Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Top tech stock pick by Macquarie

Macquarie picks its top tech exposure stocks


By John Kavanagh

Macquarie Securities has surveyed what it sees as the four most significant technology trends that will have an impact on business earnings over the next few years and made six “high conviction” picks to gain exposure to these “megatrends”.

In a report sent to clients last week, Macquarie says investors wanting exposure to tech should be taking a look at the medical device manufacturer Cochlear, the accounting software and services company Xero, online recruiter Seek, cloud services provider Aconex, cinema management company Vista Group International, and advertising company oOhMedia!

The four technology megatrends identified in the report are the internet of things (what it calls the internet of everything), wearables, big data and virtual reality.

Macquarie’s view is that corporate Australia is lagging in the deployment of new technology. It cites the World Economic Forum, which ranks Australia 16th on its Networked Readiness Index – a measure of the progress of information and communications technologies.

“This is disappointing for a country where the standard of living is high, education rates favorable and where there is no evidence to suggest it is less innovative than other developed countries,” Macquarie says.

Several factors have limited the uptake of technology by corporates to date. They include the high cost of digital technology in Australia, slow internet speeds, over-regulation and the slow rollout of digital infrastructure.

Some of the likely losers are familiar names: traditional print and television media companies; and in retail, entertainment goods stores such as JB HiFi and Harvey Norman.

“We are wary of professional services and insurance,” Macquarie says.

The insurance industry should be a winner but it is not seizing the opportunities presented by technologies such as telematics and biometrics.

“To date Australian insurers have been slow to embrace new technology. Established insurers face a challenging market due to increasing competition from challengers,” Macquarie says.

Winners in the big data market will those that provide data storage, such NextDC, and also providers of software as a service, such as MYOB, Xero, Reckon and Aconex.

“We anticipate that the rollout of the National Broadband Network will enhance the value attached to data storage, with the NBN expected to increase accessibility to cloud computing services, improve connection speed and drive additional industry participation,” Macquarie says.

“Our top big data pick is NextDC, a data-centre-as-a-service provider with a range of business and government clients. The company connects business and government clients with their preferred IT providers, offering data centre facilities.”

In the wearables market, healthcare companies are well placed to benefit from the increasing sale of wearables and a reduction in patient cost base are medical device manufacturers that are innovating and adapting technological advances. Macquarie likes Cochlear and ResMed in this sector.

Macquarie says that for non-tech focused corporates the issue will be how they use technology to bring their costs down. The internet of things will improve asset utilisation for utilities, labour productivity in mining and agriculture, supply chain improvements and inventory management in retail.

It won’t work for all companies. “Each of Fairfax, News Corp, APN and Seven West has embarked on extensive restructuring and cost-cutting programs to counter the structural deterioration of ad revenue. While these will temper earnings losses, they will not completely offset them.”

This VC who sold his last startup for $400 million just raised a $70 million fund in 3 months

SaaStr founder Jason Lemkin
Jason LemkinSaaStr founder Jason Lemkin

When Jason Lemkin sold his last company, EchoSign, to Adobe for $400 million in 2011, there was one thing he knew he was going to miss: not leading the next part of the company’s journey.

EchoSign is now part of Adobe’s Document Cloud business, which is on pace to hit nearly $400 million in revenue this year. 

Although Lemkin won’t be able to see EchoSign turn into a billion dollar “unicorn” , he is now growing his own company called SaaStr and using it to help other cloud software startup founders build their own businesses.

He is now a VC and has recently raised a new $70 million fund in little over 3 months. He’ll be the sole manager, and the fund will be dedicated to investing in SaaStr community startups at the “late-seed” stage — that is, companies that have some traction and are ready to build their first sales team.

Most investments will be in the range of $1 million to $4 million, but Lemkin stresses he won’t be going out of his way to find startups to invest in.

“I only want to invest in this community — spend less time in trying to meet founders, and be more successful trying to invest in the community,” he says.

“I want to help other people. I want them to do better than me. And if you do it better than me, you have a shot at having a billion dollar exit,” Lemkin says.

The goal is to at least quadruple the money for  investors he says! 

The Godfather of SaaS

SaaStr is already one of the biggest names in the cloud software industry, leading one publication to give Lemkin the nickname, the “Godfather of SaaS”. 

His SaaStr blog posts are required reading for any cloud startup founder, and his annual SaaStr event has become a big deal after only two years.

But as much as he cares about his performance, Lemkin says he’s enjoying every moment of his life now because it keeps him relevant in the tech space — where hotshot founders often slide into obscurity after selling out for hundreds of millions of dollars.

“These companies are just so great, and to be a participant in this next journey of enterprise, it’s pretty special,” he says.

For anyone contemplating a move into the cloud space, he offered 3 gems on how to really grow a healthy cloud software company:

  • Double down on what’s working:In the cloud business, it takes a long time to grow your revenue. Don’t get frustrated! Just make sure to double down on what’s working, even if it’s not growing fast enough. It doesn’t mean don’t make your product better. But sell to the customers that already like your product. “Just focus on what works and not try to do anything new,” he says.
  • Measure customer satisfaction religiously: As soon as you have just a handful of customers, measure your net promoter score and other customer satisfaction metrics. And do whatever you can to make them happy, because a lot of your future revenue will come from word-of-mouth and referrals. “When in doubt, triple down on your existing customers, and make sure that they are truly happy with your products,” he says.
  • Spend most of your time on hiring: Once you start to see some traction, the CEO has to spend more than half of his/her time on hiring the best possible management team. If you don’t build the right management team, you will slow down just when it gets good. Do everything from hiring recruiters, networking, and buying banner ads. “The only thing worse than not hiring a VP of Sales when you get to $1 million in revenue is hiring a terrible VP of Sales,” he says.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

A device for metastatic cancers

Viatar is at the bleeding edge of innovation - 
It's a cancer dialysis med-tech  focused on the treatment of patients making metastatic cancers a chronic rather than fatal condition.

Click here for an animated video of how it works -

Viatar is looking to be listed in the ASX listed on 26 July 2016 raising $13.6m.

We are hosting a lunch with Viatar's leader Ilan Reich on Friday 1 July. With Viatar's founder, Ilan Reich 
( see 

Viatar’s value proposition is

 - proven technology for removal of over 90% of a cancer patient’s lethal circulating tumor cells

   - few competitors and a more effective and affordable devices

- pivotal US trial results imminent, major regulatory approvals in US and commercialization in Europe 2016

   - a sophisticated and supportive investor based of over 100, and in excess of USD 21M in funding to date

   - a large growing market with regulated growth drivers and existing reimbursement regime in the US

- An ASX listing broadens Viatar’s stakeholder base to support global play with uplift to NASDAQ potential, Q4 ‘16. 


( Contact me if interested and I will refer you to the powers that be) 

Tech entrepreneur raises $25M for health IT startup to support employer insurance choices


league health screengrab

League, a health IT startup that developed an app to ease the job of employers to locate providers and services for employees, raised a Series A round to support its expansion as it seeks to change the consumer healthcare experience, joining the likes of OscarBright Health and others.OMERS Ventures, Canada’s largest investment firm, led the $25 million financing round. Infinite Potential Technologies, Real Ventures, and BDC IT Venture Fund also took part. Strategic investments were provided by RBC, owner of Citi National, John Hancock’s parent company, Manulife Financial, and Power Financial Corp, according to a company statement.

The financing follows the launch of the business in cities such as Seattle, Toronto, and Vancouver last year. The company claims that its business fills a gap in insurance market products for employers by providing health spending accounts, wellness accounts, and group insurance plans from a mobile platform.

League CEO Michael Serbinis said it needed to raise a large round to compete with the likes of Oscar and CollectiveHealth, which are part of a broader trend of companies giving employers more flexible services that are easier to access on mobile devices or through computers, in an interview with Bloomberg.

Several health IT startups have also spotted an opportunity in helping established payers resposition themselves to be more consumer friendly and provide service to help them change how they work with providers and health systems to meet the requirements of healthcare reform. Others see supporting employers insurance decisionmaking as a pain point in need of fixing. Among them are PicwellWellthieMaxwell Health, and Stride Health.

Serbinis has previously led companies in the technology space such as Kobo, a digital reading company that views itself as a competitor to Amazon’s Kindle and has 20 million customers in 190 countries. He sold Kobo to Japanese Internet business Rakuten for $315 million in 2012. He also sold another business he started, cloud storage company DocSpace to Critical Path for $568 million in 2000.

There’s a certain amount of skepticism of entrepreneurs moving into healthcare from other industries, particularly technology, but also from areas such as sports apparel and advertising. Many have been unprepared for the long sales cycle or have an appreciation for the complexities of making it easier to navigate fragmented systems without creating more work for healthcare professionals and patients. American Medical Association CEO Dr. James Madara recently referred to many of the digital health technologies currently available but not validated the “snake oil of the early 21st century.”

Thursday, June 23, 2016


Vinson Leow, founder of ASAP Technologies, has  launched the first crowdfunding campaign for their product, the ASAP Dash, at the beginning of the year. 

ASAP Dash positioned itself as the world’s fastest battery pack. Storing enough power to charge an iPhone 5 to 100% in just 5 mins.

When the campaign closed on March 28th, they had raised $190,670 USD, which was 586% over their original target.
Now, ASAP Technologies have their next great product. They have once again taken to crowdfunding, and again, their results have been incredible!
This next product is ASAP Connect. It’s a USB cable that allows you to connect your phone or USB devices to your device quickly and seamlessly. It also has patent-pending magnetic technology, 18K gold plated connectors, aluminium shield and nylon braided cables. 
The ASAP Connect is the second product from ASAP Technologies to smash its crowdfunding target by over 500%

If you aren’t already intrigued, well, you are rare, because over 3,693 other backers were.
Vinson and his team came into this campaign with an initial goal of $30,000. Currently, they have reached over $171,742 USD, making them 573% over their target, with a month still left to go. 
ASAP Technologies are proving themselves to be a technology company to watch.
Entourage  sat down with Vinson to discuss how he has been getting results that majority of crowdfunding campaigns can only hope to see.
How did you approach this crowdfunding campaign differently to your first one?
This time, I knew what the factors towards a successful campaign ar and therefore was able to systematically prepare how to drive traffic towards the second campaign.

What is the ethos behind your product development?
Every product must help improve our everyday lives, often in the simplest of ways.

What kind of research do you do to verify demand for potential new products?
Often, we are innovating something that already exists by either integrating new features from another product, or making the existing product better than what’s in the current market, so we already have proof of concept. 
You never truly know until you give it a go which is why we use crowdfunding.

How do you find gaps in the market to launch new products into?
Our focus is on consumer electronics with a current focus on smartphone accessories. There is constant innovation to meet gaps here so new and improved features will continue to be well received.

What tips would you give someone looking to partner with an overseas manufacturer?
Don’t use a sourcing agent, go to China directly, hire a translator and visit at least a dozen factories.

ASAP Connect: The future of USB cables

We’ve seen that you’ve been very successful in getting publications to feature your new products, how do you approach them and what do you do to get them on board?
We employ the services of several growth hackers who are able to get our product in front of editors. We occasionally also use a PR agency, though that’s had a poor return on investment for us.

What is the recipe you use to create a sales video that converts?
We analyse previous high revenue videos aimed at a similar target market and find the best parts. Being technology, we focus mostly on the problem and solutions our products will provide our consumers.

Now that you’ve run a number of successful crowdfunding campaigns, what have you learned that you wished you had implemented sooner?
Facebook advertising makes up 60%+ of a successful campaign’s strategy. Working with a digital media agency who has experience with over 40 crowdfunding campaigns is crucial to getting the most out of each campaign.

Any advice for entrepreneurs looking to launch a new consumer product into the market?
Don’t make the same mistakes many crowdfund campaigners make. Focus on driving traffic to the page rather than perfecting the video or page.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Blue chips or high growths?

Blue chip stocks in 2016 have been pretty ordinary, however some high growth companies have done ok ....

According to Bloomberg, St Barbara is up 400 per cent, Pacific Brands 257 per cent, Saracen Mineral Holdings 233 per cent, Regis Resources 202 per cent, a2 Milk 165 per cent, Bellamy's 146 per cent, BlueScope Steel 125 per cent, Aconex 125 per cent and APN Outdoor Group 119 per cent.
Some sectors have also done well.
Leading the way are consumer discretionary stocks, up 16 per cent, health and utilities up 15 per cent, while the energy sector has fallen 23 per cent reflecting the decline in the oil price.
Read more: 

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Microsoft buys Linkedin for $26b!

Guvera lists on ASX at $1.3b

Photo source:- afr

Govera raises $85m from SMSFs and then lists on ASX at $1.3b valuation on t/o of $1.2m.
I think this is a good move - even though there is a massive risk - showing an appetite of SMSFs to take this type of risk. 

Sophisticated investors who are used to punting in such investments warn investors - " buyer beware"