Applications close TODAY!.
Here's a few last minute hints from the AngelCube team.
Thanks for your interest in AngelCube, Melbourne's #1 startup accelerator. A big thank-you to all the teams that applied so far, and a friendly reminder to those still interested that applications close this Friday 23rd of March. Each startup that joins AngelCube will receive $20,000 seed capital, six months free office space with us at Inspire9, an intensive three month program, travel opportunities, pitch opportunities and of course mentorship from tech entrepreneurs & investors. You can read more about the program & terms here and view key dates here. Applying is simple. There's no powerpoint, no video pitches and no 5 year financial models required. Our advice with the form, is you have to be in it to win it. A lot of applicants have found this year's form daunting, but our advice is you shouldn't. Simply state what you're working on, try and provide as much evidence as possible e.g. links to products, your LinkedIN etc but don't be daunted by hard questions. What we're really after is great people, rather than great ideas, so don't feel we'll judge you only on your answers to the form. We know these aren't fun, but we'd encourage you to roll up your sleeves and give it your best. We'll spot the talent when we see it. Also too if you're out of town; don't be afraid to apply. We'll accept teams from all over the country provided you can relocate to Melbourne for 6 months. To apply fill outthis formand we'll notify you if you'd made it to the shortlist. Approximately 20 teams will make this stage, with up to 8 being chosen to participate in the program. Also, this year your application can be submitted any of our partners in the accelerato.rs network too. See here for details. For more information visit the website, email us anytime at email@example.com, or @ questions to us via twitter. We look forward to helping make Melbourne a better place to build a startup. Best of luck! Andrew Birt, Adrian Stone & Nathan Sampimon Co-founders Angel Cube Pty Ltd.
Application close this Friday - March
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I know how excited everyone is about Windows 8. There has been a massive increase in applications for BizSpark lately with great ideas that are targeting the Win 8 platform – so with that in mind I am very happy that I will be joining the team to visit 8 cities and bring the goodness that is Windows 8! I am going to be popping in to check out the ideas and see how I can help Windows 8 developers get their ideas to market through programs like BizSpark.
Melbourne Saturday, 31 March 2012
Sydney Saturday, 14 April 2012
Brisbane Saturday, 28 April 2012
Hobart Saturday, 12 May 2012
Canberra Saturday, 19 May 2012
Darwin Saturday, 26 May 2012
Adelaide Saturday, 2 June 2012
Perth Saturday, 16 June 2012
Pop over the LaLa Ninja for the post, links etc.
See you there!
Focus: How to make it as a Start-up in Queensland
In the lead up to the launch of our Microsoft Innovation Centre in Queensland we are hosting an industry forum with some of the most influential members and leaders of the Start-Up community in Queensland. Come and spend a lunchtime session on March 28th 2012 with our panel, focused on how to make it as a Start-Up in Queensland.
We are excited to announce our panel for this session which includes:
· Steve Baxter; Founder of River City Labs and Chief Technology Officer and Co-founder of PIPE Networks.
· Kyle McGinty; Executive of Digital and Technology Recruitment at Mitchell Lake and Organiser of Silicon Beach Brisbane.
· Christopher Tia; Principal at Lean Market Research, Organiser of Brisbane’s Lean Start-Up Group and former Business Incubation Manager at ilab incubator.
· Mark Bathie; Founder of Freegler.com and former Chief Technology Officer and Founder of Codesian.
The session will run as a Q&A forum with the opportunity for attendees to ask questions and generate discussion around what it takes to be a successful Start-Up company in Queensland. Registration is essential as there are limited places for this session.
Time and Date: 12pm-1:30pm on March 28th 2012.
Venue: The Queensland Microsoft Innovation Centre, Microsoft, Level 28, 400 George St, Brisbane 4000.
Registration closes on March 26th 2012 please contact Emily Easterby if you require more information.
For the 3rd year running, we are excited to be once again be hosting our annual event for Female Students considering a career in IT.
Microsoft is committed to ensuring that every student has the opportunity to reach their potential. Technology not only enables people, but can also be a fantastic career opportunity; especially for young women. However, while female workforce participation rates are equalising across a number of industries, the IT and Computing industry in particular is one that remains quite male-dominated.
On Monday 2nd April, students will be attending Microsoft IT-Girls, held at the Microsoft office in North Ryde, which is the headquarters of Microsoft Australia. Microsoft IT-Girls is designed to help young women gain a better understanding of a rewarding career in IT and Computing. The agenda will be packed with workshops where girls will get hands on with the latest technology, learn about technology courses offered at universities, and listen to first hand experiences from a range of Microsoft women, from interns to senior managers, and Microsoft Australia’s Managing Director, Pip Marlow – one of the most influential women in the Australian IT industry today.
On Monday 2nd April, students will be attending Microsoft IT-Girls, held at the Microsoft office in North Ryde, which is the headquarters of Microsoft Australia. Microsoft IT-Girls is designed to help young women gain a better understanding of a rewarding career in IT and Computing.
The agenda will be packed with workshops where girls will get hands on with the latest technology, learn about technology courses offered at universities, and listen to first hand experiences from a range of Microsoft women, from interns to senior managers, and Microsoft Australia’s Managing Director, Pip Marlow – one of the most influential women in the Australian IT industry today.
If you haven’t taken part in these events before, then you’ll be in a for a big surprise, as it shatters the image of IT as being a geeky, male-only preserve. As it’s thee weeks away, we’ve still got some spare spaces (we have set a maximum number of 15 attendees per school due to high demand). Oh, and it’s free BTW – you just need to sort your transport (North Ryde train station is right around the corner)
Contact Katrina Wong if you’d like to book seats for your school, or you want to find out any more.
Geoff McQueen is an Aussie Entrepreneur who recently made the shift to San Francisco to base his Startup AffinityLive, a startup that solves the problem of managing work for service-based companies. Affinity Live just got featured in TechCrunch: http://techcrunch.com/2012/02/29/affinitylive-debuts-to-help-businesses-manage-operations-in-the-cloud/ Geoff is also an investor and Mentor for Startmate.
I asked Geoff to contribute to our Picknic Startup Series of posts and he has given me permission to repost his recent post from his blog here on “Why Freemium Fails For Business Sales”. Some very important lessons in this post on what to consider when you decide on your business models.
Why Freemium Fails for Business Sales
I spent a few hours yesterday afternoon with the 2012 class of StartMate companies in our Sydney incubator. As someone who’s spent their career working in business to business technology, I was excited to see 3 of the 8 companies focusing very strongly on solving real pain points for businesses. Smart teams, real problems, solid technology – full of win.
While their target markets – property, film and IT management – were all very different, the common challenge faced by all enterprised focused startups who want to get big was the same - distribution. I know this only too well, as this is the thing we spend more time thinking about withAffinityLive right now than anything else.
One of the tempting ways to try and ramp up distribution is freemium. The theory goes, if I make my product free, I’ll remove a big barrier to adoption, word of mouth will have a stronger effect in driving user volume, and we’ll be able to show VCs a nice hockey stick graph that goes up and to the right.
My concern is that for almost all of the SaaS companies that target businesses, those who try freemium realize it was a mistake, hopefully before they kill their business. Freemium is almost always a very very bad strategy for selling to businesses.
In planning our AffinityLive sales and marketing model, I spent a lot of time talking to people who’ve been there and done that. Most of the conversations were very off the record, but one source I always point entrepreneurs to is the experience of the guys from Chargify. They originally had a freemium model, and the reasons they abandoned it – and the backlash they sustained in the process – were blogged about extensively and very honestly by founder David Hauser. It should be compulsory reading for any entrepreneur targeting the business market.
There’s a lot that has been written by people with a lot more experience in the matter, but just telling you not to do something as trendy as freemium isn’t going to cut it. We all want to see our products used, and most engineers start solving a problem for ulturistic reasons, which explains why freemium has so much appeal.
So, rather than just saying don’t do it, I’ve listed the four attributes that can make freemium a successful strategy for your business focused online service. You don’t need all 4, but you’ll want to have most of them baked into your product and business model to have any hope of making freemium work.
As I see it, here are the criteria to required to make freemium work for business (ie, non-consumer) facing product:
There’s a lot of attention and excitement around freemium today, even as the pioneers of freemium have actively moved away from it. Don’t be another engineer or entrepreneur who just wants to be popular – if you’re selling to businesses, avoid freemium unless you’re that small percentage of products where it actually works.
Last week I was fortunate enough to attend the inaugural DEMO Asia. DEMO is the launchpad for emerging technology and trends. This is a premier platform for the best and brightest companies throughout the continent seeking to launch their products in front of a global audience. It is also an excellent launchpad for companies throughout the world hoping to launch in the Asian marketplace.
At DEMO Asia, a hand-selected group of 72 companies from 14 countries made their public debut to global press, savvy investors, corporate acquirers, strategic partners and buyers. Adobe, Cisco, Google, Microsoft, Motorola, Symantec and Yahoo! have all acquired promising DEMO companies that have become household names today.
One of the recurring trends throughout the event was these three pieces of advice from many of the sages:
Think Bigger “We have enough Daily Deal sites” said one Sage – requesting teams to think differently and start to solve some of the bigger problems. Solver Harder Problems If your a programmer, technologist of engineer the call to action for all attendees was to look at the problems you want to solve and then step it up a notch to solve something harder. Be Disruptive This theme was also recurring, and perhaps because there was more than a couple of solutions all looking to solve the same problems. With so many pitches over the 2 days, and even outside demo Asia, the way to really shake up the market is to be disruptive!
“We have enough Daily Deal sites” said one Sage – requesting teams to think differently and start to solve some of the bigger problems.
If your a programmer, technologist of engineer the call to action for all attendees was to look at the problems you want to solve and then step it up a notch to solve something harder.
This theme was also recurring, and perhaps because there was more than a couple of solutions all looking to solve the same problems. With so many pitches over the 2 days, and even outside demo Asia, the way to really shake up the market is to be disruptive!
It seemed that there was some aspect of gamification, badges, awards and social competitiveness in almost all of the apps demoed across the 2 days. the features included virtual dollars and rewards, achievements and competing for badges, rewarding people for providing data on sales, or even helping someone to find a local Sushi shop. Alot of the focus was still on events, food, and social interaction. As the guys from GameMaki declared – Life is a game!
Some examples are Burpple, iKnow, George Mobile, Eyeland, Gamemaki, WildFire, Heyawanna.com, DropIcon, Sage.By, Squiryl. Teamie which applied the gamification for Students, urbancook.me had it for geo location based recipe searching and Tradespark used it to customise search results fro suppliers using your social network and recomendations www.tradesparq.com.
Another trend was the for development tools to allow developers to rapidly create and deploy applications and games for multiple platforms. Its seems that developers worldwide are struggling with the learning curves and challengers of multiple platforms to deploy applications. Two of my Favorites were http://www.gocta.io/ (who are looking for beta testers) and http://monaca.mobi/. Both use Cloud based IDE’s to produce runtimes to target multiple platforms.
Further to this there were several simple drag & drop style interfaces to help create mobile applications like http://www.cloudyrec.com/, but none that I saw were quite as advanced as the 2 above. The mobdis.com. team mentioned their goal was to make app development as easy as creating a powerpoint deck – this scares me a little! (I have seen too many really bad powerpoint presentations).
Adeo Ressi of Founders Institute pointed out that is doesn’t matter where you are located if your business idea is good the money will come to you. This was also apparent by the number of investors from outside the region attending the event, I met with VC’s from Vietnam, the UK, France & Germany as well as many from the US. Trends are showing that the Asia Pacific Region has strong growth and investors are ready to invest in good businesses in the area.
I was also interested to see the transition of both investors, mentors and entrepreneurs to the region with examples like Silicon Valley based VC firm Plug and Play setting up in Singapore as well as Vinnie Lauria of Golden Gate Ventures who has successfully exited several startups and is now teaming up with Singapore Chapter of Founders Institute Director Jeff Paine to establish a new fund based in Singapore.
Glaringly obvious in Singapore is how much the government is driving the success of the Entrepreneur community. The 2 major sponsors of the event were Government, the incubators and test beds that supported the event we also government funded. The government further supports the startups directly by covering 90% of insurance policies for companies that fund small businesses and also help to keep the interest rates low for those who do borrow. This is similar to the way the US government initially helped the Silicon Valley ecosystem get up & running – find some very interesting discussions here on the value of the government supporting a growing Startup ecosystem: http://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/6318.html. I am seeing small scale hints at activities like this in both Queensland with the MIC and in the Illawarra region with StartPad and iAccelerate programs kicking off there. I hope we start to see more of this type of investment in the growing Australian ecosystem soon!
Well of course the Australian BizSpark Startups Style Rocks and Tap It (see Below) were my favorites! But after them, my next best would have to include (in no particular order):
Splaype – an add in for Skype that allows you to engage with young children. I am not sure if its just because I would use the application or because I was meant to be Skyping my son at the very time the pitch was on or because of the many times I have seen him just walk away from whomever he is talking to on Skype because he gets bored? Anyway, all good reasons to have a tool like this to make the conversation more engaging on both sides! I downloaded it duringt he presentation and am looking forward to using it. I will be interested to see how it gets monetised.
SageBy – takes the idea that your time is valuable so if you are spending it waiting, why not use it to….Pay by waiting… aka. complete surveys! The survey market is already quite large with micro payments for your time – by gamifying this process and giving rewards, these guys have made the process that little more interesting. I signed up during their pitch – a sure sign that I liked it!
Sofshell – Think ShamWow for Shock absorbent materials! I just loved the pitch! It was absolutely the most entertaining of all of the pitches across the 2 days. There was smashed Watermelons, bowling balls dropped on iphones and the presenter even hammered his hand! Wow! Now I just need to think of a reason why I would need Shock Absorbent materials?
Chatworthy – I love the idea of generations from now, my Son, his children or his children’s children could use a tool like this to put together a snapshot of my trip to Singapore in 2012 and any related events. I look at a travel journal my mum kept for her trip to London 40 years ago and its incredibly hard to get a true picture of what it was like, the language used, the clothing worn, the technology available. I foresee more apps that use the masses of online data we are all tracking and turning them into something of value for future generations… I do wonder where they are storing all that data though and privacy issues about doing so…
CairnSmith although only a 90 second pitch I wanted to see more – a way to visualise & interact with 3d designs? Using Augmented reality, this is what the team at Sheer Industries has built! Imagine stepping into an empty room, but seeing it fully furnished with the use of Cairnsmith! Check them out at http://demo.asia/2012/demonstrators/sheer-industries-group/
Transcribe.me Last but not least – the First presentation at Demo Asia from our friends in New Zealand, which I am lucky enough to have a “sample” copy of the app installed on my phone! The app takes dictations and then utilising real humans they deliver a fast transcribed version of your audio to your inbox. These guys were smart, not only did they pitch their great idea well, but they “ate the dogfood” while at Demo Asia for everyone to see. They recorded each session at DemoAsia2012 to showcase the power of their applciation. This will get them ongoing brand awareness and as people look to replay their sessions and hear ones they missed, they will further build awareness. Clever work guys!
UNKNOWN: Note that there was one more that I really liked, but their demo’d application doesn't match the company names listed in the DemoAsia Presentators list, and it reminds me of a comment by one of the sages that its really important to present a consistent brand – even more so when there are 73 other companies competing to get their messaging across. I am not 100% sure I agree that the app name should match the company name etc as its important to build a business as well as a brand, but there needs to be a better solution – perhaps the DEMOAsia team needed to list both the company & app names?\
Overall, my other highlight was the chance to meet other Microsofties from the region, in particular the BizSpark Champs from New Zealand (Thiago Almeida), Singapore (Eugene Fabian) and Malaysia (Peter Lam). All of whom I have chatted to and emailed many times, but nothing is like meeting face to face! It was awesome to meet such energetic team mates who are all doing great things in their local startup communities! I look forward to meeting up with them again soon and if they are ever in your region be sure to day hi!
Microsoft BizSpark together with Founders Institute and Startup Weekend selected 10 companies from BizSpark across the Asia Pacific region to pitch in the incredibly short 90 second Alpha pitches – and all of them did amazingly well:
Agate Studio is a game developer company creating wide range of games in various platform, such as PC, Web Games, Social Games, Console, Feature Phone, and Smart Phone. Established in 2009, the company is growing quickly and became one of the biggest game developers in Indonesia with 60 crews. Now Agate is expanding the business, not only on game development, but also game academy and game publishing. With their spirit, Live the Fun Way, they are having fun in game business to make the world become much more happier world through games.
Appota.com (aka AppStore.vn), is a mobile-application-based and web-based mobile content store, to help Internet mobile users can download mobile content easily with OTA solution, cross-mobile-OS supported, easy to purchase and variety type of content (not only application). Try and enjoy from your mobile:http://appota.com/
Coworkify is a Facebook application that provides job marketplace and management tool for coworking spaces. To users, Coworkify is a tool to sell and buy small tasks from each other while discovering new people with different skill sets. To space owners, Coworkify is a platform that encourages people to explore new work style while accepting new members and helping the owners manage existing members. Coworkify is a Startup Weekend Kyoto 2011 grand prize winner and a DEMO Asia 2012 Alpha Pitch startup. http://coworkify.com
DocuBuzz leverages emerging mobile and cloud-computing technologies to build content-centered-collaboration tools that are dynamic and agile, yet simple enough to be adopted and fully-deployed by non technical end users. Taccto (www.taccto.com), our flagship application, allows users to interact in real time around their digital documents using modern tablet devices. The application also automatically records, indexes and archives all such interactions for easy future reference.
HobbyMash is a web app that helps hobbyists connect with both each other as well as relevant groups and events.
MobiPoint provides an online channel with a database of buyers (which shows who purchased which product) to retailers to increase customer loyalty. When a store joins MobiPoint, their customers get receipts with QR codes to scan using the MobiPoint application to get loyalty points. This eliminates the need to carry membership cards.
Rofarez Solutions is a web development company based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Their mission is to provide custom ‘cloud based’ business solutions to SMEs and leverage the power of cloud computing to help them achieve their business goals via a ‘Software as a Service’ (SaaS) model. Their product DappleWorks, is currently under a BETA release and is scheduled to go into production in 2nd Quarter 2012. Product website: http://www.dappleworks.com
StyleRocks is a revolutionary, world-first website where you design your own jewellery, exactly as you want it, for between AUD100-AUD400. By changing the traditional way people design and purchase jewellery, it's bringing jewellery customisation to the masses. Partnership with Australia’s largest wholesale jewellery manufacturer means quality is assured, while enabling savings to be passed on to the customer. Purchase from StyleRocks is motivated by either commercial occasions or the personal ones, such as anniversaries or birthdays.
Tapit was founded in March 2011 and is headquartered in Sydney, Australia. Our vision is to revolutionize the way people use their mobile phones by simplifying the delivery of content using NFC as the enabler. Tapit works with innovative agencies, brands, handset manufacturers and carriers to bring this vision to life.
TranscribeMe converts voice to text, to allow our customers to easily share and search through valuable voice recordings. The voice-to-text conversion of complex audio is done perfectly by our team of crowd-sourced expert transcribers, delivering vastly higher quality results than automated speech recognition, at a fraction of the cost of traditional transcription services. The TranscribeMe smartphone app makes it easy, fast and affordable for our customers to record and transcribe meetings, interviews and dictation.