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February 26, 2007

Where are the Aussie Startups?

Over at the Webdirections site, where I think it is most relevant, I've just posted Where are the Aussie Startups?. Sure, we have some great startups out there - but do we have a culture, a startup ecosystem? I'd be really interested in hearing your thoughts over there.


February 26, 2007 | Permalink


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I am in the process of developing a start up in the nuclear industry. I have some seed funding from the Federal Govt (hush hush) and there are a few interested investors, namely: Ron Walker, George W Bush, Nikolai Ceausescu, Adolf Hitler, Dr Hannibal Lecter Osama Bin Laden and the Family Trust of Timothy McVey, to name a few. However I am interested in some additional investors to assist me in getting something up and running.... any takers?

In all seriousness, Austrade and the Federal Govt recently announced "Unprecedented export growth for small to medium business". The bulk of this is commodity related (directly or indirectly). With some exports relating to professional development, and other "white collar" services.

I know this is not the same thing as a start up - however many SMEs were start ups not so long ago - and it appears at face value at least, Australian business culture is still relying on the path of least resistance - we know how to dig it up, and we know there is a healthy market for it (for now).

However when it comes to technology, Australians appear to lack the confidence to back themselves (and in terms of export, technology does not fit into their cookie cut approach to "Australian Export Business" required by Austrade to match their processes). This is borne out in the fact that CSIRO is sitting on something like 650 patents that they do not know how to productise or monetise in any way, shape or form (not to mention the legal wrangle over 802.11x patents that has been ongoing for several years).

Korea and Japan’s incredible development over the last 50-60 years owes much to government based funding of technology and industry – a vision of where the world was going and how to get a slice of the future pie. If you look at the emerging global trends on a surface level, where can Australia be a major player – manufacturing? There are 2.5Billion people in India and China alone – no chance. Green (aside – I am over the “green” thing – in terms of the commercial wankology (a bunch of squillinaires jumping out of Toyota Priuses (or is it Prii – probably should be Prix with a hard “x”) onto a red carpet brings out a sickening bile of cynicism in me) – Australia is brilliantly positioned to profiteer from the latest “Green Revolution”, e.g. Eco tourism, Clean Energy Development and Technologies (the CSIRO is one entity that has (limited) resources to develop sustainable energy sources).

The downside is there is an innate conservatism in Australian business – an innate bureaucracy in big business, to the point where entrepreneurialism is shunned in big business, and often seen as a sign of dishonesty in the SME sector.

The commodities boom will end, and to maintain (let alone improve) our quality of life in this country, the Federal Government needs to be involved in defining the vision for our future – i.e. what emerging industries can we lead the world in. Without vision Australia will continue to rely on commodity exports, tourism and some white collar services to survive – doesn’t sound like much of a legacy.

Posted by: Andy | Feb 28, 2007 1:50:44 PM

Amen Any,

you paint a bleak picture, but not an entirely inaccurate one.


Posted by: John Allsopp | Feb 28, 2007 4:36:52 PM

Can you tell me more about
the startups?


Posted by: Frank Meyer | Oct 18, 2007 3:24:50 PM