Crossroads 2017, an action plan for the Australian startup ecosystem

StartupAUS | December 4, 2017

The Crossroads report has just been released; it’s an analysis of the state of startups in Australia and puts forward an action plan to develop a world-leading tech startup ecosystem.

It calls on the government to step up, even if the the reforms aren’t politically popular, to ensure Australia doesn’t fall behind the rest of the world. The report highlights the issue of the lack of ‘talent’ in the sector and our inability to attract skilled overseas workers.

The report includes nine key policy recommendations to government:

  1. Expand skilled worker visas to include digital skills and reflect startup needs (p95)
  2. Pay the R&D tax incentive quarterly (p101)
  3. Continue to build and connect innovation precincts (p47)
  4. Substantially improve the entrepreneur visa (p96)
  5. Make targeted amendments to legislation affecting Employee Share Schemes (p69)
  6. Extend the digital technologies curriculum (p48)
  7. Introduce copyright safe harbour protections (p103)
  8. Entrepreneurship programs in high schools and universities (p104)
  9. Establish dedicated policy teams focused on new technology (p111)

The analysis also includes other interesting facts and insights:

  • A map of the Australian startup ecosystem (p13)
  • An overview of where we’re positioned in the global startup ecosystem (p14), including sectors (p42)
  • Key demographics of Australian founders, employees and businesses (p28)
  • Handy background info and definitions – what are startups, what is a startup ecosystem and what makes it successful (Appendix p114)

Although some of the recommendations are controversial they will provide a good platform for debate and hopefully provide a springboard for action within the next year.

Download a copy of the report.

The 2017 Startup Muster report, developments in Australia’s startup ecosystem

Monica Wulff CEO and Co-founder (and the team) | Startup Muster | November 22, 2017

The 2017 Startup Muster report is the fourth annual report, highlighting developments in Australia’s startup ecosystem from an online survey done earlier this year, (last report done in 2014). Download a copy of the report.

Some very interesting insights about our startup founders:

  • the top three startup industries are: fintech, edutech and the internet of things
  • 28% of founders have founded a startup before
  • 36% of founders were born outside Australia
  • 25% of founders are women (37% future founders) up from 16% in 2014, but 38% of startups still do not have any women in their business
  • The ‘help’ founders said they most benefitted from since starting up their business was mentorship – 56%; the support they need in the next 6 months – media exposure 40%, mentorship 39% and seed investment 37%

Victorian Startup Investment Snapshot – November 2017

LaunchVic | November, 2017

A review of seed, angel and venture capital raises by Victorian startups in the past five year.

The key findings:

  • 510 investment deals have occurred in 385 startups
  • The median Angel investment is $250K and VC investment is $2 million
  • A total of $790 million has been invested into startups
  • The top 3 sectors receiving funding – Commerce, Health, Financial Services

Download a copy of the report.

My favourite customer quotes

>“Get closer than ever to your customers. So close in fact that you tell them what they need well before they realise it themselves.” Steve Jobs

>“Spend a lot of time talking to customers face to face. You’d be amazed how many companies don’t listen to their customers.” Ross Perot, Founder of Electronic Data Systems and Perot Systems

 > “There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down simply by spending his money somewhere else.” Sam Walton, Founder of Walmart

> “The more you engage with customers, the clearer things become and the easier it is to determine what you should be doing.” John Russell, President of Harley Davidson

>“Unless you have 100% customer satisfaction, you must improve.” Horst Schultze, ex-Ritz Carlton

> “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” Henry Ford

> “Lots of people get all hung up on what is changing in the world. I focus on what isn’t going to change. No customer will ever say I wish your products were more expensive, delivered slowly and wasn’t world class.”  Jeff Bezos, CEO Amazon

Mapping Victoria’s Startup Ecosystem report 2017

StartupVic | LaunchVic | Dandolo Partners | 28 August, 2017

Victoria is leading the way when it comes to turning startups into high growth companies.

Some of the key highlights from the survey of 1,137 Victorian startups includes:

  • Victoria has a strong track record with three ‘unicorns’ (worth $1bn) – more than any other state in Australia.
  • 60% are revenue positive in their first year and almost 80% by year two.
  • 80% of firms provide a digital product or service.
  • One third report they were/are bootstrapped, including firms in growth and later stages of development.
  • More than two thirds of startups in Victoria are exporting to key international markets including the US and UK, as well as China and New Zealand.
  • Victoria has 190 meetup groups specifically focused on startups and entrepreneurship. Startup Victoria is the largest meetup group with over 10,000 members.
  • Over half of founders are working with mentors and advisors.
  • The average age of founders is 36 years old (75% male). Females are more likely than males to establish a firm past the age of 45.

Good infographics summarise the important insights, very interesting and easy to read.

Download a copy of the report.

Five questions brands need to answer to be customer first in the digital age

Prashant Gandhi, Jonathan Gordon, Jesko Perrey and Sofia Serra | McKinsey| July 2017

Good quick checklist of important considerations for developing a customer centric organisation. Thinking about the end to end customer journey is essential, not just touchpoints which don’t enable you to see the full picture.

The five questions discussed in the article are:

  1. Are you thinking about customer journeys rather than just touchpoints?
  2. How useful is your data? You need a 360-degree view of all your customer’s information and activities.
  3. Do you truly understand why your customers are doing what they’re doing? Turn your customer data into business insights.
  4. How relevant are your communications and interactions? Data-activated marketing based on a person’s real-time needs, interests and behaviours can boost total sales by 15 to 20 percent while significantly improving the ROI on marketing spend across marketing channels.
  5. Do you have the right people on your teams (and the processes and guidelines to support them)?

Read more



31 Facts on the Customer Experience and Marketing in the Digital Economy

Peter Johnson | Digitalist, SAP | June 22, 2017

Some really interesting facts on the value of giving your customers a better customer experience including:

  • Since 2009, a stock portfolio comprising the brands that provide the simplest customer experiences outperformed the major indexes. The Simplicity portfolio grew +433%, S&P +135%, DAX +116%, and FTSE +52%. Source: “Global Brand Simplicity Index 2017,” Siegel+Gale
  • Companies with best-in-class customer experience management achieve year-over-year customer profit margin improvement 527% higher than their peers, and 359% greater company revenue growth. Source: SAP Center for Business Insight 2017 calculation based on “CEM Executive’s Agenda 2016: Aligning the Business Around the Customer,” Aberdeen Group
  • 86% of consumers are willing to pay more for an upgraded experience, and 55% are willing to pay for a guaranteed good experience. Source: “50 Important Customer Experience Stats for Business Leaders”, The Huffington Post
  • By 2020, 50% of digital transformation initiatives will fail due to the lack of an end to-end customer experience operating system. Source: “IDC FutureScape: Worldwide Chief Marketing Officer 2017 Predictions“, IDC Research, Inc.

Read more

Data Governance Australia releases draft Code for responsible data use

Data Governance Australia (DGA) | June 22, 2017

To give consumers confidence, Data Governance Australia (DGA) has released a Draft Code of Practice to set industry standards and benchmarks for the responsible collection, use, management and disclosure of data.

Open for public consultation until July 21, the draft states member organisations must ensure all their interactions with data follow the Code principles of: no-harm; honesty and transparency; fairness; choice; accuracy and access; safety, security, and de-identification; stewardship; accountability; and enforcement.

Code Organisations must design and organise their security (including encryption) in accordance with recognised industry standards as appropriate to the nature of the data it holds and the harm that may result from a security breach.

The association was launched last October with the aim of establishing best practice industry standards and benchmarks around data, and providing education, thought leadership, and advocacy services to help members better understand how data can be used responsibly.

Professor Graeme Samuel, chair of the DGA board, said, “Advances in data technology and capabilities have transformed the way that Australian businesses use, store and manage data over the last decade. Used effectively and managed responsibly, data can drive innovation, revenue growth and customer experience.

Among the key reforms recommended is a new Data Sharing and Release Act, and a National Data Custodian to guide and monitor new access and use arrangements.

Read more

‘The Venture Capital Effect’ – A Report of the Industry’s impact on the Australian economy

Australian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (AVCAL) | June 2017

This week AVCAL launched its report on the VC industry’s impact on the Australian economy and how vital it is in fuelling innovation, creating the next wave of startups and boosting employment. In saying that, we are still behind as a nation.

Some very interesting findings:

  • VC investment as a proportion of GDP is just 0.023 per cent in Australia, less than half the average for the world’s leading nations (of 0.049%) as measured by the OECD.
  • While 2016 saw the highest volume of Australian VC fundraising ever at $568m, the US raised an incredible 97 times as much capital in the same year.
  • The number of startups and scale-ups receiving funding has increased nearly 50% in the last three years.
  • Start-ups are the largest contributor to new job creation in Australia, with VC a key source of capital and expertise.

Read more


Mary Meeker’s annual State of the Internet address

Andrew Birmingham | Which-50 | June 1, 2017

A must read for anyone working in or thinking about the digital space.

I thought I’d put up a link to Andrew from Which-50’s ten favourite slides from her address to save time, but I do encourage you to read the full report

Some of the highlights:

  • Nearly half the human race is on the internet.
  • Major move to mobile advertising (no surprise there).
  • Facebook’s ad revenue in the US is up 62 per cent in a year. Google’s, which is off a much larger base is still up 20 per cent.
  • US retail store closings will break a twenty-year record this year, and will be significantly worse than even at the height of the GFC. But Mary makes a very important point about retail: “I don’t think retail is dead — mediocre retail experiences are dead”.

Read more