Saturday, May 30, 2015

Menu log sells for a record $855m

It is a Great time to Invest in Innovation, technology and Startups!

Lebovich brothers Gabby and Hezzi and James Packer's syndicate "Catch" are smiling as a result  of MenuLog's $855m sale. 

This reminds me of the heady days of the reverse auction land grabs spawned by Groupon - such as Dean Mcevoys Spreets which sold for $40m in 2011.

The buying spree and the hype around the sector has pushed valuations into the stratosphere. 
GrubHub, which was floated in April 2014 in New York, is worth $US3.4 billion, having seen its shares jump by 50 per cent in the last 12 months, trading on an EBITDA multiple of around 137 times, 
Just Eat is trading on a multiple of EBITDA of about 47 times.
But that's nothing compared to the 371 times MenuLog was purchased on.
There are a number of interesting opportunities that will be manifesting in the next 12 months ......
Exciting times!!
If you are interested in more info - fee free to contact me

Friday, May 29, 2015

Support Startups and Innovation - a Vision for Australia

The startup scene in Australia has a long way to go....says Nick Stanley , Having returned from the valley. 

The Australian early-stage venture and investment scene can be characterised as something of a desert, he says ... It’s a desert with the occasional well and quite a few mirages…all of which give the weary traveller (ie: the entrepreneur) the illusion of water (ie: cash) but are either a mirage or a very deep well that is difficult to access…

However, in the US there is “water a plenty”! The market is moving and there is a feeling of a "tech gold rush".

Australia is a nation of gamblers -  we spend hundreds of millions of dollars on the Melbourne Cup each year!
  - and yet, when it comes to investing in startups ... We are as conservative as accountants at an actuary convention!  

There is capital aplenty - massive  superannuation, and there is the MAD (motivation, authority and desire) to help support innovation and entrepreneurs.

I think we just need to find the key that will open the floodgates of investment in this space.

  • We are rich in natural resources 
  • We are rich in innovators and entrepreneurs. 
  • We have excellent education facilities
  • We have an amazing infrastructure 
  • We have a stable government 
  • We have low interest rates

As with mining, we don’t want to just ship that raw product off; we need to cultivate it here, to refine it and to then benefit from it.  

To achieve this we need to make sure that we invest in our entrepreneurs so that they have the right infrastructure and are encouraged to stay here and to build our own startup scene.

The Government and Industry can play a key part in developing this.  

By investing in policy and initiatives that encourage early stage ventures and startups, the Government can create a hot-house effect to rapidly grow our local startup scene.  They can help develop a market to encourage the privateer and punter to invest.

In 2000 the government funded incubators as part of the BITS programme - supported by both sides of government , and BSI was privileged to be a part of it.

An $8m investment by the Government generated in excess of $250m of co-investment - and contributed to 25 investments - 5 of which are valued at more than $100m and another 5 who have that potential.
It created investor forums and forums where entrepreneurs and capital connected .

We have some of the smartest people and some really exciting innovators; Lets back them .  This will transform the Australian economic landscape and allow us to join the global “tech gold-rush” in a very real way.

Investing in innovation, entrepreneurs and  technology is a great investment - both for government and investors.

I am going to create a group called "Supporters of Australia's Innovation Nation"

Let me know if you want to be part of this group.... 

Onwards and upwards!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015



I am looking forward to spending 3 days (4 - 6 June ) with Kate Engler and Australia's leading Journalists with the opportunity to pitch our business!! If you want to be a part Click here for more information and to apply . 

Facebook tips by Robert Scoble!!

1. SHARE three posts from someone else about stuff you are interested in. If it's your friend's kids, you'll see more kid photos. If it's tech/entrepreneurialism, you'll see more of that.
2. Write five original posts about the same topic. You'll see even more of that same topic on your feed. I remember when I wrote about the Napa earthquake. My feed, within 30 seconds, became nothing but earthquake news. Most of the time I write about tech news and post videos with entrepreneurs, so most of my feed is exactly that.
3. Turn off as much privacy as you are comfortable with. Especially let people follow you, instead of friend you. Then post some things to public. You'll find your posts start getting an audience you never knew existed. Most of you are WAY too private. By the way, you can still post to just your family even after you turn on following. Each post has its own privacy.
4. Make sure your bio is up to date and public. Most people don't make it easy to find them. You'll find coworkers and friends start finding you.
5. PUT EVERYONE in either "close friends" or "acquaintance" lists. That makes your feed dramatically better (I've done this on dozens of people's accounts and it always works).
6. Unfriend people who do not post to Facebook or engage with anyone else. You'll find your posts start getting reach they never did before. Why? Facebook only releases your posts to a few people at first and watches what they do with it. If you have friends who never like, never share, never comment, and never post their own things, THEY HURT YOU.
7. Make sure you like, comment, and share other people's items. That teaches Facebook what kinds of things you like to see in your feed.
8. Hide things you don't want to see more of. For instance, I hide almost all selfies, things with quotes, things with memes, things that make me stupider. Funny, now Facebook is showing me far fewer of those things. (Each post has a "I don't want to see this" item in the drop down on right side of each post, which is how you hide things from your feed. I use that every day on many posts and Facebook continues to get better because of that).
9. Unfollow people who are too noisy. Even your real life friends and family. If you put them in lists (you did follow #5 above, right) you can still see all their things by clicking on the list. But your main feed will get dramatically better.
10. Check your event page at least once a month. Make sure you decline things you aren't going to and accept things that you will. That makes those events go viral and helps everyone's calendar out.
11. Check ALL of your Facebook settings once per month and make sure they stay the same. Really important on mobile apps. I find if I delete the app and then reinstall it, all my settings go back to default. Understand each setting.
12. Turn on all security features like two-factor authentication. People who do that generally don't get hacked. Don't care? You will when you get hacked. Do the same for your email and other social services too.
13. Make sure you have at least 10 public posts if you are trying to make friends. Make sure those posts say something about you and your passions. If they are only selfies, don't be shocked when people don't accept your friend requests. (I won't accept ANYONE as a friend if they don't post at least some geeky/business items to public).
14. Don't let people post to your profile without your approval. I find that people who do that usually have crappy content and it almost always is a flag.
15. Make at least 400 friends. People with fewer than that number of friends almost always are crappy at Facebook.
16. If you are going to friend someone with 5,000 friends you MUST have at least 50 common friends first. Why? They can't add more friends and use this as a sort of social proof to make sure you aren't a jerk (jerks generally don't keep that many friends). If you are going to friend a normal person, then you better remind them how you know them and it helps to have at least five common friends first, so they know that you aren't just a spammer.
17. Most content does NOT get to you. If you want to see more from specific people, VISIT THEIR PROFILES at least once a week and engage on their content. Or, even better, put them in a list and visit that list. Lists show all. Your main feed only shows you the most popular stuff from them (and that's not really true, Facebook's algorithms look at a variety of things to figure out what to show you). In general you are only seeing one out of 10 of my posts, if that. So you gotta visit my profile more often to make sure you get it all.
18. On Mobile, make sure Facebook's app can know where you are. That not only makes features like Nearby Friends possible, but also makes your feed have a few items from your location.
19. Mostly post using Facebook's native tools/apps/web site. Those who repost Twitter into here tend to be crappy at Facebook and engagement. Same with those who mostly use Buffer or other tools like Hootsuite.
20. Engage in your own comments, as well as those of others. For people like me I look for signs you will engage and not just post. Plus, it helps you learn from others and encourages them to comment, which helps get your posts more reach too.
21. You can reorganize the stuff on the left. I show how I do it in comments, but you on the web version of Facebook you can click little icons next to each item and reorganize them. I put lists up top so I can get to those fast.
22. Treat Facebook like a meal. You wouldn't just serve me pasta with no sauce, right? So, if you only have a feed with your kids photos, that is like pasta with no sauce. You DO have interests other than your kids, right? Same for those who post only selfies. You only interested in yourself? Or those who post only animals. You only interested in animals? Or, those who only post memes. Really? That's what you want to be known for? OK, but I don't need to stay your friend, either. Make sure you make your friends smarter and show that you have a diverse set of interests.
Got any other tips for making your feed rock? Leave them here.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Membership Subscriptions - a win win win

Here is a BFO (blinding flash of the obvious)

Amazon Prime and Costco get shoppers to pay up-front fees in exchange for benefits.  The numbers are quite extraordinary. Costco with 72 million members gross $2.3 billion a year in membership fees alone. Before they sell anything!

Google, Instacart, Jet, Sephora, and Thrive Market have each formed members-only program for online shoppers that gives consumers added benefits in exchange for an up-front yearly fee. 

These Membership programs offer retailers a number of advantages, including increased spending.  

About 40% of Prime members spend more than $200 on Amazon over a 90-day period compared to 13% of non-Prime customers.

Free delivery and lower prices are the top benefits ;  74% of US consumers say that free delivery motivates them to shop more online, and 50% say lower prices do.

I suspect that more and more businesses in all types of industries will jump on the membership bandwagon in the coming years.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

12 gems to build a dream team

Below is a summary 
12 gems to find the best and the brightest – and find ways to help them thrive in your company.

1. Hire the best - good doesn't cut the mustard ! : It’s not fun to fire people, so employers often settle for the first so-so person they hire. However, this practice can lead to weaknesses within a team. Once you realize a member of the team is performing at a mediocre level, call him out, but more importantly, support him to do better. If there’s no improvement, it’s time to find a new rock star for your team.
2. Be a Thought Leader: Top talent is too good to work for middling companies with weak brands. The more you can position yourself as an authority in your industry, the more talent will naturally be attracted to your business. 
3. Trust is Crucial: A team member can be highly intelligent and a hard worker, but if you can’t trust that person, it’s time to let him go. If you keep that person on, you’ll have a bigger problem to deal with when disaster strikes. Your daily operations could take a big hit if you retain employees you can’t trust.
Trust = capability + reliability  + intimacy over Self 
The higher the c r and i - the higher the trust
The higher the S - the lower the trust
4. Forget the Money… at First: Hire a person whose main motivation is to build a team, or someone who has a passion for your business in general. Money is extremely important, but when it’s the main thing on someone’s mind, it can be a distraction. It’s important for your employees to care about the success of your business, and if all they see are dollar signs, their hearts may not be in it.
5. Personal Lives are Important: Recognise that your team members have personal lives. It’s easy to take small steps to celebrate birthdays, weddings, or other significant moments in their lives. Pay for their ongoing education, allow them to balance work with personal. If you see an opportunity to help a team member outside of work, it pays to take it. It helps build loyalty with your employees, and they tend to pay it forward with other team members.
6. Maintain Systematic Processes: Once you’ve achieved success in a certain area, create a process that mimics that success over and over. A great read on this topic is “The Checklist Manifesto.” In it, a hospital created checklists to create a systematic process for maintaining good health in the building, and they decreased infections by 66%. Checklists increase the effectiveness – and success – of a team.
7. Diversity Brings Innovation: There’s a reason diversity is a common topic among employers. To build a great team, you need diverse thinkers. Each person should do a Kolbe profile - to see what they like to do / excel at - pretty cool stuff 
8. It’s Okay to Be Friends: In most offices, you’ll spend more time with your coworkers than you do with your family. Being friends and getting along not only increases performance, it also leads to a great work environment. As long as you keep a goal-oriented focus and hold people accountable, you shouldn’t be scared of a team that’s made up of your friends.
9. Play to People’s Strengths: Find out what your employees are great at, but don’t forget about their weaknesses. Each team member should be spending time doing what he or she does best, but you should recognize weaknesses and help your employees improve. Don’t miss out on creating an all-around rock star employee just because he really “kills it” at one thing. (See Kolbe profile)
10. Great Teams Read TogetherLeaders are readers, so if you’re going to create leaders within the team, they should consistently read. We’re always sharing articles and books among our team. It keeps us on top of recent trends and helps stimulate strategic thoughts.
11. Invest in Your First Five Hires: The more time you invest in training your first five hires, the less time you have to spend training the ones who join the company later. Make it a point to set aside time with each member to support him or her so everyone is prepared to show that same support to new employees as your company grows.
12. Give Recognition/ celebrate wins : Recognize people when they do something extraordinary. It not only gives people a sense of accomplishment, it inspires others to make efforts to go above and beyond their normal duties as well. Even small efforts should be acknowledged - can make your employees feel appreciated and inspire them to do even more.
It takes time and effort to put together a dream team, but using the above strategies, can help build an amazing team
John Hall is the CEO of Influence & Co., a company that assists individuals and brands in growing their influence through thought leadership and content marketing programs. Influence & Co., one of the leading providers of high quality expert content to the world’s top publications, is the creator of Contributor WeeklyConnect with John on Twitter or Google+.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

10X Events: The Edge: Gaining the Unfair Advantage & Increased...

10X Events: The Edge: Gaining the Unfair Advantage & Increased...: Ever wondered why some businesses flourish – in fact, it seems they can do no wrong – and yet others struggle?  Consider the answer is: ...

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Crowdfunding for Property

By Tan Allaway

Crowdfunding – the community-driven online fundraising method that has enabled projects such as wine-making ventures, independent film productions and even the latest Pebble smartwatch – has now moved into the sphere of property finance.

Already popular in the US and the UK, the ability to invest in real estate via crowdfunding platforms has recently arrived in Australia.

Rather than approaching a select group of private investors, a crowdfunding project is opened up to a wider pool (often the general public via a website) who are offered the opportunity to financially contribute to its goals, in return for rewards or equity. With respect to the real estate industry, by pledging money through a crowdfunding intermediary, investors are collectively buying a property or investing in a real estate development project by loaning money to the developer or taking equity in the project.

Australia’s first real estate crowdfunding platforms

Launched here in March, CrowdfundUP is a site that allows users to invest funds in a range of commercial properties and projects, selected from a portfolio online in what is touted as a “streamlined, easy access format” that they can sign up to almost instantly.
VentureCrowd Property is another crowdfunding platform that has recently launched in Australia, offering wholesale investors a chance to invest in residential properties. Over time the group plans to expand into commercial, industrial and retail properties.
Real Estate group Mirvac is the first major diversified property group in Australia to take part in such an initiative. It is offering two Sydney apartments for sale through the VentureCrowd Property platform as a tentative start, “enabling us to better understand the ins and outs of crowdfunding,” said its Residential Development CEO John Carfi speaking to the Australian Financial Review.
BrickX is another real estate crowdfunding platform to have opened up in Australia this year.

Joining the property pool

The appeal of crowdfunding to small investors is that if they have limited funds, it allows a quicker route to property ownership. With the investment pool opened up to greater numbers, an individual’s input can be as little as $66. It is also considered to be a quicker and more efficient way to tap into investment opportunities.
Real estate crowdfunding is the fastest growing category of the global crowdfunding industry, predicted to reach US$2.57 billion by the end of this year and hit US$250 billion by 2020.
It is a natural evolution of the traditional real estate business, says Steven Maarbani, Partner in PwC Australia’s venture capital and private equity team. However it is accelerated by a key difference: user experience, driven by the digital technology behind it.
In a publication released today, Maarbani identifies five key areas in which he believes digital technology aids the user experience and drives the market:
  • Information – Digital analytics and investment tools provide targeted and tailored information that can help investors make more informed decisions more quickly. Over time, digital investor education tools could also be employed to help to educate the market and lead to further investment.
  • Scale – Online, project operators can connect with investors anywhere in the world quickly and inexpensively. This means wider access to investors. 
  • Convenience – By enabling access through mobile devices and focusing on a creative user interface, crowdsourcing platforms can make the process more convenient. The platform may also offer coordination of financial, management and legal processes.
  • Trust – Integrated social media tools mean users can connect with their peer groups. This creates a forum for dialogue about an investment or a real estate crowdfunding  platform operator – meaning a greater sense of transparency and access to information.
  • Entertainment – By enabling strategic platform design and embedding elements of gamification, crowdfunding platforms have the potential to overlap the experience of real estate investment with entertainment. This would transition the user experience from that of pure investment to part entertainment.
Australia’s crowdfunding landscape for real estate is still nascent, Maarbani argues, but the industry should expect to see serious disruption in the near future.
Property developers, investors and financiers should be aware of this oncoming disruption and prepare for the changing dynamics now, he adds.

Friday, May 08, 2015

Money for startups in Sydney

Here's what most startups valued themselves at when pitching to Sydney Angels in 2014

The valuation for majority of startup pitches land between $1.5 and $2 million.

Valuations are one of the greatest causes for controversy between investors and startups.

Investors want to maximise their shareholding in a company and entrepreneurs usually want the opposite, while still taking the cash. 

Mathias Kopp, Sydney Angels co-founder and managing partner of Covest Capital, explained at CeBIT Startup today that early stage investments are highly risky because of the lack of information about a company.

“In most cases it is a catastrophic failure,” he said, adding more than 50% are likely to never provide an investor return. 

During his time at Sydney Angels most startup valuations have been well below $2.5 million. In recent years, post-investment valuations have dropped slightly as investors wise up to the sector.

“A startup valuation of between $1.5 to $2 million is a safe valuation, you [as a startup founder] can’t get it wrong at that level,” he said. “You only have one chance and you must get it right if you want to get funded.”

The table below shows where most startups fell when seeking investment from Sydney Angels in 2014. The majority of pitches came from tech startups seeking between $300,000 and $500,000 in funding. 

Source: Sydney Angels.

Backed by the $10 million Sydney Angels Sidecar Fund, the group invests solely in early-stage ventures. The fund expects to invest the remainder of its available capital in Sydney-based startups over the next 5 years.