Saturday, April 23, 2016

Expert Insights on Sydney's tech startup

Do you have a fantastic tech start-up idea but don’t know where to begin? Come along to this free City of Sydney seminar and hear from tech veterans Airtasker and start-up wonders Maestrano. General Assembly will offer also a peek into their tech-specific educational seminars and help with your start-up ideas.

You’ll hear how entrepreneur Tim Fung launched Airtaskter, the online jobs marketplace, in 2011. Airtasker is now a 30-people strong team and the company manages $20 million worth of jobs per year. He’ll share some of the challenges he’s faced along the way, including tricks and tips on securing customers, what to expect when expanding your business, and how to go about raising funds.

Co-founder Stephane Ibos will share his story on how he followed his dreams to secure a $1 million investment that kick-started the Maestrano dream, now a fully-fledged reality. Maestrano offer services to small business owners, including software that synchronizes data for businesses to make it accessible on a single dashboard.

Ryan Meyer from General Assembly, the global education company, will be there to show you how to pursue the work you love. General Assembly focus on the most relevant and in-demand skills across data, design, business and technology through in-class instruction and help provide access to opportunities.

Have all your questions answered by key players in the tech start-up community and make the most of the opportunity to network with other likeminded individuals.

This is a free Business 101 seminar, but bookings are essential.

Monday 9 May 2016 from 6.30pm to 8.30pm
Customs House
31 Alfred Street, Circular Quay, Sydney, NSW
Book tickets

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Capital Raising landscape in Oz

Why is Israel referred to as the start up nation

Why is Israel referred to as the startup nation?

What is the formula for Israel to creating world-class technology companies?

several of which have been acquired by Apple, Google, Facebook, and other US tech giants for hundreds of millions? 

Mark Tluszcz, ceo of mangrove capital partners, a Vc firm that has raised $650m  - who invested $2m in Skype and made $290m says 

“You have an entrepreneur culture that’s extremely present in Israel,” said


Tluszcz also thinks the compulsory national service that Israeli citizens go through is another contributing factor. 

The normal length of compulsory service in the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) is three years for men and around half that for women. “They all go through the military where they learn a lot of skills,” said Tluszcz. 

“When they’re there, they interact with a lot of great technology people. So there’s a force in function to get tech people together.”

Tluszcz also said the most intelligent people in Israel tend to go to one of three top-tier universities so the smartest entrepreneurs all get to know each other as they study.

There is a “very vibrant financing community” for startups in Israel, who can now access Silicon Valley investors easily thanks to direct flights between Tel Aviv and San Francisco, in California.

Tluszcz has backed a number of Israeli companies, including web development platform Wix, which became Israel’s largest tech IPO when it listed on New York’s Nasdaq market at $650 million (£465 million) in 2013.

Google, Apple, and Facebook have all set up engineering operations in Israel in a bid to hire technically talented Israelis that aren’t interested in running their own startup.

The US tech giants have also acquired a number of Israeli startups. Navigation service Waze, for example, was acquired by Google for $996 million (£693 million) in 2013, while Facebook bought, an Israeli company with face recognition technology, for $100 million (£69 million) in 2012.

Vinomofo secures record $25m raising from Blue Sky Ventures

Online wine seller Vinomofo co-founders and brothers in law, Andre Eikmeier and Justin Dry have received the largest start-up funding round of  $25 million in Australia from Elaine Stead of Blue Sky Venture Capital. 

The new funding round will be used primarily to drive further growth plans in Australia, and to help lay the foundation for overseas growth.

The company will sell this year, north of $50m of its carefully selected premium wines, online, to its  database of 400,000 wine lovers.

Exponential growth is expected as the company plans to launch in at New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, the US, UK and China, however focus will still be squarely on the largely untapped Australian market.

Their business model is to hold small events and form wine clubs to attempt to inspire members to buy their wine. 

As Vinomofo looks to invest significant dollars in multichannel marketing and advertising, an ideal marketing initiative would be the use of Referron - an ideal tool for Vinomofo to encourage, track, measure and reward referrals. 

Elaine Stead said Blue Ventures backed Vinomofo largely because of its faith in the co-founders vision and long term commitment. She expects a liquidity event within 5 years via an iPo or an acquisition.

"We are consistently seeing opportunities like Vinomofo, which are equally strong, with good track records, really good traction and are looking for that first stage of expansion capital," Dr Stead said.

Over the last couple of years there has been significant commitments from a number of funds looking to invest in high growth innovative companies.

Blue Sky is in the midst of raising a $200 million fund for it to back more local tech companies that have proved their business model and are ready to scale up significantly. 

Blackbird Ventures has recently $200 million, having brought together 96 technology entrepreneurs including Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes, as well as two major superannuation funds. 

SEEK co-founder Paul Bassat and Justin Liberman have launched Square Peg, a $200 million venture capital fund  

and Michelle Deakers OneVentures have raised a $100 million fund.

This has been spurred on by a number of local start-ups have had impressive growth such as 
New Lease (now Rhype)

To name a few!

Startups are seeing tangible interest from their backers, and institutional investors are now looking to get involved says Eikmeier.

This bodes well for innovation and for the country! 

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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Draper raises $190m round to invest in early stage ventures

Draper Associates raised $190 million on Monday to invest in early stage ventures.

San Mateo-based Draper Associates is an investment vehicle for Tim Draper, founder of DFJ and the Draper Venture Network and early investor in Skype, Baidu, Tesla, TwitchTV, Hotmail, Cruise Automation and Thumbtack. Draper’s DFJ fund has raised $760 million to date, closing a $350 million round in February. 

Draper remains the biggest limited partner. The fund will lead early stage investments, with the ability to support companies with follow-on rounds in special circumstances. The fund will focus on fintech, govtech, healthcare, education, insurance and logistics, but is open to any entrepreneur “who is willing to challenge the status quo.”

Monday, April 11, 2016

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Home Run for Matt Bullock and Eway - sells to USA giant for $50m

When Canberra's Matt Bullock started Eway 18 years ago, he had $50,000 to his name. On Friday, he sold it to American payment technology services giant Global Payments for $US50 million (a company with 4000 staff and an$8b cap )

Eway now processes 5.8 billion online purchases last year or about a quarter of all internet transactions in Australia with his team if 80 staff.

Global Payments chief executive Jeffrey Sloane said that the new partnership will create the leading payment technology company in Asia-Pacific with nearly 40,000 merchant customers in Australia and New Zealand.

What this shows is that you can do anything in a small town far away from the USA! distance is no longer a tyranny! 

After selling stuff on Paypal, Matt soon discovered that there was a better way of assisting merchants to process online credit card payments.

Matt tells the story that whe he first started, he  set up his phone to beep with each new customer and would feel joy from each alert. Eventually, they became so frequent that he had to turn his phone off for some peace and quiet! 

Years later, his customers would include Canon, Qantas, Puma and Nissan.

"My personal secret is to never, ever, ever give up on anything," he said.

"And you have to have a keen point of difference –if it's the same as something else, who is going to buy it?"

Running eWAY was a constant challenge of making sure each month that more money came in than went out - and there was growth month on month.

Matt is But is excited about his next venture -, which is an app/website set to manage commissions easily, motivate staff and pay them fast.
"It's turning work into a game," he said.
"I'm trying to turn it into Farmville."

Rolling from the success of one business to the birth of another is like mothers milk for Matt 
"I work harder than anyone but I don't consider it work, because I'm doing something that I love," he said.
"I think it's partly a disease to have that drive. I'll never get rid of it."

Source - CANBERRA times

Friday, April 08, 2016

How do you define R & D for the R & D Tax Incentive

Core R&D Activities
Core R&D activities are experimental activities: whose outcome cannot be known or determined in advance on the basis of current knowledge, information or experience, but can only be determined by applying a systematic progression of work that is based on 
  • principles of established science; and
  • proceeds from hypothesis to experiment, observation and evaluation, and leads to logical conclusions
  • that are conducted for the purpose of generating new knowledge (including about creating new knowledge or improved materials, products, devices, processes or services).

Some types of activities are specifically excluded from being core R&D activities.
Supporting R&D Activities
A supporting activity is one that is directly related to core R&D activities or, for certain activities, has been undertaken for the dominant purpose of supporting core R&D activities. Activities that must satisfy the dominant purpose requirement are those that produce - or are directly related to producing - goods or services; or are excluded from being core R&D activities.

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

The importance of face to face

Mick Liubinskas number 1 reason for going to Silicon Valley

 "To meet people. Networks are about relationships with people and they are built face to face. It’s about understanding each other, showing commitment, following through and also about continuity."

Aconex Completes Acquisition of Conject

Aconex was Leigh Jasper's idea and dream in 2002 when a bunch of us went on a Vic Govt sponsored programme to Berkeley Haas Business School with uncle Bob Beaumont . 

The outcomes of that initiative have been nothing short of phenomenol!!! 

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA, and MUNICH, GERMANY--(Marketwired - Apr 5, 2016) - Aconex Limited (ASX: ACX), provider of a leading cloud and mobile collaboration platform for the global construction industry, today announced that the acquisition of Conject Holding GmbH, announced on 17 March 2016, was completed with effect from 1 April 2016. 

Conject is a leading cloud and mobile collaboration service provider in Europe and other regions. The acquisition is expected to be significantly accretive to Aconex earnings per share (EPS) for the financial year ending 30 June 2017, excluding the amortisation of intangibles related to the acquisition and one-time transaction and restructuring costs.

Completion of the acquisition follows the satisfaction or waiver of conditions precedent and other completion requirements. These requirements included financing of the acquisition through an institutional placement of new Aconex ordinary shares. 

On 17 March 2016, Aconex raised approximately $120.0 million through the issue of approximately 23,076,924 fully paid, ordinary shares at an issue price of $5.20 per share. In addition to the acquisition of Conject for a total cash consideration of EUR65 million (A$97 million)1, the proceeds of the placement will be used to fund one-time acquisition and integration costs and provide additional working capital for the Aconex group.

"We're pleased to have completed the acquisition of Conject, and we look forward to welcoming their employees, integrating their operations and serving their customers," said Aconex CEO Leigh Jasper. "The transaction will significantly expand our market penetration and user network throughout Europe, and further consolidate our position as a leader in the global market for cloud-based construction collaboration solutions."

Mr. Jasper continued, "In addition to driving Conject's revenue growth within the combined business, we believe that we can greatly improve their operating performance and margins over time by leveraging our global infrastructure. The acquisition reinforces our strategic focus of growing the network, expanding product breadth and driving scale, and we expect it to deliver long-term value to Aconex customers and shareholders."

About Aconex
Aconex Limited provides a leading cloud collaboration platform for the global construction industry. This platform connects owners, contractors and their project teams in the construction, infrastructure, and energy and resources sectors, providing project-wide visibility and control between the many different organisations collaborating across their projects. With more than 60,000 user organisations and over $1 trillion of project value delivered in more than 70 countries, Aconex is the industry's most widely adopted and trusted platform. Founded in 2000, Aconex has 41 offices in 22 countries around the world, including headquarters in Melbourne, Australia and San Francisco, California. The company's ordinary shares are traded on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) under the ticker code ACX.

Supporting Resources
For more information on Aconex, please visit:

·      Website: 

·      Twitter: 

·      LinkedIn: 

·      Facebook: 

About Conject
Conject, the Infrastructure Lifecycle Management (ILM) Group, was founded in 2000 and is today a leading provider of enterprise and project collaboration solutions to the largest construction and infrastructure markets in Europe, which in the aggregate constitutes the largest regional market after Asia. Headquartered in Munich, Conject currently has approximately 210 employees located in 12 offices in nine countries. The company has served large, complex capital projects throughout Europe and other regions, with a customer base of more than 670 asset owners/operators and contractors and users in approximately 50 countries. Major customers include ArcelorMittal/Nippon Steel and Stiftung Zollverein in Germany, Bank Austria, the National Grid and the University of Manchester in the U.K., Groupe Vinci and BNP Paribas Residentiel in France, Mace in Poland, Spectrum Holding in Russia, Hyundai in the United Arab Emirates, and Changi Airport Authority in Singapore.

1 Conversion from EUR to AUD at 0.6704.

Silicon Dragon showcasing adidas startups and their investors

HONG KONG, April 5, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Silicon Dragon is bringing its well-known venture and tech forum series to Hong Kong, to highlight Asia's fastest-rising startups and their investors. This founder and investor forum will be held April 14, 4-9pm at Hong Kong's Cyberport Ocean View Court.    

The program will assess the factors that lead to success for Asia's emerging companies: talent, team, technology, business model, capital, profitability, and global/regional impact. Several founders who were profiled in the recent Forbes Asia issue, 30 under 30, will take the stage to tell how they are getting ahead in today's competitive marketplace with disruptive technologies and business models. A panel of venture capital and corporate investors who have financed these startups will tell the reason and will provide an outlook on these upstarts' future -- IPO, M&A deal, expansion to the West.

The conference includes such prominent venture capitalists as Thomas Tsao of Gobi Partners from Beijing, James Cen Bonsor of Fosun Capital from Shanghai and Jeffrey Paine of Golden Gate Ventures from Singapore. Corporate investors and strategists Grace Yun Xia of Tencent, Cindy Chow of Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund and Shalini Sujanani of ING round out an investor and dealmaker panel.

Startup founders featured at the event span such sectors as fintech, energy, social enterprise, IoT, enterprise technology and the sharing economy. Tech chats with these entrepreneurs reveal how their emerging businesses attracted capital from Asia's leading startup investors.  

Now in its fifth year, this annual event is led by Silicon Dragon founder Rebecca Fannin, an expert on global innovation trends, a Forbes contributor, and author of two well-received book about startups – Silicon Dragon (McGraw-Hill, 2008) and Startup Asia(Wiley, 2011).    

The Silicon Dragon conference brings together business leaders, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, angel investors and leaders of the startup ecosystem for discussions on what's next in Asia's emerging tech and venture markets. Participants will gain insights on how to raise financing and develop strategies to succeed in the region and in leading innovation hotspots such as Silicon Valley.    

Main Sponsors

Media Partners:
Forbes, Startup Asia

Media Distribution Partner
PR Newswire

Registration, Conference Agenda
To register online and to obtain full program details, please visit
For questions, please contact

About Silicon Dragon
Silicon Dragon runs a series of tech innovation and venture investment forums in Asia, the U.S. and Europe, publishes e-newsletter Silicon Dragon News, and develops thought leadership reports. Formed in 2010 by author and Forbes contributor Rebecca Fannin, Silicon Dragon is based in San Francisco and New York, and reaches 25,000 business and tech professionals globally.

Media Contact
Rebecca Fannin: (text-only) +1-646-244-8850

Aussie Booktopia to float on IPO

5 Apr 2016 |  April Glover   |    Comment now

Australia’s biggest online book retailer Booktopia has revealed plans to push ahead with efforts to float on the ASX, despite the looming threat of global book giants.

Booktopio is targeting a $150m IPO in the second half of 2016, and is reportedly set to go ahead in the face of competing UK retailer The Book Depository’s plans to expand in Australia.

Booktopia appointed investment banks Ord Minnett and Morgans as advisers to lead the charge towards a potential float in the late months of this year.

The company was launched in 2003 and is family-owned headed by chief executive Tony Nash, who says Booktopia is ‘unfazed’ by Amazon-owned The Book Depository’s threat.

According to reports, Booktopia’s share of the local online book market is now more than 80 per cent following its acquisition of Penguin Random House’s Bookworld.

Last year the retailer also acquired the online arm of closed book store Angus and Robertson.

Booktopia’s IPO ambitions trail a strong period for printed books sales in Australia, with 55.4 million paper books sold in 2015 which was the first yearly growth since 2008.

[Related: Books on demand trend]

The migration away from bricks-and-mortar bookstores to an online delivery market has also boosted growth for retailers such as Booktopia.

The online book retailer, along with competing businesses US based Amazon and UK’s The Book Depository have undergone a sales renaissance while book chain stores such as Borders and Angus and Robertson suffered closures. 

Statistics from industry analyst IbisWorld state the global online book retail market has experienced 15 per cent yearly growth.

Booktopia ships some four million books per year from its warehouse headquarters in Homebush, Sydney. 

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

5 Power Poses to boost your confidence

Harvard Business School professor and author of new book Presence, Amy Cuddy tells us about the benefits of "power-posing," or changing your body language in ways that can make you feel more confident.
Mimicking the body language of powerful people can be more effective than traditional confidence-boosting exercises, like telling yourself how great you are, she says.
She describes power poses as expansive and open. When you adopt one, you take up a lot of space and hold your arms and legs away from your body.
Cuddy suggests that our attitudes often follow from our behaviours, as opposed to the other way around. That means assuming the body language of a powerful person can make you feel confident. On the other hand, shouting, "I'm awesome!" requires first a substantial attitude shift, which most of us know isn't so easy to make. (this is a big thing of Tony Robbins as well) 
Cuddy calls power poses  "self-nudges," or small tweaks to your body language and mind-set that can produce psychological and behavioural improvements in the moment. She borrows the term "nudge" from economists and psychologists who discovered about a decade ago that you can spark significant behaviour changes by nudging people in the right direction.
Power-posing is an example of what Cuddy calls a "body-mind nudge." which allow you to skip over psychological stumbling blocks, like trying to believe that you're awesome, confident, and perfect, when you clearly don't believe that at all -- at least not right now.
Cuddy writes: "Body-mind approaches such as power posing rely on the body, which has a more primitive and direct link to the mind, to tell you you're confident."
What's more, Cuddy says, adopting the body language of a powerful person changes the way other people see and act toward you, which in turn reinforces your confident behaviour.
"When our body language is confident and open," she writes, "other people respond in kind, unconsciously reinforcing not only their perception of us but also our perception of ourselves."
So how can you use this strategy the next time you're faced with a challenging situation?

Check out 5 power poses that can boost your confidence 

When you're closing a deal, plant your hands on the table and lean forward.
As you're rounding the last bend of your presentation and preparing to deliver the bottom-line offer, command the room with a position Cuddy calls "The Loomer." Leaning forward while standing shows you're engaged and in a position of dominance.
Cuddy named this pose in tribute to Lyndon B. Johnson. "Johnson was 6'4", and he used his stature very thoughtfully to both intimidate and seduce," she says.

Before an interview, plant your feet widely and stretch your arms overhead in a V shape.
Striking a high-power pose in your interviewer's office could come off as offensive, presumptive, and rude, regardless of how it makes you feel, Cuddy says. Here's the alternative, which she calls "The Performer" in honor of Mick Jagger.
Before the interview, throw your hands in the air and widen your stance, as if you're soaking in the applause after an encore performance. Do it in the elevator or stairwell on your way up to the office, or in the bathroom before checking in with reception. Hold the pose for two minutes to set those hormonal changes in motion and give you the confidence you need to ace the interview.

When you're pitching an idea, rest your feet on the table, clasp your hands behind your head, and lean back.
(The White House)
We call this one "The Obama," because the commander in chief can often be seen with his feet propped up on the Oval Office desk.
This is a tough one to pull off, but Cuddy assures us that resting your feet on the desk -- preferably your own -- and placing your hands behind your head can lead you to take more potentially profitable risks, like saying your next Big Idea out loud.

When conducting an interview, rest your arm on the back of your chair, keep your knees apart, and recline.
"Lean in" by leaning back. It's the perfect way to assert your confidence and comfort level when grilling a job candidate.
This less bro-y rendition of "The Obama" emphasizes opening up the body, while keeping your feet on the ground. Cuddy named it "The CEO" after seeing a photo of Oprah Winfrey looking like a total boss.
Variations include placing your hands behind your head and resting an ankle on the knee.

When talking to your boss, puff out your chest, plant your hands on your hips, and stand with feet hip-width apart.
Rex features

When your boss joins you in line at the coffee machine, you may feel your heart quicken as your mind scrambles to come up with a more interesting response to "How was your weekend?"
Channel your favourite super-heroine and take what Cuddy calls "The Wonder Woman," a classic crime-fighting pose. Tilt your chin up to maximise the power trip.
This position has the opposite effect of touching your neck, which suggests anxiety or lack of control and is considered the lowest power pose of all.

National Australia Bank : Todd Forest new Managing Director NAB Ventures

National Australia Bank's (NAB) $50 million innovation fund, NAB Ventures - part of NAB's innovation hub NAB Labs - has appointed Todd Forest as its inaugural Managing Director.

The innovation fund was established by NAB to access leading ideas and capabilities from around the world through strategic partnerships, alliances and investments in innovation ovative companies.
Mr Forest has extensive experience as a successful CEO, entrepreneur and investor. He was previously the CEO of Clipp Pty Ltd - a mobile payments and data business focused on the hospitality industry, has served as Head of MSN Asia Pacific in Singapore, and also worked in executive roles at AOL Time Warner and Nike in the US.

Mr Forest is a successful angel investor via Tasman Ventures Fund, investing in over a dozen start-up companies in the US and Australia over the past 12 years. He said NAB was embracing the challenges of digital disruption through building an innovative culture.

'I'm excited to take on this opportunity with NAB Ventures; banking globally is undergoing a digital transformation and NAB Ventures will help ensure we are able to embrace the right changes to deliver innovative solutions for our customers,' Mr Forest said.

NAB has also appointed Melissa Widner as NAB Ventures General Partner. Ms Widner has worked in venture capital both in the US at Seapoint Ventures and in Australia at OneVentures.

She is a successful entrepreneur who founded 7Software, a Silicon Valley based enterprise software company acquired by Concur. She is also the co-founder of Sydney based, Heads Over Heels, an organisation that supports high growth companies led by women.

NAB has also recently engaged Bill Bartee, founder of Black Bird venture capital, to work with NAB Ventures on an investment advisory basis.

Mr Bartee will provide expert advice, both on the management of the fund and specific investment opportunities. He specialises in investing in and assisting disruptive, innovative companies grow and has led investments in or served on the boards of market leaders including Culture Amp, Autopilot, Shoes of Prey, Seek, Altium and Looksmart.

Executive General Manager NAB Labs Jonathan Davey said: 'Todd, Melissa and Bill all have an outstanding track record and will collectively play a vital role in the success of NAB Ventures and building on the innovative culture that will help continue to deliver for our customers,' he said.

NAB - National Australia Bank Ltd. issued this content on 04 April 2016 and is solely responsible for the information contained herein. Distributed by Public, unedited and unaltered, on 04 April 2016 01:32:28 UTC
Original Document:

Sunday, April 03, 2016

Join our Mastermind Builders Builders Group

Join us for a breakfast or lunch during May and June to find out how you can be an inaugural member of a bbg chapter! Join 30 other businesses with a view to collaborate and grow each other's business! 
Register at