Startup Daily http://www.startupdaily.com.au Startup | News & Analysis | Tech | Australia | Asia Fri, 31 Oct 2014 05:48:26 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.3 Melbourne SportsTech startup helping teams play more and organise less http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/10/melbourne-sportstech-startup-helping-teams-play-organise-less/ http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/10/melbourne-sportstech-startup-helping-teams-play-organise-less/#comments Fri, 31 Oct 2014 01:43:24 +0000 http://www.startupdaily.com.au/?p=35376 JM (126 of 268)_2449x1632_330408

The camaraderie and common goal to win are two key values that define Australia’s sporting culture. An idea that’s widely agreed upon is that sport plays a pivotal role in strengthening the social fabric of Australian society. In fact, in the 1999 Australian constitutional referendum, the then Prime Minister John Howard insisted the term ‘mateship’ be included in the new text as it had “a hallowed place in the Australian lexicon”. While he was unsuccessful, the term is reflective of what many view as ingrained in Australia’s sporting culture.

At the same time, the size and significance of sport to Australians and the national economy was reinforced by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, which showed that Australian sport was worth $12.8 billion in income and employed about 134,000 Australians in 2011-12. It’s no wonder that we’re seeing so many startups emerging in this space.

One of the latest startups to enter the SportsTech industry is Got a Team, founded by self-proclaimed “jock” and “geek”, James Mansfield, alongside co-founder Robert Postill. Mansfield, who has a love of playing and watching sports, felt there were inefficiencies that needed to be addressed when it comes to managing sport teams and organising games.

At first, you may wonder ‘how is this a big deal?’ But for those who are immersed in sporting culture, these inefficiencies can be likened to manually organising a meeting between 30 different individuals who have varying availabilities.

“When playing sport I noticed how difficult and disjointed it was for the team organiser to get a team together for a game. It was typically text messages or emails and these soon became unwieldy and deciphering if there were enough players to make a team was challenging,” says Mansfield.

So how exactly does Got a Team solve this problem? Organisers use the app to create a team and add players using their email addresses. Players aren’t required to sign up or download the app to enjoy its benefits. When a new game is added, all the players are notified of where and when the game is taking place and can reply if they are ‘IN’ or ‘OUT’ with a single click. Got a Team then becomes the central place for all team members to know all the critical details around a particular game.

In a way, at least in principle, Got a Team is similar to Foogi, a Sydney-based startup that makes business meetings easy to organise and focuses on the corporate market.

The initial version of Got A Team was launched in September this year; and Mansfield says it was important for them to create a website that functions well on desktop computers and mobile devices, but decided to release an MVP prior to completing and launching an iOS application. That’s not to say that the product hasn't been developed well.

In fact, the co-founders spent 12 months chipping away at Got a Team during weekday nights and weekends, as both have full-time jobs and families to look after. Mansfield says that a dining table and a computer, along with beer, negronis and whiskey marked the humble beginnings of Got a Team.

“We’ve always had a clear vision of what we wanted to achieve but we’ve always had the doors open to customer feedback to make sure we’re achieving it,” he says.

Mansfield has 20 years of experience designing digital products. Of that, he spent four years working at one of Australia’s most renowned startups 99designs, helping expand the company’s internal design capabilities. He says he’s confident that he has the skills and experience to make Got a Team a success. For the past two decades, Postill has been developing the complex software behind large applications, currently working as a Development Manager for an accounting software provider.

The co-founders have done their due diligence throughout the development process, getting regular feedback along the way. The app even has an internal feedback tool called Intercom.

“[We’ve] gotten a lot of good directions and ideas that has helped guide what we are working on now and fuelled our desire to build Got a Team out further. This is my favourite part of software development, observing how users are interacting with a product, seeing how it’s helping and looking for opportunities to make it even more intuitive and helpful,” says Mansfield.

“I’m also really proud of the way we’re building Got a Team. As well as bringing a great business sense, Rob is well disciplined in terms of testing and from the beginning has embedding automated testing and builds into the product. This makes releasing updates easy but more importantly gives us a lot of confidence that when we do a release, it will all work for our customers as expected.”

Got a Team isn’t a product that’s exclusive to professional sports team. Mansfield says it doesn’t matter what type of team uses the platform - it could be a social or semi-professional team, or anywhere in between.

Mansfield also recognises a much younger market - children’s sports teams. “As both Rob and I are parents too, we know that parents with children who play sport is also a big target market,” says Mansfield.

“The app works for a much broader range of teams or meetup groups too which is great but I really wanted to focus on sport as it’s a market close to my heart. Being Australian and living in the sports capital of the world might have something to do with it.”

Got a Team has also been launched as a global product.

Like with all startups, moving on from development to customer acquisition is going to be a challenge for Got a Team, though Mansfield feels that they’ve got the advantage of having a product that is “inherently viral, in that the first thing you do is add a group of players to a team.”

He’s also confident that that UX will fuel word-of-mouth referrals. That said, the co-founders won’t be overlooking other channels to market their product. They’ll be focusing primarily on advertising via online channels to raise awareness and will very soon turn up at local sporting venues to spread the word guerrilla-style.

For a product as conceptually simple as Got a Team, it wouldn’t be too far-fetched to assume there are others already doing something similar - like TeamStuff, TeamSite.io, Teamer, ArrangeMyGame, and SportsNoticeboard. However, Mansfield is cognisant of the fact that there are competitors in the market, but he feels nobody is really “owning the space at the moment”. During their initial market research, they weren’t able to find anything that matched their vision for Got a Team.

“The other products have gone down the path of building features instead of creating something simple and effective and that’s how we plan to differentiate: keep out product simple and broad in it’s appeal and delightful and cool to use. We’re looking to really engage with passionate users,” says Mansfield. “[But] users who are passionate about sport, not apps … we’re looking to engage their passion to play sport together.”

A good question is how exactly with Got a Team make money? Mansfield says it’s too early to tell exactly how they will monetise the application. They’re focusing first and foremost on generating traction, and are quietly confident that the product will be embraced and appreciated.

Although it’s only been a month since Got A Team launched, the startup has already found teams all over the world signing up to use the platform. Mansfield says they’ve got “a few hundreds customers” using the product at the moment from 40 locations around the world, but predominantly Australia, which they found to be “encouraging” given very little marketing effort on their behalf.

“It’s still early days and the feedback we are getting from these users is helping us shape the next iteration we deploy and we’ll be scaling up the marketing once we’ve got more confidence in the market fit,” Mansfield adds.

One of the biggest challenges for the startup to date has been feeling comfortable with releasing an MVP, and postponing the introduction of more advanced features and functionality.

“It’s a very common problem faced by anyone delivering software. You can do anything, but what should you do?” says Mansfield.

“We still have passionate discussions around what’s next, who would want it and what’s the best way to deliver it but that’s part of what we enjoy about having our own startup and building software.”

Now that Got a Team is out in the public, the co-founders can enter the next stage of development and allow user feedback to help the process.

“That’s not to say we’ll do what they ask, it’s to say we’ll listen to their views and opinions and use these as inputs,” Mansfield clarifies.

“Based on early customer feedback we’re about to integrate SMS into the product. This means as well as email notifications, players will be able to receive game notifications via SMS and even reply via SMS to let the team know of they can make it or not. This will be without the need for them to sign up to Got a Team and will make Got a Team much more accessible to everyone.”

The real challenge for the startup lies ahead. Mansfield says they still need to make sure that there is a big enough market for Got a Team.

“We have enough anecdotal feedback to give us confidence but whether we can can get the traction we need to make a profitable business is the ultimate challenge,” he says.

A major turning point for the startup, Mansfield predicts, will be the launch of Got a Team’s iOS app.

“Having a responsive web app is great but an app is where we’ve always being heading. It just makes things so much easier to open an app than it is to open a website on your mobile,” says Mansfield.

]]>
JM (126 of 268)_2449x1632_330408

The camaraderie and common goal to win are two key values that define Australia’s sporting culture. An idea that’s widely agreed upon is that sport plays a pivotal role in strengthening the social fabric of Australian society. In fact, in the 1999 Australian constitutional referendum, the then Prime Minister John Howard insisted the term ‘mateship’ be included in the new text as it had “a hallowed place in the Australian lexicon”. While he was unsuccessful, the term is reflective of what many view as ingrained in Australia’s sporting culture.

At the same time, the size and significance of sport to Australians and the national economy was reinforced by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, which showed that Australian sport was worth $12.8 billion in income and employed about 134,000 Australians in 2011-12. It’s no wonder that we’re seeing so many startups emerging in this space.

One of the latest startups to enter the SportsTech industry is Got a Team, founded by self-proclaimed “jock” and “geek”, James Mansfield, alongside co-founder Robert Postill. Mansfield, who has a love of playing and watching sports, felt there were inefficiencies that needed to be addressed when it comes to managing sport teams and organising games.

At first, you may wonder ‘how is this a big deal?’ But for those who are immersed in sporting culture, these inefficiencies can be likened to manually organising a meeting between 30 different individuals who have varying availabilities.

“When playing sport I noticed how difficult and disjointed it was for the team organiser to get a team together for a game. It was typically text messages or emails and these soon became unwieldy and deciphering if there were enough players to make a team was challenging,” says Mansfield.

So how exactly does Got a Team solve this problem? Organisers use the app to create a team and add players using their email addresses. Players aren’t required to sign up or download the app to enjoy its benefits. When a new game is added, all the players are notified of where and when the game is taking place and can reply if they are ‘IN’ or ‘OUT’ with a single click. Got a Team then becomes the central place for all team members to know all the critical details around a particular game.

In a way, at least in principle, Got a Team is similar to Foogi, a Sydney-based startup that makes business meetings easy to organise and focuses on the corporate market.

The initial version of Got A Team was launched in September this year; and Mansfield says it was important for them to create a website that functions well on desktop computers and mobile devices, but decided to release an MVP prior to completing and launching an iOS application. That’s not to say that the product hasn't been developed well.

In fact, the co-founders spent 12 months chipping away at Got a Team during weekday nights and weekends, as both have full-time jobs and families to look after. Mansfield says that a dining table and a computer, along with beer, negronis and whiskey marked the humble beginnings of Got a Team.

“We’ve always had a clear vision of what we wanted to achieve but we’ve always had the doors open to customer feedback to make sure we’re achieving it,” he says.

Mansfield has 20 years of experience designing digital products. Of that, he spent four years working at one of Australia’s most renowned startups 99designs, helping expand the company’s internal design capabilities. He says he’s confident that he has the skills and experience to make Got a Team a success. For the past two decades, Postill has been developing the complex software behind large applications, currently working as a Development Manager for an accounting software provider.

The co-founders have done their due diligence throughout the development process, getting regular feedback along the way. The app even has an internal feedback tool called Intercom.

“[We’ve] gotten a lot of good directions and ideas that has helped guide what we are working on now and fuelled our desire to build Got a Team out further. This is my favourite part of software development, observing how users are interacting with a product, seeing how it’s helping and looking for opportunities to make it even more intuitive and helpful,” says Mansfield.

“I’m also really proud of the way we’re building Got a Team. As well as bringing a great business sense, Rob is well disciplined in terms of testing and from the beginning has embedding automated testing and builds into the product. This makes releasing updates easy but more importantly gives us a lot of confidence that when we do a release, it will all work for our customers as expected.”

Got a Team isn’t a product that’s exclusive to professional sports team. Mansfield says it doesn’t matter what type of team uses the platform - it could be a social or semi-professional team, or anywhere in between.

Mansfield also recognises a much younger market - children’s sports teams. “As both Rob and I are parents too, we know that parents with children who play sport is also a big target market,” says Mansfield.

“The app works for a much broader range of teams or meetup groups too which is great but I really wanted to focus on sport as it’s a market close to my heart. Being Australian and living in the sports capital of the world might have something to do with it.”

Got a Team has also been launched as a global product.

Like with all startups, moving on from development to customer acquisition is going to be a challenge for Got a Team, though Mansfield feels that they’ve got the advantage of having a product that is “inherently viral, in that the first thing you do is add a group of players to a team.”

He’s also confident that that UX will fuel word-of-mouth referrals. That said, the co-founders won’t be overlooking other channels to market their product. They’ll be focusing primarily on advertising via online channels to raise awareness and will very soon turn up at local sporting venues to spread the word guerrilla-style.

For a product as conceptually simple as Got a Team, it wouldn’t be too far-fetched to assume there are others already doing something similar - like TeamStuff, TeamSite.io, Teamer, ArrangeMyGame, and SportsNoticeboard. However, Mansfield is cognisant of the fact that there are competitors in the market, but he feels nobody is really “owning the space at the moment”. During their initial market research, they weren’t able to find anything that matched their vision for Got a Team.

“The other products have gone down the path of building features instead of creating something simple and effective and that’s how we plan to differentiate: keep out product simple and broad in it’s appeal and delightful and cool to use. We’re looking to really engage with passionate users,” says Mansfield. “[But] users who are passionate about sport, not apps … we’re looking to engage their passion to play sport together.”

A good question is how exactly with Got a Team make money? Mansfield says it’s too early to tell exactly how they will monetise the application. They’re focusing first and foremost on generating traction, and are quietly confident that the product will be embraced and appreciated.

Although it’s only been a month since Got A Team launched, the startup has already found teams all over the world signing up to use the platform. Mansfield says they’ve got “a few hundreds customers” using the product at the moment from 40 locations around the world, but predominantly Australia, which they found to be “encouraging” given very little marketing effort on their behalf.

“It’s still early days and the feedback we are getting from these users is helping us shape the next iteration we deploy and we’ll be scaling up the marketing once we’ve got more confidence in the market fit,” Mansfield adds.

One of the biggest challenges for the startup to date has been feeling comfortable with releasing an MVP, and postponing the introduction of more advanced features and functionality.

“It’s a very common problem faced by anyone delivering software. You can do anything, but what should you do?” says Mansfield.

“We still have passionate discussions around what’s next, who would want it and what’s the best way to deliver it but that’s part of what we enjoy about having our own startup and building software.”

Now that Got a Team is out in the public, the co-founders can enter the next stage of development and allow user feedback to help the process.

“That’s not to say we’ll do what they ask, it’s to say we’ll listen to their views and opinions and use these as inputs,” Mansfield clarifies.

“Based on early customer feedback we’re about to integrate SMS into the product. This means as well as email notifications, players will be able to receive game notifications via SMS and even reply via SMS to let the team know of they can make it or not. This will be without the need for them to sign up to Got a Team and will make Got a Team much more accessible to everyone.”

The real challenge for the startup lies ahead. Mansfield says they still need to make sure that there is a big enough market for Got a Team.

“We have enough anecdotal feedback to give us confidence but whether we can can get the traction we need to make a profitable business is the ultimate challenge,” he says.

A major turning point for the startup, Mansfield predicts, will be the launch of Got a Team’s iOS app.

“Having a responsive web app is great but an app is where we’ve always being heading. It just makes things so much easier to open an app than it is to open a website on your mobile,” says Mansfield.

]]>
http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/10/melbourne-sportstech-startup-helping-teams-play-organise-less/feed/ 0
Vinomofo teams up with Uber to deliver random acts of kindness http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/10/vinomofo-team-uber-deliver-random-acts-kindness/ http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/10/vinomofo-team-uber-deliver-random-acts-kindness/#comments Fri, 31 Oct 2014 01:29:10 +0000 http://www.startupdaily.com.au/?p=35387 unnamed (1)

Melbourne startup and online-focused wine retailer Vinomofo today announced the launch of its new 'random acts of kindness' project called Vinobomb, which it kicked off under the radar in September. Founded by entrepreneurs Justin Dry, Leigh Morgan and Andre Eikmeier in 2011, Vinomofo has grown rapidly and profitably to a run-rate of over $30 million revenue, almost 300,000 members, and a team of 51. Vinobomb is the company's latest initiative in which they aim to highlight people within the community doing 'awesome' things. The process for being Vinobombed (that is, receive a box of wines) all starts off with Australians nominating an individual, group or business they think highly of that are doing an incredible job within the community. Then on the last Friday of every month, by teaming up with Uber Melbourne for the delivery process, Vinomofo will 'drop a Vinobomb' a the most worthy candidates. In a media release, Vinomofo said that the 'party in a box' is ideal for after-work drinks or for individuals to party on into the weekend. “We created the Vinobomb to celebrate awesome Mofos everywhere – whether they are crusaders doing big things to change the world, or simply good people helping those around them. So far we've been overwhelmed by the number of nominations," said Dry in the media release. "They’re inspiring and uplifting to read. It’s tough choosing final nominees as we think everyone is quite deserving, but we do our research by tallying up their nominations, check out their website or online profile and also rely on 'gut feeling'. Sometimes it just feels right." [caption id="attachment_35396" align="aligncenter" width="767"]vinobomb_pickup The 'Vinobomb' boxes are delivered by Uber drivers | Source: supplied[/caption] The first set of 'Vinobombs' were dropped at the end of last month and the recipients included a variety of prominent Melbourne folk from CEOs of growing Social Enterprises to a well-known volunteer for Clean Up Australia. The full list is below:
  • Kae Norman, founder of Rescued with Love
  • Jane Hunt, CEO of Fitted for Work
  • Simon Griffiths, Jehan Ratnatunga and Danny Alexander, founders of Who Gives a Crap
  • Chantelle Baxter and David Dixon, founders of One Girl
  • Andrea Ondie, General Manager of The Social Studio
  • Kinfolk Cafe
  • Jenny Howell-Clark, founder of The Orange Pigeon
  • Jake Ward, a man who ran 1000km from Sydney to Cranbourne to raise awareness and $40,000 for breast cancer
  • Adam Corcoran, a human rights activist who rode a mountain bike from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam to raise money for the Somaly Mam Foundation, a charity that campaigned against human trafficking and sex slavery
  • Jonathan Vandenberg, a tireless volunteer for Clean Up Australia and community kitchen Matt’s Café
  • Kerrie Maddern, awarded Sustainability Teacher of the Year
  • Lucy and Rosie Thomas, founders of Project Rockit
  • Debra Tranter, President of Oscar's Law
  • Kate Austin, founder of Pinchapoo
  • Melanie Kent, Chairperson and CEO of Helping Hands Mission
  • The staff at Rathdowne Place Aged Care
Vinomofo is currently dropping this month's Vinobombs at the time of this article's publication and you can follow all the action here. ]]>
unnamed (1)

Melbourne startup and online-focused wine retailer Vinomofo today announced the launch of its new 'random acts of kindness' project called Vinobomb, which it kicked off under the radar in September. Founded by entrepreneurs Justin Dry, Leigh Morgan and Andre Eikmeier in 2011, Vinomofo has grown rapidly and profitably to a run-rate of over $30 million revenue, almost 300,000 members, and a team of 51. Vinobomb is the company's latest initiative in which they aim to highlight people within the community doing 'awesome' things. The process for being Vinobombed (that is, receive a box of wines) all starts off with Australians nominating an individual, group or business they think highly of that are doing an incredible job within the community. Then on the last Friday of every month, by teaming up with Uber Melbourne for the delivery process, Vinomofo will 'drop a Vinobomb' a the most worthy candidates. In a media release, Vinomofo said that the 'party in a box' is ideal for after-work drinks or for individuals to party on into the weekend. “We created the Vinobomb to celebrate awesome Mofos everywhere – whether they are crusaders doing big things to change the world, or simply good people helping those around them. So far we've been overwhelmed by the number of nominations," said Dry in the media release. "They’re inspiring and uplifting to read. It’s tough choosing final nominees as we think everyone is quite deserving, but we do our research by tallying up their nominations, check out their website or online profile and also rely on 'gut feeling'. Sometimes it just feels right." [caption id="attachment_35396" align="aligncenter" width="767"]vinobomb_pickup The 'Vinobomb' boxes are delivered by Uber drivers | Source: supplied[/caption] The first set of 'Vinobombs' were dropped at the end of last month and the recipients included a variety of prominent Melbourne folk from CEOs of growing Social Enterprises to a well-known volunteer for Clean Up Australia. The full list is below:
  • Kae Norman, founder of Rescued with Love
  • Jane Hunt, CEO of Fitted for Work
  • Simon Griffiths, Jehan Ratnatunga and Danny Alexander, founders of Who Gives a Crap
  • Chantelle Baxter and David Dixon, founders of One Girl
  • Andrea Ondie, General Manager of The Social Studio
  • Kinfolk Cafe
  • Jenny Howell-Clark, founder of The Orange Pigeon
  • Jake Ward, a man who ran 1000km from Sydney to Cranbourne to raise awareness and $40,000 for breast cancer
  • Adam Corcoran, a human rights activist who rode a mountain bike from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam to raise money for the Somaly Mam Foundation, a charity that campaigned against human trafficking and sex slavery
  • Jonathan Vandenberg, a tireless volunteer for Clean Up Australia and community kitchen Matt’s Café
  • Kerrie Maddern, awarded Sustainability Teacher of the Year
  • Lucy and Rosie Thomas, founders of Project Rockit
  • Debra Tranter, President of Oscar's Law
  • Kate Austin, founder of Pinchapoo
  • Melanie Kent, Chairperson and CEO of Helping Hands Mission
  • The staff at Rathdowne Place Aged Care
Vinomofo is currently dropping this month's Vinobombs at the time of this article's publication and you can follow all the action here. ]]>
http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/10/vinomofo-team-uber-deliver-random-acts-kindness/feed/ 0
Autodesk commits to investing up to $100 million into 3D printing startups http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/10/autodesk-commits-investing-100-million-3d-printing-startups/ http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/10/autodesk-commits-investing-100-million-3d-printing-startups/#comments Fri, 31 Oct 2014 01:15:49 +0000 http://www.startupdaily.com.au/?p=35381 1641868448_2654d7ab34_z

3D design, engineering, and entertainment software provider, Autodesk, Inc. today announced its plans to invest up to $100 million into 3D printing startups and researchers over the coming years via its investment arm Spark Investment Fund. According to a media release distributed today, the purpose of the investment will be to make 3D printing more accessible and speed up the pace of innovation in the 3D printing industry.

By 2018, the 3D printing industry is expected to grow to nearly USD$16 billion and large companies are already recognising the market potential. Autodesk's announcement comes on the heels of Hewlett-Packard Co's revelation of its plans to introduce "ground-breaking" 3D printing technology that can print 10 times faster at considerably less expense than current products - though the product will likely be launched in 2016.  

Earlier this year, Autodesk announced the launch of Spark, a software platform for 3D printing that will connect digital information to 3D printers "in a new way". Spark will connect to any hardware and be materials agnostic, and the company invites the entire 3D printing community to collaborate, build and improve the platform, its associated Ember 3D printer and materials. Given this information, it makes sense that the company is actively on the lookout for new investment opportunities in the 3D printing space that will help improve its own solutions.

“The days of taking a closed, top-down approach to innovating for additive manufacturing are behind us. Numerous industries recognise the value of tapping into entrepreneurs or startups with better ideas and approaches, and 3D printing is no exception,” said Samir Hanna, vice president and general manager, Consumer Products and 3D Printing, at Autodesk.

“The Spark Investment Fund will empower innovators to improve 3D printing, and to help us unlock the tremendous promise of this technology.”

Companies and individuals developing hardware, software, materials, marketplaces and maker spaces are being called upon to apply to become a part of Spark Investment Fund’s investment portfolio. In addition to the financial investment, recipients will become part of the Spark partner program and have access to marketing and other developer services available to Spark partners. It should be noted that the company has attached a disclaimer to its announcement, saying that some of their statements regarding Autodesk's investment activities involve risk and uncertainties - especially in relation to the actuality of the $100 million investment, building market acceptance for 3D printing, and the performance of Spark which may not be as anticipated. Or simply put, the announcement has been made quite early, and circumstances can change so there's no guarantee what will happen.

Applications can be made via spark.autodesk.com/fund.

---

Image: Shaan Hurley, CTO and John Walker, Founder, Autodesk. Source: Flickr.

]]>
1641868448_2654d7ab34_z

3D design, engineering, and entertainment software provider, Autodesk, Inc. today announced its plans to invest up to $100 million into 3D printing startups and researchers over the coming years via its investment arm Spark Investment Fund. According to a media release distributed today, the purpose of the investment will be to make 3D printing more accessible and speed up the pace of innovation in the 3D printing industry.

By 2018, the 3D printing industry is expected to grow to nearly USD$16 billion and large companies are already recognising the market potential. Autodesk's announcement comes on the heels of Hewlett-Packard Co's revelation of its plans to introduce "ground-breaking" 3D printing technology that can print 10 times faster at considerably less expense than current products - though the product will likely be launched in 2016.  

Earlier this year, Autodesk announced the launch of Spark, a software platform for 3D printing that will connect digital information to 3D printers "in a new way". Spark will connect to any hardware and be materials agnostic, and the company invites the entire 3D printing community to collaborate, build and improve the platform, its associated Ember 3D printer and materials. Given this information, it makes sense that the company is actively on the lookout for new investment opportunities in the 3D printing space that will help improve its own solutions.

“The days of taking a closed, top-down approach to innovating for additive manufacturing are behind us. Numerous industries recognise the value of tapping into entrepreneurs or startups with better ideas and approaches, and 3D printing is no exception,” said Samir Hanna, vice president and general manager, Consumer Products and 3D Printing, at Autodesk.

“The Spark Investment Fund will empower innovators to improve 3D printing, and to help us unlock the tremendous promise of this technology.”

Companies and individuals developing hardware, software, materials, marketplaces and maker spaces are being called upon to apply to become a part of Spark Investment Fund’s investment portfolio. In addition to the financial investment, recipients will become part of the Spark partner program and have access to marketing and other developer services available to Spark partners. It should be noted that the company has attached a disclaimer to its announcement, saying that some of their statements regarding Autodesk's investment activities involve risk and uncertainties - especially in relation to the actuality of the $100 million investment, building market acceptance for 3D printing, and the performance of Spark which may not be as anticipated. Or simply put, the announcement has been made quite early, and circumstances can change so there's no guarantee what will happen.

Applications can be made via spark.autodesk.com/fund.

---

Image: Shaan Hurley, CTO and John Walker, Founder, Autodesk. Source: Flickr.

]]>
http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/10/autodesk-commits-investing-100-million-3d-printing-startups/feed/ 0
How a gay themed web series is an early warning sign that online TV is the new cable http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/10/gay-themed-web-series-early-warning-sign-online-tv-new-cable/ http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/10/gay-themed-web-series-early-warning-sign-online-tv-new-cable/#comments Fri, 31 Oct 2014 01:00:13 +0000 http://www.startupdaily.com.au/?p=35303 gay

This week CNBC reported that very soon, across the United States, online television plays would become a very real rival to cable companies. According to journalist , the US Federal Communications Commission is determined to level the playing field between cable companies and internet-based video providers:
Tom Wheeler, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, is serious about leveling the playing field between cable companies and Internet-based video providers. A rule proposed by the FCC would mean broadcasters must allow Internet TV providers the right to negotiate to carry their content. By allowing equal access to cable stations, online video companies will be granted a true chance to compete against cable companies.
Interestingly, services like Netflix and Hulu are not included in this shake-up, for now. It is more targeted towards multi-channel video programming distributors. Basically, the FCC recognises that many users of cable services don't want to have to purchase large expensive packages to watch just one show. Just like many tech startups are leading with a 'mobile first' play in a lot of industries, there is a growing community of content creators that are leading with their own 'online first' focus - and this in-and-of itself is partly what is starting to create such a strong online streaming and on-demand content culture across the globe. The last two years have seen some really strong web-series challenge viewership numbers of mainstream television and cable channels everywhere. Some standouts have been comedy series "Pursuit of Sexiness" from Sasheer Zamata (now on SNL) and Nicole Byer; the critically acclaimed web series "Little Horribles" about the misadventures of a self-indulgent lesbian; and Australia's own series about gay life and love "The Horizon". [caption id="attachment_35373" align="aligncenter" width="850"]The Horizon cast | Source: Sydney Star Observer The Horizon cast | Source: Sydney Star Observer[/caption] The Horizon series is arguably one of Australia's most successful pieces of programming full stop - pulling in anywhere between 500,000 and 1.9 million viewers an episode. Thus far, it has been supported by ACON (Aids Council of NSW) and a group of brands such as General Pants Co, Ben Sherman, AussieBum and DNA Magazine to name a few. The series is currently filming Season 5, and for this season, series producer Australia's Cobbstar Productions has partnered with US based New Frontiers Media to take the storyline of the show down an American path. This play makes perfect sense. After all, The Horizon is a globally available series and has a massive American audience; the dual country story line should actually serve to increase its viewership yet again. In an interview with B&T magazine, Brian Cobb, CEO and founder of Cobbstar said that he is excited about the international exposure that the new relationship with New Frontiers will bring:
CEO and founder of Cobbstar Productions and series producer of The Horizon, Brian Cobb, said Frontiers Media was the perfect platform for the company’s shift towards international markets. “I always liked the idea of formatting the series in different countries and with our huge US audience base, it seemed like a fantastic place to start. We’ve developed American storylines and characters, and will pepper these in with our key Australian cast, as we explore the explosive gay scene around West Hollywood. “Our talented Creator Boaz Stark has found the perfect balance in writing engaging, edgy, true to life stories, whilst still being insightful and raising awareness on gay issues as we are part funded by ACON (Aids council of NSW) – that won’t change no matter where we make the series,” Cobb Said.
Creators of content and tech startups operating in the area of creating unique content platforms are at an advantage right now. Their lean nature, their limited overheads, and the democratisation of the technology and equipment needed to film and put together a series, teamed with their ability to allow everyone with internet access to experience what they have created is very much in line with where film and television is (very) slowly heading. In addition to that, the internet also provides a sense of freedom where niche topics can be explored in an uncensored way by creators. There is definitely a theme whereby the most successful web-series over the last couple of years have had themes based around 'minorities' in society such as race, sexuality, gender identity, and so on. The success is due to people actually wanting to consume a lot more of this type of content. We as humans are attracted to themes that speak directly to us, and naturally crave content that satisfies this craving. Locally, some of our Free to Air channels have recognised this shift and are currently working through their online strategy plays. ABC is a clear leader of the pack with iView. Hopefully our commercial networks follow suit and start doing some broadcast deals on locally-created, daring content and begin to revive our creative industry. ]]>
gay

This week CNBC reported that very soon, across the United States, online television plays would become a very real rival to cable companies. According to journalist , the US Federal Communications Commission is determined to level the playing field between cable companies and internet-based video providers:
Tom Wheeler, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, is serious about leveling the playing field between cable companies and Internet-based video providers. A rule proposed by the FCC would mean broadcasters must allow Internet TV providers the right to negotiate to carry their content. By allowing equal access to cable stations, online video companies will be granted a true chance to compete against cable companies.
Interestingly, services like Netflix and Hulu are not included in this shake-up, for now. It is more targeted towards multi-channel video programming distributors. Basically, the FCC recognises that many users of cable services don't want to have to purchase large expensive packages to watch just one show. Just like many tech startups are leading with a 'mobile first' play in a lot of industries, there is a growing community of content creators that are leading with their own 'online first' focus - and this in-and-of itself is partly what is starting to create such a strong online streaming and on-demand content culture across the globe. The last two years have seen some really strong web-series challenge viewership numbers of mainstream television and cable channels everywhere. Some standouts have been comedy series "Pursuit of Sexiness" from Sasheer Zamata (now on SNL) and Nicole Byer; the critically acclaimed web series "Little Horribles" about the misadventures of a self-indulgent lesbian; and Australia's own series about gay life and love "The Horizon". [caption id="attachment_35373" align="aligncenter" width="850"]The Horizon cast | Source: Sydney Star Observer The Horizon cast | Source: Sydney Star Observer[/caption] The Horizon series is arguably one of Australia's most successful pieces of programming full stop - pulling in anywhere between 500,000 and 1.9 million viewers an episode. Thus far, it has been supported by ACON (Aids Council of NSW) and a group of brands such as General Pants Co, Ben Sherman, AussieBum and DNA Magazine to name a few. The series is currently filming Season 5, and for this season, series producer Australia's Cobbstar Productions has partnered with US based New Frontiers Media to take the storyline of the show down an American path. This play makes perfect sense. After all, The Horizon is a globally available series and has a massive American audience; the dual country story line should actually serve to increase its viewership yet again. In an interview with B&T magazine, Brian Cobb, CEO and founder of Cobbstar said that he is excited about the international exposure that the new relationship with New Frontiers will bring:
CEO and founder of Cobbstar Productions and series producer of The Horizon, Brian Cobb, said Frontiers Media was the perfect platform for the company’s shift towards international markets. “I always liked the idea of formatting the series in different countries and with our huge US audience base, it seemed like a fantastic place to start. We’ve developed American storylines and characters, and will pepper these in with our key Australian cast, as we explore the explosive gay scene around West Hollywood. “Our talented Creator Boaz Stark has found the perfect balance in writing engaging, edgy, true to life stories, whilst still being insightful and raising awareness on gay issues as we are part funded by ACON (Aids council of NSW) – that won’t change no matter where we make the series,” Cobb Said.
Creators of content and tech startups operating in the area of creating unique content platforms are at an advantage right now. Their lean nature, their limited overheads, and the democratisation of the technology and equipment needed to film and put together a series, teamed with their ability to allow everyone with internet access to experience what they have created is very much in line with where film and television is (very) slowly heading. In addition to that, the internet also provides a sense of freedom where niche topics can be explored in an uncensored way by creators. There is definitely a theme whereby the most successful web-series over the last couple of years have had themes based around 'minorities' in society such as race, sexuality, gender identity, and so on. The success is due to people actually wanting to consume a lot more of this type of content. We as humans are attracted to themes that speak directly to us, and naturally crave content that satisfies this craving. Locally, some of our Free to Air channels have recognised this shift and are currently working through their online strategy plays. ABC is a clear leader of the pack with iView. Hopefully our commercial networks follow suit and start doing some broadcast deals on locally-created, daring content and begin to revive our creative industry. ]]>
http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/10/gay-themed-web-series-early-warning-sign-online-tv-new-cable/feed/ 0
Why Tablo founder Ash Davies could soon be receiving a call from Amazon http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/10/tablo-founder-ash-davies-soon-recieving-call-amazon/ http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/10/tablo-founder-ash-davies-soon-recieving-call-amazon/#comments Thu, 30 Oct 2014 03:19:13 +0000 http://www.startupdaily.com.au/?p=35319 0e2f4350-073d-11e4-941d-bb1122907e5f_Profile - Ash Davies --646x363

I have been on record many times saying that Ash Davies, founder of publishing startup Tablo is upping the ante in his market. Earlier this year, he closed a funding round of $400,000 which had a list of impressive names attached, including Paul Reining, former CEO of Catch Group, Kevin Hale, Partner at Y Combinator, and John Buck, one of Tablo’s most successful authors who reinvested his books' earnings into the business. The seed funding followed some pretty amazing organic growth of the company. Currently Tablo has over 10,000 authors on the platform from 100 different countries. The lessons Davies learned at AngelCube, a mentor driven startup accelerator in 2013, have obviously faired the young CEO well - particularly in his execution in the area of user growth and joint partnerships. Closing a strategic partnership that is of real value with any publisher in Australia is a feat unto itself, Davies has managed to do just that with Australian Publishing House, Pan Macmillan. The publisher, which is responsible for publishing works from people such as Waleed Aly, Ben Cousins, Mark Donaldson, Pete Evans and many other authors from all genres, has entered into a partnership with Tablo through the digital arm of its business called Momentum. “This is a huge opportunity for emerging authors. Every author has a level playing field and the passion of readers will decide which books have the chance to be published,” said Davies in a media release. In a nutshell, they are looking to crowd source the next 'best selling' author via the platform. Beginning November 1st, writers from around the globe using the platform to write their 50,000 novels, on any genre, will be monitored by Tablo, with a focus on readers and followers. At the end of the month, Tablo will put forward the five most popular and promising works to Momentum for assessment. Joel Naoum, Momentum’s publisher, says the partnership with the Aussie startup was an exciting next step for them, as they look for new ways to discover talented authors in the digital age. This is shaking things up across the publishing sector in a couple of ways. The first and quite obvious one is that many publishers and producers of content have a strict no solicitation code and the second is that publishers are able to build relationships with up-and-coming authors before they have even finished their manuscripts - a feature that Tablo is well aware makes it stand out in the crowd. But Tablo and Pan Macmillan are not the only companies in publishing trying the crowdsourced approach. In fact, this week, Amazon announced its new crowdsourced publishing venture Kindle Scout. The premise of this new service from retail giant Amazon, will enable would-be authors to submit their novels to Kindle Scout for readers to peruse, who can then vote whether or not Amazon’s e-book publishing company, Kindle Press, should publish them as e-books. This 'e-book' proposition is the exact same play that Momentum uses for publishing. In terms of revenue for authors, both are royalty based with Amazon paying a small advance of US$1500. Tablo and Amazon, are both in the game of democratising an industry, that until now has been extraordinary hard for the general public to break into. Much in the same way Youtube has uncovered new superstars and Instagram has uncovered new models and ambassadors for products, Tablo definitely has the potential to be THAT application for authors. The synergy between a company like Tablo and Amazon revolves around the feature that allows users to follow authors and the books as they are being written as opposed to them being published. This 'social' aspect is something that Amazon are advocates for, as seen in its recent strategies around Amazon Prime and Amazon Studios - its arms for creating Internet TV content and movies. Amazon allows users to follow and interact with the projects as they are being vetted and then created, listening to their feedback and building up a legion of loyal fans that will then consume and share the content once it is finished. Examples include the critically acclaimed Amazon Prime shows Transparent, BETAS and Alpha House. As part of this, Amazon has also launched two new tech plays called Amazon Storybuilder and Amazon Storyteller that allow content creators to plan and write scripts, create and map storyboards and develop characters. That is why Tablo and Amazon will probably be chatting one day, Davies has created a technology that places itself well in Amazon's grand plans around all things content. ]]>
0e2f4350-073d-11e4-941d-bb1122907e5f_Profile - Ash Davies --646x363

I have been on record many times saying that Ash Davies, founder of publishing startup Tablo is upping the ante in his market. Earlier this year, he closed a funding round of $400,000 which had a list of impressive names attached, including Paul Reining, former CEO of Catch Group, Kevin Hale, Partner at Y Combinator, and John Buck, one of Tablo’s most successful authors who reinvested his books' earnings into the business. The seed funding followed some pretty amazing organic growth of the company. Currently Tablo has over 10,000 authors on the platform from 100 different countries. The lessons Davies learned at AngelCube, a mentor driven startup accelerator in 2013, have obviously faired the young CEO well - particularly in his execution in the area of user growth and joint partnerships. Closing a strategic partnership that is of real value with any publisher in Australia is a feat unto itself, Davies has managed to do just that with Australian Publishing House, Pan Macmillan. The publisher, which is responsible for publishing works from people such as Waleed Aly, Ben Cousins, Mark Donaldson, Pete Evans and many other authors from all genres, has entered into a partnership with Tablo through the digital arm of its business called Momentum. “This is a huge opportunity for emerging authors. Every author has a level playing field and the passion of readers will decide which books have the chance to be published,” said Davies in a media release. In a nutshell, they are looking to crowd source the next 'best selling' author via the platform. Beginning November 1st, writers from around the globe using the platform to write their 50,000 novels, on any genre, will be monitored by Tablo, with a focus on readers and followers. At the end of the month, Tablo will put forward the five most popular and promising works to Momentum for assessment. Joel Naoum, Momentum’s publisher, says the partnership with the Aussie startup was an exciting next step for them, as they look for new ways to discover talented authors in the digital age. This is shaking things up across the publishing sector in a couple of ways. The first and quite obvious one is that many publishers and producers of content have a strict no solicitation code and the second is that publishers are able to build relationships with up-and-coming authors before they have even finished their manuscripts - a feature that Tablo is well aware makes it stand out in the crowd. But Tablo and Pan Macmillan are not the only companies in publishing trying the crowdsourced approach. In fact, this week, Amazon announced its new crowdsourced publishing venture Kindle Scout. The premise of this new service from retail giant Amazon, will enable would-be authors to submit their novels to Kindle Scout for readers to peruse, who can then vote whether or not Amazon’s e-book publishing company, Kindle Press, should publish them as e-books. This 'e-book' proposition is the exact same play that Momentum uses for publishing. In terms of revenue for authors, both are royalty based with Amazon paying a small advance of US$1500. Tablo and Amazon, are both in the game of democratising an industry, that until now has been extraordinary hard for the general public to break into. Much in the same way Youtube has uncovered new superstars and Instagram has uncovered new models and ambassadors for products, Tablo definitely has the potential to be THAT application for authors. The synergy between a company like Tablo and Amazon revolves around the feature that allows users to follow authors and the books as they are being written as opposed to them being published. This 'social' aspect is something that Amazon are advocates for, as seen in its recent strategies around Amazon Prime and Amazon Studios - its arms for creating Internet TV content and movies. Amazon allows users to follow and interact with the projects as they are being vetted and then created, listening to their feedback and building up a legion of loyal fans that will then consume and share the content once it is finished. Examples include the critically acclaimed Amazon Prime shows Transparent, BETAS and Alpha House. As part of this, Amazon has also launched two new tech plays called Amazon Storybuilder and Amazon Storyteller that allow content creators to plan and write scripts, create and map storyboards and develop characters. That is why Tablo and Amazon will probably be chatting one day, Davies has created a technology that places itself well in Amazon's grand plans around all things content. ]]>
http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/10/tablo-founder-ash-davies-soon-recieving-call-amazon/feed/ 0
Social content marketing startup Stackla raises $2 million to fund international growth http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/10/social-content-marketing-startup-stackla-raises-2-million-fund-international-growth/ http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/10/social-content-marketing-startup-stackla-raises-2-million-fund-international-growth/#comments Wed, 29 Oct 2014 20:22:26 +0000 http://www.startupdaily.com.au/?p=35300 382e92c0-f0bd-4669-9d94-095c1b7b6682

Social content marketing technology startup Stackla has today announced the close of its first capital raise totalling $2 million. Investors in this round include Australian VC firm rampersand as well as Tony Faure, Non-Executive Director of oOh! Media and a former Yahoo! And Ninemsn executive; Grant McCarthy of Asia Pacific Growth Management; one of Australia's foremost business commentators Alan Kohler; and Sam Mackay who is the chair of kikki.K. The funds will assist in the company's plans to expand its presence in the US and UK, and double its staff over the next 18 months. Although technology allowed brands to have a wider reach, marketing has also become more and more complex. Oftentimes, brands get lost in the social media firehose and consumers struggle to keep track of the best content due to the ephemeral nature of social media. Stackla wants to solve this very problem so that brands and consumers can both harness the power of social. Stackla was founded in 2012 by Sydney-based entrepreneurs Damien Mahoney and Peter Cassidy, who came up with the idea for their startup while helping NRL teams develop social media content. Today, Stackla's digital marketing platform aggregates and curates social media content for over 300 big name clients including Adidas, ANZ, Toyota, Canon, News Corp, Telstra, Medibank, Pandora, Qantas, McDonalds, NVIDIA, Michael Hill, Vogue, Toyota, Holden, MYER, Tourism Australia, Citibank, Origin Energy, SBS and most major Australian sport organisations, among many more bluechip clients. The startup has been gaining traction globally with US clients Comcast, Boost Mobile, Target, Jawbone, Red Bull and Nespresso, as well as British clients Contiki, Shell and the British Labour Party using Stackla as a core part of their marketing efforts. Stackla has also warmed the heart of social media giant Twitter, who has welcomed the startup as its first and only Australian Twitter Technology Partner. In a nutshell, Stackla's technology helps brands improve conversion rates by bringing social endorsements to their own websites and at point of sale. CapGemini’s recent Digital Shopper Relevancy report found that among shoppers social media’s influence was waning compared to websites and in store. A separate Monetate study of 500 million ecommerce sessions found only 1.55 percent of all ecommerce traffic came from social and just 0.71 percent of that resulted in sales. “The influence of social media on e-commerce has been a letdown for many brands and consumers, driving a tiny portion of online sales and playing a decreasing role in the consumer shopping journey,” said Cassidy. Stackla allows brands to discover and showcase the best brand mentions from across the social web. Use cases include social ‘catalogues’ for ecommerce websites; content crowdsourcing for live events; curated social media hubs for brand websites; and real-time visualisations generated from social data. “Fans and customers are recommending brands and products to their friends on social media - these are money-can’t-buy endorsements. The problem is, social endorsements are fleeting and hard to capture,” said Cassidy. “Stackla solves this problem by helping marketers cherry pick the best content on the social web and showcase it where their customers are - on websites, apps and at venues." A major trend the startup has noticed (and to a degree, even facilitated) is a shift in the way companies manage customer relationships. Big brands are moving away from managing Facebook pages towards making their own micro-sites where they can control both customer relationships and data.   Stackla is seeking to double its staff over the next 18 months by bringing on developers, salespeople and marketers in its new US and UK offices.
“With a footprint to build in the US and UK and over 30 staff to hire, the work has only just begun but we are thrilled that investors and customers believe in our vision,” said Mahoney, Co-Founder and CEO of Stackla. “Social media is a mainstream activity marketers engage in every day, and we believe our software will become a key part of every marketer’s daily workflow.” McCarthy, Asia Pacific Growth Management executive and a director of APGM’s investments arm who contributed to the investment round said he was "delighted" with Stackla's traction and it confident that the team is "well-placed to execute on its vision". "The international expansion is set to continue that high growth trajectory and we’re excited to be helping Stackla achieve its goals.”
]]>
382e92c0-f0bd-4669-9d94-095c1b7b6682

Social content marketing technology startup Stackla has today announced the close of its first capital raise totalling $2 million. Investors in this round include Australian VC firm rampersand as well as Tony Faure, Non-Executive Director of oOh! Media and a former Yahoo! And Ninemsn executive; Grant McCarthy of Asia Pacific Growth Management; one of Australia's foremost business commentators Alan Kohler; and Sam Mackay who is the chair of kikki.K. The funds will assist in the company's plans to expand its presence in the US and UK, and double its staff over the next 18 months. Although technology allowed brands to have a wider reach, marketing has also become more and more complex. Oftentimes, brands get lost in the social media firehose and consumers struggle to keep track of the best content due to the ephemeral nature of social media. Stackla wants to solve this very problem so that brands and consumers can both harness the power of social. Stackla was founded in 2012 by Sydney-based entrepreneurs Damien Mahoney and Peter Cassidy, who came up with the idea for their startup while helping NRL teams develop social media content. Today, Stackla's digital marketing platform aggregates and curates social media content for over 300 big name clients including Adidas, ANZ, Toyota, Canon, News Corp, Telstra, Medibank, Pandora, Qantas, McDonalds, NVIDIA, Michael Hill, Vogue, Toyota, Holden, MYER, Tourism Australia, Citibank, Origin Energy, SBS and most major Australian sport organisations, among many more bluechip clients. The startup has been gaining traction globally with US clients Comcast, Boost Mobile, Target, Jawbone, Red Bull and Nespresso, as well as British clients Contiki, Shell and the British Labour Party using Stackla as a core part of their marketing efforts. Stackla has also warmed the heart of social media giant Twitter, who has welcomed the startup as its first and only Australian Twitter Technology Partner. In a nutshell, Stackla's technology helps brands improve conversion rates by bringing social endorsements to their own websites and at point of sale. CapGemini’s recent Digital Shopper Relevancy report found that among shoppers social media’s influence was waning compared to websites and in store. A separate Monetate study of 500 million ecommerce sessions found only 1.55 percent of all ecommerce traffic came from social and just 0.71 percent of that resulted in sales. “The influence of social media on e-commerce has been a letdown for many brands and consumers, driving a tiny portion of online sales and playing a decreasing role in the consumer shopping journey,” said Cassidy. Stackla allows brands to discover and showcase the best brand mentions from across the social web. Use cases include social ‘catalogues’ for ecommerce websites; content crowdsourcing for live events; curated social media hubs for brand websites; and real-time visualisations generated from social data. “Fans and customers are recommending brands and products to their friends on social media - these are money-can’t-buy endorsements. The problem is, social endorsements are fleeting and hard to capture,” said Cassidy. “Stackla solves this problem by helping marketers cherry pick the best content on the social web and showcase it where their customers are - on websites, apps and at venues." A major trend the startup has noticed (and to a degree, even facilitated) is a shift in the way companies manage customer relationships. Big brands are moving away from managing Facebook pages towards making their own micro-sites where they can control both customer relationships and data.   Stackla is seeking to double its staff over the next 18 months by bringing on developers, salespeople and marketers in its new US and UK offices.
“With a footprint to build in the US and UK and over 30 staff to hire, the work has only just begun but we are thrilled that investors and customers believe in our vision,” said Mahoney, Co-Founder and CEO of Stackla. “Social media is a mainstream activity marketers engage in every day, and we believe our software will become a key part of every marketer’s daily workflow.” McCarthy, Asia Pacific Growth Management executive and a director of APGM’s investments arm who contributed to the investment round said he was "delighted" with Stackla's traction and it confident that the team is "well-placed to execute on its vision". "The international expansion is set to continue that high growth trajectory and we’re excited to be helping Stackla achieve its goals.”
]]>
http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/10/social-content-marketing-startup-stackla-raises-2-million-fund-international-growth/feed/ 0
Soylent Founder preserves water by urinating in sink and not defacating http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/10/soylent-founder-preserves-water-urinating-sink-defacating/ http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/10/soylent-founder-preserves-water-urinating-sink-defacating/#comments Wed, 29 Oct 2014 13:01:12 +0000 http://www.startupdaily.com.au/?p=35334 Rheinhart

Rob Rhinehart, Silicon Valley-based software engineer and creator of the supposedly nutritious, taste-deprived goop Soylent, sacrificed his health in pursuit of something quite ambitious - saving the universe from drying out. Many scientists have discussed the looming water crisis, with some even predicting water supply to run out this century. It's understandable then, that environmentally-conscious Rhinehart would want to act. But in order to preserve water, Rhineheart took rather extreme measures, carefully cutting down his water usage to two litres a day. So how exactly did he cut water out from his life? In a blog post, Rhinehart wrote: "I brush my teeth without water and put on dry deodorant. Relieving myself in the toilet is not an option. For a moment I consider following Clinton’s advice: 'if it’s yellow let it mellow', but decide to go full Bukowski instead: 'sometimes you just have to piss in the sink'." Oh dear. Adults should be consuming two to three litres of water per day to replace what we lose through sweat, urine, and so on. And the human body is made up of 50 to 75 percent water, so hydration is undoubtedly important - at the very least, for the sanctity of our kidneys. The amount of water we should drink on a daily basis, excludes what we inadvertently consume through food which is just as necessary. But this was a problem for Rhinehart. Given water has a presence in most foods we consume, Rhinehart decided to stop food cold turkey. Instead, he consumed Soylent, a powder that contains most of the essential vitamins humans need to stay alive. Rhinehart raised $3.5 million to fund the commercialisation of Soylent through crowdfunding platform Tilt, as well as venture capital firms. But, even Soylent requires water to slide down a human being's oesophagus. According to Rhineheart, the powder requires 1.6 litres of water, which meant he wasn't depriving himself completely. [caption id="attachment_35337" align="alignnone" width="1621"]soylent-blended Soylent[/caption] Then there's the issue of having to mix Soylent in crockery. To avoid having to do the dishes - but for different reasons to everybody else - Rhinehart used disposable polystyrene cups. That's not all. In the aforementioned blog post, he also talked about not shitting because, you know ... if it's brown you have to flush it down. "[Faeces] are almost entirely deceased gut bacteria and water. I massacred my gut bacteria the day before by consuming a DIY Soylent version with no fiber and taking 500mg of Rifaximin, an antibiotic with poor bioavailability, meaning it stays in your gut and kills bacteria. Soylent’s microbiome consultant advised that this is a terrible idea so I do not recommend it. However, it worked. Throughout the challenge I did not defecate," he said in the blog post. And of course, Rhinehart did not forget clothing. He explained that cotton uses 20,000 litres per kilogram, so he had to remove clothes made of cotton from his wardrobe. His outfit of choice is now some kind of jumpsuit - the kind that fumigators wear. Apparently, it's called Nomex, a meta-aramid invented by DuPont in the 1960s. I'm no fashion expert, but I think the outfit would be complete if accessorised by a gas mask. [caption id="attachment_35336" align="alignleft" width="300"]nomex Rhinehart wearing Nomex.[/caption] "Nomex is a fantastic material used in applications as diverse as circuit boards, loudspeakers, and clothing. Made via condensation from m-phenylenediamine and isophthaloyl chloride, its production uses no water. I found a Nomex flight suit on Alibaba and added a “Soylent” patch. I love it. It’s cheap, simple, comfortable, and fireproof, just in case," Rhinehart wrote. All insanity aside, the principle behind the challenge was admirable. Ultimately, he wanted to point out how wasteful we are when it comes to water. "Water is the most popular beverage in the world, and still 20 percent of us are living without enough even to drink. Our foods, our bodies, and our planet are mostly water, and yet, we are spoiling and wasting what the cosmos has made at an unsustainable rate. I don’t expect anyone to live as I did during the challenge. Even I missed coffee and a hot shower. However, I do think it is important to be mindful of the network effects of one’s lifestyle. With water, as with most things, it is better to do more with less."   ]]>
Rheinhart

Rob Rhinehart, Silicon Valley-based software engineer and creator of the supposedly nutritious, taste-deprived goop Soylent, sacrificed his health in pursuit of something quite ambitious - saving the universe from drying out. Many scientists have discussed the looming water crisis, with some even predicting water supply to run out this century. It's understandable then, that environmentally-conscious Rhinehart would want to act. But in order to preserve water, Rhineheart took rather extreme measures, carefully cutting down his water usage to two litres a day. So how exactly did he cut water out from his life? In a blog post, Rhinehart wrote: "I brush my teeth without water and put on dry deodorant. Relieving myself in the toilet is not an option. For a moment I consider following Clinton’s advice: 'if it’s yellow let it mellow', but decide to go full Bukowski instead: 'sometimes you just have to piss in the sink'." Oh dear. Adults should be consuming two to three litres of water per day to replace what we lose through sweat, urine, and so on. And the human body is made up of 50 to 75 percent water, so hydration is undoubtedly important - at the very least, for the sanctity of our kidneys. The amount of water we should drink on a daily basis, excludes what we inadvertently consume through food which is just as necessary. But this was a problem for Rhinehart. Given water has a presence in most foods we consume, Rhinehart decided to stop food cold turkey. Instead, he consumed Soylent, a powder that contains most of the essential vitamins humans need to stay alive. Rhinehart raised $3.5 million to fund the commercialisation of Soylent through crowdfunding platform Tilt, as well as venture capital firms. But, even Soylent requires water to slide down a human being's oesophagus. According to Rhineheart, the powder requires 1.6 litres of water, which meant he wasn't depriving himself completely. [caption id="attachment_35337" align="alignnone" width="1621"]soylent-blended Soylent[/caption] Then there's the issue of having to mix Soylent in crockery. To avoid having to do the dishes - but for different reasons to everybody else - Rhinehart used disposable polystyrene cups. That's not all. In the aforementioned blog post, he also talked about not shitting because, you know ... if it's brown you have to flush it down. "[Faeces] are almost entirely deceased gut bacteria and water. I massacred my gut bacteria the day before by consuming a DIY Soylent version with no fiber and taking 500mg of Rifaximin, an antibiotic with poor bioavailability, meaning it stays in your gut and kills bacteria. Soylent’s microbiome consultant advised that this is a terrible idea so I do not recommend it. However, it worked. Throughout the challenge I did not defecate," he said in the blog post. And of course, Rhinehart did not forget clothing. He explained that cotton uses 20,000 litres per kilogram, so he had to remove clothes made of cotton from his wardrobe. His outfit of choice is now some kind of jumpsuit - the kind that fumigators wear. Apparently, it's called Nomex, a meta-aramid invented by DuPont in the 1960s. I'm no fashion expert, but I think the outfit would be complete if accessorised by a gas mask. [caption id="attachment_35336" align="alignleft" width="300"]nomex Rhinehart wearing Nomex.[/caption] "Nomex is a fantastic material used in applications as diverse as circuit boards, loudspeakers, and clothing. Made via condensation from m-phenylenediamine and isophthaloyl chloride, its production uses no water. I found a Nomex flight suit on Alibaba and added a “Soylent” patch. I love it. It’s cheap, simple, comfortable, and fireproof, just in case," Rhinehart wrote. All insanity aside, the principle behind the challenge was admirable. Ultimately, he wanted to point out how wasteful we are when it comes to water. "Water is the most popular beverage in the world, and still 20 percent of us are living without enough even to drink. Our foods, our bodies, and our planet are mostly water, and yet, we are spoiling and wasting what the cosmos has made at an unsustainable rate. I don’t expect anyone to live as I did during the challenge. Even I missed coffee and a hot shower. However, I do think it is important to be mindful of the network effects of one’s lifestyle. With water, as with most things, it is better to do more with less."   ]]>
http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/10/soylent-founder-preserves-water-urinating-sink-defacating/feed/ 0
Sydney startup Divvy begins national rollout, starting with Melbourne http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/10/sydney-startup-divvy-begins-national-rollout-starting-melbourne/ http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/10/sydney-startup-divvy-begins-national-rollout-starting-melbourne/#comments Wed, 29 Oct 2014 13:00:52 +0000 http://www.startupdaily.com.au/?p=35317 4753ee2c-3fa2-11e4-ae7b-937db6310c19_865729255--646x363

Sydney-based startup Divvy Parking has kickstarted its national expansion plans today by launching in Melbourne. Founded in late 2011 by husband-wife team Nick and Nicole Austin, Divvy is part of the global collaborative consumption movement with a focus on the parking niche. Divvy's online marketplace allows individuals and businesses to earn extra income by leasing out vacant parking spaces - be it a garage or driveway - to motorists, who in turn can enjoy of a more cost-effective, hassle-free parking experience in high-density urban areas. Renting monthly parking spaces via Divvy is up to 50 percent cheaper than traditional options like on-street parking, which often involves driving around the CBD in circles and being faced with the occasional parking fine due to time constraints (usually, one to four hours) associated with particular spaces. “I started Divvy because I saw an opportunity for individuals, businesses and communities to work together to solve a common urban dilemma. We’ve been able to help out thousands of people in Sydney and we’re excited to be bringing the solution to Melbourne,” said Nick in a media release distributed today. To date, Divvy has booked the equivalent of 300,000 parking days in Sydney, and is now ready to offer its services to Melbournians who are also experiencing parking shortages. The marketplace currently offers 1,000 car spaces in Sydney on its network across 3,000 members. Most motorists book parking spots for a month at a time. According to Nick, 10 percent of parking spaces in City of Sydney's commercial buildings are vacant at any given time. “As councils and state governments seek to reduce traffic congestion on our major inner city roads, finding a convenient parking space has become an ever-worsening nightmare,” said Nick. “The crazy thing is, there are actually thousands of vacant, but hidden, spaces peppered throughout our cities. Most people would be shocked to know just how many underutilised parking spaces there actually are in Melbourne." In inner-Sydney suburbs, such as Surry Hills, Potts Point and Pyrmont, owners of car parks are making between $50 to $90 per week by renting out their spaces. CBD parking spots are usually leased out for $120 per week. Both these options are cheaper for motorists who could pay up to $80 a day. Austin believes property owners in Melbourne will have similar returns. Data collected by City of Melbourne shows that the number of commercial parking spaces in the CBD area has dropped eight percent in the past six years to just under 30,000, and parking fees has increased 40 percent in the past year alone. Divvy is currently in discussions with a number of commercial property groups in Melbourne, after securing deals in Sydney with commercial property and real estate groups including GPT and Knight Frank. “Our success negotiating with corporate property groups is proof that the public and private sector can work together to create smarter, more efficient and future-proofed cities,” Nick said. Divvy was one of the first alternative parking solutions to emerge in Sydney, alongside ParkingMadeEasy which also launched in 2o11. The former, however, has a more visually appealing website and delivers a better UX. [caption id="attachment_35327" align="alignnone" width="1406"]Screen Shot 2014-10-30 at 9.58.32 am Divvy Parking[/caption] [caption id="attachment_35328" align="alignnone" width="1400"]Screen Shot 2014-10-30 at 9.58.43 am ParkingMadeEasy[/caption] Other startups to emerge in this space include Parking Maestro and Parkhound. Divvy is reportedly the only collaborative parking solution in Australia that handles bookings, payments, swipe card exchange, bonds, reporting and parking portfolio management in a single digital umbrella.  --- Featured image: Nick and Nicole Austin. Source: BRW. Credit: Ben Rushton.  ]]>
4753ee2c-3fa2-11e4-ae7b-937db6310c19_865729255--646x363

Sydney-based startup Divvy Parking has kickstarted its national expansion plans today by launching in Melbourne. Founded in late 2011 by husband-wife team Nick and Nicole Austin, Divvy is part of the global collaborative consumption movement with a focus on the parking niche. Divvy's online marketplace allows individuals and businesses to earn extra income by leasing out vacant parking spaces - be it a garage or driveway - to motorists, who in turn can enjoy of a more cost-effective, hassle-free parking experience in high-density urban areas. Renting monthly parking spaces via Divvy is up to 50 percent cheaper than traditional options like on-street parking, which often involves driving around the CBD in circles and being faced with the occasional parking fine due to time constraints (usually, one to four hours) associated with particular spaces. “I started Divvy because I saw an opportunity for individuals, businesses and communities to work together to solve a common urban dilemma. We’ve been able to help out thousands of people in Sydney and we’re excited to be bringing the solution to Melbourne,” said Nick in a media release distributed today. To date, Divvy has booked the equivalent of 300,000 parking days in Sydney, and is now ready to offer its services to Melbournians who are also experiencing parking shortages. The marketplace currently offers 1,000 car spaces in Sydney on its network across 3,000 members. Most motorists book parking spots for a month at a time. According to Nick, 10 percent of parking spaces in City of Sydney's commercial buildings are vacant at any given time. “As councils and state governments seek to reduce traffic congestion on our major inner city roads, finding a convenient parking space has become an ever-worsening nightmare,” said Nick. “The crazy thing is, there are actually thousands of vacant, but hidden, spaces peppered throughout our cities. Most people would be shocked to know just how many underutilised parking spaces there actually are in Melbourne." In inner-Sydney suburbs, such as Surry Hills, Potts Point and Pyrmont, owners of car parks are making between $50 to $90 per week by renting out their spaces. CBD parking spots are usually leased out for $120 per week. Both these options are cheaper for motorists who could pay up to $80 a day. Austin believes property owners in Melbourne will have similar returns. Data collected by City of Melbourne shows that the number of commercial parking spaces in the CBD area has dropped eight percent in the past six years to just under 30,000, and parking fees has increased 40 percent in the past year alone. Divvy is currently in discussions with a number of commercial property groups in Melbourne, after securing deals in Sydney with commercial property and real estate groups including GPT and Knight Frank. “Our success negotiating with corporate property groups is proof that the public and private sector can work together to create smarter, more efficient and future-proofed cities,” Nick said. Divvy was one of the first alternative parking solutions to emerge in Sydney, alongside ParkingMadeEasy which also launched in 2o11. The former, however, has a more visually appealing website and delivers a better UX. [caption id="attachment_35327" align="alignnone" width="1406"]Screen Shot 2014-10-30 at 9.58.32 am Divvy Parking[/caption] [caption id="attachment_35328" align="alignnone" width="1400"]Screen Shot 2014-10-30 at 9.58.43 am ParkingMadeEasy[/caption] Other startups to emerge in this space include Parking Maestro and Parkhound. Divvy is reportedly the only collaborative parking solution in Australia that handles bookings, payments, swipe card exchange, bonds, reporting and parking portfolio management in a single digital umbrella.  --- Featured image: Nick and Nicole Austin. Source: BRW. Credit: Ben Rushton.  ]]>
http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/10/sydney-startup-divvy-begins-national-rollout-starting-melbourne/feed/ 0
Sydney startup PlanDo wants to shape a new work landscape and empower a new generation of workers http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/10/sydney-startup-plando-wants-shape-new-work-landscape-empower-new-generation-workers/ http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/10/sydney-startup-plando-wants-shape-new-work-landscape-empower-new-generation-workers/#comments Wed, 29 Oct 2014 00:14:49 +0000 http://www.startupdaily.com.au/?p=35226 AM-42

Anne Moore has a fairly impressive resume. CEO. HR leader. Corporate growth strategist. Social scientist specialising in human capital. But more impressive is her belief in positive psychology in the workplace. She has conceptualised a better future of work and is pursuing new market opportunities to make that happen. Moore believes her startup PlanDo will address the changing mindset of tech-savvy employees, their job satisfaction and the impacts of technology.

The workforce is changing. The way we work is changing. And the way we do business is changing. And many attribute these changes to constantly evolving technology landscape. After all, we communicate with colleagues through taps on keyboards, as often (if not more) as we do vocally. Many of us prefer using our own technology because we’re so accustomed to it. But changes in worker behaviour are not just technological; it’s been said that employees today are less loyal, less patient and less committed to jobs, moving on quicker than the baby boomer generation.

Research also shows that 20 percent of Fortune 100 employees are contractors; and by 2020, at least 50 percent of the workforce is estimated to be contingent, resulting in challenges to attract and progress talent for employees and employers.

“The world of work is changing - careers are no longer linear, career paths have collapsed, contingent work on the rise and so is attrition, people want to bring their own technology to work to perform at their best and the psychological contract for work has changed.   We’ll hold many roles across our working life and potentially several careers.  We want to track our progress and keep it with us,” says Moore.

Back in the day there was also a perception that the more time you spend working, the greater your likelihood of success and the greater you deserve success. There’s something wrong with this formula; and Gen-Yers – the so called ‘lazy generation’ – have spotted the problem. It doesn’t actually work that way. Gen Y are all about accomplishing more in less time. The emphasis is on ‘doing less, but doing it extraordinarily well’ – as was argued by successful bloggers like Leo Babauta and Stephen Pavlina.

PlanDo wants to shape a new work landscape, especially in response to almost 60 percent of employees, particularly in small to medium enterprises, having not participated in performance reviews. The app abolishes the belief of the review process being designed to benefit the enterprise rather than the individual, and encourages regular conversations about performance and progress.

The app offers the tools to ensure all employees can be self-sufficient career owners, and equips employees and employers to have constructive career conversations, creating leadership and fostering a positive workplace culture.

“At PlanDo, we want to equip individuals to be self directed in their performance and growth because it’s important to well-being in the increasingly unpredictable world of work.  Self sufficiency and alignment also increases engagement and productivity.  It’s unique because there are no other platforms that offer co-careering in the workplace. It’s disruptive because we are democratising career ownership by offering all the collaborative tools and resources that you would generally find within enterprise to career owners,” says Moore.

In a way the startup is also responding businesses gradually moving away from a time-centric payment paradigm and towards a value-centric one, where how many hours we work or how hard we try will matter less than the value of our work.

PlanDo’s co-founder Alan Burt has assisted in bringing Moore’s vision to life using his technology expertise. Without mentioning any names, Moore told Startup Daily that they didn’t muck around when it came to choosing a development outsourcing partner: “We went with Sydney's largest, most experienced software house to build our platform because we wanted to avoid trial and error. A clean, elegant UX was important.  Features such as goal setting, mapping skills, sharing were important to us.”

After six months of development, PlanDo can now be used to set create role profiles, performance goals, build development plans, audit skills, build self-awareness about personal strengths and motivators, share activities with others, receive feedback from peers and leaders, upload and store important career documents (like resumes, employment contracts, etc.), and even capture notes and reflections in a personal career journal.

Moore says that although PlanDo is a consumer-focused platform, SMEs can also get value from using the platform. “[We] know that self-directed individuals who 'co-career' with their colleagues are going to out perform, out grow and be more engaged.  There’s mutual benefit and value. Organisations want as many self-directed proactive employees as possible,” she adds.

PlanDo’s biggest competitors, according to Moore, are talent management firms that sit on the enterprise side of the fence. She’s fully cognisant of the size of the global talent management and engagement market, valued at approximately $20 billion in 2014 alone, and growing at 17 percent every year.

“We think that talent management systems are a solution to the conventional question of enterprise performance, growth and by default, engagement. Given emerging work trends, we think a better question is how do we equip our people for self-directed performance and growth across their working lives so that they are more engaged and collaborative in the process,” Moore adds.

PlanDo operates on a standard SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) subscription model, charging each user $5 per month when paid annual in advance ($60). Moore says they plan on making the app free for consumers eventually.

The startup has been bootstrapped to date and all its employees are financially invested. PlanDo has now entered its revenue stage, and will be looking to raise external funding to accelerate its growth. According to Moore, several investors locally and globally have expressed interest in supporting the startup from a financial standpoint.

But funding isn’t the biggest challenge for PlanDo. Moore says the biggest challenges have been managing uncertainty that comes as a default with working on a startup, as well as being on top of all aspects of the business and focusing on the end game.

That said, Moore takes pride in having used technology alongside subject matter expertise to offer a platform that empowers the current and emerging generations of workers to take control of their careers.

“We want to make a meaningful and positive contribution to the lives of people we’ll never know and never meet,” says Moore.

For the remainder of 2014, the focus for this startup will be sales and customer acquisition, as well as funding for the next stage of development. By the end of 2015, the plan is to set up global offices in New York and Silicon Valley.

]]>
AM-42

Anne Moore has a fairly impressive resume. CEO. HR leader. Corporate growth strategist. Social scientist specialising in human capital. But more impressive is her belief in positive psychology in the workplace. She has conceptualised a better future of work and is pursuing new market opportunities to make that happen. Moore believes her startup PlanDo will address the changing mindset of tech-savvy employees, their job satisfaction and the impacts of technology.

The workforce is changing. The way we work is changing. And the way we do business is changing. And many attribute these changes to constantly evolving technology landscape. After all, we communicate with colleagues through taps on keyboards, as often (if not more) as we do vocally. Many of us prefer using our own technology because we’re so accustomed to it. But changes in worker behaviour are not just technological; it’s been said that employees today are less loyal, less patient and less committed to jobs, moving on quicker than the baby boomer generation.

Research also shows that 20 percent of Fortune 100 employees are contractors; and by 2020, at least 50 percent of the workforce is estimated to be contingent, resulting in challenges to attract and progress talent for employees and employers.

“The world of work is changing - careers are no longer linear, career paths have collapsed, contingent work on the rise and so is attrition, people want to bring their own technology to work to perform at their best and the psychological contract for work has changed.   We’ll hold many roles across our working life and potentially several careers.  We want to track our progress and keep it with us,” says Moore.

Back in the day there was also a perception that the more time you spend working, the greater your likelihood of success and the greater you deserve success. There’s something wrong with this formula; and Gen-Yers – the so called ‘lazy generation’ – have spotted the problem. It doesn’t actually work that way. Gen Y are all about accomplishing more in less time. The emphasis is on ‘doing less, but doing it extraordinarily well’ – as was argued by successful bloggers like Leo Babauta and Stephen Pavlina.

PlanDo wants to shape a new work landscape, especially in response to almost 60 percent of employees, particularly in small to medium enterprises, having not participated in performance reviews. The app abolishes the belief of the review process being designed to benefit the enterprise rather than the individual, and encourages regular conversations about performance and progress.

The app offers the tools to ensure all employees can be self-sufficient career owners, and equips employees and employers to have constructive career conversations, creating leadership and fostering a positive workplace culture.

“At PlanDo, we want to equip individuals to be self directed in their performance and growth because it’s important to well-being in the increasingly unpredictable world of work.  Self sufficiency and alignment also increases engagement and productivity.  It’s unique because there are no other platforms that offer co-careering in the workplace. It’s disruptive because we are democratising career ownership by offering all the collaborative tools and resources that you would generally find within enterprise to career owners,” says Moore.

In a way the startup is also responding businesses gradually moving away from a time-centric payment paradigm and towards a value-centric one, where how many hours we work or how hard we try will matter less than the value of our work.

PlanDo’s co-founder Alan Burt has assisted in bringing Moore’s vision to life using his technology expertise. Without mentioning any names, Moore told Startup Daily that they didn’t muck around when it came to choosing a development outsourcing partner: “We went with Sydney's largest, most experienced software house to build our platform because we wanted to avoid trial and error. A clean, elegant UX was important.  Features such as goal setting, mapping skills, sharing were important to us.”

After six months of development, PlanDo can now be used to set create role profiles, performance goals, build development plans, audit skills, build self-awareness about personal strengths and motivators, share activities with others, receive feedback from peers and leaders, upload and store important career documents (like resumes, employment contracts, etc.), and even capture notes and reflections in a personal career journal.

Moore says that although PlanDo is a consumer-focused platform, SMEs can also get value from using the platform. “[We] know that self-directed individuals who 'co-career' with their colleagues are going to out perform, out grow and be more engaged.  There’s mutual benefit and value. Organisations want as many self-directed proactive employees as possible,” she adds.

PlanDo’s biggest competitors, according to Moore, are talent management firms that sit on the enterprise side of the fence. She’s fully cognisant of the size of the global talent management and engagement market, valued at approximately $20 billion in 2014 alone, and growing at 17 percent every year.

“We think that talent management systems are a solution to the conventional question of enterprise performance, growth and by default, engagement. Given emerging work trends, we think a better question is how do we equip our people for self-directed performance and growth across their working lives so that they are more engaged and collaborative in the process,” Moore adds.

PlanDo operates on a standard SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) subscription model, charging each user $5 per month when paid annual in advance ($60). Moore says they plan on making the app free for consumers eventually.

The startup has been bootstrapped to date and all its employees are financially invested. PlanDo has now entered its revenue stage, and will be looking to raise external funding to accelerate its growth. According to Moore, several investors locally and globally have expressed interest in supporting the startup from a financial standpoint.

But funding isn’t the biggest challenge for PlanDo. Moore says the biggest challenges have been managing uncertainty that comes as a default with working on a startup, as well as being on top of all aspects of the business and focusing on the end game.

That said, Moore takes pride in having used technology alongside subject matter expertise to offer a platform that empowers the current and emerging generations of workers to take control of their careers.

“We want to make a meaningful and positive contribution to the lives of people we’ll never know and never meet,” says Moore.

For the remainder of 2014, the focus for this startup will be sales and customer acquisition, as well as funding for the next stage of development. By the end of 2015, the plan is to set up global offices in New York and Silicon Valley.

]]>
http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/10/sydney-startup-plando-wants-shape-new-work-landscape-empower-new-generation-workers/feed/ 0
Catcha Group is about to invest up to $100 million into high growth stage startups in South East Asia http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/10/catcha-group-invest-100-million-growth-stage-startups-south-east-asia/ http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/10/catcha-group-invest-100-million-growth-stage-startups-south-east-asia/#comments Tue, 28 Oct 2014 23:30:49 +0000 http://www.startupdaily.com.au/?p=35278 img_6961

Yesterday, Catcha Group announced the launch of Catcha Ventures, its investment arm which will focus on funding high growth new media, technology and mobile companies in the South East Asian region. In a media release, the company stated it would invest between USD$50 to $100 million in chosen companies over the next three to five year period. CEO and Chairman of Catcha Group, Australia's Patrick Grove said, “Over the last 15 years we have created a number of highly successful digital companies in the ASEAN region. We are excited to bring our experience and knowledge to bear in working with the next generation of disruptive entrepreneurs to help them create amazing digital businesses”. The ASEAN region refers to Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. If this announcement seems familiar, it is probably because in March 2013, Startup Daily and other tech-focused media reported that Catcha Group was launching a USD$150 million fund to do exactly the same thing - invest in high tech, high growth online businesses in the ASEAN region. But no, unlike I thought at first this is not a re-launch of the same fund, according to a spokesperson at Catcha Group. That original $150 million has already been invested. As quoted in TechinAsia, the spokesperson stated that the 2013 cash was used for a number of larger buy-outs.
[T]hat the sum of money refers to a separate fund focusing on acquisitions, and adds that deals have already been made. These include the buyout of LivingSocial’s Southeast Asia business, all the brands under the iBuy umbrella, and Says.com. Catcha Ventures is an entirely new fund focusing on minority-stake investments.
Catcha Ventures has been founded to address a lack of funding for business that have matured from a start-up and entered their “growth phase”. Like in Australia, Asia too has its challenges when it comes to Series A and beyond funding activities. Whilst the seed stage and angel investment activities statistically are on the rise, a fund of this size will significantly boost the profile and traction of startups in the South East Asia region that Catcha Group is targeting. Currently the group has IPO'd four of its portfolio companies since it started in 2007. Recently one of those company's iProperty Group, attracted AUD$106.3 million in investment from Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation via REA Group. It is the largest investment in a South East Asian internet company to date. iProperty Group has operations in Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Macau and Singapore, as well as investments in India and the Philippines. Theinvestment gives iProperty Group a value of approximately US$600 million, also making it the most highly-valued publicly traded company in Southeast Asia. Grove said that the challenges faced by companies in their growth phase are inherently different from those encountered by startups; and that Catcha Ventures will deploy a unique mentorship program, underpinned by Catcha Group’s network of seasoned high level managers. “We have enjoyed enormous benefits from knowledge sharing between our companies and will deploy the exact mentorship and investee community management model across our Catcha Ventures portfolio companies. We will pair each investee company with a senior mentor and advisor from within our group to help them navigate challenges as their business grows," said Grove. "Chances are, for any digital business encountering growth related issues in South East Asia, a company within our network has already successfully resolved that same challenge. Funding is one thing, but this experience and access to our network of executives and advisors is both invaluable and unique." According to a statement, the group is already in the midst of locking down its first couple of investments using this new fund. ]]>
img_6961

Yesterday, Catcha Group announced the launch of Catcha Ventures, its investment arm which will focus on funding high growth new media, technology and mobile companies in the South East Asian region. In a media release, the company stated it would invest between USD$50 to $100 million in chosen companies over the next three to five year period. CEO and Chairman of Catcha Group, Australia's Patrick Grove said, “Over the last 15 years we have created a number of highly successful digital companies in the ASEAN region. We are excited to bring our experience and knowledge to bear in working with the next generation of disruptive entrepreneurs to help them create amazing digital businesses”. The ASEAN region refers to Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. If this announcement seems familiar, it is probably because in March 2013, Startup Daily and other tech-focused media reported that Catcha Group was launching a USD$150 million fund to do exactly the same thing - invest in high tech, high growth online businesses in the ASEAN region. But no, unlike I thought at first this is not a re-launch of the same fund, according to a spokesperson at Catcha Group. That original $150 million has already been invested. As quoted in TechinAsia, the spokesperson stated that the 2013 cash was used for a number of larger buy-outs.
[T]hat the sum of money refers to a separate fund focusing on acquisitions, and adds that deals have already been made. These include the buyout of LivingSocial’s Southeast Asia business, all the brands under the iBuy umbrella, and Says.com. Catcha Ventures is an entirely new fund focusing on minority-stake investments.
Catcha Ventures has been founded to address a lack of funding for business that have matured from a start-up and entered their “growth phase”. Like in Australia, Asia too has its challenges when it comes to Series A and beyond funding activities. Whilst the seed stage and angel investment activities statistically are on the rise, a fund of this size will significantly boost the profile and traction of startups in the South East Asia region that Catcha Group is targeting. Currently the group has IPO'd four of its portfolio companies since it started in 2007. Recently one of those company's iProperty Group, attracted AUD$106.3 million in investment from Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation via REA Group. It is the largest investment in a South East Asian internet company to date. iProperty Group has operations in Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Macau and Singapore, as well as investments in India and the Philippines. Theinvestment gives iProperty Group a value of approximately US$600 million, also making it the most highly-valued publicly traded company in Southeast Asia. Grove said that the challenges faced by companies in their growth phase are inherently different from those encountered by startups; and that Catcha Ventures will deploy a unique mentorship program, underpinned by Catcha Group’s network of seasoned high level managers. “We have enjoyed enormous benefits from knowledge sharing between our companies and will deploy the exact mentorship and investee community management model across our Catcha Ventures portfolio companies. We will pair each investee company with a senior mentor and advisor from within our group to help them navigate challenges as their business grows," said Grove. "Chances are, for any digital business encountering growth related issues in South East Asia, a company within our network has already successfully resolved that same challenge. Funding is one thing, but this experience and access to our network of executives and advisors is both invaluable and unique." According to a statement, the group is already in the midst of locking down its first couple of investments using this new fund. ]]>
http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/10/catcha-group-invest-100-million-growth-stage-startups-south-east-asia/feed/ 0
Should Kim Kardashian even be onstage at a tech conference? http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/10/kim-kardashian-even-onstage-tech-conference/ http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/10/kim-kardashian-even-onstage-tech-conference/#comments Tue, 28 Oct 2014 23:30:27 +0000 http://www.startupdaily.com.au/?p=35261 code_mobile_20141027_164635_9234-20141027_16-46-35_91

The short answer to my question above, 'should Kim Kardashian even be onstage at a tech conference?' is yes. Kardashian was interviewed by journalist Kara Swisher onstage this week at Re/Code's annual tech conference on the topics of social media, mobile gaming and the polarising nature of her particular brand of fame. Given the gaming app "Kim Kardashian:Hollywood" she founded with GLU mobile is doing better than MOST startups, purely based on users and revenue, I personally think that she damn well deserves to be in front of the tech community talking about it. Reportedly, the game is pulling in around USD$700,000 in revenue PER DAY. Though I would say that the talk itself could have delved much deeper into the analytics and business structure of the mobile game, the same could be said about a lot of panel discussions and talks that I have attended both here and in Asia. 'Surface' conversations are a bit of a thing in the startup space, and to some degree I totally get it. Nobody wants to host a 'conference' that everybody wants to avoid because it's like being quizzed by a 60 Minutes journalist. I feel though that this is slowly starting to change, based on the latest panels at Techcrunch Disrupt. When it came to Kardashian, many people criticised the fact that she was invited to be on stage and were pretty public about their opinions on it. Screen Shot 2014-10-29 at 10.53.32 am Screen Shot 2014-10-29 at 10.55.11 am There were also a bunch of very misogynistic comments on a Techcrunch article about her talk, and whilst I totally agree with Editor, Alexia Tsotsis that a lot of those commenters she refers to in that piece are the same people that don't want her on stage at a tech conference, I want to focus on the more pressing problem of people in the tech industry, thinking they own the tech industry. Clowns, listen up - it's an INDUSTRY. This means that anybody is welcome whether they are fifty years old and want to explore building an idea they have or they have been coding away in their bedroom since the age of fifteen, whether they are an unknown person building something and trying to get traction the hard way, or whether they have the world's most well-known reality television show. Building a sustainable business isn't a fair process. The real world isn't like high school where the cheerleaders sit over there and the geeks hang out on the table on the opposite side. You, like Kim Kardashian, are as welcome to have your own finger in as many pies as you want too. ]]>
code_mobile_20141027_164635_9234-20141027_16-46-35_91

The short answer to my question above, 'should Kim Kardashian even be onstage at a tech conference?' is yes. Kardashian was interviewed by journalist Kara Swisher onstage this week at Re/Code's annual tech conference on the topics of social media, mobile gaming and the polarising nature of her particular brand of fame. Given the gaming app "Kim Kardashian:Hollywood" she founded with GLU mobile is doing better than MOST startups, purely based on users and revenue, I personally think that she damn well deserves to be in front of the tech community talking about it. Reportedly, the game is pulling in around USD$700,000 in revenue PER DAY. Though I would say that the talk itself could have delved much deeper into the analytics and business structure of the mobile game, the same could be said about a lot of panel discussions and talks that I have attended both here and in Asia. 'Surface' conversations are a bit of a thing in the startup space, and to some degree I totally get it. Nobody wants to host a 'conference' that everybody wants to avoid because it's like being quizzed by a 60 Minutes journalist. I feel though that this is slowly starting to change, based on the latest panels at Techcrunch Disrupt. When it came to Kardashian, many people criticised the fact that she was invited to be on stage and were pretty public about their opinions on it. Screen Shot 2014-10-29 at 10.53.32 am Screen Shot 2014-10-29 at 10.55.11 am There were also a bunch of very misogynistic comments on a Techcrunch article about her talk, and whilst I totally agree with Editor, Alexia Tsotsis that a lot of those commenters she refers to in that piece are the same people that don't want her on stage at a tech conference, I want to focus on the more pressing problem of people in the tech industry, thinking they own the tech industry. Clowns, listen up - it's an INDUSTRY. This means that anybody is welcome whether they are fifty years old and want to explore building an idea they have or they have been coding away in their bedroom since the age of fifteen, whether they are an unknown person building something and trying to get traction the hard way, or whether they have the world's most well-known reality television show. Building a sustainable business isn't a fair process. The real world isn't like high school where the cheerleaders sit over there and the geeks hang out on the table on the opposite side. You, like Kim Kardashian, are as welcome to have your own finger in as many pies as you want too. ]]>
http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/10/kim-kardashian-even-onstage-tech-conference/feed/ 0
Fuel prices the biggest concern for startups? http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/10/fuel-prices-biggest-concern-startups/ http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/10/fuel-prices-biggest-concern-startups/#comments Tue, 28 Oct 2014 13:00:05 +0000 http://www.startupdaily.com.au/?p=35290 325184-tim-reed

According to the latest MYOB Business Monitor, the outlook for revenue growth for Australian startups in the next 12 months is weaker than in 2013. And the biggest pressure point for startups was found to be fuel prices. It should, however, be noted that the terms 'startup' and 'SME' were both used in the announcement and appeared to refer to the same thing. This suggests that the study does not clearly differentiate between small and medium enterprises and startups, which is a problem on its own because although startups are usually small-sized businesses, not all small businesses are startups. SMEs and startups have different pain points, so a study about business confidence and pain points needs to consider variables carefully. Nevertheless, in the report, 63 percent of 'startups' recorded rising or steady revenue in the 12 months to August 2014. Specifically, 23 percent reported a revenue increase (down from 24 percent); 27 percent reported a revenue decline (down from 34 percent), and 40 percent reported steady revenue (up from 29 percent). Although this indicates steady business performance in 2014, confidence in revenue growth for the year ahead is significantly lower than figures from a year ago. Only 26 percent of startups expected revenue to rise in the 12 months to August 2015 (down from 38 percent) and confidence toward a steady revenue also decreased, with 27 percent of startups expecting a steady revenue in the coming 12 months, compared to 35 percent a year ago. MYOB CEO Tim Reed said, “It’s discouraging to see a ‘grey cloud’ hovering over this dynamic, eager group’s confidence levels in the year ahead." "It’s critical for government and industry to inject practical, strategic policy to help lift this aspiring group in their quest to foster innovation and to keep the flame of entrepreneurialism burning. "It is my hope that the recent announcement by the government to remove the upfront tax on stock options is supported by all parties and passes the parliament quickly; these figures show that start-ups need this sort of flexibility now more than ever.” Interestingly, fuel prices was ranked as the foremost ‘pain point’ for startups, followed by cashflow, attracting new customers, price margins and profitability, and competitive activity. For the remainder of this year, startups intend to increase their investment in marketing and advertising as well as increasing the number or variety of products and services.  “There is some correlation between the pain points affecting startups and the investment strategies to which they intend to give a greater focus. For instance, increasing customer acquisition and retention strategies can help minimise the pressure of attracting new customers,” said Reed. He added that despite cashflow being one of the top three pain points for startups, 59 percent intended to keep their investment in a business advisor (such as an accountant)  and that 24 percent are planning to increase their investment in working with a business advisor. "We strongly encourage all businesses that are struggling with their cashflow to work closely with a business advisor who can help identify business ‘hotspots’ and the solutions to help address these issues,” said Reed.  Top 5 business pressures for startups in 2015:
  1. Fuel prices – and more than 1 in 3 (36 percent) were reporting ‘high levels of pressure’
  2. Cashflow – and 1 in 3 (33 percent) were reporting ‘high levels of pressure’
  3. Attracting new customers – and in 1 in 3 (33 percent) were reporting ‘high levels of pressure’
  4. Price margins and profitability – and nearly 1 in 4 (24 percent) were reporting ‘high levels of pressure’
  5. Competitive activity and nearly 1 in 5 (21 percent) were reporting ‘high levels of pressure’
Top 5 areas of increased investment for startups in 2014:
  1. Customer acquisition strategies
  2. Customer retention strategies
  3. The dollar value of spending on marketing and advertising their business online
  4. The number or variety of products and services
  5. The sale of products and services online.
]]>
325184-tim-reed

According to the latest MYOB Business Monitor, the outlook for revenue growth for Australian startups in the next 12 months is weaker than in 2013. And the biggest pressure point for startups was found to be fuel prices. It should, however, be noted that the terms 'startup' and 'SME' were both used in the announcement and appeared to refer to the same thing. This suggests that the study does not clearly differentiate between small and medium enterprises and startups, which is a problem on its own because although startups are usually small-sized businesses, not all small businesses are startups. SMEs and startups have different pain points, so a study about business confidence and pain points needs to consider variables carefully. Nevertheless, in the report, 63 percent of 'startups' recorded rising or steady revenue in the 12 months to August 2014. Specifically, 23 percent reported a revenue increase (down from 24 percent); 27 percent reported a revenue decline (down from 34 percent), and 40 percent reported steady revenue (up from 29 percent). Although this indicates steady business performance in 2014, confidence in revenue growth for the year ahead is significantly lower than figures from a year ago. Only 26 percent of startups expected revenue to rise in the 12 months to August 2015 (down from 38 percent) and confidence toward a steady revenue also decreased, with 27 percent of startups expecting a steady revenue in the coming 12 months, compared to 35 percent a year ago. MYOB CEO Tim Reed said, “It’s discouraging to see a ‘grey cloud’ hovering over this dynamic, eager group’s confidence levels in the year ahead." "It’s critical for government and industry to inject practical, strategic policy to help lift this aspiring group in their quest to foster innovation and to keep the flame of entrepreneurialism burning. "It is my hope that the recent announcement by the government to remove the upfront tax on stock options is supported by all parties and passes the parliament quickly; these figures show that start-ups need this sort of flexibility now more than ever.” Interestingly, fuel prices was ranked as the foremost ‘pain point’ for startups, followed by cashflow, attracting new customers, price margins and profitability, and competitive activity. For the remainder of this year, startups intend to increase their investment in marketing and advertising as well as increasing the number or variety of products and services.  “There is some correlation between the pain points affecting startups and the investment strategies to which they intend to give a greater focus. For instance, increasing customer acquisition and retention strategies can help minimise the pressure of attracting new customers,” said Reed. He added that despite cashflow being one of the top three pain points for startups, 59 percent intended to keep their investment in a business advisor (such as an accountant)  and that 24 percent are planning to increase their investment in working with a business advisor. "We strongly encourage all businesses that are struggling with their cashflow to work closely with a business advisor who can help identify business ‘hotspots’ and the solutions to help address these issues,” said Reed.  Top 5 business pressures for startups in 2015:
  1. Fuel prices – and more than 1 in 3 (36 percent) were reporting ‘high levels of pressure’
  2. Cashflow – and 1 in 3 (33 percent) were reporting ‘high levels of pressure’
  3. Attracting new customers – and in 1 in 3 (33 percent) were reporting ‘high levels of pressure’
  4. Price margins and profitability – and nearly 1 in 4 (24 percent) were reporting ‘high levels of pressure’
  5. Competitive activity and nearly 1 in 5 (21 percent) were reporting ‘high levels of pressure’
Top 5 areas of increased investment for startups in 2014:
  1. Customer acquisition strategies
  2. Customer retention strategies
  3. The dollar value of spending on marketing and advertising their business online
  4. The number or variety of products and services
  5. The sale of products and services online.
]]>
http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/10/fuel-prices-biggest-concern-startups/feed/ 0
Fighting Chance brings innovation into the disability employment sector http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/10/fighting-chance-brings-innovation-disability-employment-sector/ http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/10/fighting-chance-brings-innovation-disability-employment-sector/#comments Tue, 28 Oct 2014 00:15:03 +0000 http://www.startupdaily.com.au/?p=35229 jordan

The challenges faced by people with disabilities in engaging in employment are well documented, as are the benefits to the individual that come from employment participation. Unfortunately, the support system for disabled individuals has a ‘one size fits all’ model that doesn’t take into consideration the needs of people with varying degrees of disability, and often declare those who are significantly disabled as “unemployable”. In response to current state of Australia’s disability support sector, Fighting Chance has created an innovative and inclusive model with approaches this problem holistically, providing people with significant disabilities with employment opportunities and helping them develop the skills and self-confidence necessary to transition into the mainstream workforce. The brains behind the grassroots organisation is brother-sister team Jordan and Laura O’Reilly.

Although Fighting Chance was originally founded by their mother in 2009, Jordan and Laura decided to reinvent the organisation in 2010. They were inspired by the circumstances of their brother who has severe Spastic Quadriplegia Cerebral Palsy and reached the start of his adult life with no opportunities for employment or social participation, therefore little chance of living independently. With the financial support of Deloitte, Fighting Chance essentially teaches skills and provides employment opportunities for people living with significant disabilities.

“We wanted to create an organisation that could have a significant impact on a local level by providing services for disabled individuals in the community, whilst also contributing to innovation in the disability sector,” said Jordan, a University of Sydney Occupational Therapy graduate.

But how do they do it exactly? Fighting Chance runs a working hub for individuals living with disabilities. The organisation owns two small social enterprises, fair trade retailer Avenue and outsourcing service provider Jigsaw, both of which specifically hire disabled individuals. Jordan acknowledged that Fighting Chance couldn’t have the same impact if it operated solely as a charitable organisation.

“We realised that we needed to create social enterprises that provided work each day. We thought laterally about ways that we can set up ventures that not only offer work opportunities but also places people in an environment where they feel like they’re part of a team and contributing to the community. It gives people with disabilities a purpose in life and a reason to get out of bed in the morning,” said Jordan.

Fighting Chance is partnered with a number of organisations in developing countries like Nepal, India, Cambodia and Laos, and supports them to produce and distribute handmade home decor and clothing accessories. These items are created by the individuals who work out of the Work Hub, then sold at community markets as well as through Avenue’s online store. Jigsaw, on the hand, provides outsourcing services to corporates and the government, specialising in data entry, document auditing and other paperless office services.

Fighting Chance has recently moved into new premises in Frenchs Forest, and has taken on double the amount of interns and work experience students, currently housing about 40 individuals.

Work Hub is very much akin to a startup coworking space. Jordan said there’s a great model behind coworking communities, and that more of them should be made accessible to people living with disabilities.

“If you can make these spaces accessible, you can create an environment where people with disabilities can also engage in. We’re currently talking to people [who run] these coworking spaces about how to make them more inclusive, and reverse the negative statistics around disability employment,” he added.

Fighting Chance is not simply about creating employment opportunities; it also helps disabled individuals develop the skills necessary to transition into the mainstream workforce.

“We engage students with significant disabilities who are usually left sitting in the library when all their peers are going out and getting work experience. We bring them into our programme because otherwise they’re [faced with] isolation and rejection. These students get involved in work hub through paid internships, which means they have access to work opportunities which not only pays a wage but also helps them develop the skills and confidence they need if they ever wanted to transition into the mainstream,” said Jordan.

“We also offer open employment opportunities. There’s a lot of work that goes into running two social enterprise startups, so we look to employ as many people with disabilities as possible on regular open employment contract.”

When confronted with the question of how much these individuals are being paid, Jordan first points to the Australian Disability Enterprises model which has come under public fire for underpaying individuals.

“Disabled people are being paid a few dollars an hour for the work they do, which we don’t believe is right,” he said.

Fighting Chance, on the other hand, has implemented a dividend profit sharing model so that all the profits made in Avenue are then distributed 100 percent back to the individuals. The profits are distributed based on how much work they’ve done.

“This is a fantastic model for some individuals in our internship programme who can’t earn full-time wages and have otherwise been written off and categorised as unemployable. This is a way to get those people working and being paid according to their productivity each month,” said Jordan.

In Jigsaw, individuals are paid $20 to $25 an hour depending on the task they’ve been assigned. Jordan admitted that it disability employment is complicated, and that the ‘one size fits all’ approach is futile. Currently, there are 30 individuals being paid each month through internships and open employment.

Jordan made sure to point out that Fighting Chance is more a ‘halfway house option’ for people with disabilities. It’s an entry point into the workforce. The status quo model - which essentially places an individual into a mainstream work environment - is not suitable for a proportion of the disability sector. It works for those who are moderately disabled, but not always for people who are significantly disabled.

“In the next couple of years we plan on developing a really strong pathway to mainstreaming individuals. If they have the capacity to work in a mainstream work environment, then we will support them and help them transition,” said Jordan.

Fighting Chance plans on establishing strategic partnerships with companies that recognise the value in its model. With the National Disability Insurance Scheme being introduced gradually, which will support “a better life for hundreds of thousands of Australians with a significant and permanent disability and their families and carers” through various policy changes, Jordan believes there is an exciting opportunity for companies and organisations to provide the services that individuals with disabilities and their families want.

The biggest challenge for Jordan and Laura to date has been defining Fighting Chance’s model. “Whenever you are doing something new, explaining it others is inherently challenging,” said Jordan.

“But what we have is genuinely innovative. The current support system isn’t working at its maximum capacity and it’s not supporting everyone equally or appropriately. We believe our model solves this problem, and we want to expand our solution across Australia.”

That said, Jordan is proud to be working with individuals with disabilities every day who were declared “unemployable”, saying it keeps him “grounded”.

“We’re working with individuals who would otherwise spend their lives just going to the movies or watching TV. They have perfectly active minds and are desperate to contribute to the world. I’m incredibly proud to see individuals flourishing in the Fighting Chance environment and I hope that we have created something that can make a real impact in the disability sector,” Jordan said. ]]>
jordan

The challenges faced by people with disabilities in engaging in employment are well documented, as are the benefits to the individual that come from employment participation. Unfortunately, the support system for disabled individuals has a ‘one size fits all’ model that doesn’t take into consideration the needs of people with varying degrees of disability, and often declare those who are significantly disabled as “unemployable”. In response to current state of Australia’s disability support sector, Fighting Chance has created an innovative and inclusive model with approaches this problem holistically, providing people with significant disabilities with employment opportunities and helping them develop the skills and self-confidence necessary to transition into the mainstream workforce. The brains behind the grassroots organisation is brother-sister team Jordan and Laura O’Reilly.

Although Fighting Chance was originally founded by their mother in 2009, Jordan and Laura decided to reinvent the organisation in 2010. They were inspired by the circumstances of their brother who has severe Spastic Quadriplegia Cerebral Palsy and reached the start of his adult life with no opportunities for employment or social participation, therefore little chance of living independently. With the financial support of Deloitte, Fighting Chance essentially teaches skills and provides employment opportunities for people living with significant disabilities.

“We wanted to create an organisation that could have a significant impact on a local level by providing services for disabled individuals in the community, whilst also contributing to innovation in the disability sector,” said Jordan, a University of Sydney Occupational Therapy graduate.

But how do they do it exactly? Fighting Chance runs a working hub for individuals living with disabilities. The organisation owns two small social enterprises, fair trade retailer Avenue and outsourcing service provider Jigsaw, both of which specifically hire disabled individuals. Jordan acknowledged that Fighting Chance couldn’t have the same impact if it operated solely as a charitable organisation.

“We realised that we needed to create social enterprises that provided work each day. We thought laterally about ways that we can set up ventures that not only offer work opportunities but also places people in an environment where they feel like they’re part of a team and contributing to the community. It gives people with disabilities a purpose in life and a reason to get out of bed in the morning,” said Jordan.

Fighting Chance is partnered with a number of organisations in developing countries like Nepal, India, Cambodia and Laos, and supports them to produce and distribute handmade home decor and clothing accessories. These items are created by the individuals who work out of the Work Hub, then sold at community markets as well as through Avenue’s online store. Jigsaw, on the hand, provides outsourcing services to corporates and the government, specialising in data entry, document auditing and other paperless office services.

Fighting Chance has recently moved into new premises in Frenchs Forest, and has taken on double the amount of interns and work experience students, currently housing about 40 individuals.

Work Hub is very much akin to a startup coworking space. Jordan said there’s a great model behind coworking communities, and that more of them should be made accessible to people living with disabilities.

“If you can make these spaces accessible, you can create an environment where people with disabilities can also engage in. We’re currently talking to people [who run] these coworking spaces about how to make them more inclusive, and reverse the negative statistics around disability employment,” he added.

Fighting Chance is not simply about creating employment opportunities; it also helps disabled individuals develop the skills necessary to transition into the mainstream workforce.

“We engage students with significant disabilities who are usually left sitting in the library when all their peers are going out and getting work experience. We bring them into our programme because otherwise they’re [faced with] isolation and rejection. These students get involved in work hub through paid internships, which means they have access to work opportunities which not only pays a wage but also helps them develop the skills and confidence they need if they ever wanted to transition into the mainstream,” said Jordan.

“We also offer open employment opportunities. There’s a lot of work that goes into running two social enterprise startups, so we look to employ as many people with disabilities as possible on regular open employment contract.”

When confronted with the question of how much these individuals are being paid, Jordan first points to the Australian Disability Enterprises model which has come under public fire for underpaying individuals.

“Disabled people are being paid a few dollars an hour for the work they do, which we don’t believe is right,” he said.

Fighting Chance, on the other hand, has implemented a dividend profit sharing model so that all the profits made in Avenue are then distributed 100 percent back to the individuals. The profits are distributed based on how much work they’ve done.

“This is a fantastic model for some individuals in our internship programme who can’t earn full-time wages and have otherwise been written off and categorised as unemployable. This is a way to get those people working and being paid according to their productivity each month,” said Jordan.

In Jigsaw, individuals are paid $20 to $25 an hour depending on the task they’ve been assigned. Jordan admitted that it disability employment is complicated, and that the ‘one size fits all’ approach is futile. Currently, there are 30 individuals being paid each month through internships and open employment.

Jordan made sure to point out that Fighting Chance is more a ‘halfway house option’ for people with disabilities. It’s an entry point into the workforce. The status quo model - which essentially places an individual into a mainstream work environment - is not suitable for a proportion of the disability sector. It works for those who are moderately disabled, but not always for people who are significantly disabled.

“In the next couple of years we plan on developing a really strong pathway to mainstreaming individuals. If they have the capacity to work in a mainstream work environment, then we will support them and help them transition,” said Jordan.

Fighting Chance plans on establishing strategic partnerships with companies that recognise the value in its model. With the National Disability Insurance Scheme being introduced gradually, which will support “a better life for hundreds of thousands of Australians with a significant and permanent disability and their families and carers” through various policy changes, Jordan believes there is an exciting opportunity for companies and organisations to provide the services that individuals with disabilities and their families want.

The biggest challenge for Jordan and Laura to date has been defining Fighting Chance’s model. “Whenever you are doing something new, explaining it others is inherently challenging,” said Jordan.

“But what we have is genuinely innovative. The current support system isn’t working at its maximum capacity and it’s not supporting everyone equally or appropriately. We believe our model solves this problem, and we want to expand our solution across Australia.”

That said, Jordan is proud to be working with individuals with disabilities every day who were declared “unemployable”, saying it keeps him “grounded”.

“We’re working with individuals who would otherwise spend their lives just going to the movies or watching TV. They have perfectly active minds and are desperate to contribute to the world. I’m incredibly proud to see individuals flourishing in the Fighting Chance environment and I hope that we have created something that can make a real impact in the disability sector,” Jordan said. ]]>
http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/10/fighting-chance-brings-innovation-disability-employment-sector/feed/ 0
Ninja Blocks secures an additional USD$700,000 to propel the launch of new product Ninja Sphere http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/10/ninja-blocks-secures-additional-usd700000-propel-launch-new-product-ninja-sphere/ http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/10/ninja-blocks-secures-additional-usd700000-propel-launch-new-product-ninja-sphere/#comments Mon, 27 Oct 2014 21:17:20 +0000 http://www.startupdaily.com.au/?p=35248 ninja hardware

Home intelligence startup Ninja Blocks has today announced a USD$700,000 capital raise. The news follows a successful Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign completed in January through which the startup raised a little over $700,000, more than six times its pledged amount. Investors in the latest fund round are both local and international, and include SingTel Innov8, Blackbird Ventures and 500 Startups.  Startmate alumnus Ninja Blocks was founded in 2012 by Madeleine Moore, Marcus Schappi, and Mark Wotton. The trio created Ninja Blocks so that users could connect their household to the web. After all, being notified when a trespasser entered your property or when a courier left a package outside your front door are pretty big conveniences. The company has since experienced success in the burgeoning smart home industry. Ninja Blocks plans to use the latest investment to propel the launch of its next product Ninja Sphere and boost its sales and marketing efforts. In a media release distributed today, CEO Daniel Friedman said the startup was "thrilled" with the opportunity to work with prominent groups of investors in the lead up to Ninja Sphere's launch. "The early success of our first product, the Ninja Block, opened our eyes to the scope and possibilities of home intelligence. What started as a simple idea has grown into a product we believe has true global appeal. Today’s investment will help with the first step towards realising this goal,” said Friedman. The company believes the value in Ninja Sphere lies in its ability to learn about the user and their environment. It uses data from sensors and actuators to build a model that can inform users if something is out of place. It can monitor temperature, lighting, energy usage, people or a pets' presence, and anything else connected to the Ninja Sphere. Niki Scevak from Blackbird Ventures and Startmate said they were "blown away" by the Ninja Sphere getting an early sneak peek. "The combination of sensors, gesture controls and intelligence put the Ninja Sphere is a league of its own. It’s not really about home automation anymore it’s all about home intelligence, that’s where we see the next frontier," he said. "We believe Ninja Blocks has the right team and product to become the industry leader.” Although Ninja Blocks is an Australian-founded company, their initial focus for the Ninja Sphere will be the US market with the launch of a San Francisco office in early 2015. Friedman explained that for the Ninja Sphere to deliver "truly magical" home experiences and become a household name in the US, the startup will need to set up a local presence and expand its team. ]]>
ninja hardware

Home intelligence startup Ninja Blocks has today announced a USD$700,000 capital raise. The news follows a successful Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign completed in January through which the startup raised a little over $700,000, more than six times its pledged amount. Investors in the latest fund round are both local and international, and include SingTel Innov8, Blackbird Ventures and 500 Startups.  Startmate alumnus Ninja Blocks was founded in 2012 by Madeleine Moore, Marcus Schappi, and Mark Wotton. The trio created Ninja Blocks so that users could connect their household to the web. After all, being notified when a trespasser entered your property or when a courier left a package outside your front door are pretty big conveniences. The company has since experienced success in the burgeoning smart home industry. Ninja Blocks plans to use the latest investment to propel the launch of its next product Ninja Sphere and boost its sales and marketing efforts. In a media release distributed today, CEO Daniel Friedman said the startup was "thrilled" with the opportunity to work with prominent groups of investors in the lead up to Ninja Sphere's launch. "The early success of our first product, the Ninja Block, opened our eyes to the scope and possibilities of home intelligence. What started as a simple idea has grown into a product we believe has true global appeal. Today’s investment will help with the first step towards realising this goal,” said Friedman. The company believes the value in Ninja Sphere lies in its ability to learn about the user and their environment. It uses data from sensors and actuators to build a model that can inform users if something is out of place. It can monitor temperature, lighting, energy usage, people or a pets' presence, and anything else connected to the Ninja Sphere. Niki Scevak from Blackbird Ventures and Startmate said they were "blown away" by the Ninja Sphere getting an early sneak peek. "The combination of sensors, gesture controls and intelligence put the Ninja Sphere is a league of its own. It’s not really about home automation anymore it’s all about home intelligence, that’s where we see the next frontier," he said. "We believe Ninja Blocks has the right team and product to become the industry leader.” Although Ninja Blocks is an Australian-founded company, their initial focus for the Ninja Sphere will be the US market with the launch of a San Francisco office in early 2015. Friedman explained that for the Ninja Sphere to deliver "truly magical" home experiences and become a household name in the US, the startup will need to set up a local presence and expand its team. ]]>
http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/10/ninja-blocks-secures-additional-usd700000-propel-launch-new-product-ninja-sphere/feed/ 0
A good business model converts innovation into economic value http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/10/good-business-model-converts-innovation-economic-value/ http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/10/good-business-model-converts-innovation-economic-value/#comments Mon, 27 Oct 2014 13:01:27 +0000 http://www.startupdaily.com.au/?p=35232 Startup Stock Photos

Over the weekend I read and responded to a tweet from Bill Gross - a US-based serial entrepreneur who has founded over 100 companies in the last 30 years. The tweet read: tweet I don’t fully disagree with Bill’s comment, however I do think that it requires further explanation, granularity and context. It is certainly true that all companies have a business model. Some of these are good business models and some of these are bad business models. There are also business models that convert innovation into economic value, but there are plenty that do not. I therefore do not believe that a business model can be simply defined as the conversion of innovation into economic value. I believe a business model is better defined as how a company defines, creates, delivers, manages and optimises its value proposition. The key to this definition resides in the definition, creation, delivery, management and optimisation of one or a series of value propositions. Let’s explore these terms further. Define – In the context of an overarching business model, searching for and defining a clearly articulated value proposition that resonates with real customers is central to every business model activity your company engages in. It is also the first step in the deliberately chronological list of terms that relate to the definition of a business model above. In other terms, this is both the vision/concept and customer development phase. Create – The creation of value can come in various forms, but primarily, at least in a technology company, through product development. This is essentially turning your vision/concept, as well as the value proposition you refined with customers into something that’s real, something that can be purchased or monetised in some repeatable and scalable way. This could also form the customer creation phase. Deliver – The delivery of value in the context of your overarching business model consists of the activities and channels through which you deliver the value proposition you’ve created to your customer segments. This can mean marketing, sales, distribution, partner channels and various other relevant activities. Manage – The management of your value proposition may also come in various forms, but put simply, consists of the activities that constitute effectively and repeatedly executing all nine building blocks within your business model. This may mean a relevant process or procedure, but could also constitute any type of oversight activity that exists. Optimise – Seeing that a business model is never complete, and that product market fit is merely a temporary state, constant optimisation of your value proposition and the various building blocks within your business model is necessary if you are to continue delivering unique value to your customers. Optimisation constitutes the activities that enable you to achieve this. This may include data analysis, customer interviews, hypothesis testing or any other form of activity that enables you to test, learn and make something better. This isn’t to say that you don’t explore and realise new innovation, products or value propositions, but simply aims to highlight how the definition above has clear relevance. In order to define, test and iterate a business model, I tend to think the business model canvas is a great tool. But many like the lean canvas, or a flurry of other variations that now exist. [caption id="attachment_35244" align="alignnone" width="865"]The Business Model Canvas The Business Model Canvas[/caption] You’ll notice that each of the building blocks that exist within the business model canvas are linked to each other. As an example - value proposition, channels and customer segments directly affect revenue whilst at the same time; key activities and resources directly affect cost structure (ultimately, as you’re probably now thinking, everything affects everything in some way or another). This is a key insight as you begin the journey of developing a hypothetical business model that can be tested and validated, and then a validated business model that can be executed repeatedly at scale. The definition above has certainly helped me create, articulate and validate an early stage business model, as well as work with large companies to do the same for their new initiatives. Having said that, I’d be interested to see what your definition is. Do you have something better, or maybe something different? ]]>
Startup Stock Photos

Over the weekend I read and responded to a tweet from Bill Gross - a US-based serial entrepreneur who has founded over 100 companies in the last 30 years. The tweet read: tweet I don’t fully disagree with Bill’s comment, however I do think that it requires further explanation, granularity and context. It is certainly true that all companies have a business model. Some of these are good business models and some of these are bad business models. There are also business models that convert innovation into economic value, but there are plenty that do not. I therefore do not believe that a business model can be simply defined as the conversion of innovation into economic value. I believe a business model is better defined as how a company defines, creates, delivers, manages and optimises its value proposition. The key to this definition resides in the definition, creation, delivery, management and optimisation of one or a series of value propositions. Let’s explore these terms further. Define – In the context of an overarching business model, searching for and defining a clearly articulated value proposition that resonates with real customers is central to every business model activity your company engages in. It is also the first step in the deliberately chronological list of terms that relate to the definition of a business model above. In other terms, this is both the vision/concept and customer development phase. Create – The creation of value can come in various forms, but primarily, at least in a technology company, through product development. This is essentially turning your vision/concept, as well as the value proposition you refined with customers into something that’s real, something that can be purchased or monetised in some repeatable and scalable way. This could also form the customer creation phase. Deliver – The delivery of value in the context of your overarching business model consists of the activities and channels through which you deliver the value proposition you’ve created to your customer segments. This can mean marketing, sales, distribution, partner channels and various other relevant activities. Manage – The management of your value proposition may also come in various forms, but put simply, consists of the activities that constitute effectively and repeatedly executing all nine building blocks within your business model. This may mean a relevant process or procedure, but could also constitute any type of oversight activity that exists. Optimise – Seeing that a business model is never complete, and that product market fit is merely a temporary state, constant optimisation of your value proposition and the various building blocks within your business model is necessary if you are to continue delivering unique value to your customers. Optimisation constitutes the activities that enable you to achieve this. This may include data analysis, customer interviews, hypothesis testing or any other form of activity that enables you to test, learn and make something better. This isn’t to say that you don’t explore and realise new innovation, products or value propositions, but simply aims to highlight how the definition above has clear relevance. In order to define, test and iterate a business model, I tend to think the business model canvas is a great tool. But many like the lean canvas, or a flurry of other variations that now exist. [caption id="attachment_35244" align="alignnone" width="865"]The Business Model Canvas The Business Model Canvas[/caption] You’ll notice that each of the building blocks that exist within the business model canvas are linked to each other. As an example - value proposition, channels and customer segments directly affect revenue whilst at the same time; key activities and resources directly affect cost structure (ultimately, as you’re probably now thinking, everything affects everything in some way or another). This is a key insight as you begin the journey of developing a hypothetical business model that can be tested and validated, and then a validated business model that can be executed repeatedly at scale. The definition above has certainly helped me create, articulate and validate an early stage business model, as well as work with large companies to do the same for their new initiatives. Having said that, I’d be interested to see what your definition is. Do you have something better, or maybe something different? ]]>
http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/10/good-business-model-converts-innovation-economic-value/feed/ 0
Startups Posse and Beat the Q merge to catapult growth http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/10/posse-beat-q-announce-merger/ http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/10/posse-beat-q-announce-merger/#comments Mon, 27 Oct 2014 13:01:10 +0000 http://www.startupdaily.com.au/?p=35238 possebeattheq.jpg

Posse and Beat the Q have today announced a merger that will assist in companies' growth trajectory. Together, the startups want to create the "Uber or Airbnb of shopping". Posse and Beat the Q both have strong traction; collectively, they will have 500,000 users, 56,000 shop relationships and handle over 400,000 transactions per month. Adam Theobald and Scott Player launched Beat the Q in 2011 after an experiencing injustice at a Jack Johnson concert. Perhaps, injustice is a strong word, but the co-founders were certainly distraught when they lined up for food at the concert and waited 45 minutes to reach the front, only to find a group of girls sneakily pushing their way forward and positioning themselves at the front of the line. Theobald decided to confront the girls, and asked them to move back a few spots. They agreed. When the co-founders got to the front of the line again, Theobald ordered 25 chicken burgers and sold them at a premium to those who were waiting behind the girls. “It was a comical moment. But what I learned was that people hate waiting and are prepared to pay for convenience,” he told Startup Daily in a previous interview. Named literally, Beat the Q has since become a fast growing mobile ordering platform for time-poor and chronically impatient café-goers, who can make orders and payments within 10 seconds through the app and pick up their coffees and croissants when ready. Beat the Q is currently being used by more than 450 cafes, as well as 65,000 consumers in Australia, with the average user transacting 10 times a month. In February this year, the startup acquired eCoffeeCard which consolidates coffee loyalty cards in one location, and had a reach of 1,600 cafes and 320,000 users in Australia at the time of acquisition. Posse, on the other hand, is a well-funded startup launched by Rebekah Campbell in 2010. The company has raised $4.5 million to date, and has undergone a major pivot. Initially, it started off as a platform for musicians to reward dedicated fans who promoted their shows via social media. In 2012, the startup relaunched with a focus on the retail market. Today, Posse is an online shopping network allowing users to create virtual streets of their favourite places to eat, drink, and shop, and share these collections with their friends and other people with similar tastes. Shop owners can see who’s recommending them, build relationships with customers and find new customers using the platform. The startup is signing up over 1,000 merchants per week from all over the world and has developed a scalable network of shop owners and shoppers who communicate with each other through the platform. Of the 56,000 shops on Posse, 15,000 are based in Asia. Posse and Beat The Q have collectively raised $5 million to date. The companies have been backed by prominent investors and tech luminaries including Silicon Valley venture capitalist Bill Tai; Lars Rasmussen, lead Facebook engineer and Co-Founder of Google Maps; partner at Greylock Partners and former eBay executive Simon Rothman; Greg Wilkinson, Founder of Reckon Software; Alex Harvey, global head of principal investments at Macquarie Group; and James Spencely, Founder of Vocus Communications. In the merged business, Campbell and Theobald will fulfil the role of co-CEOs, an arrangement not that out of the ordinary in modern Australian startup culture - with Atlassian and Scriptrock being classic examples. At first glance, the merger may appear unusual, but on further reflection, it becomes apparent that the companies complement each other and will grow fast as a whole. In a media release, Campbell explained, “Posse is all about finding new venues whereas Beat the Q is about transacting at those venues, so the synergies are enormous." The merged company is evaluating partnership and acquisition opportunities as the market consolidates. Theobald said, “Consumers and shop owners are being bombarded with retail-related apps from coffee ordering to loyalty programs to bar tab apps." “We believe consumers and merchants want one app that can do it all and that’s part of the vision behind this merger.” As such, the merged company will unveil a new product within weeks which incorporates "the best of all three apps" (Posse, Beat the Q and e-Coffee Card). Campbell said the goal was to create "the Uber or Airbnb of shopping". While many businesses are using "the Uber for [insert industry]" as a tagline, in the case of Posse and Beat the Q, there is good reason for its usage. Campbell explained that the success of platforms like Uber and Airbnb was in large part because they help people develop relationships as well as transact. “Using AirBNB is a very different experience to something like the 'Stayz' website - you get to see who owns the place, communicate with them and build a relationship,” she said. “Our vision is to bring the same connection to shopping. We bring shop owners and shoppers together. We'll facilitate a seamless ordering and payment experience and we help the people on both sides of the transaction get to know each other through private messaging, recommendations, loyalty and rewards.” ]]>
possebeattheq.jpg

Posse and Beat the Q have today announced a merger that will assist in companies' growth trajectory. Together, the startups want to create the "Uber or Airbnb of shopping". Posse and Beat the Q both have strong traction; collectively, they will have 500,000 users, 56,000 shop relationships and handle over 400,000 transactions per month. Adam Theobald and Scott Player launched Beat the Q in 2011 after an experiencing injustice at a Jack Johnson concert. Perhaps, injustice is a strong word, but the co-founders were certainly distraught when they lined up for food at the concert and waited 45 minutes to reach the front, only to find a group of girls sneakily pushing their way forward and positioning themselves at the front of the line. Theobald decided to confront the girls, and asked them to move back a few spots. They agreed. When the co-founders got to the front of the line again, Theobald ordered 25 chicken burgers and sold them at a premium to those who were waiting behind the girls. “It was a comical moment. But what I learned was that people hate waiting and are prepared to pay for convenience,” he told Startup Daily in a previous interview. Named literally, Beat the Q has since become a fast growing mobile ordering platform for time-poor and chronically impatient café-goers, who can make orders and payments within 10 seconds through the app and pick up their coffees and croissants when ready. Beat the Q is currently being used by more than 450 cafes, as well as 65,000 consumers in Australia, with the average user transacting 10 times a month. In February this year, the startup acquired eCoffeeCard which consolidates coffee loyalty cards in one location, and had a reach of 1,600 cafes and 320,000 users in Australia at the time of acquisition. Posse, on the other hand, is a well-funded startup launched by Rebekah Campbell in 2010. The company has raised $4.5 million to date, and has undergone a major pivot. Initially, it started off as a platform for musicians to reward dedicated fans who promoted their shows via social media. In 2012, the startup relaunched with a focus on the retail market. Today, Posse is an online shopping network allowing users to create virtual streets of their favourite places to eat, drink, and shop, and share these collections with their friends and other people with similar tastes. Shop owners can see who’s recommending them, build relationships with customers and find new customers using the platform. The startup is signing up over 1,000 merchants per week from all over the world and has developed a scalable network of shop owners and shoppers who communicate with each other through the platform. Of the 56,000 shops on Posse, 15,000 are based in Asia. Posse and Beat The Q have collectively raised $5 million to date. The companies have been backed by prominent investors and tech luminaries including Silicon Valley venture capitalist Bill Tai; Lars Rasmussen, lead Facebook engineer and Co-Founder of Google Maps; partner at Greylock Partners and former eBay executive Simon Rothman; Greg Wilkinson, Founder of Reckon Software; Alex Harvey, global head of principal investments at Macquarie Group; and James Spencely, Founder of Vocus Communications. In the merged business, Campbell and Theobald will fulfil the role of co-CEOs, an arrangement not that out of the ordinary in modern Australian startup culture - with Atlassian and Scriptrock being classic examples. At first glance, the merger may appear unusual, but on further reflection, it becomes apparent that the companies complement each other and will grow fast as a whole. In a media release, Campbell explained, “Posse is all about finding new venues whereas Beat the Q is about transacting at those venues, so the synergies are enormous." The merged company is evaluating partnership and acquisition opportunities as the market consolidates. Theobald said, “Consumers and shop owners are being bombarded with retail-related apps from coffee ordering to loyalty programs to bar tab apps." “We believe consumers and merchants want one app that can do it all and that’s part of the vision behind this merger.” As such, the merged company will unveil a new product within weeks which incorporates "the best of all three apps" (Posse, Beat the Q and e-Coffee Card). Campbell said the goal was to create "the Uber or Airbnb of shopping". While many businesses are using "the Uber for [insert industry]" as a tagline, in the case of Posse and Beat the Q, there is good reason for its usage. Campbell explained that the success of platforms like Uber and Airbnb was in large part because they help people develop relationships as well as transact. “Using AirBNB is a very different experience to something like the 'Stayz' website - you get to see who owns the place, communicate with them and build a relationship,” she said. “Our vision is to bring the same connection to shopping. We bring shop owners and shoppers together. We'll facilitate a seamless ordering and payment experience and we help the people on both sides of the transaction get to know each other through private messaging, recommendations, loyalty and rewards.” ]]>
http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/10/posse-beat-q-announce-merger/feed/ 0
Is HealthTech startup Fitgenes the solution to Australia’s “unsustainable” healthcare problem? http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/10/healthtech-startup-fitgenes-solution-australias-unsustainable-healthcare-problem/ http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/10/healthtech-startup-fitgenes-solution-australias-unsustainable-healthcare-problem/#comments Mon, 27 Oct 2014 01:02:51 +0000 http://www.startupdaily.com.au/?p=33037 rm-desk-5

Inventor Thomas Edison once said, “The doctor of the future will give no medicines, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet, and in the causes and prevention of disease.” Today, this quote couldn’t be more relevant as there are two trends in Australia that are working against each other.

First, health is becoming less a priority to Australians. Research indicates that tobacco smoking, excessive alcohol intake, high blood pressure, physical inactivity and obesity accounts for almost a third of Australia’s total burden of disease. In 2010, preventable conditions accounted for approximately 20 percent of Australia’s healthcare expenditure (around $24.3 billion).

At the same time, the cost of healthcare in Australia is increasing at 5.4 percent per year compared to annual GDP growth of around 3.1 percent, according to Professor Stephen Duckett, Director of the Health Program at Grattan Institute. We now spend more than $147.4 billion (2012-2013) on healthcare, which makes up about 9.5 percent of Australia’s GDP. However, this is about the OECD average; and Australia fares well, ranking the lowest among wealthy countries in the OECD database.

But the current spend on healthcare in Australia has been deemed unsustainable by the government, who decided to cut hospital funding by $50 billion over the next decade. The potential impact of this is significant, given 40.4 percent of Australia’s healthcare spend goes to public and private hospitals. And public hospitals, which are funded predominantly by Federal and State governments, make up a majority of this percentage.

Given the public healthcare sector is in a state of flux, there are a number of startups in the private sector (both locally and globally) playing a significant and constructive role in health promotion. Locally, one of the fastest growing HealthTech startups is Fitgenes. CEO Robert Mair was fully cognisant of the state of Australia’s healthcare industry as he explained the vision that drives Fitgenes. Founded by Dr Paul Beaver and Leigh Beaver in 2009, the startup wants to address one of the biggest challenges in medicine and science today - that is, interpreting biological data and using that to delay the onset of ageing-related diseases, and even prevent conditions through lifestyle interventions.

What’s been lacking in the healthcare industry is the technology to decipher biological data and turn them into actionable insights - which is exactly what Fitgenes’ technology Pracware does. The ability to mine DNA and pathology data for specific variables that are indicative of a future health problem allows the healthcare industry to move from a reactive to proactive mode.

As Mair said, “The future of healthcare is in personalisation, in preventative healthcare. In pharmacogenomics, they use DNA information to help determine which drugs will suit which individual. We're doing a similar thing, but we're focusing on the use of lifestyle interventions - like diet.”

In brief, Fitgenes’ technology combines cloud computing with genetic testing to create individualised health plans for healthcare consumers. Mair told Startup Daily that a lot of valuable information can be extracted from DNA and pathology data, but it’s impractical for healthcare practitioners to analyse that data manually and create personalised health plans. This is where Pracware comes in.

“Our technology takes all this complex data like a patient’s genetic, medical and nutritional profile, as well as their lifestyle and habits, and turns it into useful information; and the technology presents it in a format that a healthcare practitioner who is sitting in with a patient can use,” said Mair.

“Practitioners are very busy. If you were to order a DNA profile, you can’t expect the practitioner to manually interpret that data and then manually create a treatment plan for the patient. And then it gets more complex when you want to compare and correlate DNA data with pathology data, medical history and health goals. You also need to take into consideration what other treatments and supplements the patient is using. You need to look at contraindications and so forth. The focus of our software is to allow all that complex science to be used in the clinic. The way we put is, we’re 'translating the power of genomics into clinical practice.”

So how exactly does Pracware retrieve all that data? Fitgenes works with a number of pathology groups in Australia, so the data is uploaded into Pracware’s cloud-based platform straight from pathology labs. The technology has been designed so that it can be used anywhere in the world, making it highly scalable.

“We've designed it so that the data that comes out of pathology or diagnostic equipment can be uploaded into Pracware, and Pracware then distributes that information back to the healthcare practitioner,” he said.

In clinics, practitioners are able to manually input anthropometric information like weight, height and waist measurements, as well as other notes, and add it to the patient’s profile. Practitioners also have the ability to enter compliance information. This means that if practitioners make a recommendation to a patient or place them in a programme, they can keep track of progress.

Pracware currently aligns with 10 different practitioner modalities. It’s being used by GPs, naturopaths, nutritionists, physiotherapists, osteotherapists, chiropractors, and exercise physiologists, among others, even though these practices operate differently.

Because the technology is cloud-based, Fitgenes has been able to partner with clinics in various parts of the world - from Texas to Hong Kong. There are about 350 independently-owned clinics within the Fitgenes network.

The year 2010 marked the humble beginnings of Fitgenes’ software. Dr Beaver had tested a number of algorithms using spreadsheets. The company then went on to create a prototype of an application that would be installed on a desktop. In 2012, Fitgenes received a Commercialisation Australia grant of over $400,000, which helped in furthering the development of its technology. It was only last year that Fitgenes began beta testing Pracware.

Mair said the company has an ongoing development regime, managed by Fitgenes’ CTO Dino Appla, who used to develop air combat tactics software for the RAAF.

“There's always new functionality and new science that we want to integrate into Pracware. This will be ongoing because more and more research is being done around DNA and nutrigenomics, and we want to be on top of it all,” Mair said.

In fact, the company is looking to apply Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Pracwareto speed up the delivery of health plans based on an individual’s genes. Appla told Startup Daily that one of the major challenges in delivering personalised nutrigenomic-based wellbeing programmes is genomic literacy.

“Genomic information can be complex and hard for end users to interpret; coupled with low level of understanding of genomics information among health and well-being practitioners,” he said.

But where does AI fit into this? Appla presents a bit of an odd question, saying “What’s the difference between a fighter pilot and a practitioner?” He answers the question himself: “Nothing!”

“Except pilots have to make decisions in fractions of a second and practitioners during a consultation period.”

Fitgenes will be implementing the application of similar intelligent agent technologies used in the air combat world of modelling fighter pilot tactics, to deliver an “expert system” capability that will allow practitioners make better decisions in providing Patients with an informed course of action.

“Pilots make cognitive decisions based on goals and events and arrive at tactics. Practitioners similarly need to make cognitive decisions based on health goals, DNA and phenotype data,” Appla explained.

“The complexity of DNA reasoning is growing so rapidly that practitioners simply can’t keep up. Building a black box system won’t help, black box meaning ‘data-in gives answer-out’ , [because it] can’t be examined as to why. Practitioners need to have trust in the computer system advising them; so our approach is to build a system that supports understanding and trust and rapidly transitions a practitioner from Novice to Expert  “In-Clinic” delivery of genome-based health and wellness programmes.”

For those who aren’t well-versed in the areas of advanced computer and health science, this probably makes little sense. Essentially, if a feedback loop is created on an algorithm, the more data that is fed into the technology, the more intelligent it gets with making recommendations.

Mair explained, “When we're dealing with patients, we're capturing information about our patients through their health journey. So it they’re on a health programme, and we capture information throughout that programme, the more data that we capture and the more patients that we work with, the system starts to better understand how well patients are achieving health outcomes.”

“By optimising those algorithms, the technology can make more precise recommendations. It's like data-mining. Dino and his team is looking at cutting edge IT technology to facilitate that, they’re trying to find ways to develop the algorithms behind the system to provide that automation.”

At the moment, Pracware has been designed so that it can host and interface with ecommerce, eLearning, accounting and practice management software as well as other emerging third party technologies such as nutrition and exercise planning programmes, mobile applications and wearable technology.

The company has been evaluating acquisition and joint venture opportunities as part of its mission is to become a global leader in preventative healthcare. Mair said, “our core focus is to use DNA to develop personalised health solutions. If we find another company that has complementary technology to that, then we will look at whether we can partner with that company or acquire that technology.”

Earlier this year, Fitgenes entered into an agreement to acquire 100 percent of Gordiantec’s shares in exchange for the issue of over 4 million shares to Gordiantec Vendors. Gordiantec, a Perth-based startup, was founded in August 2011 and funded by the $40 million early-stage venture capital group Ruuwa Capital LP. The company owns patented or patent-pending applications for diagnostics. The acquisition would have allowed Fitgenes to commercially exploit Gordiantec’s proprietary data and research.

In the prospectus lodged in August regarding the proposed initial public offering (IPO) and recompliance listing on the ASX, it stated that acquisition of Gordiantec would be finalised following the $3 million to $3.6 million capital raise. Fitgenes initially planned to sell 10 million to 12 million on the ASX; however, according to a recent statement published on the Fitgenes website, the company has withdrawn its offer and is refunding the capital raised. The reasons behind the withdrawal has not been publicly disclosed.

The reason behind the capital raise was not only to fund the acquisition of Gordiantec but mainly to assist with the rollout of Fitgenes’ clinics across Australia. Although there are hundreds of independent clinics (around 350, as mentioned previously) that have licenses to use Pracware, the company believes its biggest revenue opportunity lies in the rollout of its own clinics.

“Because clinics have relationships with the patients, there's far more revenue coming into the clinic, versus what would be just wholesaling to a clinic,” said Mair.

“Across our independent clinic network, we achieved about 885,000 sales in the 2013 financial year. It's approximately 30 percent growth across that network.”

But Fitgenes currently has one clinic in Perth with two consulting rooms, which is on track to delivering $2.25 million in annual revenue over the next six to 12 months.

“If you multiply that by the number of clinics that we will be rolling out under the group, the potential is huge. If we have clinics with four consulting rooms, they would theoretically generate more revenue,” Mair explained.

Fitgenes has plans to establish six to nine clinics across Australia within the next 18 months, as well as having flagship clinics in Singapore and Hong Kong.

When asked about where Fitgenes is based, Mair said that the company calls itself a “virtual networked organisation”. Although it was founded in Brisbane, the core team are based in multiple locations. The head office is located in Brisbane; the Science and IT team is headed up in Melbourne; the clinical team is based in Perth; and the company’s advisory board members are scattered across Perth, New Zealand and Malaysia. The independent clinics that Fitgenes is partnered with are located across Australia, Malaysia, Hong Kong, New Zealand and most recently the US.

Are HealthTech startups like Fitgenes the solution to our “unsustainable” healthcare system? Mair said technology will allow practitioners to deliver healthcare more efficiently and empower Australians to become more proactive about their health. This, however, ultimately depends on individuals taking action. As the saying goes, “old habits die hard”. But the government shifting healthcare costs to the private sector and consumers means there’s an incentive to follow through.

“There are initiatives in place to move healthcare spend to the actual consumer of healthcare. Examples include Minimum Gap Payments, Tax Incentives to have your own private health insurance coverage. That's the government’s way of saying that the tax system can't continue to fund healthcare spend because we have a growing and ageing population, and the cost of delivering healthcare is increasing,” said Mair.

“We have to look at how we can bring down the price of healthcare and transfer the cost of healthcare from the tax system to the end user. If you want to drive efficiencies in delivering healthcare, you need to adopt technology to do it.”

Mair said that Fitgenes’ mission to transform healthcare has been welcomed by healthcare practitioners all over the world - particularly the US. Many have flown to Australia just to participate in the company’s training programmes, and have taken the technology back to the States. That said, for the time being, Fitgenes will be focusing on the Australian and Southeast Asian markets.

What Mair is particularly proud of is the Fitgenes team, saying that everyone involved in the company joined because they’re genuinely passionate about the Fitgenes’ mission.

That’s not to say there haven’t been challenges. Getting the attention of healthcare practitioners has been one of the biggest challenges faced by the company.

“The key people that we need to engage with is healthcare practitioners because they're at the frontline of healthcare service delivery. But practitioners are very busy, so it's a real challenge to be able to get time with practitioners, to get them to come along and do training with our organisation, and to get them to take our products and services back into their clinics,” said Mair.

“I guess that's a reflection that healthcare is a huge ecosystem, a huge part of our economy. Practitioners are often booked out three months in advance, which is an indication that they're overburdened. So it's a privilege to have healthcare practitioners learn about what we do and take it to their clinics.”

The biggest learning for Fitgenes has been that you can develop great technology, but it’s not self-sustainable.

“You need to overcome the obstacles of commercialising your product and really understand who you need to be working with. Initially, we were going to focus on our own clinics, but we realised that we needed to deliver our products through third party practitioners,” said Mair.

“While it’s been challenging, it’s also been very rewarding. We now have a product that works across a whole range of practitioners and a whole range of practitioner specialities. It's being used by practitioners that specialise in autism, cardiovascular health, women's health, executive stress, and there are many more areas that our product is applicable.” ]]>
rm-desk-5

Inventor Thomas Edison once said, “The doctor of the future will give no medicines, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet, and in the causes and prevention of disease.” Today, this quote couldn’t be more relevant as there are two trends in Australia that are working against each other.

First, health is becoming less a priority to Australians. Research indicates that tobacco smoking, excessive alcohol intake, high blood pressure, physical inactivity and obesity accounts for almost a third of Australia’s total burden of disease. In 2010, preventable conditions accounted for approximately 20 percent of Australia’s healthcare expenditure (around $24.3 billion).

At the same time, the cost of healthcare in Australia is increasing at 5.4 percent per year compared to annual GDP growth of around 3.1 percent, according to Professor Stephen Duckett, Director of the Health Program at Grattan Institute. We now spend more than $147.4 billion (2012-2013) on healthcare, which makes up about 9.5 percent of Australia’s GDP. However, this is about the OECD average; and Australia fares well, ranking the lowest among wealthy countries in the OECD database.

But the current spend on healthcare in Australia has been deemed unsustainable by the government, who decided to cut hospital funding by $50 billion over the next decade. The potential impact of this is significant, given 40.4 percent of Australia’s healthcare spend goes to public and private hospitals. And public hospitals, which are funded predominantly by Federal and State governments, make up a majority of this percentage.

Given the public healthcare sector is in a state of flux, there are a number of startups in the private sector (both locally and globally) playing a significant and constructive role in health promotion. Locally, one of the fastest growing HealthTech startups is Fitgenes. CEO Robert Mair was fully cognisant of the state of Australia’s healthcare industry as he explained the vision that drives Fitgenes. Founded by Dr Paul Beaver and Leigh Beaver in 2009, the startup wants to address one of the biggest challenges in medicine and science today - that is, interpreting biological data and using that to delay the onset of ageing-related diseases, and even prevent conditions through lifestyle interventions.

What’s been lacking in the healthcare industry is the technology to decipher biological data and turn them into actionable insights - which is exactly what Fitgenes’ technology Pracware does. The ability to mine DNA and pathology data for specific variables that are indicative of a future health problem allows the healthcare industry to move from a reactive to proactive mode.

As Mair said, “The future of healthcare is in personalisation, in preventative healthcare. In pharmacogenomics, they use DNA information to help determine which drugs will suit which individual. We're doing a similar thing, but we're focusing on the use of lifestyle interventions - like diet.”

In brief, Fitgenes’ technology combines cloud computing with genetic testing to create individualised health plans for healthcare consumers. Mair told Startup Daily that a lot of valuable information can be extracted from DNA and pathology data, but it’s impractical for healthcare practitioners to analyse that data manually and create personalised health plans. This is where Pracware comes in.

“Our technology takes all this complex data like a patient’s genetic, medical and nutritional profile, as well as their lifestyle and habits, and turns it into useful information; and the technology presents it in a format that a healthcare practitioner who is sitting in with a patient can use,” said Mair.

“Practitioners are very busy. If you were to order a DNA profile, you can’t expect the practitioner to manually interpret that data and then manually create a treatment plan for the patient. And then it gets more complex when you want to compare and correlate DNA data with pathology data, medical history and health goals. You also need to take into consideration what other treatments and supplements the patient is using. You need to look at contraindications and so forth. The focus of our software is to allow all that complex science to be used in the clinic. The way we put is, we’re 'translating the power of genomics into clinical practice.”

So how exactly does Pracware retrieve all that data? Fitgenes works with a number of pathology groups in Australia, so the data is uploaded into Pracware’s cloud-based platform straight from pathology labs. The technology has been designed so that it can be used anywhere in the world, making it highly scalable.

“We've designed it so that the data that comes out of pathology or diagnostic equipment can be uploaded into Pracware, and Pracware then distributes that information back to the healthcare practitioner,” he said.

In clinics, practitioners are able to manually input anthropometric information like weight, height and waist measurements, as well as other notes, and add it to the patient’s profile. Practitioners also have the ability to enter compliance information. This means that if practitioners make a recommendation to a patient or place them in a programme, they can keep track of progress.

Pracware currently aligns with 10 different practitioner modalities. It’s being used by GPs, naturopaths, nutritionists, physiotherapists, osteotherapists, chiropractors, and exercise physiologists, among others, even though these practices operate differently.

Because the technology is cloud-based, Fitgenes has been able to partner with clinics in various parts of the world - from Texas to Hong Kong. There are about 350 independently-owned clinics within the Fitgenes network.

The year 2010 marked the humble beginnings of Fitgenes’ software. Dr Beaver had tested a number of algorithms using spreadsheets. The company then went on to create a prototype of an application that would be installed on a desktop. In 2012, Fitgenes received a Commercialisation Australia grant of over $400,000, which helped in furthering the development of its technology. It was only last year that Fitgenes began beta testing Pracware.

Mair said the company has an ongoing development regime, managed by Fitgenes’ CTO Dino Appla, who used to develop air combat tactics software for the RAAF.

“There's always new functionality and new science that we want to integrate into Pracware. This will be ongoing because more and more research is being done around DNA and nutrigenomics, and we want to be on top of it all,” Mair said.

In fact, the company is looking to apply Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Pracwareto speed up the delivery of health plans based on an individual’s genes. Appla told Startup Daily that one of the major challenges in delivering personalised nutrigenomic-based wellbeing programmes is genomic literacy.

“Genomic information can be complex and hard for end users to interpret; coupled with low level of understanding of genomics information among health and well-being practitioners,” he said.

But where does AI fit into this? Appla presents a bit of an odd question, saying “What’s the difference between a fighter pilot and a practitioner?” He answers the question himself: “Nothing!”

“Except pilots have to make decisions in fractions of a second and practitioners during a consultation period.”

Fitgenes will be implementing the application of similar intelligent agent technologies used in the air combat world of modelling fighter pilot tactics, to deliver an “expert system” capability that will allow practitioners make better decisions in providing Patients with an informed course of action.

“Pilots make cognitive decisions based on goals and events and arrive at tactics. Practitioners similarly need to make cognitive decisions based on health goals, DNA and phenotype data,” Appla explained.

“The complexity of DNA reasoning is growing so rapidly that practitioners simply can’t keep up. Building a black box system won’t help, black box meaning ‘data-in gives answer-out’ , [because it] can’t be examined as to why. Practitioners need to have trust in the computer system advising them; so our approach is to build a system that supports understanding and trust and rapidly transitions a practitioner from Novice to Expert  “In-Clinic” delivery of genome-based health and wellness programmes.”

For those who aren’t well-versed in the areas of advanced computer and health science, this probably makes little sense. Essentially, if a feedback loop is created on an algorithm, the more data that is fed into the technology, the more intelligent it gets with making recommendations.

Mair explained, “When we're dealing with patients, we're capturing information about our patients through their health journey. So it they’re on a health programme, and we capture information throughout that programme, the more data that we capture and the more patients that we work with, the system starts to better understand how well patients are achieving health outcomes.”

“By optimising those algorithms, the technology can make more precise recommendations. It's like data-mining. Dino and his team is looking at cutting edge IT technology to facilitate that, they’re trying to find ways to develop the algorithms behind the system to provide that automation.”

At the moment, Pracware has been designed so that it can host and interface with ecommerce, eLearning, accounting and practice management software as well as other emerging third party technologies such as nutrition and exercise planning programmes, mobile applications and wearable technology.

The company has been evaluating acquisition and joint venture opportunities as part of its mission is to become a global leader in preventative healthcare. Mair said, “our core focus is to use DNA to develop personalised health solutions. If we find another company that has complementary technology to that, then we will look at whether we can partner with that company or acquire that technology.”

Earlier this year, Fitgenes entered into an agreement to acquire 100 percent of Gordiantec’s shares in exchange for the issue of over 4 million shares to Gordiantec Vendors. Gordiantec, a Perth-based startup, was founded in August 2011 and funded by the $40 million early-stage venture capital group Ruuwa Capital LP. The company owns patented or patent-pending applications for diagnostics. The acquisition would have allowed Fitgenes to commercially exploit Gordiantec’s proprietary data and research.

In the prospectus lodged in August regarding the proposed initial public offering (IPO) and recompliance listing on the ASX, it stated that acquisition of Gordiantec would be finalised following the $3 million to $3.6 million capital raise. Fitgenes initially planned to sell 10 million to 12 million on the ASX; however, according to a recent statement published on the Fitgenes website, the company has withdrawn its offer and is refunding the capital raised. The reasons behind the withdrawal has not been publicly disclosed.

The reason behind the capital raise was not only to fund the acquisition of Gordiantec but mainly to assist with the rollout of Fitgenes’ clinics across Australia. Although there are hundreds of independent clinics (around 350, as mentioned previously) that have licenses to use Pracware, the company believes its biggest revenue opportunity lies in the rollout of its own clinics.

“Because clinics have relationships with the patients, there's far more revenue coming into the clinic, versus what would be just wholesaling to a clinic,” said Mair.

“Across our independent clinic network, we achieved about 885,000 sales in the 2013 financial year. It's approximately 30 percent growth across that network.”

But Fitgenes currently has one clinic in Perth with two consulting rooms, which is on track to delivering $2.25 million in annual revenue over the next six to 12 months.

“If you multiply that by the number of clinics that we will be rolling out under the group, the potential is huge. If we have clinics with four consulting rooms, they would theoretically generate more revenue,” Mair explained.

Fitgenes has plans to establish six to nine clinics across Australia within the next 18 months, as well as having flagship clinics in Singapore and Hong Kong.

When asked about where Fitgenes is based, Mair said that the company calls itself a “virtual networked organisation”. Although it was founded in Brisbane, the core team are based in multiple locations. The head office is located in Brisbane; the Science and IT team is headed up in Melbourne; the clinical team is based in Perth; and the company’s advisory board members are scattered across Perth, New Zealand and Malaysia. The independent clinics that Fitgenes is partnered with are located across Australia, Malaysia, Hong Kong, New Zealand and most recently the US.

Are HealthTech startups like Fitgenes the solution to our “unsustainable” healthcare system? Mair said technology will allow practitioners to deliver healthcare more efficiently and empower Australians to become more proactive about their health. This, however, ultimately depends on individuals taking action. As the saying goes, “old habits die hard”. But the government shifting healthcare costs to the private sector and consumers means there’s an incentive to follow through.

“There are initiatives in place to move healthcare spend to the actual consumer of healthcare. Examples include Minimum Gap Payments, Tax Incentives to have your own private health insurance coverage. That's the government’s way of saying that the tax system can't continue to fund healthcare spend because we have a growing and ageing population, and the cost of delivering healthcare is increasing,” said Mair.

“We have to look at how we can bring down the price of healthcare and transfer the cost of healthcare from the tax system to the end user. If you want to drive efficiencies in delivering healthcare, you need to adopt technology to do it.”

Mair said that Fitgenes’ mission to transform healthcare has been welcomed by healthcare practitioners all over the world - particularly the US. Many have flown to Australia just to participate in the company’s training programmes, and have taken the technology back to the States. That said, for the time being, Fitgenes will be focusing on the Australian and Southeast Asian markets.

What Mair is particularly proud of is the Fitgenes team, saying that everyone involved in the company joined because they’re genuinely passionate about the Fitgenes’ mission.

That’s not to say there haven’t been challenges. Getting the attention of healthcare practitioners has been one of the biggest challenges faced by the company.

“The key people that we need to engage with is healthcare practitioners because they're at the frontline of healthcare service delivery. But practitioners are very busy, so it's a real challenge to be able to get time with practitioners, to get them to come along and do training with our organisation, and to get them to take our products and services back into their clinics,” said Mair.

“I guess that's a reflection that healthcare is a huge ecosystem, a huge part of our economy. Practitioners are often booked out three months in advance, which is an indication that they're overburdened. So it's a privilege to have healthcare practitioners learn about what we do and take it to their clinics.”

The biggest learning for Fitgenes has been that you can develop great technology, but it’s not self-sustainable.

“You need to overcome the obstacles of commercialising your product and really understand who you need to be working with. Initially, we were going to focus on our own clinics, but we realised that we needed to deliver our products through third party practitioners,” said Mair.

“While it’s been challenging, it’s also been very rewarding. We now have a product that works across a whole range of practitioners and a whole range of practitioner specialities. It's being used by practitioners that specialise in autism, cardiovascular health, women's health, executive stress, and there are many more areas that our product is applicable.” ]]>
http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/10/healthtech-startup-fitgenes-solution-australias-unsustainable-healthcare-problem/feed/ 0
With a UX similar to Tinder, is KickOn the answer to Sydney’s ‘nanny state’ lockout laws? http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/10/ux-similar-tinder-kickon-answer-sydneys-nanny-state-lockout-laws/ http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/10/ux-similar-tinder-kickon-answer-sydneys-nanny-state-lockout-laws/#comments Mon, 27 Oct 2014 01:02:17 +0000 http://www.startupdaily.com.au/?p=35206 Charles03

Sydney-based investment banker Charles Stewart is the founder behind the newest talk of the town, party app KickOn. Described as the 'Tinder' for parties, it is a free application that allows users to find parties, be invited to them by the host and party on with random new friends and strangers. According to a media release distributed by KickOn, a NSW Parliamentary enquiry shows evidence that Sydney's recent lockout laws are having an impact of CBD night life - with many people escaping the city for a night out in the suburbs or heading to Star City Casino, which has actually seen an uplift in younger traffic through the door since the lockout laws came into effect. “Responsible adults who like to party are being short-changed by nanny state laws, forced to go home at a time when in many other global cities, the party is just getting started,” Stewart said in a statement. Stewart says he created KickOn because he knew there had to be a better way for responsible people to continue partying past last drinks at 3am. “Three years ago, the thought of using an app to go on a date based only on a photograph was unheard of – but look at the success of Tinder. We’re using the same philosophy for private parties and creating the ultimate KickOn experience,” he said. Stewart has raised $400,000 in seed funding for the new venture valuing the company at $4 million. He is currently getting set to embark on a roadshow of sorts, spending three weeks touring the American College scene to introduce the app, and search for the world's 'best partiers'. These people will go on to become KickOn brand ambassadors. “We’re looking for the ultimate host, a social media leader, someone who is open minded and outgoing. They have to be a genuine party animal who embraces the work hard, play hard mentality,” Stewart said in a statement. The American College scene is an obvious, and strategically sound way for an app like KickOn to gain traction and spill over into mainstream culture. Many of the applications we use these days start off this way. It is also deeply embedded into pop culture how hard American college kids party, especially given the fraternity and sorority aspects of college life. Though there are certain levels of protection built into the app, such as needing to be invited to the party by a host, instead of just gatecrashing - authorities have expressed some concern over the way the app will be used by the general public. In an interview published on the Sydney Morning Herald, Police Association President, Scott Weber was quoted saying the app was "fraught with danger". He also suggested that police would likely monitor the app, and find and shut down parties that received complaints and that breached alcohol laws. In defence of KickOn though, Stewart said that he forewarned police about the application, prior to it launching. Although KickOn seems to be focusing on college aged students and above, there is one slight alarm bell that Startup Daily picked up on based on the press release that was sent through this morning. In the tagline, it described itself as the Tinder for parties for 13 - 35 year olds. [caption id="attachment_35213" align="aligncenter" width="601"]Source: Press Release. Source: Press Release.[/caption] Call me old fashioned but I think it's irresponsible to encourage the type of 'partying' that the app is aligning itself with to those under the age of 18. Other than the fact it is illegal, we have seen examples of what happens when teenagers try to run their own parties. Remember 16 year old Corey Worthington's (Delaney) circa 2008 party that ended up out of control (almost a neighbourhood riot)? The incident, teamed with his 'attitude' and trademark yellow sunglasses in the press that followed, made him infamous, but also serves as a warning to what can happen when social media is not used responsibly. [caption id="attachment_35216" align="aligncenter" width="500"]492329-corey Corey Worthington | Source: Twitter[/caption] There is nothing stopping a person using KickOn that gets an invite and the details to a party from sharing that information with a wider network of people - and therein lies the risk. Having said that, I do think that KickOn solves a perceived problem, and that it will gain traction across the 'after-party' scene. Whether or not problems will come along with that growth is yet to be determined. ]]>
Charles03

Sydney-based investment banker Charles Stewart is the founder behind the newest talk of the town, party app KickOn. Described as the 'Tinder' for parties, it is a free application that allows users to find parties, be invited to them by the host and party on with random new friends and strangers. According to a media release distributed by KickOn, a NSW Parliamentary enquiry shows evidence that Sydney's recent lockout laws are having an impact of CBD night life - with many people escaping the city for a night out in the suburbs or heading to Star City Casino, which has actually seen an uplift in younger traffic through the door since the lockout laws came into effect. “Responsible adults who like to party are being short-changed by nanny state laws, forced to go home at a time when in many other global cities, the party is just getting started,” Stewart said in a statement. Stewart says he created KickOn because he knew there had to be a better way for responsible people to continue partying past last drinks at 3am. “Three years ago, the thought of using an app to go on a date based only on a photograph was unheard of – but look at the success of Tinder. We’re using the same philosophy for private parties and creating the ultimate KickOn experience,” he said. Stewart has raised $400,000 in seed funding for the new venture valuing the company at $4 million. He is currently getting set to embark on a roadshow of sorts, spending three weeks touring the American College scene to introduce the app, and search for the world's 'best partiers'. These people will go on to become KickOn brand ambassadors. “We’re looking for the ultimate host, a social media leader, someone who is open minded and outgoing. They have to be a genuine party animal who embraces the work hard, play hard mentality,” Stewart said in a statement. The American College scene is an obvious, and strategically sound way for an app like KickOn to gain traction and spill over into mainstream culture. Many of the applications we use these days start off this way. It is also deeply embedded into pop culture how hard American college kids party, especially given the fraternity and sorority aspects of college life. Though there are certain levels of protection built into the app, such as needing to be invited to the party by a host, instead of just gatecrashing - authorities have expressed some concern over the way the app will be used by the general public. In an interview published on the Sydney Morning Herald, Police Association President, Scott Weber was quoted saying the app was "fraught with danger". He also suggested that police would likely monitor the app, and find and shut down parties that received complaints and that breached alcohol laws. In defence of KickOn though, Stewart said that he forewarned police about the application, prior to it launching. Although KickOn seems to be focusing on college aged students and above, there is one slight alarm bell that Startup Daily picked up on based on the press release that was sent through this morning. In the tagline, it described itself as the Tinder for parties for 13 - 35 year olds. [caption id="attachment_35213" align="aligncenter" width="601"]Source: Press Release. Source: Press Release.[/caption] Call me old fashioned but I think it's irresponsible to encourage the type of 'partying' that the app is aligning itself with to those under the age of 18. Other than the fact it is illegal, we have seen examples of what happens when teenagers try to run their own parties. Remember 16 year old Corey Worthington's (Delaney) circa 2008 party that ended up out of control (almost a neighbourhood riot)? The incident, teamed with his 'attitude' and trademark yellow sunglasses in the press that followed, made him infamous, but also serves as a warning to what can happen when social media is not used responsibly. [caption id="attachment_35216" align="aligncenter" width="500"]492329-corey Corey Worthington | Source: Twitter[/caption] There is nothing stopping a person using KickOn that gets an invite and the details to a party from sharing that information with a wider network of people - and therein lies the risk. Having said that, I do think that KickOn solves a perceived problem, and that it will gain traction across the 'after-party' scene. Whether or not problems will come along with that growth is yet to be determined. ]]>
http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/10/ux-similar-tinder-kickon-answer-sydneys-nanny-state-lockout-laws/feed/ 0
Beanhunter is on a quest to own the Australian speciality coffee space http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/10/beanhunter-quest-australian-speciality-coffee-space/ http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/10/beanhunter-quest-australian-speciality-coffee-space/#comments Mon, 27 Oct 2014 00:49:03 +0000 http://www.startupdaily.com.au/?p=35192 DSC_0236_low (1)

Last week, Beanhunter, a startup based in Melbourne announced that it had acquired the industry job board CoffeeJobs.com ahead of its plans to raise $3 million. The terms of the acquisition have not been publicly disclosed. Beanhunter, a coffee shop review site, is looking at expansion plans and monetisation of its main site, which is what the $3 million raise will be used for. Beanhunter co-founders James Crawford and Al Ramsey first started working on the idea in 2008 and have since grown the business to having just over 12,000 cafes on the site and claims to be doing 1.2 million pageviews a month. The company is currently backed by RetailMeNot founder Guy King and Campbell Sallabank of XSallarate. Whilst the acquisition of Coffeejobs is a way to begin monetising the existing 12,000 businesses on Beanhunter, it seems Crawford and Ramsey have larger plans to dominate the speciality coffee space. Beanbuy by Beanhunter is another site the pair has created that connects roasters directly with customers. It also cuts out many of the middle men from the sales process, therefore customers are able to access speciality blends at a much more reasonable price. Though Beanhunter currently has a lot traffic, it's this ecommerce play where in my opinion, the company will start to gain some significant financial traction, purely based on statistics in the specialty coffee vertical. According to latest IBIS World reports, Australia's Coffee Industry is worth a little over $4 billion. When you look at the specialty coffee vertical within that number, Startup Daily believes, based on average statistics found by IBIS and a Euromonitor research report, that it is representative of around 25 percent of that number. In comparison, speciality coffee represents 37 percent of the US based coffee industry which has a value of $32 billion, according to the Speciality Coffee Association of America. The big selling point for the Beanbuy site is that it is encouraging direct trade between consumers, farmers and roasters. According to Beanhunter, as cited on the site, the curse of the 'middlemen' in today's economic climate makes it difficult for farmers to make any money on their products.
80% of coffee farmers (over 20 million) earn barely enough to sustain their farms and afford basic needs like fresh water, education and healthcare. Traditional trade methods have many people in the middle taking a margin: farmers usually end up with only a fraction of the price that roasters pay for their beans. The middle man also disrupts the natural relationship between buyer and seller.
There is currently over a dozen types of speciality coffee being sold on Beanbuy, and farmers and roasters are able to apply to open up their own 'shop' on the platform in a matter of seconds. Whilst Beanbuy has not disclosed much information on the specific growth strategies for the brand, it would make sense for them to put a bit of cash into really owning the online specialty coffee market in Australia. In a conversation with the Head of Asia Pacific for Braintree Payments last week, it was revealed to Startup Daily that one of the fastest growing verticals in the ecommerce space using Braintree's payment solutions was the tea and coffee vertical. It's been alleged that the growth of this sector since Braintree became available in the Asia Pacific region has been 'huge'. ]]>
DSC_0236_low (1)

Last week, Beanhunter, a startup based in Melbourne announced that it had acquired the industry job board CoffeeJobs.com ahead of its plans to raise $3 million. The terms of the acquisition have not been publicly disclosed. Beanhunter, a coffee shop review site, is looking at expansion plans and monetisation of its main site, which is what the $3 million raise will be used for. Beanhunter co-founders James Crawford and Al Ramsey first started working on the idea in 2008 and have since grown the business to having just over 12,000 cafes on the site and claims to be doing 1.2 million pageviews a month. The company is currently backed by RetailMeNot founder Guy King and Campbell Sallabank of XSallarate. Whilst the acquisition of Coffeejobs is a way to begin monetising the existing 12,000 businesses on Beanhunter, it seems Crawford and Ramsey have larger plans to dominate the speciality coffee space. Beanbuy by Beanhunter is another site the pair has created that connects roasters directly with customers. It also cuts out many of the middle men from the sales process, therefore customers are able to access speciality blends at a much more reasonable price. Though Beanhunter currently has a lot traffic, it's this ecommerce play where in my opinion, the company will start to gain some significant financial traction, purely based on statistics in the specialty coffee vertical. According to latest IBIS World reports, Australia's Coffee Industry is worth a little over $4 billion. When you look at the specialty coffee vertical within that number, Startup Daily believes, based on average statistics found by IBIS and a Euromonitor research report, that it is representative of around 25 percent of that number. In comparison, speciality coffee represents 37 percent of the US based coffee industry which has a value of $32 billion, according to the Speciality Coffee Association of America. The big selling point for the Beanbuy site is that it is encouraging direct trade between consumers, farmers and roasters. According to Beanhunter, as cited on the site, the curse of the 'middlemen' in today's economic climate makes it difficult for farmers to make any money on their products.
80% of coffee farmers (over 20 million) earn barely enough to sustain their farms and afford basic needs like fresh water, education and healthcare. Traditional trade methods have many people in the middle taking a margin: farmers usually end up with only a fraction of the price that roasters pay for their beans. The middle man also disrupts the natural relationship between buyer and seller.
There is currently over a dozen types of speciality coffee being sold on Beanbuy, and farmers and roasters are able to apply to open up their own 'shop' on the platform in a matter of seconds. Whilst Beanbuy has not disclosed much information on the specific growth strategies for the brand, it would make sense for them to put a bit of cash into really owning the online specialty coffee market in Australia. In a conversation with the Head of Asia Pacific for Braintree Payments last week, it was revealed to Startup Daily that one of the fastest growing verticals in the ecommerce space using Braintree's payment solutions was the tea and coffee vertical. It's been alleged that the growth of this sector since Braintree became available in the Asia Pacific region has been 'huge'. ]]>
http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/10/beanhunter-quest-australian-speciality-coffee-space/feed/ 0
Oneflare raises a further $1 million investment http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/10/oneflare-raises-1-million-investment/ http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/10/oneflare-raises-1-million-investment/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 23:54:31 +0000 http://www.startupdaily.com.au/?p=35187 Oneflare

Today, local services marketplace Oneflare, founded by Adam Dong and Marcus Lim, announced that it has secured a further $1 million in funding, taking total capital raised so far for the startup to $1.5 million. Oneflare has become one of  Australia's fastest growing marketplace for local services in last 12 months, helping to connect customers with over 200 business categories. Cleaners, electricians, plumbers, removalists, painters, accountants, gardeners (and many more) Australia-wide use Oneflare to secure highly qualified job leads. Customers, in turn, use the platform to quickly source multiple quotes from Oneflare’s qualified service providers. The most interesting data to come out of the last 12 months of operation of Oneflare as previously told to Startup Daily by co-founder Marcus Lim is its business registration statistics. Oneflare have found that builders were signing up to the online service more rapidly than any other category of workers. This was followed closely by handymen, electricians, plumbers and cleaners. This suggests that more and more, service based businesses are looking online for ways that can expand the opportunities for their businesses, and with some builders having previously made as much as $100,000 on a job through Oneflare before, are seeing the startup as a worthwhile lead generation tool for their business. Oneflare will use the funds to further expand its team, ramp up sales and marketing activities and explore early opportunities to expand beyond Australia. Currently the startup has a team of 17 people in Sydney. "We expect to further expand our team over coming months," said Marcus Lim, co-founder and CEO. "We're seeing very pleasing growth in job volumes every week and we'll be adding to our sales, marketing and customer service capabilities in line with this growing demand." "We’re very fortunate to have an exceptionally supportive group of investors", continued Lim. "The additional capital has come almost entirely from this existing group, allowing us to close this round very quickly. The startup currently boasts over 50,000 registered businesses on the platform and claims to be seeing almost 500,000 unique visitors per month. Lim says this funding is all about acceleration of growth. Oneflare’s investors include Les Szekely of Equity Venture Partners, Garry Visontay, of the Sydney Seed Fund and Dr. Jeffrey Tobias of The Strategy Group. ]]>
Oneflare

Today, local services marketplace Oneflare, founded by Adam Dong and Marcus Lim, announced that it has secured a further $1 million in funding, taking total capital raised so far for the startup to $1.5 million. Oneflare has become one of  Australia's fastest growing marketplace for local services in last 12 months, helping to connect customers with over 200 business categories. Cleaners, electricians, plumbers, removalists, painters, accountants, gardeners (and many more) Australia-wide use Oneflare to secure highly qualified job leads. Customers, in turn, use the platform to quickly source multiple quotes from Oneflare’s qualified service providers. The most interesting data to come out of the last 12 months of operation of Oneflare as previously told to Startup Daily by co-founder Marcus Lim is its business registration statistics. Oneflare have found that builders were signing up to the online service more rapidly than any other category of workers. This was followed closely by handymen, electricians, plumbers and cleaners. This suggests that more and more, service based businesses are looking online for ways that can expand the opportunities for their businesses, and with some builders having previously made as much as $100,000 on a job through Oneflare before, are seeing the startup as a worthwhile lead generation tool for their business. Oneflare will use the funds to further expand its team, ramp up sales and marketing activities and explore early opportunities to expand beyond Australia. Currently the startup has a team of 17 people in Sydney. "We expect to further expand our team over coming months," said Marcus Lim, co-founder and CEO. "We're seeing very pleasing growth in job volumes every week and we'll be adding to our sales, marketing and customer service capabilities in line with this growing demand." "We’re very fortunate to have an exceptionally supportive group of investors", continued Lim. "The additional capital has come almost entirely from this existing group, allowing us to close this round very quickly. The startup currently boasts over 50,000 registered businesses on the platform and claims to be seeing almost 500,000 unique visitors per month. Lim says this funding is all about acceleration of growth. Oneflare’s investors include Les Szekely of Equity Venture Partners, Garry Visontay, of the Sydney Seed Fund and Dr. Jeffrey Tobias of The Strategy Group. ]]>
http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/10/oneflare-raises-1-million-investment/feed/ 0
Glamsquad closes USD$7 million funding round; an opportunity for the Australian beauty industry http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/10/glamsquad-closing-us7-million-funding-round-opportunity-australian-beauty-industry/ http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/10/glamsquad-closing-us7-million-funding-round-opportunity-australian-beauty-industry/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 20:56:08 +0000 http://www.startupdaily.com.au/?p=35129 glamsquad

Yesterday it was announced that Glamsquad, a New York based on-demand beauty startup has closed USD$7 million in funding, adding to the $2 million raised last year. Glamsquad is headed up by Alexandra Wilkis Wilson, co-founder of global fashion company GILT Groupe, who joined the startup this year as co-founder and CEO. Those participating in the latest round include AOL's BBG Ventures, Montage Ventures and Lerer Ventures. In simple terms, Glamsquad offers on-demand services around hair and makeup. In a similar fashion to Uber - or closer to home, our own startups like Airtasker - users use the app to book an appointment and Glamsquad sends a qualified individual over for a blow-dry or makeup related service. Customers then use the application to pay for the service, so no cash changes hands. Glamsquad does have some stiff competition. Some of its competitors include startups like Madison Reed (which specialises in sending colourists directly to users), The Stylised (which sends stylists to your door) and Priv, who are perhaps the most direct competitor, also offering blow-drys in addition to manicures, private pilates training and other services to 'get you red carpet ready'. Glamsquad is part of the growing trend of startups that operate in the 'connection economy'. Other startups that fall into this category include Uber, goCatch, Airtasker, Sidekicker, Road Angels and SuitBids, to name just a few. To date, Glamsquad has completed just over 10,000 services and events, and the capital will go towards building the core team and stable of beauty related offerings available to clients. The big point that we need to take into consideration when looking at a startup like Glamsquad, is that in comparison to local salon pricing, it is extremely competitive, on par, if not cheaper than a traditional blow-dry or makeup session. Like most connector businesses, Glamsquad has been concentrating on dominating its local market first - in its case, New York. Connector businesses in Australia have increasingly been employing the same approach, focusing on a single city and expanding once the model is right and demand is there. Some commentary has suggested that Glamsquad is in many ways capitalising on the success of blow dry focused bars that have been growing rapidly around New York, specifically the chain 'Dry Bar'. Back in Australia, we too have a fast growing blow dry culture emerging, with Australian based and founded Blow Dry Bar now in multiple locations across the east coast of Australia stretching from Brisbane to Melbourne. Blow Dry Bar is now franchising stores to accelerate its growth rate. However, it is curious that a service like Glamsquad has not yet made an appearance on our shores yet, at least not one of note that has all the elements to achieve scalability. Whilst I am sure that many hair and makeup professionals do offer 'we come to you' services - these small or freelancer businesses are not exactly startups. Yet, with the right technology behind them, anyone could build the local version of Glamsquad quite easily. The Australian hair and beauty industry according to latest reports by IBIS World is a AUD$4 billion market that employs over 81,000 people across the country. Within this segment, the niche focus that makes up most of that revenue is cutting, styling and colouring. And two of those are very 'Glamsquad' focused activities. Looking at the statistics, other services like manicures and tanning would also be a service that would work in an Australian focused market, accounting for the next highest spending outside of hair. There is a real opportunity in Australia for an entrepreneur to take services that already exist in the small business space, and systemise it to make it easier for consumers to connect with beauty professionals in an efficient and cost effective manner. The key to succeeding though relies on the technology behind the application being able to compete with a company like a Glamsquad should it ever launched into the local market - which we know is a high possibility. Wilson has already openly expressed that Glamsquad is going to be a global company. ]]>
glamsquad

Yesterday it was announced that Glamsquad, a New York based on-demand beauty startup has closed USD$7 million in funding, adding to the $2 million raised last year. Glamsquad is headed up by Alexandra Wilkis Wilson, co-founder of global fashion company GILT Groupe, who joined the startup this year as co-founder and CEO. Those participating in the latest round include AOL's BBG Ventures, Montage Ventures and Lerer Ventures. In simple terms, Glamsquad offers on-demand services around hair and makeup. In a similar fashion to Uber - or closer to home, our own startups like Airtasker - users use the app to book an appointment and Glamsquad sends a qualified individual over for a blow-dry or makeup related service. Customers then use the application to pay for the service, so no cash changes hands. Glamsquad does have some stiff competition. Some of its competitors include startups like Madison Reed (which specialises in sending colourists directly to users), The Stylised (which sends stylists to your door) and Priv, who are perhaps the most direct competitor, also offering blow-drys in addition to manicures, private pilates training and other services to 'get you red carpet ready'. Glamsquad is part of the growing trend of startups that operate in the 'connection economy'. Other startups that fall into this category include Uber, goCatch, Airtasker, Sidekicker, Road Angels and SuitBids, to name just a few. To date, Glamsquad has completed just over 10,000 services and events, and the capital will go towards building the core team and stable of beauty related offerings available to clients. The big point that we need to take into consideration when looking at a startup like Glamsquad, is that in comparison to local salon pricing, it is extremely competitive, on par, if not cheaper than a traditional blow-dry or makeup session. Like most connector businesses, Glamsquad has been concentrating on dominating its local market first - in its case, New York. Connector businesses in Australia have increasingly been employing the same approach, focusing on a single city and expanding once the model is right and demand is there. Some commentary has suggested that Glamsquad is in many ways capitalising on the success of blow dry focused bars that have been growing rapidly around New York, specifically the chain 'Dry Bar'. Back in Australia, we too have a fast growing blow dry culture emerging, with Australian based and founded Blow Dry Bar now in multiple locations across the east coast of Australia stretching from Brisbane to Melbourne. Blow Dry Bar is now franchising stores to accelerate its growth rate. However, it is curious that a service like Glamsquad has not yet made an appearance on our shores yet, at least not one of note that has all the elements to achieve scalability. Whilst I am sure that many hair and makeup professionals do offer 'we come to you' services - these small or freelancer businesses are not exactly startups. Yet, with the right technology behind them, anyone could build the local version of Glamsquad quite easily. The Australian hair and beauty industry according to latest reports by IBIS World is a AUD$4 billion market that employs over 81,000 people across the country. Within this segment, the niche focus that makes up most of that revenue is cutting, styling and colouring. And two of those are very 'Glamsquad' focused activities. Looking at the statistics, other services like manicures and tanning would also be a service that would work in an Australian focused market, accounting for the next highest spending outside of hair. There is a real opportunity in Australia for an entrepreneur to take services that already exist in the small business space, and systemise it to make it easier for consumers to connect with beauty professionals in an efficient and cost effective manner. The key to succeeding though relies on the technology behind the application being able to compete with a company like a Glamsquad should it ever launched into the local market - which we know is a high possibility. Wilson has already openly expressed that Glamsquad is going to be a global company. ]]>
http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/10/glamsquad-closing-us7-million-funding-round-opportunity-australian-beauty-industry/feed/ 0
Actionable insights from Dr Sam Prince’s presentation at Servcorp’s Business Shorts http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/10/actionable-insights-dr-sam-princes-presentation-servcorps-business-shorts-series/ http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/10/actionable-insights-dr-sam-princes-presentation-servcorps-business-shorts-series/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 19:01:10 +0000 http://www.startupdaily.com.au/?p=35132 Dr Sam Prince

Servcorp hosted Zambrero’s Dr Sam Prince as part of their Business Shorts series at the 36th floor of their impressive Gateway Building location. This is an increasingly common trend amongst corporates who seek to bring entrepreneurs and visionaries into their fold in the hopes of adding some street cred to their brand. Most of the time, the results can be incongruent and highly amusing. If you saw that episode of Friends where Ross buys leather pants, you’ll get the idea. This event sat decisively on the fence. The Servcorp Business Shorts are predominantly a corporate events aimed at finance and capital professionals. This was quite the departure from the pitch events and hackathons we usually cover. I clearly was not in Kansas anymore: I had left the comfort of Surry Hills coffee meetings and funding pitches to wander back into the corporate world for the evening. As I walked into the Servcorp offices, an ocean of suits and pencil skirts swallowed me whole. I had rocked up in jeans, a fancy denim shirt and a jacket. Everyone else must have thought I was there to fix someone’s boat. It was semi traumatic. But hey, the view was great! The Servcorp Business Shorts series are ostensibly networking events. As we waited for Sam’s presentation, waiters passed around sushi and canapés as guests passed around their business cards. I felt very fancy. A few people noticed the “Startup Daily” on my name tag and immediately started pitching me their business ideas. The pattern here was “Uber for….”: Uber for dogs, Uber for the elderly, Uber for motorboats. A lady wanted wanted to disrupt the doona business (with more doonas). Three different people asked me if I was related to our speaker Sam Prince. As he’s a Scottish-born man with Sri Lankan ancestry and I’m a Peruvian woman, we must look exactly alike to middle-aged bankers. Easy mistake. At exactly 6:30pm, Dr Sam Prince was introduced to the crowd by a Servcorp representative as a “visionary entrepreneur.” I couldn't have agreed more. Sam Prince is the founder of Zambrero, the fastest growing food franchise in Australia. Presumably he was there to retell his journey as a businessman and entrepreneur. In reality, he was there as a humanitarian. His NGO, One Disease, is a biomedical company aiming to cure “non-sexy” diseases - namely anything that does not look good in a bumper sticker. All the money raised by the Business Shorts tickets were going towards One Disease fund. People like Sam are silent heroes; no one is throwing them a parade or making movies about them. He steadily builds a better world through hard work and a clear vision. There are no bells and whistles, just perseverance and applied smarts. Sam’s story has the distinctive advantage of being simultaneously unique and familiar. We can easily recognise the talking points around perseverance, hard work and dedication in the rags-to-riches narrative. What makes Sam unique is his focus on the human side of entrepreneurship, the serendipitous nature of the business and the catharsis of collaboration. He also spends the majority of the time talking about other people, which is unheard of in our startup circles. There is no humble-braggy mythology in his narrative. He uses personal parables to illustrate lessons others have taught him. It’s a very refreshing point of view. Here are some highlights from Sam’s journey: Don’t be scared to be vulnerable Sam told a story about a family who drove through the entire USA in a beat-up old car. Curious about the journey and its purpose, Sam asked the family’s patriarch how they managed such a feat, including giving birth to one of their children in the back of the car. The father’s answer was simple: “Our dream was to drive cross-country in this car but we had no idea how. So everywhere we went, we stopped to talk to people and tell them our story. We learned to let people know what your dreams are. They will want to help you.” The power of sharing is of vital importance to our startup ecosystem. No NDA is going to stop your business from failing. On the contrary, sharing your dreams will allow people to step up and help you achieve them. Let your guard down and be prepared to be pleasantly surprised. The people who can help are everywhere The Zambrero franchise empire was made possible by a man Sam randomly met at Bunnings. Sam was at the hardware store running errands and bumped into a man with a sad family story in need for a sympathetic ear to vent on. Sam listened empathically, gave him advice and a firm handshake and they went their separate ways. A few weeks later Sam was approached by a man who offered to franchise his Mexican restaurant but was later discouraged to do so by his financial advisors and lawyers. Crestfallen, Sam resigned himself to find another way to make this dream come true. Shortly after, the same man came back to Sam with renewed enthusiasm and a half-million dollar cheque. He had spoken to his best friend about Sam's dream and vision and his best friend recommended they went ahead with the deal. The investor’s best friend was the guy Sam had met at Bunnings. Good karma had come full circle. The moral of the story is to be nice; not because it’s good for you (that would be way too selfish a lesson for Sam Prince), but because it’s a good practice. Try it - it just might work. Don’t jump to judge On the other hand, Sam advises all business people to do their due diligence and have contingency plans when possible. As he puts it “just because a person is poor, that doesn’t mean they are good. You can get ripped off by a poor person just as easily as by a rich one.” This is his way of saying that not all unprivileged people are noble and not all rich people are crooks. Make sure you get to know everyone for who they are, not just from your own worldview. It’s worth the effort. Know your material This was not part of the official lessons on the talk but I thought it is worth mentioning, especially for those who pitch for a living. To prepare for the event, I watched some of Sam’s talks on YouTube. As he started to speak at the Servcorp event, it became clear it was the exact same talk he gave at TEDxCanberra. I noticed Guy Kawasaki did the same thing when he was invited to the Canva breakfast back in July. His presentation was almost word-for-word an exact replica of his TEDxUSCD talk back in 2013. Both speakers were right on message, always on brand, got to the point and got out. As startuppers, we should applaud this. If you have validated material, you should use it as much as you can! Sam Prince is a great example of humane entrepreneurship. Even though he ended his talk by saying “the Servcorp offices are full of dreamers on their way to fulfil their dreams” (hey, he has to pay the bills!), his heart is firmly planted in the right place. If you want to learn more about Sam’s story and how you can help, visit the One Disease website or listen to his talks easily searchable on YouTube. ]]>
Dr Sam Prince

Servcorp hosted Zambrero’s Dr Sam Prince as part of their Business Shorts series at the 36th floor of their impressive Gateway Building location. This is an increasingly common trend amongst corporates who seek to bring entrepreneurs and visionaries into their fold in the hopes of adding some street cred to their brand. Most of the time, the results can be incongruent and highly amusing. If you saw that episode of Friends where Ross buys leather pants, you’ll get the idea. This event sat decisively on the fence. The Servcorp Business Shorts are predominantly a corporate events aimed at finance and capital professionals. This was quite the departure from the pitch events and hackathons we usually cover. I clearly was not in Kansas anymore: I had left the comfort of Surry Hills coffee meetings and funding pitches to wander back into the corporate world for the evening. As I walked into the Servcorp offices, an ocean of suits and pencil skirts swallowed me whole. I had rocked up in jeans, a fancy denim shirt and a jacket. Everyone else must have thought I was there to fix someone’s boat. It was semi traumatic. But hey, the view was great! The Servcorp Business Shorts series are ostensibly networking events. As we waited for Sam’s presentation, waiters passed around sushi and canapés as guests passed around their business cards. I felt very fancy. A few people noticed the “Startup Daily” on my name tag and immediately started pitching me their business ideas. The pattern here was “Uber for….”: Uber for dogs, Uber for the elderly, Uber for motorboats. A lady wanted wanted to disrupt the doona business (with more doonas). Three different people asked me if I was related to our speaker Sam Prince. As he’s a Scottish-born man with Sri Lankan ancestry and I’m a Peruvian woman, we must look exactly alike to middle-aged bankers. Easy mistake. At exactly 6:30pm, Dr Sam Prince was introduced to the crowd by a Servcorp representative as a “visionary entrepreneur.” I couldn't have agreed more. Sam Prince is the founder of Zambrero, the fastest growing food franchise in Australia. Presumably he was there to retell his journey as a businessman and entrepreneur. In reality, he was there as a humanitarian. His NGO, One Disease, is a biomedical company aiming to cure “non-sexy” diseases - namely anything that does not look good in a bumper sticker. All the money raised by the Business Shorts tickets were going towards One Disease fund. People like Sam are silent heroes; no one is throwing them a parade or making movies about them. He steadily builds a better world through hard work and a clear vision. There are no bells and whistles, just perseverance and applied smarts. Sam’s story has the distinctive advantage of being simultaneously unique and familiar. We can easily recognise the talking points around perseverance, hard work and dedication in the rags-to-riches narrative. What makes Sam unique is his focus on the human side of entrepreneurship, the serendipitous nature of the business and the catharsis of collaboration. He also spends the majority of the time talking about other people, which is unheard of in our startup circles. There is no humble-braggy mythology in his narrative. He uses personal parables to illustrate lessons others have taught him. It’s a very refreshing point of view. Here are some highlights from Sam’s journey: Don’t be scared to be vulnerable Sam told a story about a family who drove through the entire USA in a beat-up old car. Curious about the journey and its purpose, Sam asked the family’s patriarch how they managed such a feat, including giving birth to one of their children in the back of the car. The father’s answer was simple: “Our dream was to drive cross-country in this car but we had no idea how. So everywhere we went, we stopped to talk to people and tell them our story. We learned to let people know what your dreams are. They will want to help you.” The power of sharing is of vital importance to our startup ecosystem. No NDA is going to stop your business from failing. On the contrary, sharing your dreams will allow people to step up and help you achieve them. Let your guard down and be prepared to be pleasantly surprised. The people who can help are everywhere The Zambrero franchise empire was made possible by a man Sam randomly met at Bunnings. Sam was at the hardware store running errands and bumped into a man with a sad family story in need for a sympathetic ear to vent on. Sam listened empathically, gave him advice and a firm handshake and they went their separate ways. A few weeks later Sam was approached by a man who offered to franchise his Mexican restaurant but was later discouraged to do so by his financial advisors and lawyers. Crestfallen, Sam resigned himself to find another way to make this dream come true. Shortly after, the same man came back to Sam with renewed enthusiasm and a half-million dollar cheque. He had spoken to his best friend about Sam's dream and vision and his best friend recommended they went ahead with the deal. The investor’s best friend was the guy Sam had met at Bunnings. Good karma had come full circle. The moral of the story is to be nice; not because it’s good for you (that would be way too selfish a lesson for Sam Prince), but because it’s a good practice. Try it - it just might work. Don’t jump to judge On the other hand, Sam advises all business people to do their due diligence and have contingency plans when possible. As he puts it “just because a person is poor, that doesn’t mean they are good. You can get ripped off by a poor person just as easily as by a rich one.” This is his way of saying that not all unprivileged people are noble and not all rich people are crooks. Make sure you get to know everyone for who they are, not just from your own worldview. It’s worth the effort. Know your material This was not part of the official lessons on the talk but I thought it is worth mentioning, especially for those who pitch for a living. To prepare for the event, I watched some of Sam’s talks on YouTube. As he started to speak at the Servcorp event, it became clear it was the exact same talk he gave at TEDxCanberra. I noticed Guy Kawasaki did the same thing when he was invited to the Canva breakfast back in July. His presentation was almost word-for-word an exact replica of his TEDxUSCD talk back in 2013. Both speakers were right on message, always on brand, got to the point and got out. As startuppers, we should applaud this. If you have validated material, you should use it as much as you can! Sam Prince is a great example of humane entrepreneurship. Even though he ended his talk by saying “the Servcorp offices are full of dreamers on their way to fulfil their dreams” (hey, he has to pay the bills!), his heart is firmly planted in the right place. If you want to learn more about Sam’s story and how you can help, visit the One Disease website or listen to his talks easily searchable on YouTube. ]]>
http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/10/actionable-insights-dr-sam-princes-presentation-servcorps-business-shorts-series/feed/ 0
Sydney startups Crowdsurfa and Coder Factory form strategic partnership http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/10/sydney-startups-crowdsurfa-coder-factory-form-strategic-partnership/ http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/10/sydney-startups-crowdsurfa-coder-factory-form-strategic-partnership/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 19:00:56 +0000 http://www.startupdaily.com.au/?p=35063 uzrttaswu36xo4flwcpy

After a serendipitous meeting on Twitter, two Sydney-based startups Crowdsurfa and Coder Factory were able to recognise synergies and form a strategic partnership. Together, the companies want to equip founders with the tools necessary to grow their skilled teams and essentially 'bridge the gap' between technical co-founders and non-technical co-founders.

On Crowdsurfa, entrepreneurs list their ventures and specify the top skills their potential co-founders need 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. 

[caption id="attachment_35177" align="alignleft" width="300"]Dan SIepen Dan SIepen[/caption]

Coder Factory, on the other hand, was launched last year, offering a hybrid education module that delivers technical education via online and in-class sessions. Relevant to this partnership is the other side of Coder Factory's business model. The company also acts as a development agency, building technology for non-technical founders who want to bring their products to market.

On the new partnership, Dan Siepen, Co-Founder of Coder Factory said, "I've always wanted a platform that would not only connect entrepreneurs, but also highlight what a particular startup needs from a skilled co-founder. Whether it be a software developer, general manager or a growth hacker to add to the firepower that a startup needs to grow,".

"With a system that strongly focuses on skills and equity, it can play a stronger role in alternatively funding a startup."

Aknian told Startup Daily that it wasn't long after meeting Siepen on Twitter that he realised how aligned their visions were: "I knew there was a strong link in the vision of our businesses and partnering up would only strengthen this."

[caption id="attachment_35178" align="alignright" width="300"]Vache Aknian Vache Aknian[/caption]

"At Crowdsurfa we have startups and entrepreneurs searching for tech co-founders and Coder Factory is growing a new culture of tech co-founders as they teach a community how to code. It only made sense that we formed this partnership as ultimately our visions align," he adds.

As a result of this partnership, Crowdsurfa will be able to connect entrepreneurs with Coder Factory techies; and similarly, the Coder Factory community has a platform to either search for a non-tech co-founder or co-found the next big thing.

"Another exciting part of the partnership will be coming in 2015. As part of our mutual enthusiasm to encourage and inspire young entrepreneurs, we’ll be organising some meet-up events which won’t be your “average” meet-up," Aknian says, without revealing too much. --- Featured image: CoderFactory.com ]]>
uzrttaswu36xo4flwcpy

After a serendipitous meeting on Twitter, two Sydney-based startups Crowdsurfa and Coder Factory were able to recognise synergies and form a strategic partnership. Together, the companies want to equip founders with the tools necessary to grow their skilled teams and essentially 'bridge the gap' between technical co-founders and non-technical co-founders.

On Crowdsurfa, entrepreneurs list their ventures and specify the top skills their potential co-founders need 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. 

[caption id="attachment_35177" align="alignleft" width="300"]Dan SIepen Dan SIepen[/caption]

Coder Factory, on the other hand, was launched last year, offering a hybrid education module that delivers technical education via online and in-class sessions. Relevant to this partnership is the other side of Coder Factory's business model. The company also acts as a development agency, building technology for non-technical founders who want to bring their products to market.

On the new partnership, Dan Siepen, Co-Founder of Coder Factory said, "I've always wanted a platform that would not only connect entrepreneurs, but also highlight what a particular startup needs from a skilled co-founder. Whether it be a software developer, general manager or a growth hacker to add to the firepower that a startup needs to grow,".

"With a system that strongly focuses on skills and equity, it can play a stronger role in alternatively funding a startup."

Aknian told Startup Daily that it wasn't long after meeting Siepen on Twitter that he realised how aligned their visions were: "I knew there was a strong link in the vision of our businesses and partnering up would only strengthen this."

[caption id="attachment_35178" align="alignright" width="300"]Vache Aknian Vache Aknian[/caption]

"At Crowdsurfa we have startups and entrepreneurs searching for tech co-founders and Coder Factory is growing a new culture of tech co-founders as they teach a community how to code. It only made sense that we formed this partnership as ultimately our visions align," he adds.

As a result of this partnership, Crowdsurfa will be able to connect entrepreneurs with Coder Factory techies; and similarly, the Coder Factory community has a platform to either search for a non-tech co-founder or co-found the next big thing.

"Another exciting part of the partnership will be coming in 2015. As part of our mutual enthusiasm to encourage and inspire young entrepreneurs, we’ll be organising some meet-up events which won’t be your “average” meet-up," Aknian says, without revealing too much. --- Featured image: CoderFactory.com ]]>
http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/10/sydney-startups-crowdsurfa-coder-factory-form-strategic-partnership/feed/ 0
Australian startup Newzulu to acquire Canadian media company Filemobile for over AUD$5 million http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/10/australian-startup-newzulu-acquire-canadian-media-company-filemobile-aud5-million/ http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/10/australian-startup-newzulu-acquire-canadian-media-company-filemobile-aud5-million/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 04:53:43 +0000 http://www.startupdaily.com.au/?p=35110 lossy-page1-800px-Alex_Hartman.tiff

Crowdsourced news distribution startup Newzulu has entered into a binding agreement to acquire Toronto-based media company Filemobile for approximately AUD$5.06 million (CD$5 million), depending on a number of conditions. To fund the acquisition, Newzulu will undertake a capital raise, details of which will be released at a later date. Newzulu will re-comply with Chapters 1 and 2 of the ASX Listing Rules in respect to the acquisition.  The acquisition of Filemobile, a software company that provides solutions to media outlets and brands for the gathering, curation and publishing of user-generated content, brings with it a list of major white-label media clients including AAP, Fox News, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Hearst TV, iTV, London Live, Network Ten Australia, as well as global brands like Kraft, Under Armous, Cisco, Allrecipes.com and JC Penney, among many others. Founded by Alexander Hartman and Peter Scarf in June 2013, Newzulu is a platform that houses over 100,000 professional and citizen journalists who share validated news photos, videos and text. The acquisition of Filemobile will assist Newzulu in its plans to establish itself in the US market, in which the news and content marketing industry is estimated to generate over USD$50 billion in annual revenues in 2014 alone. "With the explosion of rich media, the combination of “always on” 24/7 news cycles and multiple communications distribution platforms, audiences require quality timely content that is constantly updated,” said Hartman in a media release distributed yesterday. “The acquisition of Filemobile is consistent with Newzulu’s growth strategy and further strengthens the company’s product solutions and global delivery platform." The cornerstone of Filemobile’s solutions is its Media Factory platform which supports the delivery of rich media. The Media Factory platform focuses on four pillars:
  • gather content (videos, photos, audio and text) via websites, mobile, email, and Instagram;
  • curate social content at scale;
  • publish content with broad integrations into third-party Content Management Systems (CMS), Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) and video platforms via FTP, API or RSS; and
  • engage with audiences by amplifying broadcasting reach through extending interactions to multiple channels, including Facebook and Twitter.
Completion of the Filemobile acquisition is subject to and contingent upon the satisfaction (or waiver) of a number of conditions by January 31st 2015, including: "no governmental entity issuing any order which prohibits the Filemobile Acquisition; and Newzulu obtaining all necessary regulatory and shareholder approvals, including shareholder approval pursuant to ASX listing Rule 11.1.2." 
Newzulu currently has offices in Sydney and Auckland, and bureaus in London, New York, Los Angeles, Toronto and Montreal. The senior management of Filemobile will join Newzulu’s global executive team following the acquisition. Based on current statistics, Newzulu and Filemobile will collectively achieve over 50 million unique visitors per month, 200,000 video and photo uploads per month and will have over 8 million registered users. --- Image: Alexander Hartman, Co-Founder of Newzulu. Source: Wikipedia. 
]]>
lossy-page1-800px-Alex_Hartman.tiff

Crowdsourced news distribution startup Newzulu has entered into a binding agreement to acquire Toronto-based media company Filemobile for approximately AUD$5.06 million (CD$5 million), depending on a number of conditions. To fund the acquisition, Newzulu will undertake a capital raise, details of which will be released at a later date. Newzulu will re-comply with Chapters 1 and 2 of the ASX Listing Rules in respect to the acquisition.  The acquisition of Filemobile, a software company that provides solutions to media outlets and brands for the gathering, curation and publishing of user-generated content, brings with it a list of major white-label media clients including AAP, Fox News, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Hearst TV, iTV, London Live, Network Ten Australia, as well as global brands like Kraft, Under Armous, Cisco, Allrecipes.com and JC Penney, among many others. Founded by Alexander Hartman and Peter Scarf in June 2013, Newzulu is a platform that houses over 100,000 professional and citizen journalists who share validated news photos, videos and text. The acquisition of Filemobile will assist Newzulu in its plans to establish itself in the US market, in which the news and content marketing industry is estimated to generate over USD$50 billion in annual revenues in 2014 alone. "With the explosion of rich media, the combination of “always on” 24/7 news cycles and multiple communications distribution platforms, audiences require quality timely content that is constantly updated,” said Hartman in a media release distributed yesterday. “The acquisition of Filemobile is consistent with Newzulu’s growth strategy and further strengthens the company’s product solutions and global delivery platform." The cornerstone of Filemobile’s solutions is its Media Factory platform which supports the delivery of rich media. The Media Factory platform focuses on four pillars:
  • gather content (videos, photos, audio and text) via websites, mobile, email, and Instagram;
  • curate social content at scale;
  • publish content with broad integrations into third-party Content Management Systems (CMS), Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) and video platforms via FTP, API or RSS; and
  • engage with audiences by amplifying broadcasting reach through extending interactions to multiple channels, including Facebook and Twitter.
Completion of the Filemobile acquisition is subject to and contingent upon the satisfaction (or waiver) of a number of conditions by January 31st 2015, including: "no governmental entity issuing any order which prohibits the Filemobile Acquisition; and Newzulu obtaining all necessary regulatory and shareholder approvals, including shareholder approval pursuant to ASX listing Rule 11.1.2." 
Newzulu currently has offices in Sydney and Auckland, and bureaus in London, New York, Los Angeles, Toronto and Montreal. The senior management of Filemobile will join Newzulu’s global executive team following the acquisition. Based on current statistics, Newzulu and Filemobile will collectively achieve over 50 million unique visitors per month, 200,000 video and photo uploads per month and will have over 8 million registered users. --- Image: Alexander Hartman, Co-Founder of Newzulu. Source: Wikipedia. 
]]>
http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/10/australian-startup-newzulu-acquire-canadian-media-company-filemobile-aud5-million/feed/ 0
Startup Victoria to present co-founders of Reddit, Twitch, Scribd and partner at Y Combinator at Above All Human Conference http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/10/startup-victoria-present-co-founders-reddit-twitch-scribd-y-combinator-human-conference/ http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/10/startup-victoria-present-co-founders-reddit-twitch-scribd-y-combinator-human-conference/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 03:14:57 +0000 http://www.startupdaily.com.au/?p=35084 Above All Human

On December 9th, Startup Victoria will play host to some of the most influential minds in the world of startups and innovation as part of the Above All Human Conference. Startup Conferences and Events have really stepped up their game throughout 2014, as corporates and Silicon Valley transfers to Australia have taken on the role of sponsorship to get them off the ground and take things to the next level beyond the grass roots pizza and beer culture. (There will always be a place for that though). General feedback from many entrepreneurs across the ecosystem, as well as imagery from the events seem to indicate that Melbourne in particular has most probably got the best track record over the last 12 months in terms of attendance to all events large and small held across the city. When you team this will large events that have attracted national coverage such as The Big Pitch and That Startup Show, the Melbourne ecosystem is not just putting on events, but constantly innovating the layout and delivery style as well, keeping things fresh and interesting - no doubt a key factor to the engagement level by locals. Looking at Sydney, the two large key events for this year were Sydstart and The Sunrise, as well as today's Tech23 - all three drew significant crowds and were regarded by attendees Startup Daily spoke to as two of the best events they have attended across the ecosystem. But in general, the attendees at many of Sydney based weekly events have dwindled during 2014. In another example of really stepping up, the latest large event All Above Human, to take place at the Art House Meat Market in December, will see attendees listening to talks from key startup players, that have never really been heard from before in Australia. I have been saying for a while to many people, including the team we have working on our Startup Downunder event for next year, that in order to keep event attendance up, the content HAS to be first class and part of that equation is 'new blood' when it comes to talent. All Above Human, being directed by Susan Wu (Head of Stripe Australia, Investor) and Bronwen Clune (Editor of StartupSmart, VP Public Interest of Journalism Foundation) is definitely delivering this. Confirmed speakers for the event include international talent such as Justin Kan, (Justin.tv, Twitch, Partner at Y Combinator) Tracy Chou (Pinterest) Steve Huffman (Reddit, Hipmunk) Tikhon Bernstam (Scribd, Parse) as well as many key startup folk from Australia that includes Jodie Fox (Shoes of Prey) Niki Scevak (Startmate, Blackbird VC) Cameron Adams (Canva) and Bevan Clark (RetailMeNot). Tickets are on sale now, and look like they are selling very fast. You can purchase yours here.   ]]>
Above All Human

On December 9th, Startup Victoria will play host to some of the most influential minds in the world of startups and innovation as part of the Above All Human Conference. Startup Conferences and Events have really stepped up their game throughout 2014, as corporates and Silicon Valley transfers to Australia have taken on the role of sponsorship to get them off the ground and take things to the next level beyond the grass roots pizza and beer culture. (There will always be a place for that though). General feedback from many entrepreneurs across the ecosystem, as well as imagery from the events seem to indicate that Melbourne in particular has most probably got the best track record over the last 12 months in terms of attendance to all events large and small held across the city. When you team this will large events that have attracted national coverage such as The Big Pitch and That Startup Show, the Melbourne ecosystem is not just putting on events, but constantly innovating the layout and delivery style as well, keeping things fresh and interesting - no doubt a key factor to the engagement level by locals. Looking at Sydney, the two large key events for this year were Sydstart and The Sunrise, as well as today's Tech23 - all three drew significant crowds and were regarded by attendees Startup Daily spoke to as two of the best events they have attended across the ecosystem. But in general, the attendees at many of Sydney based weekly events have dwindled during 2014. In another example of really stepping up, the latest large event All Above Human, to take place at the Art House Meat Market in December, will see attendees listening to talks from key startup players, that have never really been heard from before in Australia. I have been saying for a while to many people, including the team we have working on our Startup Downunder event for next year, that in order to keep event attendance up, the content HAS to be first class and part of that equation is 'new blood' when it comes to talent. All Above Human, being directed by Susan Wu (Head of Stripe Australia, Investor) and Bronwen Clune (Editor of StartupSmart, VP Public Interest of Journalism Foundation) is definitely delivering this. Confirmed speakers for the event include international talent such as Justin Kan, (Justin.tv, Twitch, Partner at Y Combinator) Tracy Chou (Pinterest) Steve Huffman (Reddit, Hipmunk) Tikhon Bernstam (Scribd, Parse) as well as many key startup folk from Australia that includes Jodie Fox (Shoes of Prey) Niki Scevak (Startmate, Blackbird VC) Cameron Adams (Canva) and Bevan Clark (RetailMeNot). Tickets are on sale now, and look like they are selling very fast. You can purchase yours here.   ]]>
http://www.startupdaily.com.au/2014/10/startup-victoria-present-co-founders-reddit-twitch-scribd-y-combinator-human-conference/feed/ 0