allows up to three users to logon to a private video conference session. The big drawcard? It requires no signup, costs nothing and is entirely web-based. Users simply need a Chrome or Firefox browser to use the tool which can also be accessed on some modern Android devices. They log onto the site, click to start a video session and then provided with a personalised link which they can copy and send to a colleague or friend. Once clicked, the users can see each other via their webcams. Not functional enough? There’s also file sharing capabilities in the latest version of the tool. Lindsay Brown who is the Regional Director of APAC, Citrix SaaS Division explains that the idea originally came from wanting their customers to be able to work in any way they wished and from any location. This idea was driven in accordance with the fact that business collaboration needs are different and sometimes a premium or expensive product is not required for ‘on the fly’ type activity. Being free, this tool is likely to take off as the word of it spreads. Currently customers across Australia, New Zealand, and Asia have been experimenting with GoToMeeting Free and are discovering different  ways to work with the tool. Most commonly, it is being used for three kinds of interactions: one-on-one catch up meetings, the ‘I need to show you something’ meeting and the ‘should we work together’ meeting. Brown says that they made the tool free for a very good reason. GoToMeeting Free caters for a specific type of meeting – as in it is only suitable up to a point. “We want to invest in our customers’ workspaces in the hope that when the need arises, in turn they will invest back in us,” says Brown. “GoToMeeting Free is a way  for our customers to get familiar with the GoToMeeting format whilst still enjoying a business grade  product for video communication.” With Australia’s backwards internet speeds, GoToMeeting would likely face some lag issues. Brown disagrees with this however and says that as Australia’s internet connections improve, so too will the software which run on them. “Certain remote areas are bound to struggle with any internet based service,” he says. Another challenge he has encountered in developing GoToMeeting Free involves the minor issue of user accessibility.  GoToMeeting Free takes advantage of the latest, standards based (W3C) HTML5 browser functionality currently only available in Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. As other browsers update, GoToMeeting Free should become even more accessible to the masses. Brown says that the goal behind GoToMeeting Free is to make it stand out from consumer video chat tools like Google Hangouts and Skype. There are also plans for additional functionalities in the future versions. Users can give GoToMeeting Free a try on Chrome or Firefox. ]]>
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‘Innovation’ is not a nonsensical buzzword http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/09/innovation-nonsensical-buzzword/ http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/09/innovation-nonsensical-buzzword/#comments Tue, 09 Sep 2014 22:40:25 +0000 http://www.startupdaily.com.au/?p=33081 innovation-nathankinch

For quite a while, I was almost certain that I not only understood what innovation meant, but also what its impact was. I never quite knew how to define it, but was sure innovation meant something that was new and amazing, and that it had the capability to deliver an impact in a big way. But then came the downturn of my understanding, likely caused by the pollution of the word and its associated meaning. I was hearing "innovation this, innovation that," absolutely everywhere I went. I couldn't escape the word. To be honest, this caused confusion in my own mind. I was no longer certain I knew what innovation meant, how it applied and why it mattered. Then came the epiphany, the defining moment in my understanding of innovation. A colleague of mine and accomplished Chief Technology Officer sent me an article from Asymco's Horace Dediu titled Innoveracy: Misunderstanding Innovation. Horace explained that Innoveracy was to innovation what illiteracy was to reading and writing, and innumeracy was to simple numerical concepts. After reading this article over and over, the reality was now so clear; I was suffering from a severe case of forced Innoveracy. Horace explained it like this, “There is another form of ignorance which seems to be universal: the inability to understand the concept and role of innovation. The way this is exhibited is in the misuse of the term and the inability to discern the difference between novelty, creation, invention and innovation. The result is a failure to understand the causes of success and failure in business and hence the conditions that lead to economic growth.” His definition was simple; “Innoveracy is the inability to understand creativity and the role it plays in society.” I’m the first to admit that my forced exposure to expansive pollution of the word innovation caused my innoveracy, but I was determined to rid myself of it completely! Where it all clicked for me was in the clearly outlined explanation of the difference between four key concepts; novelty, creation, invention and innovation. Widespread innoveracy has lead to these four concepts having the same meaning in the eyes of so many. Here’s the breakdown:
  • Novelty: Something new
  • Creation: Something new and valuable
  • Invention: Something new, having potential value through utility
  • Innovation: Something new and uniquely useful
[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="620"] Image credit: Asymco.com[/caption] This was the insight I needed to fully rid myself of innoveracy once and for all, but also to form my own definition of innovation, in a context relevant to me and my objectives. I now define innovation as something that is new, uniquely useful and contextually successful. This differs slightly from the way that Horace defines innovation and the deliberate hierarchical structure of the concept definition breakdown above. “Note that the taxonomy has a hierarchy. Creations are novel, inventions are creations and innovations are usually based on some invention. However inventions are not innovations and neither are creations or novelties. Innovations are therefore the most demanding works because they require all the conditions in the hierarchy. Innovations implicitly require defensibility through a unique “operating model”. Put another way, they remain unique because few others can copy them.” “To be innovative is very difficult, but because of the difficulty, being innovative is usually well rewarded. Indeed, it might be easier to identify innovations simply by their rewards. It’s almost a certainty that any great business is predicated on an innovation and that the lack of a reward in business means that some aspect of the conditions of innovation were not met,” he explains. Another interesting point to note, which helps frame the context from Horace’s definition of innovation, is that he deliberately points to the fact that innovation requires validation. “Understanding that innovation requires passing a market test and that passing that test is immensely rewarding both for the creator and for society at large means that we can focus on how to make it happen. Obsessing over the mere novelties or inventions means we allocate resources which markets won’t reward. Misusing the term and confusing it with activities that don’t create value takes our eye off the causes and moves us away from finding ways of repeatedly succeeding.” I couldn’t agree more, but what I would add is that validation is based on the context of the ‘innovations’ objectives, and that innovations’ shouldn’t merely be tied to the commercial metrics of business success. Contextual relevance is important in any situation, but in defining and executing innovation, it is an absolute necessity. Innovation can occur in various contexts; commercial, community or otherwise, and the ‘success’ or ‘validation’ that helps confirm something that is new and uniquely useful as a true innovation must be directly aligned with the contextual relevance of the ‘innovations objectives.’ Does it serve its true purpose? Is it highly impactful? Does it literally change people’s lives in a desired way? An ability to answer ‘yes’ to these types of questions can help us further define something that is an innovation from something that isn’t. I’m with Horace in that I believe innoveracy is a serious issue. I was once a sufferer. But once we understand what innovation is and what it isn’t, we place ourselves in the position to truly appreciate how rare and impactful innovations are. And on top of that, this puts us in the position to go out and explore, validate and execute innovations in the real word, regardless of their contextual relevance. I hope this helps in defining and solidifying your understanding of innovation, and also why it matters so very much. ]]>
innovation-nathankinch

For quite a while, I was almost certain that I not only understood what innovation meant, but also what its impact was. I never quite knew how to define it, but was sure innovation meant something that was new and amazing, and that it had the capability to deliver an impact in a big way. But then came the downturn of my understanding, likely caused by the pollution of the word and its associated meaning. I was hearing "innovation this, innovation that," absolutely everywhere I went. I couldn't escape the word. To be honest, this caused confusion in my own mind. I was no longer certain I knew what innovation meant, how it applied and why it mattered. Then came the epiphany, the defining moment in my understanding of innovation. A colleague of mine and accomplished Chief Technology Officer sent me an article from Asymco's Horace Dediu titled Innoveracy: Misunderstanding Innovation. Horace explained that Innoveracy was to innovation what illiteracy was to reading and writing, and innumeracy was to simple numerical concepts. After reading this article over and over, the reality was now so clear; I was suffering from a severe case of forced Innoveracy. Horace explained it like this, “There is another form of ignorance which seems to be universal: the inability to understand the concept and role of innovation. The way this is exhibited is in the misuse of the term and the inability to discern the difference between novelty, creation, invention and innovation. The result is a failure to understand the causes of success and failure in business and hence the conditions that lead to economic growth.” His definition was simple; “Innoveracy is the inability to understand creativity and the role it plays in society.” I’m the first to admit that my forced exposure to expansive pollution of the word innovation caused my innoveracy, but I was determined to rid myself of it completely! Where it all clicked for me was in the clearly outlined explanation of the difference between four key concepts; novelty, creation, invention and innovation. Widespread innoveracy has lead to these four concepts having the same meaning in the eyes of so many. Here’s the breakdown:
  • Novelty: Something new
  • Creation: Something new and valuable
  • Invention: Something new, having potential value through utility
  • Innovation: Something new and uniquely useful
[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="620"] Image credit: Asymco.com[/caption] This was the insight I needed to fully rid myself of innoveracy once and for all, but also to form my own definition of innovation, in a context relevant to me and my objectives. I now define innovation as something that is new, uniquely useful and contextually successful. This differs slightly from the way that Horace defines innovation and the deliberate hierarchical structure of the concept definition breakdown above. “Note that the taxonomy has a hierarchy. Creations are novel, inventions are creations and innovations are usually based on some invention. However inventions are not innovations and neither are creations or novelties. Innovations are therefore the most demanding works because they require all the conditions in the hierarchy. Innovations implicitly require defensibility through a unique “operating model”. Put another way, they remain unique because few others can copy them.” “To be innovative is very difficult, but because of the difficulty, being innovative is usually well rewarded. Indeed, it might be easier to identify innovations simply by their rewards. It’s almost a certainty that any great business is predicated on an innovation and that the lack of a reward in business means that some aspect of the conditions of innovation were not met,” he explains. Another interesting point to note, which helps frame the context from Horace’s definition of innovation, is that he deliberately points to the fact that innovation requires validation. “Understanding that innovation requires passing a market test and that passing that test is immensely rewarding both for the creator and for society at large means that we can focus on how to make it happen. Obsessing over the mere novelties or inventions means we allocate resources which markets won’t reward. Misusing the term and confusing it with activities that don’t create value takes our eye off the causes and moves us away from finding ways of repeatedly succeeding.” I couldn’t agree more, but what I would add is that validation is based on the context of the ‘innovations’ objectives, and that innovations’ shouldn’t merely be tied to the commercial metrics of business success. Contextual relevance is important in any situation, but in defining and executing innovation, it is an absolute necessity. Innovation can occur in various contexts; commercial, community or otherwise, and the ‘success’ or ‘validation’ that helps confirm something that is new and uniquely useful as a true innovation must be directly aligned with the contextual relevance of the ‘innovations objectives.’ Does it serve its true purpose? Is it highly impactful? Does it literally change people’s lives in a desired way? An ability to answer ‘yes’ to these types of questions can help us further define something that is an innovation from something that isn’t. I’m with Horace in that I believe innoveracy is a serious issue. I was once a sufferer. But once we understand what innovation is and what it isn’t, we place ourselves in the position to truly appreciate how rare and impactful innovations are. And on top of that, this puts us in the position to go out and explore, validate and execute innovations in the real word, regardless of their contextual relevance. I hope this helps in defining and solidifying your understanding of innovation, and also why it matters so very much. ]]>
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Privacy Breaches: What are your rights? Does the law need reform? http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/09/privacy-breaches-rights-law-need-reform/ http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/09/privacy-breaches-rights-law-need-reform/#comments Tue, 09 Sep 2014 22:07:48 +0000 http://www.startupdaily.com.au/?p=33110 ursula2

The Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) has recently released a report called Serious Invasions of Privacy in the Digital Era, setting out recommendations to strengthen people’s privacy in the digital environment, including to give victims of serious invasions of digital privacy the right to sue. Are privacy breaches an issue in Australia?  In June 2014, the data of 10,000 asylum seekers was hacked. Later that month, Cupid Media hijacked 254,000 Australian online dating profiles. Even more recently, several A-grade celebrities had semi-nude photos uploaded when Apple’s iCloud database was hacked. The Privacy Act currently doesn’t give individuals the right to sue for privacy breaches, and there is no general law tort of privacy. The ALRC Terms of Reference were for the ALRC to design a tort to deal with serious invasions of privacy. Can individuals sue under the Privacy Act? To make a privacy complaint in Australia you must complain directly to the business, agency or organisation that you consider has breached your privacy, and wait 30 days for a response. If they ignore you or you’re unhappy with the response, you can lodge a complaint with the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner. The Commissioner then investigates on your behalf. Currently, in Australia, you cannot directly sue someone for invading your privacy. Balancing rights to privacy with other rights and freedoms In Australia, there is increasing interest in the right to privacy, including the right to sue for breaches of privacy. The widespread use of social media means that a breach of privacy, for example a private photo being taken and posted publicly, can be made widely available in a short time. Stronger privacy rights, however, could place journalists and publishers at risk for publishing photos or information that breach someone’s privacy. Freedom of press and freedom of expression are rights in our Constitution. If people had a right to privacy, how would this interact with these freedoms?  Issues that could arise include - could changes to privacy law in Australia give victims the right to prevent journalists from publishing private material?  What are the implications for publishers?   How would privacy rights interact with the tort of defamation, where truth is a defence for publishers? Balancing the media’s right to report with individual’s right to privacy is a challenging task. A politician being photographed in a situation that suggests he or she may be involved in corruption is one example where the freedom of the press may outweigh any right to privacy. The Australian Law Reform Commission Report and responses The ALRC Commissioner for the Inquiry, Professor Barbara McDonald, said “The ALRC has designed a remedy for invasions of privacy that are serious, committed intentionally or recklessly and that cannot be justified as being in the public interest… The recommendations in the Report also recognise that while privacy is a fundamental right that is worthy of legal protection, this right must also be balanced with other rights, such as the right to freedom of expression and the freedom of the media to investigate and report on matters of public importance.” The Report also recommends that the current state and territory laws be replaced by a new Commonwealth surveillance law, so that there are consistent surveillance laws throughout Australia. Australia’s Privacy Commissioner, Timothy Pilgrim, applauded the ALRC’s detailed recommendations. He said “This report recognises the changing nature of challenges to privacy in the digital age and engages with a large number of contemporary privacy issues.” Currently, the right to sue for privacy violations already exists in the UK, New Zealand, the USA and Canada, leaving Australia behind in terms of law reform. The spokesperson for the Attorney General, George Brandis seemed unswayed by the recommendations. “The government has made it clear on numerous occasions that it does not support a tort of privacy.” The Privacy Commissioner is investigating the breach that resulted in asylum seeker’s information being made public, and there are multiple law suits by asylum seekers claiming that the Government was negligent. We watch with interest to see the Federal Court’s decision and whether there will be comment on a tort of privacy. --- Ursula Hogben is the co-founder, COO and legal practice director of LegalVision ILP, an online business legal services provider.  ]]>
ursula2

The Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) has recently released a report called Serious Invasions of Privacy in the Digital Era, setting out recommendations to strengthen people’s privacy in the digital environment, including to give victims of serious invasions of digital privacy the right to sue. Are privacy breaches an issue in Australia?  In June 2014, the data of 10,000 asylum seekers was hacked. Later that month, Cupid Media hijacked 254,000 Australian online dating profiles. Even more recently, several A-grade celebrities had semi-nude photos uploaded when Apple’s iCloud database was hacked. The Privacy Act currently doesn’t give individuals the right to sue for privacy breaches, and there is no general law tort of privacy. The ALRC Terms of Reference were for the ALRC to design a tort to deal with serious invasions of privacy. Can individuals sue under the Privacy Act? To make a privacy complaint in Australia you must complain directly to the business, agency or organisation that you consider has breached your privacy, and wait 30 days for a response. If they ignore you or you’re unhappy with the response, you can lodge a complaint with the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner. The Commissioner then investigates on your behalf. Currently, in Australia, you cannot directly sue someone for invading your privacy. Balancing rights to privacy with other rights and freedoms In Australia, there is increasing interest in the right to privacy, including the right to sue for breaches of privacy. The widespread use of social media means that a breach of privacy, for example a private photo being taken and posted publicly, can be made widely available in a short time. Stronger privacy rights, however, could place journalists and publishers at risk for publishing photos or information that breach someone’s privacy. Freedom of press and freedom of expression are rights in our Constitution. If people had a right to privacy, how would this interact with these freedoms?  Issues that could arise include - could changes to privacy law in Australia give victims the right to prevent journalists from publishing private material?  What are the implications for publishers?   How would privacy rights interact with the tort of defamation, where truth is a defence for publishers? Balancing the media’s right to report with individual’s right to privacy is a challenging task. A politician being photographed in a situation that suggests he or she may be involved in corruption is one example where the freedom of the press may outweigh any right to privacy. The Australian Law Reform Commission Report and responses The ALRC Commissioner for the Inquiry, Professor Barbara McDonald, said “The ALRC has designed a remedy for invasions of privacy that are serious, committed intentionally or recklessly and that cannot be justified as being in the public interest… The recommendations in the Report also recognise that while privacy is a fundamental right that is worthy of legal protection, this right must also be balanced with other rights, such as the right to freedom of expression and the freedom of the media to investigate and report on matters of public importance.” The Report also recommends that the current state and territory laws be replaced by a new Commonwealth surveillance law, so that there are consistent surveillance laws throughout Australia. Australia’s Privacy Commissioner, Timothy Pilgrim, applauded the ALRC’s detailed recommendations. He said “This report recognises the changing nature of challenges to privacy in the digital age and engages with a large number of contemporary privacy issues.” Currently, the right to sue for privacy violations already exists in the UK, New Zealand, the USA and Canada, leaving Australia behind in terms of law reform. The spokesperson for the Attorney General, George Brandis seemed unswayed by the recommendations. “The government has made it clear on numerous occasions that it does not support a tort of privacy.” The Privacy Commissioner is investigating the breach that resulted in asylum seeker’s information being made public, and there are multiple law suits by asylum seekers claiming that the Government was negligent. We watch with interest to see the Federal Court’s decision and whether there will be comment on a tort of privacy. --- Ursula Hogben is the co-founder, COO and legal practice director of LegalVision ILP, an online business legal services provider.  ]]>
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Bounty hunting in the recruitment space http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/09/bounty-hunting-recruitment-space/ http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/09/bounty-hunting-recruitment-space/#comments Tue, 09 Sep 2014 21:36:21 +0000 http://www.startupdaily.com.au/?p=33098 Promise or Pay (1)

We sat down with Mahesh Muralidhar to talk about his business UReferJobs which just got into the INCUBATE program. UReferJobs was one of the businesses that already had cashflow and customers at the time of being accepted - they are shaking up the recruitment space. ]]>
Promise or Pay (1)

We sat down with Mahesh Muralidhar to talk about his business UReferJobs which just got into the INCUBATE program. UReferJobs was one of the businesses that already had cashflow and customers at the time of being accepted - they are shaking up the recruitment space. ]]>
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Twitter’s journey into social commerce will be lucrative for early leaders in the space like Gumroad and Selz http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/09/twitters-journey-social-commerce-will-lucrative-early-leaders-space-like-gumroad-selz/ http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/09/twitters-journey-social-commerce-will-lucrative-early-leaders-space-like-gumroad-selz/#comments Tue, 09 Sep 2014 02:19:36 +0000 http://www.startupdaily.com.au/?p=33063 Twitter

Simplicity. It’s the key objective of innovation. And innovation is key to successful competition in a global marketplace. Australian startup Selz has embraced this interrelationship with their offering of simple selling tools for individuals and businesses that have a strong online presence since the beginning of last August. Using Selz, individuals and businesses can be selling in less than a minute. How? By creating a product listing via Selz and choosing where to place that product for sale. You can embed it into your blog or website or share it as a post or tweet. You can place it on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest. It's the Twitter part of this equation that is about to get very interesting for startups like Selz, and their international competitors such as Gumroad. Twitter announced last night that they want to make shopping from mobile devices convenient and easy for its users. With the roll out of Twitter's new "Buy" button, users will get access to offers and merchandise they can’t get anywhere else and purchase them right in the Twitter apps for Android and iOS. This means that businesses and celebrities will be able to turn their followers into dollars. Social commerce now begins to take on a whole new meaning. Twitter announced this last night on their blog, also citing a number of companies that have been pivotal in getting this new service off the ground:
We’re not building this alone: we’ve partnered with Fancy (@fancy), Gumroad (@gumroad), Musictoday (@Musictoday) and Stripe (@stripe) as platforms for this initial test, with more partners to follow soon. In our test, an entire purchase can be completed in just a few taps. After tapping the “Buy” button, you will get additional product details and be prompted to enter your shipping and payment information. Once that’s entered and confirmed, your order information is sent to the merchant for delivery. We’ll be starting the test with a group of artists, brands, and nonprofit organizations, so follow them now and look out for great products over the coming weeks:
In the same way that Selz approached the market mid last year, Twitter is launching this service targeting creators, entrepreneurs and bloggers, particularly those that have cultivated an online community or following, and are now seeking to take the next step by offering a product. It's still early days, but given Australians' presence on Twitter, combined with its strong local team, and the fact that Gumroad has no local presence as yet in this country, Selz is a logical choice for the tech giant to enter into talks with locally. With online sales in Australia growing to $37 billion in 2013 from $27 billion in 2010, and 55 percent of Australians using the web to research their purchases (according to Google), those who are not leveraging the internet are missing out on sales. ]]>
Twitter

Simplicity. It’s the key objective of innovation. And innovation is key to successful competition in a global marketplace. Australian startup Selz has embraced this interrelationship with their offering of simple selling tools for individuals and businesses that have a strong online presence since the beginning of last August. Using Selz, individuals and businesses can be selling in less than a minute. How? By creating a product listing via Selz and choosing where to place that product for sale. You can embed it into your blog or website or share it as a post or tweet. You can place it on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest. It's the Twitter part of this equation that is about to get very interesting for startups like Selz, and their international competitors such as Gumroad. Twitter announced last night that they want to make shopping from mobile devices convenient and easy for its users. With the roll out of Twitter's new "Buy" button, users will get access to offers and merchandise they can’t get anywhere else and purchase them right in the Twitter apps for Android and iOS. This means that businesses and celebrities will be able to turn their followers into dollars. Social commerce now begins to take on a whole new meaning. Twitter announced this last night on their blog, also citing a number of companies that have been pivotal in getting this new service off the ground:
We’re not building this alone: we’ve partnered with Fancy (@fancy), Gumroad (@gumroad), Musictoday (@Musictoday) and Stripe (@stripe) as platforms for this initial test, with more partners to follow soon. In our test, an entire purchase can be completed in just a few taps. After tapping the “Buy” button, you will get additional product details and be prompted to enter your shipping and payment information. Once that’s entered and confirmed, your order information is sent to the merchant for delivery. We’ll be starting the test with a group of artists, brands, and nonprofit organizations, so follow them now and look out for great products over the coming weeks:
In the same way that Selz approached the market mid last year, Twitter is launching this service targeting creators, entrepreneurs and bloggers, particularly those that have cultivated an online community or following, and are now seeking to take the next step by offering a product. It's still early days, but given Australians' presence on Twitter, combined with its strong local team, and the fact that Gumroad has no local presence as yet in this country, Selz is a logical choice for the tech giant to enter into talks with locally. With online sales in Australia growing to $37 billion in 2013 from $27 billion in 2010, and 55 percent of Australians using the web to research their purchases (according to Google), those who are not leveraging the internet are missing out on sales. ]]>
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These siblings have created Airtasker for private parties, but is it too niche? http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/09/siblings-created-airtasker-private-parties-niche/ http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/09/siblings-created-airtasker-private-parties-niche/#comments Tue, 09 Sep 2014 01:43:36 +0000 http://www.startupdaily.com.au/?p=33054 PartiStaff founders

When you’re throwing a private party, an extra pair of hands or three is always helpful. But finding hired help is difficult without agency intermediation - which generally involves high costs.

Founded by brother-sister duo Richard and Katrina Macphillamy, Partistaff breaks from the traditional agency model, and offers a platform for party hosts to discover and hire helpers who have hospitality experience and are already accustomed to parties. Not all that different in concept to startups like OneShift, Expert360 and Airtasker, Partistaff gives party hosts flexible support at an hourly (starting from $20) or per event (e.g. $100) rate. The Partistaff marketplace alleviates many of the pain points associated with hiring party staff - cost, time, uncertainty and risk.

“There are plenty of travellers and uni students with hospitality experience, looking for casual and part time work.  We thought it was time someone opened up that market and connected those looking for work to those looking to hire.  Now everyone can afford to get hired help at their next party!” says Richard.

Although theoretically, people can hire an ‘Airtasker’ to help out at a party, Richard says that by focusing on the party niche, they can appeal more strongly to the hundreds of thousands of private parties Australians throw every year. He also points out that Partistaff is a more cost-efficient alternative for those who are looking to hire bulk staff at late notice.

“We've got a guy currently that is looking to hire 100 staff for a gig they are recording to DVD … and recently a marketing company hired 60 people in Brisbane for a promo event for a client. There are some big savings to be had,” says Richard.

When you consider the type of parties or events there, Partistaff’s scalability becomes more apparent. The platform can be used to hire help for weddings, birthday gatherings, cocktail parties, corporate events and even cultural festivals, among many more.

At this very moment, there are 20 jobs listed on the site. Together, the clients are looking to hire 200 staff. Since launching in September last year, Partistaff has hired out about 1,000 staff, and there are over 2,000 people signed up and ready to work. Richard believes uptake is spread out across all states in Australia.

The startup has been primarily bootstrapped, with the co-founders raising a small amount of funds from friends. Richard and Katrina are not looking to raise funds as they feel it’s important to have full control over the direction of the business at this early stage.

Marketing and converting awareness to sales have been the biggest challenges for Partistaff.

“[It’s been challenging to get] people to use our site rather than an agency and getting people to realise that they can get help, even if it’s just one person to wash up dishes at a dinner party without paying exorbitant sums. It’s a change in the way people think, and it needs a lot of prompting,” says Richard.

Nevertheless, it’s been a rewarding journey, even though Partistaff is still in its infancy. Richard says that hearing back from clients who hired staff at late notice, and those staff helped make the event great, has helped with concept validation.

For the short term, Partistaff will remain focused on growing its staff database; and eventually, it wants to become Australia’s foremost ‘one stop party shop’. It may seem too niche at this stage, but there are plenty of opportunities for the startup to diversify its offering. There may even be opportunities where Partistaff can strategically partner with caterers and other party-related companies.

]]>
PartiStaff founders

When you’re throwing a private party, an extra pair of hands or three is always helpful. But finding hired help is difficult without agency intermediation - which generally involves high costs.

Founded by brother-sister duo Richard and Katrina Macphillamy, Partistaff breaks from the traditional agency model, and offers a platform for party hosts to discover and hire helpers who have hospitality experience and are already accustomed to parties. Not all that different in concept to startups like OneShift, Expert360 and Airtasker, Partistaff gives party hosts flexible support at an hourly (starting from $20) or per event (e.g. $100) rate. The Partistaff marketplace alleviates many of the pain points associated with hiring party staff - cost, time, uncertainty and risk.

“There are plenty of travellers and uni students with hospitality experience, looking for casual and part time work.  We thought it was time someone opened up that market and connected those looking for work to those looking to hire.  Now everyone can afford to get hired help at their next party!” says Richard.

Although theoretically, people can hire an ‘Airtasker’ to help out at a party, Richard says that by focusing on the party niche, they can appeal more strongly to the hundreds of thousands of private parties Australians throw every year. He also points out that Partistaff is a more cost-efficient alternative for those who are looking to hire bulk staff at late notice.

“We've got a guy currently that is looking to hire 100 staff for a gig they are recording to DVD … and recently a marketing company hired 60 people in Brisbane for a promo event for a client. There are some big savings to be had,” says Richard.

When you consider the type of parties or events there, Partistaff’s scalability becomes more apparent. The platform can be used to hire help for weddings, birthday gatherings, cocktail parties, corporate events and even cultural festivals, among many more.

At this very moment, there are 20 jobs listed on the site. Together, the clients are looking to hire 200 staff. Since launching in September last year, Partistaff has hired out about 1,000 staff, and there are over 2,000 people signed up and ready to work. Richard believes uptake is spread out across all states in Australia.

The startup has been primarily bootstrapped, with the co-founders raising a small amount of funds from friends. Richard and Katrina are not looking to raise funds as they feel it’s important to have full control over the direction of the business at this early stage.

Marketing and converting awareness to sales have been the biggest challenges for Partistaff.

“[It’s been challenging to get] people to use our site rather than an agency and getting people to realise that they can get help, even if it’s just one person to wash up dishes at a dinner party without paying exorbitant sums. It’s a change in the way people think, and it needs a lot of prompting,” says Richard.

Nevertheless, it’s been a rewarding journey, even though Partistaff is still in its infancy. Richard says that hearing back from clients who hired staff at late notice, and those staff helped make the event great, has helped with concept validation.

For the short term, Partistaff will remain focused on growing its staff database; and eventually, it wants to become Australia’s foremost ‘one stop party shop’. It may seem too niche at this stage, but there are plenty of opportunities for the startup to diversify its offering. There may even be opportunities where Partistaff can strategically partner with caterers and other party-related companies.

]]>
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The Australian startup that could end up beating Project Wing and Prime Air to market http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/09/australian-startup-end-beating-project-wing-prime-air-market/ http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/09/australian-startup-end-beating-project-wing-prime-air-market/#comments Tue, 09 Sep 2014 01:32:46 +0000 http://www.startupdaily.com.au/?p=32783 Flirtey-Matt-Sweeny-1

There has been quite a bit of attention focused on two drone programs that are currently in their 'experimental' phases. Google's Project Wing and Amazon Prime Air were revealed in August to be testing drone deliveries. Project Wing in particular has been doing so in rural Australia. (Drones are also called UAVs or unmanned aerial vehicles). Though it must be noted that both of the programs are years away from launching commercially, it has been interesting to see the media coverage about how this could completely change a number of industries including deliveries and emergency services. The coverage around these programs has been a huge contrast to most of the coverage that Australian startup Flirtey received when they first went out to the media with their drone delivery system and partnership with Zookal at the latter half of last year. Whilst some media outlets ran with the standard presser, others (including Startup Daily) questioned the validity of some of the claims - most notably, that they would be in the market by March of this year. This is what I've written previously:
I feel we’ve had a case of premature media ejaculation. When we received the release about the Zookal-Flirtey collaboration, I was working on a similar story about another Australian startup that had intended to reveal this delivery technology using a different drone company at this month’s Tech23 Conference. And I was already in dialogue with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), being educated on their rules when it comes to operating Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS). When it comes to media coverage around new and exciting things, perception can often become the reader’s reality; and a few of the statements made within the media pieces over the last week have certainly done that. For instance saying that it is legal to fly a commercial drone under 122 metres as stated in BRW’s coverage is true if you have gone through the process of obtaining a license for your RPAS, are tracking it’s flight path and a host of other strict requirements. Yesterday, a spokesperson for CASA confirmed with shoestring.com.au that “Zookal has not made an application to CASA to operate the Flirtey remotely piloted aircraft system (RPAS) and conduct operations of the type outlined in recent media coverage”. Likewise, stating that an operation which is dependent on so many factors will be working by March next year, (as mentioned in multiple publications) when the reality is not guaranteed, also leads readers to believe everything is a done deal. I do get the startup ‘commit to a date and make it happen’ philosophy, but when you do that publicly, you really need to make sure you have your boxes ticked.
Since this initial coverage, Flirtey has been accepted into and completed the Startmate program - an experience which brings about a laser focus from any startup that gets in. After viewing the Demo Day footage, it is clear that Flirtey is not a concept anymore with a half-formed business strategy. It is now a company with solid foundations and advisors. In fact, there is a very real chance that Flirtey could beat both Google and Amazon to market from a commercial perspective. According to CEO Matt Sweeney's presentation on Demo day, the company has already secured a pretty big client in the United Arab Emirates. Sheik Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Emirates airlines wants to enlist the services of Flirtey to deliver passports at a rate of 20,000 per month in one of Dubai's largest free trading zones. But at this time, no commercial agreement has been finalised. In addition to this win, last month Flirtey secured a new R&D partnership with the University of Nevada, Reno. The University of Nevada, Reno, is a leading research centre for Unmanned Autonomous Systems (UAS), and will also take an equity stake in Flirtey as part of the deal. The partnership allows Flirtey to use the University’s R&D labs for design and manufacture and research collaboration, as well as access to the first indoor flight testing sites approved by the Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems, to support Flirtey’s UAV development and growth. “The collaboration with the University is an important step in Flirtey’s growth by allowing us to use their facilities and test Flirteys on campus. Nevada is one of just six locations in the U.S. approved by the Federal Aviation Administration for UAV testing, with its close proximity to Silicon Valley, a budding tech scene, and state’s strong aeronautical history, Reno is positioned to become the biggest little city in the world UAV space,” Sweeny said. What is also promising is that Flirtey, to date, has now conducted over 100 successful test deliveries of textbooks outdoors during its testing phase with Sydney with Zookal. “From a warehousing and logistics perspective having seen the Flirtey technology in action, I see the enormous potential in this technology; it creates a sense of wonder for customers, and efficiencies in the delivery process. This technology has potential beyond the delivery of textbooks and Zookal is excited by the opportunities that lie ahead with Flirtey's partnership with The University of Nevada, Reno", said Ahmed Haider, CEO of Zookal. It should be noted that Haider is also a cofounder of Flirtey. And it's not just the university that is excited about their relationship with the Australian innovator - Flirtey is attracting attention of politicians in the state. Governor Brian Sandoval of Nevada stated in a press release, "I am excited to welcome Flirtey to the Nevada family. The partnership between Flirtey and the University of Nevada, Reno demonstrates a commitment to our shared vision of building a vibrant and sustainable economy. The collaboration between Flirtey and UNR will send a strong message that Nevada is a leader in this emerging industry not only because of our unique environment, but also because we are educating and training the aviation workforce of the future." Flirtey is also looking to enter its next international market - New Zealand. The country has actually been one of the first movers in the commercial UAV market and recently launched ‘Airshare’, a hub for UAV information, which will allow commercial operators to log their flights online to ensure maximum safety. Flirtey is one of the first commercial operators on the system, and has agreed to participate in testing before it goes live later in the year. In the last six months, the startup has gone from cool innovative product and fun press story to potential game changing company backed by some of the best in the space. And judging by its current run rate, it is a genuine competitor for both Google and Amazon. ]]>
Flirtey-Matt-Sweeny-1

There has been quite a bit of attention focused on two drone programs that are currently in their 'experimental' phases. Google's Project Wing and Amazon Prime Air were revealed in August to be testing drone deliveries. Project Wing in particular has been doing so in rural Australia. (Drones are also called UAVs or unmanned aerial vehicles). Though it must be noted that both of the programs are years away from launching commercially, it has been interesting to see the media coverage about how this could completely change a number of industries including deliveries and emergency services. The coverage around these programs has been a huge contrast to most of the coverage that Australian startup Flirtey received when they first went out to the media with their drone delivery system and partnership with Zookal at the latter half of last year. Whilst some media outlets ran with the standard presser, others (including Startup Daily) questioned the validity of some of the claims - most notably, that they would be in the market by March of this year. This is what I've written previously:
I feel we’ve had a case of premature media ejaculation. When we received the release about the Zookal-Flirtey collaboration, I was working on a similar story about another Australian startup that had intended to reveal this delivery technology using a different drone company at this month’s Tech23 Conference. And I was already in dialogue with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), being educated on their rules when it comes to operating Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS). When it comes to media coverage around new and exciting things, perception can often become the reader’s reality; and a few of the statements made within the media pieces over the last week have certainly done that. For instance saying that it is legal to fly a commercial drone under 122 metres as stated in BRW’s coverage is true if you have gone through the process of obtaining a license for your RPAS, are tracking it’s flight path and a host of other strict requirements. Yesterday, a spokesperson for CASA confirmed with shoestring.com.au that “Zookal has not made an application to CASA to operate the Flirtey remotely piloted aircraft system (RPAS) and conduct operations of the type outlined in recent media coverage”. Likewise, stating that an operation which is dependent on so many factors will be working by March next year, (as mentioned in multiple publications) when the reality is not guaranteed, also leads readers to believe everything is a done deal. I do get the startup ‘commit to a date and make it happen’ philosophy, but when you do that publicly, you really need to make sure you have your boxes ticked.
Since this initial coverage, Flirtey has been accepted into and completed the Startmate program - an experience which brings about a laser focus from any startup that gets in. After viewing the Demo Day footage, it is clear that Flirtey is not a concept anymore with a half-formed business strategy. It is now a company with solid foundations and advisors. In fact, there is a very real chance that Flirtey could beat both Google and Amazon to market from a commercial perspective. According to CEO Matt Sweeney's presentation on Demo day, the company has already secured a pretty big client in the United Arab Emirates. Sheik Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Emirates airlines wants to enlist the services of Flirtey to deliver passports at a rate of 20,000 per month in one of Dubai's largest free trading zones. But at this time, no commercial agreement has been finalised. In addition to this win, last month Flirtey secured a new R&D partnership with the University of Nevada, Reno. The University of Nevada, Reno, is a leading research centre for Unmanned Autonomous Systems (UAS), and will also take an equity stake in Flirtey as part of the deal. The partnership allows Flirtey to use the University’s R&D labs for design and manufacture and research collaboration, as well as access to the first indoor flight testing sites approved by the Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems, to support Flirtey’s UAV development and growth. “The collaboration with the University is an important step in Flirtey’s growth by allowing us to use their facilities and test Flirteys on campus. Nevada is one of just six locations in the U.S. approved by the Federal Aviation Administration for UAV testing, with its close proximity to Silicon Valley, a budding tech scene, and state’s strong aeronautical history, Reno is positioned to become the biggest little city in the world UAV space,” Sweeny said. What is also promising is that Flirtey, to date, has now conducted over 100 successful test deliveries of textbooks outdoors during its testing phase with Sydney with Zookal. “From a warehousing and logistics perspective having seen the Flirtey technology in action, I see the enormous potential in this technology; it creates a sense of wonder for customers, and efficiencies in the delivery process. This technology has potential beyond the delivery of textbooks and Zookal is excited by the opportunities that lie ahead with Flirtey's partnership with The University of Nevada, Reno", said Ahmed Haider, CEO of Zookal. It should be noted that Haider is also a cofounder of Flirtey. And it's not just the university that is excited about their relationship with the Australian innovator - Flirtey is attracting attention of politicians in the state. Governor Brian Sandoval of Nevada stated in a press release, "I am excited to welcome Flirtey to the Nevada family. The partnership between Flirtey and the University of Nevada, Reno demonstrates a commitment to our shared vision of building a vibrant and sustainable economy. The collaboration between Flirtey and UNR will send a strong message that Nevada is a leader in this emerging industry not only because of our unique environment, but also because we are educating and training the aviation workforce of the future." Flirtey is also looking to enter its next international market - New Zealand. The country has actually been one of the first movers in the commercial UAV market and recently launched ‘Airshare’, a hub for UAV information, which will allow commercial operators to log their flights online to ensure maximum safety. Flirtey is one of the first commercial operators on the system, and has agreed to participate in testing before it goes live later in the year. In the last six months, the startup has gone from cool innovative product and fun press story to potential game changing company backed by some of the best in the space. And judging by its current run rate, it is a genuine competitor for both Google and Amazon. ]]>
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Sumry is more than just another pretty face in the online resume game http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/09/sumry-just-another-pretty-face-online-resume-game/ http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/09/sumry-just-another-pretty-face-online-resume-game/#comments Mon, 08 Sep 2014 23:33:24 +0000 http://www.startupdaily.com.au/?p=33034 sumry-sebastian

On traditional resumes, many applicants look identical and recruiters are left choosing the those who sound the best on paper. This is problematic because if one applicant has all the right experience and skills for the job but gets overlooked because their resume is poorly written, then they miss out simply because they were unable to sell themselves. On the flipside, an applicant can look outstanding on paper and not deliver on the promise. A traditional resume is not only a nuisance to write, it can also widen the communication gap between a job seeker and recruiter.

With Australia’s unemployment rate at an all-time high (6.4 percent) since the GFC**, a startup like Sumry couldn’t come at a better time. Founded by San Francisco-based Nate Hanson and Sydney-based Sebastian Kade, Sumry provides an easy way for job seekers to create, share and market their unique career stories in the form of a timeline. It’s essentially a paperless resume ‘web page’ that shows the recruiter what value they can offer and the skills they would bring to the role.

Hanson believes that while resumes are very old school and static - as it doesn’t adequate adequately represent the value of the job seeker - the issue goes much deeper. He explains, “Most companies and hiring managers are asking for their applications in the form of a resume. That means that they're automatically prioritising skills over character.”

“We believe Sumry helps alleviate this issue by helping job seekers stand out and helping companies get to know applicants better, earlier in the process.”

Screen Shot 2014-09-09 at 9.36.35 am

Launched publicly in January this year, the idea for Sumry spawned from the very common frustration that Kade experienced when applying for a job. He was unhappy about “how the traditional resume presented [the job seeker] as a cog in the machine.”

“It’s just a list of meaningless skills against a faceless name,” he says.

Kade started designing his ideal resume as a PDF but realised that most people scanning the resume will do so on a mobile device.

“The next step was obvious, build it on a responsive, accessible medium - the web,” says Kade.

He landed his dream job as Product Designer, which he credits (at least partially) to the visual appeal of his resume. At the same time, though, he wanted to liberate others from the sterile traditional resume.

“So I turned my humble little resume into a service that allowed anyone to easily create a beautiful looking online resume that told their story about what they've done to become the unique person they are,” says Kade.

Sumry recently conducted a survey to assess its impact on an individual’s employability, and found that 66 percent of its users who applied for jobs using Sumry Job Apps were called in for at least one interview, and 43 percent were invited in for multiple interviews. Hanson says Sumry users have been hired at major companies like Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and Telsa, among many others.

So how does one go about creating a profile on Sumry? The process is fairly simple. Users visit sumry.in and and click ‘Sign up’. They answer a series of questions to fill up the Story, Personality, and Skills sections. They’re then taken to their profile where they can edit, add, move and customise their story, links, points and pictures. Once they’ve completed their profile, they can distribute that link to recruiters.

When it came to the design of the platform, Kade says the most important factor was that it had to utilise the power of storytelling to give viewers a nuanced understanding of who the person is. He acknowledges though that resumes tend to capture six seconds of attention, before it is tossed into the ‘yes/no’ piles. As such, Sumry had to be designed in a way that would allow viewers to navigate profiles extremely fast.

Since launching, Sumry has been continuously tweaked based on user feedback to optimise the resume viewing experience. This includes visual changes such as cover photos to smaller tweaks in typography and animations.

The co-founders are fully cognisant of the fact that there are many CV tools online. Hanson says that Sumry’s purpose isn’t necessarily to help users design a visually appealing resume as opposed to using traditional Microsoft Word templates. Rather, Sumry is about “getting back to the basics of the power of introduction.”

“Sumry isn't another pretty face in the online resume game. We're creating a platform that facilitates professionals and companies to better know one another and make better personal decisions,” Hanson says.

Kade believes the ‘professional storytelling’ industry will become more important as our highly skilled economies grow, and companies are required to make hiring decisions based on more than just skill sets.

“Culture is ever increasingly becoming the x-factor in hiring,” he says.

“We want to lead the hiring change from 'these are my skills' to 'this is who I am and why I'm perfect for you'. Really, we want to disrupt the industry to move it away from its traditional ideals and onto a future way of hiring.”

To date, Sumry has been proudly bootstrapped, though Kade admits the future is unknown.

“We love the organic growth that comes with bootstrapping and even find the restriction that it forces upon you, make you build a better product,” he says. “In essence, restriction forces focus.”

Sumry doesn’t have a big engineering team, just one engineer. This means that when it comes to product roadmap, the startup doesn’t have the luxury of building mediocre features.

Although Sumry has seen uptake from all corners of the world, its top markets are the US, UK, Canada, Australia and India.

Hanson says their primary growth strategy is to create viral features. In fact, today Sumry has just launched trackable PDF resumes - priced at $7 per month. The new feature works in a similar fashion to Google’s Streak (for Gmail), allowing users to send out a summary of their skills and see exactly when it was downloaded, viewed, and even when certain links were clicked on.

These stats are then presented in the user’s Sumry dashboard, allowing them to determine which parts of their CV are most engaging, and which parts are being skimmed over.

The startup also plans on showing users exactly how long recruiters spent looking at their PDF resumes. Given stats are specific to each PDF sent, users are able to identify how well it performed in each job application.

“We've seen the most growth by building innovative, industry-challenging features that get people (our users and the media) excited. If you drop trackable resumes on the world, you don't have to beg them to tell people,” says Hanson.

At the moment, every minute, 45 new dot points are being added to Sumry, which Hanson admits keeps them going.

That said, there have been challenges to overcome. Hanson says, the career world is “a very old, slow-as-molasses world”.  Disrupting an industry that’s been built on tradition is Sumry’s biggest challenge at the moment.

“I'm not just talking about outdated resumes. Even tools like LinkedIn feel like they're for your parents’ generation. It's difficult to challenge an industry full of tradition. We've learned to work with the tradition and not throw the baby out with the bathwater,” says Hanson.

Well, that’s what launching a startup is all about - persisting when faced with resistance.

**Amended from all time high, to all-time high post Global Financial Crisis. 

]]>
sumry-sebastian

On traditional resumes, many applicants look identical and recruiters are left choosing the those who sound the best on paper. This is problematic because if one applicant has all the right experience and skills for the job but gets overlooked because their resume is poorly written, then they miss out simply because they were unable to sell themselves. On the flipside, an applicant can look outstanding on paper and not deliver on the promise. A traditional resume is not only a nuisance to write, it can also widen the communication gap between a job seeker and recruiter.

With Australia’s unemployment rate at an all-time high (6.4 percent) since the GFC**, a startup like Sumry couldn’t come at a better time. Founded by San Francisco-based Nate Hanson and Sydney-based Sebastian Kade, Sumry provides an easy way for job seekers to create, share and market their unique career stories in the form of a timeline. It’s essentially a paperless resume ‘web page’ that shows the recruiter what value they can offer and the skills they would bring to the role.

Hanson believes that while resumes are very old school and static - as it doesn’t adequate adequately represent the value of the job seeker - the issue goes much deeper. He explains, “Most companies and hiring managers are asking for their applications in the form of a resume. That means that they're automatically prioritising skills over character.”

“We believe Sumry helps alleviate this issue by helping job seekers stand out and helping companies get to know applicants better, earlier in the process.”

Screen Shot 2014-09-09 at 9.36.35 am

Launched publicly in January this year, the idea for Sumry spawned from the very common frustration that Kade experienced when applying for a job. He was unhappy about “how the traditional resume presented [the job seeker] as a cog in the machine.”

“It’s just a list of meaningless skills against a faceless name,” he says.

Kade started designing his ideal resume as a PDF but realised that most people scanning the resume will do so on a mobile device.

“The next step was obvious, build it on a responsive, accessible medium - the web,” says Kade.

He landed his dream job as Product Designer, which he credits (at least partially) to the visual appeal of his resume. At the same time, though, he wanted to liberate others from the sterile traditional resume.

“So I turned my humble little resume into a service that allowed anyone to easily create a beautiful looking online resume that told their story about what they've done to become the unique person they are,” says Kade.

Sumry recently conducted a survey to assess its impact on an individual’s employability, and found that 66 percent of its users who applied for jobs using Sumry Job Apps were called in for at least one interview, and 43 percent were invited in for multiple interviews. Hanson says Sumry users have been hired at major companies like Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and Telsa, among many others.

So how does one go about creating a profile on Sumry? The process is fairly simple. Users visit sumry.in and and click ‘Sign up’. They answer a series of questions to fill up the Story, Personality, and Skills sections. They’re then taken to their profile where they can edit, add, move and customise their story, links, points and pictures. Once they’ve completed their profile, they can distribute that link to recruiters.

When it came to the design of the platform, Kade says the most important factor was that it had to utilise the power of storytelling to give viewers a nuanced understanding of who the person is. He acknowledges though that resumes tend to capture six seconds of attention, before it is tossed into the ‘yes/no’ piles. As such, Sumry had to be designed in a way that would allow viewers to navigate profiles extremely fast.

Since launching, Sumry has been continuously tweaked based on user feedback to optimise the resume viewing experience. This includes visual changes such as cover photos to smaller tweaks in typography and animations.

The co-founders are fully cognisant of the fact that there are many CV tools online. Hanson says that Sumry’s purpose isn’t necessarily to help users design a visually appealing resume as opposed to using traditional Microsoft Word templates. Rather, Sumry is about “getting back to the basics of the power of introduction.”

“Sumry isn't another pretty face in the online resume game. We're creating a platform that facilitates professionals and companies to better know one another and make better personal decisions,” Hanson says.

Kade believes the ‘professional storytelling’ industry will become more important as our highly skilled economies grow, and companies are required to make hiring decisions based on more than just skill sets.

“Culture is ever increasingly becoming the x-factor in hiring,” he says.

“We want to lead the hiring change from 'these are my skills' to 'this is who I am and why I'm perfect for you'. Really, we want to disrupt the industry to move it away from its traditional ideals and onto a future way of hiring.”

To date, Sumry has been proudly bootstrapped, though Kade admits the future is unknown.

“We love the organic growth that comes with bootstrapping and even find the restriction that it forces upon you, make you build a better product,” he says. “In essence, restriction forces focus.”

Sumry doesn’t have a big engineering team, just one engineer. This means that when it comes to product roadmap, the startup doesn’t have the luxury of building mediocre features.

Although Sumry has seen uptake from all corners of the world, its top markets are the US, UK, Canada, Australia and India.

Hanson says their primary growth strategy is to create viral features. In fact, today Sumry has just launched trackable PDF resumes - priced at $7 per month. The new feature works in a similar fashion to Google’s Streak (for Gmail), allowing users to send out a summary of their skills and see exactly when it was downloaded, viewed, and even when certain links were clicked on.

These stats are then presented in the user’s Sumry dashboard, allowing them to determine which parts of their CV are most engaging, and which parts are being skimmed over.

The startup also plans on showing users exactly how long recruiters spent looking at their PDF resumes. Given stats are specific to each PDF sent, users are able to identify how well it performed in each job application.

“We've seen the most growth by building innovative, industry-challenging features that get people (our users and the media) excited. If you drop trackable resumes on the world, you don't have to beg them to tell people,” says Hanson.

At the moment, every minute, 45 new dot points are being added to Sumry, which Hanson admits keeps them going.

That said, there have been challenges to overcome. Hanson says, the career world is “a very old, slow-as-molasses world”.  Disrupting an industry that’s been built on tradition is Sumry’s biggest challenge at the moment.

“I'm not just talking about outdated resumes. Even tools like LinkedIn feel like they're for your parents’ generation. It's difficult to challenge an industry full of tradition. We've learned to work with the tradition and not throw the baby out with the bathwater,” says Hanson.

Well, that’s what launching a startup is all about - persisting when faced with resistance.

**Amended from all time high, to all-time high post Global Financial Crisis. 

]]>
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Moodswing launches Version 2, teams up with LIFX, moves to San Francisco, and prepares for $1M capital raise http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/09/moodswing-launches-version-2-teams-lifx-moves-san-francisco-prepares-1m-capital-raise/ http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/09/moodswing-launches-version-2-teams-lifx-moves-san-francisco-prepares-1m-capital-raise/#comments Mon, 08 Sep 2014 01:29:03 +0000 http://www.startupdaily.com.au/?p=32999 moodswing

In August last year, Moodswing launched as a quirky empathy-based social network – a platform where users didn’t have to conform to social mores, hide their emotions and present the perfect digital image. The past 12 months has been a rollercoaster ride for the Australian startup; and now it’s preparing to join the ranks of social media power players like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Co-Founder and Managing Director Jake McKeon told Startup Daily that they’ve teamed up with lightbulb innovator LIFX and will be launching Moodswing Version 2 this week at TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2014.

In May this year, Moodswing announced a pivot - motivated by over 5,000 ‘sad’, ‘depressed’ and ‘suicidal’ moods posted by its users over the past few months. At the time, they were considering becoming a mental health and emotional well-being app. However, upon further analysis, the startup realised that this would mean they’d have to remain strictly a mental health app - and won’t be able to leverage opportunities to diversify its offering. As such, Moodswing has stuck to its original purpose - to provide a safe platform for people to express authentic emotions.

Moodswing’s initial tagline was ‘We live our lives through emotions, why not share them?’ The Version 2 tagline is: ‘Real people. Real emotions’.

“People don’t really feel comfortable being themselves on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter because they have to present the perfect digital image.”

Moodswing has undergone a major revamp, which McKeon says has doubled its retention rates. In Version 1, only 30 percent of new users would continue using the product after 30 days. That number shot up to 60 percent since Version 2 was launched in public beta 10 weeks ago; and users are now spending an average of 20 minutes a day on the platform.

McKeon says the new interface and user experience is much more intuitive. Within just one minute of signing up, users are able to recognise what the platform is about and how it works - where before it would take them multiple sessions and a time period of up to an hour.

So what exactly is different about the Moodswing Version 2? Previously, Moodswing went against the norm of social networking platforms by allowing users to respond positively (smiley face) and negatively (frowny face) to an update. The new version now presents a heart shape which indicates ‘support’ towards someone else’s mood update. It also includes a ‘me too’ icon which users can click if they’re feeling the same way.

Screenshot_2014-09-08-10-12-05 Screenshot_2014-09-05-22-35-36

“We didn't want to go down the path of Instagram or Facebook where it's all about likes. The heart that we have in moodswing represents support. The smile and frown that we previously had has come together as a heart now,” said McKeon.

As per screenshots below, the new version of Moodswing also offers a ‘Mood Map’. The X and Y axes represent a variety of emotions from positive, negative, intense and mild. When users move their thumbs around, it changes colour to represent the emotion that they're feeling.

Screenshot_2014-09-08-10-11-38 Screenshot_2014-09-08-09-33-37

McKeon revealed to Startup Daily that Moodswing partnered with LIFX in order to launch Version 2 in a unique fashion. In fact, Moodswing is using LIFX’s API to connect its Mood Maps with the company’s lightbulbs.

“We are going to walk around TechCrunch carrying our iPads and wearing LIFX’s lightbulbs on our heads, so when people select their mood on the app, the lightbulb changes colour. We’re basically going to be tracking moods at TechCrunch,” McKeon said.

The new version of Moodswing also sets the homepage as a ‘Global Feed’. This means that, unless specified as private, everyone’s updates will appear on a public feed. “It's now a combination of Twitter and Instagram, in terms of the public nature of the platform,” McKeon said.

No-one will be able to post comments on other people’s updates anonymously either. Everyone is accountable for the words, thus minimising the likelihood of cyber bullying.

Moodswing has just graduated from AngelCube, a Melbourne-based startup accelerator, and is preparing to headquarter in San Francisco early next year. The reason for the relocation, McKeon said, is not only because they are seeking to raise $1 million in funds, but also because “that's where the expertise is, that's where the best advice is.”

That’s not to say that Australia isn’t a great launching ground for social media startups, but if Moodswing wants to be comparable to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and reach 1 million users, Silicon Valley may be able to facilitate that.

“We're probably the strongest social network to come out of Australia, but for us to reach that next level, I think San Francisco is the right place for us. It’s where all the other major social networks are, and we can learn from the best,” he added. ]]>
moodswing

In August last year, Moodswing launched as a quirky empathy-based social network – a platform where users didn’t have to conform to social mores, hide their emotions and present the perfect digital image. The past 12 months has been a rollercoaster ride for the Australian startup; and now it’s preparing to join the ranks of social media power players like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Co-Founder and Managing Director Jake McKeon told Startup Daily that they’ve teamed up with lightbulb innovator LIFX and will be launching Moodswing Version 2 this week at TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2014.

In May this year, Moodswing announced a pivot - motivated by over 5,000 ‘sad’, ‘depressed’ and ‘suicidal’ moods posted by its users over the past few months. At the time, they were considering becoming a mental health and emotional well-being app. However, upon further analysis, the startup realised that this would mean they’d have to remain strictly a mental health app - and won’t be able to leverage opportunities to diversify its offering. As such, Moodswing has stuck to its original purpose - to provide a safe platform for people to express authentic emotions.

Moodswing’s initial tagline was ‘We live our lives through emotions, why not share them?’ The Version 2 tagline is: ‘Real people. Real emotions’.

“People don’t really feel comfortable being themselves on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter because they have to present the perfect digital image.”

Moodswing has undergone a major revamp, which McKeon says has doubled its retention rates. In Version 1, only 30 percent of new users would continue using the product after 30 days. That number shot up to 60 percent since Version 2 was launched in public beta 10 weeks ago; and users are now spending an average of 20 minutes a day on the platform.

McKeon says the new interface and user experience is much more intuitive. Within just one minute of signing up, users are able to recognise what the platform is about and how it works - where before it would take them multiple sessions and a time period of up to an hour.

So what exactly is different about the Moodswing Version 2? Previously, Moodswing went against the norm of social networking platforms by allowing users to respond positively (smiley face) and negatively (frowny face) to an update. The new version now presents a heart shape which indicates ‘support’ towards someone else’s mood update. It also includes a ‘me too’ icon which users can click if they’re feeling the same way.

Screenshot_2014-09-08-10-12-05 Screenshot_2014-09-05-22-35-36

“We didn't want to go down the path of Instagram or Facebook where it's all about likes. The heart that we have in moodswing represents support. The smile and frown that we previously had has come together as a heart now,” said McKeon.

As per screenshots below, the new version of Moodswing also offers a ‘Mood Map’. The X and Y axes represent a variety of emotions from positive, negative, intense and mild. When users move their thumbs around, it changes colour to represent the emotion that they're feeling.

Screenshot_2014-09-08-10-11-38 Screenshot_2014-09-08-09-33-37

McKeon revealed to Startup Daily that Moodswing partnered with LIFX in order to launch Version 2 in a unique fashion. In fact, Moodswing is using LIFX’s API to connect its Mood Maps with the company’s lightbulbs.

“We are going to walk around TechCrunch carrying our iPads and wearing LIFX’s lightbulbs on our heads, so when people select their mood on the app, the lightbulb changes colour. We’re basically going to be tracking moods at TechCrunch,” McKeon said.

The new version of Moodswing also sets the homepage as a ‘Global Feed’. This means that, unless specified as private, everyone’s updates will appear on a public feed. “It's now a combination of Twitter and Instagram, in terms of the public nature of the platform,” McKeon said.

No-one will be able to post comments on other people’s updates anonymously either. Everyone is accountable for the words, thus minimising the likelihood of cyber bullying.

Moodswing has just graduated from AngelCube, a Melbourne-based startup accelerator, and is preparing to headquarter in San Francisco early next year. The reason for the relocation, McKeon said, is not only because they are seeking to raise $1 million in funds, but also because “that's where the expertise is, that's where the best advice is.”

That’s not to say that Australia isn’t a great launching ground for social media startups, but if Moodswing wants to be comparable to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and reach 1 million users, Silicon Valley may be able to facilitate that.

“We're probably the strongest social network to come out of Australia, but for us to reach that next level, I think San Francisco is the right place for us. It’s where all the other major social networks are, and we can learn from the best,” he added. ]]>
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Xero launches version 8; new features to expand company’s footprint in the market http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/09/xero-launches-version-8-new-features-expand-companys-footprint-market/ http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/09/xero-launches-version-8-new-features-expand-companys-footprint-market/#comments Sun, 07 Sep 2014 23:19:44 +0000 http://www.startupdaily.com.au/?p=32950 Screen Shot 2014-09-08 at 9.17.47 am

Accounting software company Xero is looking at further expanding their their footprint in the market with a version 8.0 update that will impact more than 147,000 Australian businesses already using the service. The new changes which arrive today will include batch deposits which addresses the time saving issue for small-medium businesses by letting customers pay by cheque or multiple invoices at once. Deposit slips will also be available for Xero users to take to the bank or batch export to CSV for more advanced requirements. An additional receipts function will allow users to send receipts to thank customers for invoice payments within Xero. Batch Deposits: In Xero, Batch deposit is the accounts receivable equivalent to batch payments. From the Sales dashboard, a user can easily select the invoices to be paid and press the ‘Deposit’ button. Once the batch is confirmed, payments (or part payments, if the amounts have been adjusted) will be created for the selected invoices. This negates the need to drill into each individual invoice. Deposit Slips: If the batch deposit is created from a number of cheques, a user has the option to print a deposit slip to take to the bank for quicker processing. .png;base648ffede28a41bab66 Receipts: According the the Xero blog, the new receipts feature will allow users to thank customers for invoice payments. These can be initiated from a batch deposit, where a separate email for each unique customer will be created, or from any single payment record. Xero attaches a copy of the receipt to each receipt email. Receipt documents can have their layout edited so users can easily apply their branding.  The option to customise the standard text used for the email body from the email settings. png;base64df9f921ef893216b The existing reports tool will receive an overhaul as it moves towards a ‘report centre’ style system. There will be a few new reports going live with the update but one of the major ones is the P&L report (Profit and Loss). The new P&L report layout will feature a new way of controlling the report layouts and wider options for customising and creating formulae whilst having the ability to switch between multiple bank accounts within Xero. Upgraded contact lookup and new invoice exporting tools is also part of the package.   ]]>
Screen Shot 2014-09-08 at 9.17.47 am

Accounting software company Xero is looking at further expanding their their footprint in the market with a version 8.0 update that will impact more than 147,000 Australian businesses already using the service. The new changes which arrive today will include batch deposits which addresses the time saving issue for small-medium businesses by letting customers pay by cheque or multiple invoices at once. Deposit slips will also be available for Xero users to take to the bank or batch export to CSV for more advanced requirements. An additional receipts function will allow users to send receipts to thank customers for invoice payments within Xero. Batch Deposits: In Xero, Batch deposit is the accounts receivable equivalent to batch payments. From the Sales dashboard, a user can easily select the invoices to be paid and press the ‘Deposit’ button. Once the batch is confirmed, payments (or part payments, if the amounts have been adjusted) will be created for the selected invoices. This negates the need to drill into each individual invoice. Deposit Slips: If the batch deposit is created from a number of cheques, a user has the option to print a deposit slip to take to the bank for quicker processing. .png;base648ffede28a41bab66 Receipts: According the the Xero blog, the new receipts feature will allow users to thank customers for invoice payments. These can be initiated from a batch deposit, where a separate email for each unique customer will be created, or from any single payment record. Xero attaches a copy of the receipt to each receipt email. Receipt documents can have their layout edited so users can easily apply their branding.  The option to customise the standard text used for the email body from the email settings. png;base64df9f921ef893216b The existing reports tool will receive an overhaul as it moves towards a ‘report centre’ style system. There will be a few new reports going live with the update but one of the major ones is the P&L report (Profit and Loss). The new P&L report layout will feature a new way of controlling the report layouts and wider options for customising and creating formulae whilst having the ability to switch between multiple bank accounts within Xero. Upgraded contact lookup and new invoice exporting tools is also part of the package.   ]]>
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