Perth’s tech firms hit investment hurdles

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A lack of early-stage funding and venture capital in Perth is stagnating the State’s fledgling tech industry, industry insiders say, with more-and-more early-stage companies forced to look east or overseas for funding. The West Australian canvassed a number of tech investors and industry experts and found a vacuum around early-stage venture capital, though a number of small-stage funds and boutique investment firms are emerging to try to fill the void. About six groups, either as boutique firms, private equity or accelerators, are circling the Perth scene in a bid to boost the early-stage tech sector, while there are continued rumblings that up to two $40 million VC funds are looking to launch from July — the start-date for new tax incentives — and after the Federal election. WA has one VC fund, controlled by Yuuwa Capital, but it is at capacity. Yuuwa investment director Matthew Macfarlane said the local market could easily sustain a $20 million to $40 million fund, and he had been waiting for it to emerge.

“We’ve had a lot of IT and tech professionals returning from overseas to raise their kids in Perth and they’re creating good companies, and there’s also a lot of former mining workers with big redundancy payouts looking to invest,” he said. “Over the past six to 12 months, the deal flow has increased dramatically in Perth, and it just requires risk-seeking investors and the right management team to come in and do it properly.” The east coast has been inundated with venture capital over the past nine months, with more than $900 million in new funds announced since August, but Perth’s still fledgling tech scene is seen by some as a hindrance to VC funds. And despite all the moves towards alternate funding methods and rumblings from brokers and investors about “backdoor listing fatigue”, the method still remains the most vibrant for Perth-based early-stage tech plays to gain funding, with 42 listing on the ASX so far this year. Andrew Larsen, head of his tech-focused family investment firm Larsen Ventures, said the backdoor listing trend was a “chicken and egg” scenario.

“Most brokers (in Perth) are not professional investors in the area, and early-stage investment needs long-term support — it’s tough to find that with investors that want to make a buck,” he said. He agreed with Mr Macfarlane that a $20 million-plus fund could be sustained, with WA needing “more ecosystem money”. And some money is there. Veteran Perth dealmaker John Poynton has teamed up with Perth biotech stalwart Stewart Washer and well-regarded company director Harry Karelis to form Jindalee Partners, a Perth-based but global-focused boutique investment bank.

Dr Washer described the boutique operation, which only launched last month, as a way of connecting entrepreneurs, investors and projects. Perth’s Go Capital, which recently committed $1 million to Perth start-up Health Engine, is another player to emerge.

Nick Sas – The West Australian on May 9, 2016, 7:50 am
jindalee@dminPerth’s tech firms hit investment hurdles
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John Poynton AM to kickstart Global Innovation Week

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Inaugural Event Connects Global Leaders of the World’s Most Innovative Companies


Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO), the world’s premier network of chief executives and business leaders, announced the launch of a new type of global event connecting 23,000 YPO members in more than 130 countries through a series of programs around the world focused on innovation and entrepreneurship. During one week in May 2016, YPO will host more than 30 events in major cities in all corners of the world, providing education, idea exchange and discussions with the world’s most innovative executives who are both leading companies today and building companies of the future.

Through progressive presentations and conversations, debates and hands-on workshops, live-streamed panel discussions as well as Innovation Performance Assessments, members will have the chance to learn, exchange ideas, network and spark new growth in their companies.

“With programs held in every region of the world, YPO (http://bit.ly/1p0tvCZ) Innovation Week will be a transformative experience not only for YPO’s entrepreneurs and innovators, but also in the larger community. We expect to positively affect more than 1,000 member companies through exciting events, invigorating idea exchange, valuable education and immersive activities focused on the many varying aspects of innovation,” said CEO of Pivotal Innovation and YPO Innovation Week Chair, Kevin Fallon. “YPO is the most innovative community on the planet. This week promises to be a truly transformative experience.”

The grand opening event for YPO Innovation Week will be in Sydney, Australia, hosted by John Poynton, co-founder and director of Azure Capital, focusing on innovation in Australia. Following the opening event, a signature event will take place in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, where YPO member, and one of Canada’s best known entrepreneurs and innovative philanthropist, Brett Wilson, is a speaker. This event is specifically designed for those entrepreneurs who are in the midst of launching a startup and looking to accelerate business growth.

YPO members will then gather in Silicon Valley, California, USA, with veteran entrepreneurs – including Harry Clark, founder of Pathway Partners, LLC; Ariel Pfeffer, CEO of Prospekta Marketing; and Jim Hornthall, chairman of M34 Capital, Inc. – for two days of high-impact learning on how to evaluate new ideas and investments.

The closing event of YPO Innovation Week, championed by Greg Besner, CEO of Culture IQ, and Asha Saxena, CEO of Future Technologies, will take place at the birthplace of modern entrepreneurship and innovation, the Thomas Edison National Historic Park. At this finale event, YPO members will have the opportunity to go behind the scenes, and learn how Edison worked, invented, created and scaled his companies.

“Like Edison, YPO members around the globe embrace the challenges of innovation to create something profound and yet practical. Some of these topics and themes are well-known on the innovation agenda, but several of them will surprise and lead to breakthroughs,” said Fallon. “By bringing together the organization’s most passionate global members, including founders, growth company executives, investors and social enterprise leaders, we plan to extend YPO’s innovative spirit and provide inspiration to the wider community around the world.”


About YPO

YPO (Young Presidents’ Organization) is a not-for-profit, global network of young chief executives connected through the shared mission of becoming Better Leaders Through Lifelong Learning and Idea ExchangeTM. Founded in 1950, YPO today provides 23,000 peers and their families in more than 130 countries with access to unique experiences, extraordinary educational resources, access to alliances with leading institutions, and participation in specialised networks to support their business, community and personal leadership. Altogether, YPO member-run companies employ more than 15 million people around the world and generate USD6 trillion in annual revenues. For more information, visit YPO  and watch the Innovation Week video to learn more from some of the members leading Innovation Week.

jindalee@dminJohn Poynton AM to kickstart Global Innovation Week
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Startup School – Notes 2014

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Every year, Startup School invites amazing founders to tell their story. Here are doodle startup notes of the most actionable advice from each speaker. Enjoy, and good luck building!


Ron Conway / founder of SVAngel
Dande Ringelmann / founder of Indiegogo
Kevin Systrom / founder of Instagram
Reid Hoffman / founder of LinkedIn
Jan Koum & Jim Goetz / founder of WhatsApp
Eric Migicovsky / founder of Pebble
Andrew Mason / founder of Groupon/Detour
Michelle Zatlyn & Matthew Prince / founder of CloudFlare
Hosain Rahman / Founder of Jawbone



Startup Notes 2014 by Gregory Koberger

jindalee@dminStartup School – Notes 2014
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Cancer Took His Wife. Now He’s CEO Of One Of The Most Audacious Cancer Startups In Years

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Jeff Huber, who helped lead the development of Google’s ad software and its iconic maps application will be the chief executive of Grail, a startup that raised $100 million last month to create a blood test to detect cancer early, when it is treatable.

His reasons are scientific, but also personal. On November 10, Huber’s wife Laura, died of colon cancer. She left behind two children, ages 12 and 14. “That’s a big part of why I’m taking this up,” Huber says.

Before Laura became sick, Huber was already turning his focus toward biology. He missed the energy of his early days at Google GOOGL +2.17%, the early days of ads, of Google Apps, of Google Maps. Rather than jumping back into building a big system at Google, it felt to him that biology was going through a “phase change,” like the transition from analog to digital. The ability to get huge amounts of data–like DNA sequence–would allow researchers to understand complex biological systems. And he had the expertise to help with that revolution.


He joined the board of directors at Illumina ILMN +4.38%, the company that has pushed forward dramatic increase in scientists’ ability to read DNA code. He focused his own projects on life science.

Then cancer crept up on Laura. She was 46, super-healthy, super-fit and full of energy. She had no family history of cancer. She felt her energy ebb, he says, and at first the doctor just told her she was going through menopause. But the diagnosis didn’t seem to fit, and they decided on more tests. And endoscopy and colonoscopy were expected to turn up irritable bowel syndrome, or perhaps, at worst, Crohn’s disease, the inflammatory bowel disorder.

jindalee@dminCancer Took His Wife. Now He’s CEO Of One Of The Most Audacious Cancer Startups In Years
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Jim Breyer maintains his hold on the Midas crown

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Jim Breyer maintains his hold on the Midas crown this year thanks in large part to his firm’s early $12.7 million bet on a Harvard drop-out with a social network, a bet that turned into a once-in-a-generation investment. With an 11% stake, Accel Partners is Facebook’s second largest shareholder after Zuck (Breyer personally owns 1% and is on Facebook’s board). Breyer is excited about global disruptions happening at the “intersection of media, technology and entertainment, where fundamental content and intellectual property can be leveraged across many distribution models.”

jindalee@dminJim Breyer maintains his hold on the Midas crown
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Step into Rift

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Rift is unlike anything you’ve ever experienced. Whether you’re stepping into your favorite game, watching an immersive VR movie, jumping to a destination on the other side of the world, or just spending time with friends in VR, you’ll feel like you’re really there.


jindalee@dminStep into Rift
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Einstein’s Gravitational Waves Have Been Detected For The First Time

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Today, scientists announced that, for the first time in history, gravitational waves have been detected.

Gravitational waves are ripples in spacetime throughout the universe. What’s truly remarkable about this discovery is that Albert Einstein predicted the existence of gravitational waves 100 years ago, but scientists have never been able to detect them, until now.

The discovery came out of the U.S. based Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO). The mission of LIGO was to directly measure gravitational waves. In order to do that, LIGO scientists needed to construct the most precise measuring device the world had ever seen.

The LIGO project, which began in 1992, was the largest scientific investment the National Science Foundation (NSF) has ever made.

At an NSF press conference this morning, LIGO Laboratory Executive Director, David Reitze, said “This was a scientific moon shot. And we did it – we landed on the moon.”

LIGO consists of two 4 kilometer (2.5 mile) tunnels located in Louisiana and the state of Washington. Because gravitational waves stretch space in one direction and compress space in the other, LIGO was designed to measure changes in length across large land distances.

Stretching of spacetime by a gravitational wave / Image courtesy of Wikicommons

Stretching of spacetime by a gravitational wave / Image courtesy of Wikicommons

If they could detect a stretch of land in the LIGO tunnels in one direction and compression in the other, they could theoretically detect a gravitational wave.


Northern leg (x-arm) of LIGO interferometer on Hanford Reservation in Washington / Image courtesy of Wikicommons

Northern leg (x-arm) of LIGO interferometer on Hanford Reservation in Washington / Image courtesy of Wikicommons

The “ruler” that scientists used to measure these tunnel lengths was the speed of light. The speed of light is constant, so LIGO can determine the length of the tunnels by measuring the time it takes for a laser to bounce from one end of the tunnel to the other.

Gravitational waves are created when masses accelerate. Measured back on September 14th, 2015, the gravitational wave signal that the LIGO scientists detected matches the exact signal they’d expect from two merging black holes accelerating at half the speed of light.

It took half a year to announce this discovery because the LIGO scientists needed time to rule out every other potential source of that signal. Today, they are confident that it was produced by a gravitational wave.


“What’s really amazing about this is this is the first time that this kind of a system has ever been seen – a binary black hole merger – and it’s proof that binary black holes exist in the universe.” David Reitze

Reitze explained that the black holes that created this gravitational wave merged 1.3 billion years ago. It took that long for the wave to travel to the Earth.

Each of the black holes were 30 times the mass of the sun and were accelerating at half the speed of light when they collided into each other.

The ability to measure gravitational waves will open up an entirely new window for astronomy. Reitze explained that this will enable scientists to look at the universe in a new way.


“This is the first time the universe has spoken to us through gravitational waves. Up until now we’ve been deaf to gravitational waves. Today, we’re able to hear them.”  David Reitze

Today’s announcement is a milestone for the scientific community. LIGO proved that we now have the technology to detect gravitational waves. This capability, rather than the signal detected back in September, is the most important part of today. The LIGO scientists have created a new way to study the universe, which means the most exciting discoveries may lay ahead of us.

jindalee@dminEinstein’s Gravitational Waves Have Been Detected For The First Time
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Cred, Connections, Cash – The Workings of a Business Accelerator

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Join us in a city near you at Entrepreneur’s Accelerate Your Business event series kicking off Feb 23. View cities and dates »

Entrepreneurs tend to be stereotyped as headstrong individualists who think they know the best way to do everything. While confidence and determination may be necessary when launching a business, sometimes the most important thing an entrepreneur can do is to talk with others founders and get some advice from experienced CEOs. That’s where a business accelerator can come in.

A business accelerator is an intensive, immersion experience in which an entrepreneur moves into a shared office space with other new founders for a period of time to work under the tutelage of advisors and experts to grow their business rapidly. In exchange for the expert mentoring, exposure to investors and cash investment that entrepreneurs get from the accelerator, the entrepreneur gives a portion of his or her company’s equity to the partners of the program and for this reason is often called a “seed” or “venture” accelerator.

How Being At an Accelerator Helped Me Grow My Business

LocalBonus team (L to R): Manuela Odell, Community Manager; Derek Webster, CEO/Founder; Tim Saunders, CTO; Shaan Batra, Software Engineer. Photo credit: LocalBonus.

Accelerators are similar to business incubators, but the latter typically don’t take equity in the companies, according to the National Business Incubation Association in Athens, Ohio. Accelerator investors often offers between $18,000 and $25,000 in funding in exchange for between 4 percent and 8 percent of each company.

Related: How to Jump-Start Your Business With an Accelerator Program

Giving away a piece of your company to accelerate growth can be a big decision. What can make this trade-off so attractive? To help answer that question, we spoke with several recent participants in theEntrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator in New York City. Here are five of the program’s biggest benefits they described.

1. Networking.
An accelerator can help you meet the kind of investors, advisors and other entrepreneurs who are interested in helping nurture startups. Consider Derek Webster, the CEO and founder of LocalBonus, a “shop local” credit-card rewards program. Webster had “big company” experience in the credit-card industry, but he didn’t know the players in the NYC startup scene before participating in the accelerator, which takes an 8 percent equity stake in each founder’s company.

At the end of the program’s three months, says Webster, “I had a massive number of those one-one-one meetings, so that now I could turn to any one of those people and ask for help.”

2. Decision-making practice.
One common reason for failure as an entrepreneur is “death by indecision.” Being in the accelerator really forces you to make decisions, because you are always meeting with program directors, mentors and investors, says Jonathon Ende, founder and CEO of Bizodo, an online-document builder and management system. At 29, Ende is already on his 15th startup, so he knows a bit about the momentum of getting a company off the ground. “Every week you are checking in with someone. You want to make progress,” says Ende.

Related: Angel Investor Esther Dyson on the Traits of Rock Star Tech Leaders

3. Founder camaraderie.
Being around other founders all day every day is often comforting and educational. At the Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator, the CEOs had weekly meetings together, as did the chief technology officers. “When you are a new startup, there are all sorts of challenges that you face that are relatively common,” Webster says and having an opportunity to talk through those problems was helpful.

For example, LocalBonus CTO Tim Saunders has 14 years’ experience as a developer and so when fellow company founders were hiring technology developers, Saunders helped them interview and choose the most qualified candidates. “The day we all moved in felt like the first day of high school,” says Webster. But “very quickly we realized there was more to be gained by helping each other out than anything else.”

4. Testing assumptions.
“It is very easy to drink your own Kool Aid, if you will. You believe you have the best idea and the way you have to do it is the best way,” says Ende. But when you are constantly being forced to explain yourself, you end up re-evaluating your business on a regular basis. “Being able to question the assumptions that you have made, what people want, what you are building,” says Ende, results in your business changing for the better.

5. Street cred.
“The fact that you have already been through a filtering process” can give you — and your business — a leg up, says Webster. At ERA’s demo day, LocalBonus founders met investors they otherwise don’t think they would have had the opportunity to meet. Just to be in the program can be a mark of validation to the community of fellow entrepreneurs and investors.

Related: 9 Cities You Wouldn’t Think Are Hubs for Tech Startups

jindalee@dminCred, Connections, Cash – The Workings of a Business Accelerator
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