Today I am honoured to have a guest post that s a little bit different. It’s from a female non technical founder, who shares her experiences as a “Mumpreneur” as she worked towards launching her Business Art Buds. I met Anna when I presented at the Social Media Women event last year, and am particularly honoured to see some of the tips I gave to the attendees beings ones that she has also taken on board & mention in her list below.
Anna mentions some great places to look for support/events/advice in the Startup community here in Australia. In addition to those she mentions I always suggest Startups join some of the great online communities we have here in Australia to Support startups such as http://www.the-entourage.com.au and the online discussion group: http://groups.google.com/group/silicon-beach-australia - these are a fantastic way to connect with other local startups and hear about upcoming events. The Anthill Online Magazine is also a great resource for keeping up to date & getting great tips for your business: http://anthillonline.com/ and www.TheFetch.org is a great source of all the events happening in your local city.
Thanks Anna for sharing your personal experience and lessons learnt – I hope everyone enjoys reading this as much as I did – and be sure to check out http://shop.artbuds.com/ to pick out some amazing artwork for the special little people in your life!
I think running a start up business is like having a baby. There's a lot of build up, preparation, anticipation and excitement until the actual birth/launch. Hopefully a beautiful afterglow and sense of achievement follows. Then there are lots of compromises, troubleshooting, lack of sleep and stress but somehow love and passion keep you going. The rewards do feel worth it if you are consistently nurturing and dedicated.
Yep, it’s definitely a real up and down path, full of challenges and accomplishments. There is a lot of advice and support available, but in reality nothing is set in stone. You take bits and pieces of information from a range of sources and you learn as you go. Common sense also goes a long way…
So as a mother and start-up entrepreneur of ArtBuds – Contemporary Art for Kids, (http://shop.artbuds.com/) I’d like to share my experiences of running an online business with a toddler in tow.
Let's start with the 'before' baby and running a business persona. I have always thought of myself as a great multi-tasker and action woman. If I had a goal I would generally achieve it. This included realising my teenage dream of living in Paris, to leaving my comfortable life and long term job to move interstate, to running my own brand insights consultancy whilst undertaking a Masters in Art Therapy. I also moved to Madrid with my Spanish husband and created a job for myself in a market research agency, despite not speaking Spanish or having a professional European network.
But this was all in my own time, in my own office where I had choices to work in silence or with music, have lunch or work through, stop and start at my own pace. Even working within the constraints of professional deadlines doesn’t quite prepare you for skills required to negotiate nap time, the level of patience for toilet training, the anger management needed when dark red lipstick is applied to cream carpet, texta on the walls…Now I have to multi-task around my toddler’s needs and routine which is generally much more noisy and unpredictable than you can ever plan around.
But just as kids are not robots, the online world moves so rapidly that we have to be agile and keep abreast of the trends, or more importantly create the trends.
My lesson: Giving birth is life changing, so my life and attitudes have also had to change. Whilst being goal oriented is necessary, it can be a bit rigid. It feels more liberating and productive to let go of what “used to be”, and focus on the now. I prefer to live in the present and adopt a broader forward thinking approach.
Although I would love my business to be further along its life cycle, it’s still really in the early stages. In the short 5 months since launch we’ve been tackling SEO and all its permutations, social media, content creation, video production, product development, PR and marketing angles, networking, market research and partnership opportunities.
There’s still so much to learn, and I think it’s realistic to say the business is at the same developmental stage as my toddler. Toilet training! It's a bit daunting, anxiety provoking, potentially a bit complex but a necessary and natural step we need to master so we can mature and advance. It really is time based and could take a few weeks or months, but we'll move onto the next stage when the time is right.
My lesson: It's all about being adaptable and flexible and dealing with the situation at hand, which sometimes changes tack without warning. Rather than getting anxious it’s also about being patient and remembering to celebrate the small steps that will help to maintain momentum when it gets a bit overwhelming.
My daughter goes to pre-school 5 days/fortnight. This roughly equals 10-15 hours of quality block time to work, sans any noise and toddlerville antics. Except for public holidays, school holidays or if she is sick, where those 10 hours a week can easily dwindle to no hours of clean lovely quiet time.
My priority has always been to put my daughter's needs first, otherwise why be a parent and why work from home to be with her? This is easier said than done! I am also conscious not to overuse the TV as a babysitter... so it's always a fine line providing a quality parenting environment and getting my work done to a decent level.
My lesson: Aim to work more efficiently and smarter not longer more stressful hours. It's taken a while to really learn this, and remains an ongoing challenge.
Whilst my husband and I take responsibility for all the important aspects of our daughter’s development and wellbeing she also spends time absorbing knowledge and new experiences from various people. She goes to pre-school, my mother helps out and on occasion we get in a babysitter or friend in, so we can remember why we got married in the first place.
Similarly, as it was advised to me early on, it's best to keep on top of all the important aspects of the business, and get support for the smaller tasks. I now delegate some tasks to a small team of uni students, but the important parts, like the finances and customer contact I retain direct responsibility.
My lesson: Don’t be too precious, delegate and get help wherever possible, so I can focus on the key aspects of the business. It’s also nice to feel like part of a team.
It is amazing how innately babies and children are programmed to know what to do. When my daughter was about 5 months old she started to rock on all fours. She would do this movement every night for about 2 months, avoiding sleep at the excitement of preparing her little body for the bigger reward – crawling, then walking.
It's so easy to have high expectations with the immediacy of social media. Through social media, you may have great buzz one day but the next day it’s another story receiving attention. My mentor warned me about this at our very first meeting. There might be spikes of interest along the way, but it’s about finding strategies that build and sustain these levels of interest.
My lesson: Keep focused on creative ways to build online marketing strategies that incorporate social media, but do not only rely on this for PR and marketing traction.
As a qualitative researcher I've spent many years talking to consumers, and advising companies about their brands, products and services. Think I could do this for myself? No way! It's too personal, I'm too close to it and I don't have the skills or expertise at this early stage.
My lesson: Get a mentor! You don't need to do it all, there are lots of experienced people who can help you. PushStart are fantastic and free.
I believe the ‘supermum’ ideal is a farce, no matter how many successful mothers appear to “have it all”. I’m still unsure what that means…but it’s just not possible to give quality parenting time, focused business time, not to mention partner time, domestic affairs and general life - without something giving way.
It’s almost a no-brainer that to fit in quality time why not work at night after the kids are in bed, or at obscenely pre-dawn hours, to get it all done. Well I did do this, for about three months. Then I got really sick with a terrible virus but still kept trying to do it all, until I eventually broke my big toe and got mouth ulcers and infected gums. Charming. Then under strict medical orders I had to rest for 2 weeks without doing anything, or risk serious illness…a really excellent situation for parenting and running a business.
My lesson: Make health a priority, without feeling guilty for taking time out to exercise and unwind. It provides crucial headspace and clarity. Some of my best ideas are from walking along the beach in the morning. It’s so obvious but also quite difficult to remember and action this.
As a new mother, when your baby cries a lot it can feel really debilitating. With sleep deprivation and no previous experience it can sometimes be hard to cope. Fortunately in Australia there are so many great organisations, nurses, doctors that can help during this time. Unfortunately, many mothers aren’t aware of them, or don’t want to appear helpless and suffer unnecessarily.
Similarly, as a new start-up with no previous experience, it’s impossible to glide along without any hiccups. There are so many organisations and experts willing and ready to offer support, and generally at no cost. It can also get overwhelming and sometimes isolating if you’re working from home. Reaching out to some of the numerous experts and general start up community by attending industry events and meetings can be so enriching and normalizing. Some great (Sydney based) ones include:
My Lesson: Get out to as many networking events as possible. You meet inspiring people, make great contacts, learn a lot and/or feel reassured you’re on the right track, and make potential friends in a similar situation. It feels good to get out and wear some heels too!
This is the trickiest one of all for me. Drawing from my art therapy experience (http://shop.artbuds.com/pages/meet-our-team), transference and counter transference (http://apt.rcpsych.org/content/6/1/57.full) is evident in any relationship we encounter. It's impossible not to get stressed as a parent, or running your own business, but projecting this anxiety, anger and potentially resentment onto a little person can have serious long-term ramifications. Their formative years are so crucial to shaping how they behave and who they become. I am reminded by the expression, "give me a child till he is 7 and I'll give you the man".
Just in case I lose my way, as can easily happen being a first time mum and new to online start-ups, my daughter guides me. Recently I had a lot of tasks to complete. I was feeling under pressure and my patience was being tested. I did many things that I shouldn't have: allowing too much time watching Cinderella and other Disney films, and losing my temper too often. Putting all this together - she said she was Cinderella and I was the stepmother! (NB: no offence to blended family stepparents).
My lesson: I love my business, but my daughter will always remain my best creation. Getting this into perspective has really allowed me to be a better mother and strive towards more efficient time management. As Zappos entrepreneur and motivational guru Tony Hsieh (http://about.zappos.com/meet-our-monkeys/tony-hsieh-ceo) advocates, find the happiness medium and success will follow. I know I’m on the right track when my daughter says, “Mum, you’re not the stepmother anymore, you’re the mummy and I love you”.
Brisbane BizSpark EXPRESSWAY Network Forum
21st November 2012
Microsoft Innovation Centre
EXPRESSWAY Network forum is a lunchtime forum for board and senior management of innovative SMEs to share ideas, and learn from industry experts about disciplines essential to commercial success. The November BizSpark EXPRESSWAY Network forum will feature a key note address from Ruth Drinkwater, CEO of Australian Association of Angel Investors, followed by a Q&A session addressing: - Managing capital in the business - Different sources of capital and how to get it - The critical pitchThe EXPRESSWAY member business case brief for this forum will be Mexia. EXPRESSWAY Network forums will become a regular feature at the Microsoft Innovation Centre and other innovation centres and commercial incubators acrossQueensland.
Date: Wednesday 21st November 2012
Time: 11:30am- 1:30pm
Venue: QMIC, Level 28, 400 George St, Brisbane
Numbers for this event are strictly limited.
Please click here to register. For more information, please contact email@example.com
Convict Interactive is an Independent Game Development Studio based in Wollongong, Australia. Each full-time member is either a current student or ex-student of the University of Wollongong (UoW). We are all very passionate about creating video games that concentrate on high quality gameplay.
We are currently working on a title for PC called Triangle Man. Triangle Man is an exciting 2D punishment platformer that challenges the problem solving and multitasking skills of players. The aim is to get the main character (a triangle) to the end of each level without dying. This is made difficult by enemies and obstacles along the way. The twist is that most levels involve you controlling more than one Triangle Man at once!
In 2009, the University of Wollongong sponsored 6 of its students to go to a 48-Hour Game Making Challenge in Brisbane. The 48-Hour Game Making Challenge (making-games.net/48/) is a competition where teams are ‘locked’ in a room for 48 hours and challenged to make a game based on 3 key words. For 2009, those words were: Storm, Giant, and Love.
Using these 3 words we came up with a game that we named High Hopes. The story revolves around two girls racing and competing to save their (cheating) boyfriend who was taken high up into the lair of a giant. Each player must navigate their way up clouds and avoid the giant’s falling cooking utensils in order to save the boy they love. The players are also able to fight by slapping and throwing shoes at each other in order to slow the other players progress.
When the 48 hours were up we were very happy with the game that we had produced. Apparently the judges were impressed too as they decided to give us the Grand Prize for the event! When we got back to Wollongong we were approached by several individuals who told us that we should start our own business developing video games. And so Convict Interactive was born.
We all love the area - it is a beautiful place to live and work and (importantly) expenses are much lower than in Sydney. The University of Wollongong is located quite close by and produces talented graduates who we can recruit if we need to expand.
Wollongong is called “The City of Innovation” which is perfect for a startup tech company. We are only an hour and a half from Sydney so we can travel there easily for events and other engagements.
In 2009, after forming the company, we began to develop a title called Planetarians for the Xbox Live Indie Games channel. Planetarians is a fast-paced 2D side-shooter played in a 3D environment where players can shoot down other aliens around a series of planets. The game is both single-player and multiplayer (local only). The game world incorporates a real-time physics system, allowing the player to orbit rockets around a planet or even put themselves into orbit around a moon.
Planetarians was ultimately shelved as we decided that the projected revenue for the game would not come close to covering the development costs. This was mainly due to the platform we targeted and the large scope of the game. Perhaps one day when the time is right we can pick the project up again.
At the end of 2011, we released a title for the Xbox Live Indie Games channel called Convict Minigames. This title was a collection of 5 small games which were designed to give the player an enjoyable casual experience. We thought the idea was solid and playtesting with our friends yielded positive results.
Unfortunately, Convict Minigames was not very well received for several reasons, the most important of which was that it was priced too high. Based on feedback from our playtesters, we decided to price the title at $3. Upon release of the game, all reviewers indicated that they would only be inclined to buy the game if it cost $1. Once the price is set for an XBLIG game then it cannot be changed for 90, so we were forced to allow the price to remain at $3 until it was far too late to be able to capitalize on the title being ‘new’. This meant that the game sold poorly and was not able to recover once the price was lowered.
But was the title a failure? In terms of sales it was a failure. In terms of experience the title was a major success. From this title we learnt a lot about self publishing, marketing, how to better structure our playtesting, what our strengths & weaknesses are, and how to better prepare ourselves for our next project.
The Entrepreneurs Club is a part of the University of Wollongong and was part of an initiative to help startups based in the Wollongong area. Through the eClub we have been accepted into a local incubator aimed at tech startups.
Game Connect Asia Pacific (GCAP) 2011 was an amazing experience. It is a conference that is run annually and is primarily aimed towards Australian Game Developers. During the 2011 conference it focused heavily on Independent Games Developers within Australia - particularly startups like ourselves.
The conference was an amazing experience that helped us out in a lot of ways. The sessions we attended were informative and covered a wide range of game development and publishing topics; we made a large number of contacts within the industry and we introduced our brand quite successfully.
The Game Developers Conference (GDC) is a yearly event targeted to game developers throughout the world. It is a bigger, international version of GCAP. This was a great opportunity to make ourselves known outside Australia - as well as to learn from the best in the industry.
Networking is really important. You won’t get anywhere if no one knows about you or your product. Through our networking endeavours we have made valuable contacts with most of the Australian games industry due to our heavy involvement with the IGDA (International Game Developers Association).
We’ve also discovered that help is everywhere, all you need to do is ask for it. There are people out there who want to help out startups such as yourself - however they need to know that you exist! You need to put yourself out there and let them know who you are. Tell them the areas that you are good at and the areas you need help with. You may find that they offer to help you out before you even ask.
There are incubator programs all over the world which are designed to help entrepreneurs, many of them providing a number of services either for free or at a discounted rate. For example, we’re part of an incubator program called StartPad which is based in Wollongong, NSW Australia. They’ve helped us out with office space, getting into contact with law firms, accountants, etc. They even set up discounts with some of these services, and it all only costs $30 per desk. It’s an unbelievable deal that has already helped us out immensely in the two months that we’ve been a part of the program.
But of course, that isn’t enough. You have to be incredibly motivated and passionate about what you want to start up. Whether you want to make video games, develop a new type of solar panel, etc. you must be willing to put in at least 110% of your time to accomplish your goal. In our experience so far, there is nothing harder than trying to start up your own company, but there also isn’t anything as exciting and rewarding.
You also need to develop a 5 year plan. Determine where you want to take the company in those five years and what stages you want the company to be at the end of each year. This is a very important step to take as it not only gives you focus, but it makes it clearer to others where you plan on taking the company. This is especially important if you plan on trying to find investors.
If you have a project that you believe is going to fail, then find a new project. Quite often, it’s better to find a new project than to try and continue on with a project that is unlikely to live up to your initial expectations. We learnt this the hard way when we were working on Planetarians. Planetarians is a good game, however the idea is far too large for our current resources and as such we spent too much time developing it which delayed our advancement as a company.
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.
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.
I was fortunate enough to attend the Global Entrepreneur Acceleration Program (GEAP) in Bilbao Spain a few months ago and one of the most amazing things that came out of the event was the calibre of the mentors that were brought in to talk to the participants. Doug Solomon gave a session on the importance of Design Thinking for Startups. IDEO (pronounced “eye-dee-oh”) is an award-winning global design firm that takes a human-centered, design-based approach to helping organizations in the public and private sectors innovate and grow. Design Thinking is a core covenant of their work. Doug was kind enough to take some tome out to summarise the key parts of his session at GEAP in this quick little interview so that I could share it with you all.
If you haven't heard of this concept of Design Thinking, as per their website, I have included below how the team at IDEO describe Design Thinking:
“Design thinking is a human-centered approach to innovation that draws from the designer's toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success.” —Tim Brown, president and CEO Thinking like a designer can transform the way organizations develop products, services, processes, and strategy. This approach, which IDEO calls design thinking, brings together what is desirable from a human point of view with what is technologically feasible and economically viable. It also allows people who aren’t trained as designers to use creative tools to address a vast range of challenges. Design thinking is a deeply human process that taps into abilities we all have but get overlooked by more conventional problem-solving practices. It relies on our ability to be intuitive, to recognize patterns, to construct ideas that are emotionally meaningful as well as functional, and to express ourselves through means beyond words or symbols. Nobody wants to run an organization on feeling, intuition, and inspiration, but an over-reliance on the rational and the analytical can be just as risky. Design thinking provides an integrated third way. The design thinking process is best thought of as a system of overlapping spaces rather than a sequence of orderly steps. There are three spaces to keep in mind: inspiration, ideation, and implementation. Inspiration is the problem or opportunity that motivates the search for solutions. Ideation is the process of generating, developing, and testing ideas. Implementation is the path that leads from the project stage into people’s lives. Under this system, IDEO uses both analytical tools and generative techniques to help clients see how their new or existing operations could look in the future — and build road maps for getting there. Our methods include business model prototyping, data visualization, innovation strategy, organizational design, qualitative and quantitative research, and IP liberation. All of IDEO’s work is done in consideration of the capabilities of our clients and the needs of their customers. As we iterate toward a final solution, we assess and reassess our designs. Our goal is to deliver appropriate, actionable, and tangible strategies. The result: new, innovative avenues for growth that are grounded in business viability and market desirability.
“Design thinking is a human-centered approach to innovation that draws from the designer's toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success.” —Tim Brown, president and CEO
Thinking like a designer can transform the way organizations develop products, services, processes, and strategy. This approach, which IDEO calls design thinking, brings together what is desirable from a human point of view with what is technologically feasible and economically viable. It also allows people who aren’t trained as designers to use creative tools to address a vast range of challenges.
Design thinking is a deeply human process that taps into abilities we all have but get overlooked by more conventional problem-solving practices. It relies on our ability to be intuitive, to recognize patterns, to construct ideas that are emotionally meaningful as well as functional, and to express ourselves through means beyond words or symbols. Nobody wants to run an organization on feeling, intuition, and inspiration, but an over-reliance on the rational and the analytical can be just as risky. Design thinking provides an integrated third way.
The design thinking process is best thought of as a system of overlapping spaces rather than a sequence of orderly steps. There are three spaces to keep in mind: inspiration, ideation, and implementation. Inspiration is the problem or opportunity that motivates the search for solutions. Ideation is the process of generating, developing, and testing ideas. Implementation is the path that leads from the project stage into people’s lives.
Under this system, IDEO uses both analytical tools and generative techniques to help clients see how their new or existing operations could look in the future — and build road maps for getting there. Our methods include business model prototyping, data visualization, innovation strategy, organizational design, qualitative and quantitative research, and IP liberation.
All of IDEO’s work is done in consideration of the capabilities of our clients and the needs of their customers. As we iterate toward a final solution, we assess and reassess our designs. Our goal is to deliver appropriate, actionable, and tangible strategies. The result: new, innovative avenues for growth that are grounded in business viability and market desirability.
Thanks again to Doug for sharing this with me – I hope you all enjoy the video!
Here is the second guest post from the IP lawyer team at Wrays – we hope you are enjoying the series – please do let us know if you have any questions or feedback in the comments below:
The ongoing discussion around patent trolls and the patentability of software is now a much hyped issue in the IT industry. The well-publicised Apple-versus-Samsung patent war has re-awakened an old debate about patent trolls preventing legitimate users from utilising patented inventions.
Amongst all this debate, what has not been considered are Australia's provisions for compulsory licenses? This mechanism is already in place to balance a patentee's incentives to innovate with the public's interest in accessing patented new technology.
In line with recent changes to Australia's intellectual property laws, the Productivity Commission has been commissioned to inquire into whether our provisions for the compulsory licensing of patents should be changed. The Productivity Commission is the Australian Government's independent research and advisory body on economic, social, and environmental issues affecting the welfare of Australians. Many expect the Productivity Commission to use this opportunity to suggest a middle ground between incentives to innovate and the public's access to technology. The findings of the Commission could significantly increase the public's access to inventions currently protected by patents.
Only a patent holder has the right to legally produce and sell their patented invention, import it and/or licence it to a commercial partner. However, there is no requirement for a patent holder to use the invention. Even if they do not use the invention, they can still prevent anyone else from using it.
In situations where a patentee is not properly making use of the patented invention, Australian law provides the public with the option of a "compulsory license". Any person may apply to the Federal Court for a compulsory license after three years from the date when the patent was granted. However, in order to attain a compulsory license, a series of tests must be met. The manner in which the tests are currently framed means that it is very difficult in a practical sense to convince the court that a compulsory license should be granted.
Importantly, compulsory licenses are not free. A licensee must still pay a licence fee. The parties must come to an agreement on how much the patentee should be paid or the court will decide this for them. Often this will be either equal to the market rate, or slightly less than the market rate.
A compulsory license is granted for the "public good", and only in specific circumstances. Moreover, a court can revoke the compulsory license where the circumstances which justified it cease to exist. A compulsory license cannot be exclusive. This means that the courts can grant more than one compulsory license for the same patented invention.
To our knowledge, no compulsory licenses have ever been granted in Australia. While attempts have been made, they were not successful. The Productivity Commission inquiry will be looking into whether this situation should be changed.
How does this affect you?
We expect the Productivity Commission to recommend that our compulsory licensing provisions be simplified.
If the compulsory licensing provisions are simplified, it may become much easier for IT start-ups to access patented IT inventions for a reasonable licence fee. This would reduce the ability of patent trolls to threaten small IT start-ups based on patents for inventions that are not being used in Australia.
If you are a patent holder, such changes could mean that you may need to ensure that you are commercialising and/or using the invention that you have patented in Australia.
If you feel strongly about this issue, you have an opportunity to provide your submissions to the Productivity Commission. Submissions can be made at any time up to 28 September 2012 (http://www.pc.gov.au/projects/inquiry/patents/make-submission). If you are interested in making submissions and would like to discuss this area of law further, please feel free to contact Joe Seisdedos (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Vicky Longshaw (email@example.com).
The Queensland Microsoft Innovation Centre
We would like to invite you to the official launch of the Queensland Microsoft Innovation Centre. This exciting and new initiative aims to enable and inspire new start-ups in Queensland, ultimately growing the local software ecosystem.
The Honourable Ros Bates MP, Minister for Science, Information Technology, Innovation and the Arts will officially launch the opening of our Innovation Centre. Special guests on the evening include our State Director, Sharon Schoenborn, representatives from Microsoft business partners, the Queensland Government, and members of the Queensland start-up community, including:
Register today to learn how this project enables innovation by providing skills, business development, networking opportunities and resources through the Bizspark programs for start-ups, students, developers and our Queensland partners.
Date: Tuesday 22nd May 2012 Time: 5:30pm for a 6:00pm Start. Location: Microsoft Office, Level 28, 400 George Street, Brisbane–See Map
Registration:Register Here and if you have any issues please contact us.
We hope you are able to join us and look forward to seeing you at the launch!
Regards, Microsoft Australia
Did you hear the latest news about Windows Azure? We have just unveiled the biggest update to Windows Azure since its release, including new Windows Azure services: Web Sites, Virtual Machines, and Media Services! We have continued to focus on open source development tools and technologies, even enabling Linux to run on the Windows Azure Platform. We invite you to try our cloud platform for the first time, or give it a second look if you have tried it before.
I know some of you will be very excited about the below new additions as they are features you have asked about!
Check out more details & get ready for your hands-on experience of our newest services now:
Web Sites TRY NOW
Get started for free using shared instances and scale as you go using reserved instances for greater isolation and performance. Ten shared-instance websites are free for one year, and any reserved instances that you use are significantly discounted during preview. Please click here for full details.
Virtual Machines & Virtual Network TRY NOW
Virtual Machines gives you application mobility so you can move your existing applications back and forth between on-premises and the cloud. Then, create your own virtual private network (VPN) in Windows Azure and securely connect your VMs to on-premises infrastructure. Virtual Network is available at no charge during preview, while Virtual Machines is significantly discounted off of our current compute rates during preview. Please click here for full details.
Media Services TRY NOW
Media Services offers the flexibility, scalability, and reliability of a cloud service to handle high-quality media experiences for a global audience. Media Services is free during preview, but is limited to 1 terabyte of data processing per month. Please click here for full details.
In addition to these new features, we are previewing an updated and streamlined HTML5-based Management Portal, which you can access from multiple platforms, browsers, and devices.
To get all of the news on the latest release of Windows Azure, visit the Windows Azure blog—and give us your feedback. To see Windows Azure in action, watch Scott Guthrie’s keynote address from the Meet Windows Azure Event.
There are also the new services available:
Locally Redundant Storage. By default, storage accounts are set up to be geographically redundant. Customers that do not require this additional level of durability now can turn off Geo Redundancy and obtain significant savings (for example, a savings of over 25% based on our standard Pay-As-You-Go rates). Locally Redundant Storage is still highly durable, with multiple replicas stored within the same sub-region.
SQL Reporting. SQL Reporting is a new business intelligence service that allows you to publish reports to the cloud or embed reports directly within on-premises applications. The service will be offered at no charge for billing periods beginning prior to August 1, 2012. Thereafter, there will be a charge per hour per reporting instance. Each reporting-instance hour enables a customer to generate up to 200 reports. Please click here to view the standard Pay-As-You-Go rates for SQL Reporting.
For full details on pricing of all our services, visit our new Pricing Overview webpage,.
We hope you are excited about the new features and updated services of Windows Azure for your cloud development. Enjoy!
You can register to learn more at one of our upcoming events:
Date: 19th June 2012
Time: 9am – 5pm
Location: University of NSW Matthews Theatre A Botany Street Gate 11RandwickNew South Wales 2031 Australia
Register for Sydney Windows Azure DevCamp.
Date: 18-19th June 2012 Time: 9am – 5pm Location: Microsoft Office Melbourne 4 Freshwater Place, Southbank Melbourne
Date: 28th - 29th June 2012 Time: 9am – 5pm Location: Microsoft Office Sydney 1 Epping Rd North Ryde
Date: 21st – 22nd June 2012
Time: 9am – 5pm
Location: Microsoft Office Brisbane Level 28, 400 George St Brisbane
The first inaugural Microsoft BizSpark Asia Pacific (APAC) Summit is happening in Sydney on Tuesday, 10th July 2012 at Ballroom B, Sydney Convention Centre, Darling Harbour. Registration and full details of the agenda and speakers a http://www.microsoft.com/BizSpark/NewsAndEvents/APACSummit2012.aspx.
This one-day summit will connect you with leaders in the entrepreneurial community across the Asia Pacific region – start-ups, investors, government representatives, and journalists. The summit, moderated by James Tuckerman, Editor of Anthill Online, provides a unique platform to debate the issues facing tech entrepreneurs in the APAC region, generate your curiosity as we discuss the key elements on the journey from innovative minds to a market validated idea as well as see a handful of carefully selected start-ups representing the best new tech businesses in the region today.
The Summit agenda has been co-created with an advisory panel of investors and BizSpark start-ups from our community. As well as ensuring plenty of time to network, our day includes:
This event is Invitation Only so please contact your BizSpark Network Partner for invitation codes.
After great feedback from our first Sydney BizSpark Networking Meetup, great response to nest Monday's Melbourne BizSpark Networking Meetup with Domenic Carosa, I am now excited to confirm the details for Brisbane’s first BizSpark Networking Meetup:
On June 20th 2012 we are kicking off our first Brisbane BizSpark Lunch. Our BizSpark Lunches will form part of the Queensland Microsoft Innovation Centre, and will be held monthly with guest speakers from the start-up community here in Queensland. These will provide an opportunity not only to hear from our guest speaker but to provide a platform for discussion and networking.
We are pleased to announce our first guest speaker for the year is Colin Kinner. Colin is Managing Director of specialist tech industry consultancy firm Spike Innovation, and also a mentor and Innovation Evangelist at River City Labs, a startup co-working space in Fortitude Valley.
Colin has a wealth of commercial expertise is the startup space, having run a successful startup incubator and coached and mentored many founders of technology-based businesses over the last fifteen years in Australia and the UK. He is widely regarded as a leader in the Brisbane startup community, and is a regular speaker and contributor to the local startup scene.
Colin is extremely well placed to understand the challenges faced by aspiring entrepreneurs, and at this lunch will give a snapshot of the support available to startups in Queensland. He will also provide some insights on the importance of a good mentor - and how and where to find one.
We hope you can join us for our first Brisbane BizSpark Lunch and even if you are not yet part of our BizSpark Program, as a start-up in Queensland we encourage you to join us.
Date: 20th June 2012
Location: North Stradbroke Island Room, Microsoft, Level 28, 400 George St, Brisbane, 4000
Cost: Free and Lunch is provided!
For more information contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
This is the first in our planned series of upcoming guest posts to help answer common questions for startups. Thanks to Joe & the Team at Wrays, I am very happy to share the first article today on the US Apple v Samsung patent infringement verdict – and what does it mean for Android and Windows 8 developers?
Last Friday, US time, a jury in a San Jose, California courtroom awarded Apple damages of close to US$1.05 billion, finding that Samsung had infringed a series of patents owned by Apple. The patents related to various aspects of the iPhone/iPad interface, including the "pinch and zoom" functionality and the "bounceback" functionality. Given what's at stake in this battle, it's highly likely that Samsung will appeal the decision, resulting in years of further litigation. In the meantime, the decision should make all developers think carefully about the features they are incorporating into their apps. In the short term, Apple is too focussed on Samsung to worry about the smaller players in the marketplace. However, if Apple wins the appeal, it's highly likely that they will turn their attention to other phone and tablet manufacturers. Eventually, this attention may drill down to app developers, particularly those who develop across a number of platforms. Even if Apple does not directly target app developers, if smartphone and tablet manufacturers are required to make fundamental changes to their operating systems, this may in turn require developers to change the way their apps operate, resulting in extra cost and the potential for lost sales. The trick in these situations is to be alert but not alarmed - apologies to Australians who may groan at the sight of this cliché! The Apple and Samsung lawsuit will continue to play out across a number of courtrooms in a number of countries for (possibly) many years to come. It's unclear how this decision will play out over the longer term, as uncertainty will remain until the appeal is heard and decided. So there is no need to suddenly abandon development or turn everything in your start-up upside down. It would be smart, however, to think about how (and how quickly) you can re-engineer your apps to avoid using the inventions owned by Apple, should the need arise. As with any start-up, you should be prepared to pivot depending on how the business and technical climate changes. As patents become more important in the smartphone and tablet industries, you will also need to be more aware of legal issues around patents. If you require any advice, please feel free to contact Joe Seisdedos at Wrays (email@example.com).
OK, I realise that you probably already all know that the General Assembly classes have been running in Sydney over the last few weeks... The concept which started in New York has been welcomely received here in Australia with great responses to the sessions already run. I have to admit the delay on putting info up about these courses is just because Riley (The guy making all this happen from GA Aus) and I just kept missing each other! We finally got to catch up today and he shared the awesome sauce that is the GA courses running here in Sydney and his plans for national expansion! Exciting!
Anyway, because Riley is such a nice guy, he has agreed that the remaining courses he has scheduled will be awesome for BizSpark members wanting to learn how to best succeed in the startup world, he has put together an offer for all BizSpark members to receive a 15% discount for the courses! whoohoo! Thanks!
Introduction to Marketing Analytics Tuesday June 12th, 6pm to 7.30pm Are you wondering how to gauge the hard work and strategy implementation of your marketing efforts? If so, this class will cover the wide scope of tools and data that can be used to determine a number of metrics and keep your marketing strategies in line with greater business goals. Tickets available on eventbrite
Programming Fundamentals for Non-Techies Tuesday June 19th, 6pm to 7.30pm How much truth do you find in the statement "Speaking with developers is only slightly more difficult than speaking with the dead"? If you want to be part of the teams that are currently building our digital world, you need to be able to understand the world of development - from the language they speak, to what they need to get the job done and what you should get from them. Tickets available on eventbrite
Lean Marketing Strategies for Startups Thursday June 14th, 6pm to 7.30pm Marketing can be an expensive proposition for a startup, especially one prioritising its spending around the launch of a product or the acquisition of users. Fortunately, there are a number of strategies for getting the word out cheaply. This class focuses on the techniques and tricks for using minimal spending to produce maximum marketing awareness. Tickets available on eventbrite
Selling with Social Media Thursday June 21st, 6pm to 7.30pm How do you converts likes and followers into purchases? This class will provide strategy and guidelines on how to use social media to increase sales, and generate leads and referrals. We’ll do practical exercises so that you leave with the tools to create actionable social media content. Tickets available on eventbrite
Financial Modelling for Startups Tuesday June 26th, 6pm to 7.30pm This class is designed for business leaders who want to learn about financial modelling. No accounting background is necessary, but a basic working knowledge of Excel is required. We'll start by discussing the purpose of a financial model. How to architect and build an effective model that tells the “story” of a business and how to identify its key drivers. Tickets available on eventbrite
How to Raise Seed Capital Thursday June 28th, 6pm to 7.30pm Money makes the world go around, and can also help you take your startup to the next level quicker. This session will provide a step-by-step, insider’s view of the process of raising seed capital for your business. Tickets available on eventbrite
Foundation Event Invite
We would like to offer you the opportunity to attend the Windows Azure Platform Foundation Event. The Foundation Event will provide developers with a foundational knowledge of the Windows Azure Platform. The target audience for these events include Developers, Architects, and Development leads. The sessions are targeted at the 300 level with developer focused information.
Attendee Pre Requisites
We ask that you to bring your own laptop to this training event. You will also require to set up an Azure account – see details for a free trial here:
Supported Operating Systems: Windows 7, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2008 R2
The Windows Azure Platform Training Kit has the following system requirements:
* .NET Framework 4.0
* Visual Studio 2010
* ASP.NET MVC 2.0
* ASP.NET MVC 3.0
* Windows Powershell
* Microsoft Internet Information Server 7
* Windows Azure SDK 1.5
* Windows Azure Tools for Microsoft Visual Studio 1.5
* Windows Azure platform AppFabric SDK V1.5 - September 2011 Update
* Windows Azure platform AppFabric SDK V2.0 CTP - June 2011 Update
* Microsoft SQL Server Express 2008 (or later)
* SQL Server Management Studio 2008 R2 Express Edition
* Microsoft Windows Identity Foundation Runtime
* Microsoft Windows Identity Foundation SDK
Date: 18-19th June 2012 Time: 9am – 5pm Location: Microsoft Office
4 Freshwater Place,
Date: 28th - 29th June 2012 Time: 9am – 5pm Location: Microsoft Office
1 Epping Rd
Date: 21st – 22nd June 2012
Location: Microsoft Office
Level 28, 400 George St
Questions: * Please contact the event owner or Microsoft employee who invited you.
This two day event contains presentations/sessions and hands on labs.
This event is brought to you by Metro - Microsoft’s Early Adopter Program and is free of charge. However, delegates are responsible for booking and paying for their own travel and accommodation.
This message from Microsoft is an important part of a program, service, or product that you or your company purchased or participate in. Microsoft respects your privacy. Please read our Privacy Statement. Microsoft Pty Limited 1 Epping Road North Ryde, NSW 2113 Australia
This is your chance to find out how Jane Lu of Show Pony Fashion, Catherine Eibner of Microsoft (yep that's me!) and Fiona Anson of Hire Me Up are each using social media to grow their businesses and profiles and how startups can make best use of Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms.
Event better, as a speaker I get to offer you a discount!!! To get your 25% off the ticket discount, don't forget to use the promotional code: mb09shoe
Each panelist will discuss how they are using social media and answer your questions directly.
Our panel moderator, Mat Beech of Shoe String, will facilitate the Q&A.
If you're starting out in business and want to make it work this is the perfect seminar for you to learn from serial entrepreneurs, have your questions answered and network with likeminded business owners.
So expect to learn:
What you get for your ticket:
Don't miss out, tickets are limited, book your tickets now.
This event is being hosted by She Inspires at The Rocks Pop-Up in the charming and inspiring Pop-Up shop located at:
Shop 4, 27 Nurses Walk, The Rocks - behind Appetito Italian Restaurant and access from George St via the heritage walkway.
Starting at 5.30pm for 6.00pm for registration and networking
Panel discussion is 6.30pm - 7.30pm with audience questions
Finishing by 8.30pm
Thursday 27th September
Tickets are $45 per person Early Bird tickets $36 – but don't forget! Get your 25% off the ticket discount, don't forget to use the promotional code: mb09shoe
Tickets are transferable to events later in the calendar if you find you suddenly can't make it.
Payment is via PayPal and Stella Online Media (parent of She Inspires).
Twitter and Facebook
The Twitter hashtag is #sheinspiresbiz
Twitter handle is @she_inspires
She Inspires on Facebook www.facebook.com/sheinspires.com.au
About Our Panel
Mat Beeche of Shoe String
Mat Beeche is the Founder of The Shoe String Media Group and the Publisher of ShoeString.com.au - He is a Commentator and Blogger on the Aussie startup scene, penning monthly columns for MYOB and Kochie's Business Builders at Yahoo!7. You can follow Mat on twitter @shoestringmedia
Catherine Eibner of Microsoft
Catherine is a Technical Evangelist at Microsoft Australia looking after helping companies understand and adopt Azure, Microsoft's Cloud Computing platform. She is also currently the Australian Advocate for the Microsoft BizSpark program. BizSpark is designed to fast track the success of early stage technology companies by offering software, support & opportunities to increase visibility. Having successfully built and sold her own business prior to joining Microsoft, Catherine continues to actively contribute to the Australian Startup Ecosystem outside of her role at Microsoft.
Fiona Anson of Hire Me Up
Always looking for opportunity, in 2011 Fiona started her current business, HireMeUp, a national job website, specialising in the global growing market for part time work and to fill an existing empty market niche. In less than a year, she has driven it to becoming the fastest growing job board in Australia and, in May 2012, she took out a national pitching award which saw her and her business partner sent to Silicon Valley to showcase her business to the largest investor forum in the world with a view of taking this business global.
Now being re-invented as a world first mobile platform for the part time market, HireMeUp is poised to turn the online job search world on it's head with a release planned in late 2012. In just twelve short months, HireMeUp and its work experience community initiative, 1000 Jobs in 1000 Hours, has been featured on a continuous basis nationally in the media, on the internet and on the Kyle and Jackie O show on the Austereo network.
Jane Lu of Show Pony Fashion
Jane Lu is the Chief Executive Pony at Show Pony Fashion. With a sincere passion for women's fashion online and entrepreneurship, Jane started her own online retail store in September 2010. Since then, Jane Lu's Show Pony Fashion has revolutionized the women's fashion online scene, by creating an online destination with a core emphasis on the individuality and uniqueness of every woman.
Since September 2010, Jane Lu has gone onto opening up Show Pony's flagship store in the Sydney Westfield. Jane has also been a Sydney Business Award Finalist in 2011, and was awarded The Australian Small Business Championship in 2012.
More information about our presenters is online at She Inspires Seminar Presenters.
Join us at The Edge for a Windows 8 developer workshop as part of the National Telework Week celebrations! A full day free session is a great opportunity to get stuck into developing a great app, let your creativity run loose & tap into the marketplace of millions of Windows users worldwide!
In this workshop Bronwen will introduce you to the world of Windows 8 RT apps. The workshop is intended to give you a kick-start when it comes to planning and building your app on Windows 8.
The day will be divided into sections based on a concept which will contain a presentation giving an overview of the area, Hands-On-Labs related to the section, and workbook activities for participants to plan out parts of their app.
The day will cover a range of topics including – orientation, navigation, hierarchy of an application, search, share, app bars and live tiles.
Participants should bring a pen and a laptop with the following software already installed:
- Windows 8
- Visual Studio 2012 (full or express) – Trials can be downloaded from http://www.microsoft.com/visualstudio/eng/downloads#d-2012-editions.If downloading express make sure you download the “for Windows 8” version.
- Calisto – available as a NuGet package
When: 10am- 5pm November 14th 2012
Where: The Edge, State Library of Queensland, Southbank
I love it when one of our local startups gets our US counterparts excited – and this one makes me particularly proud as Anthony & the team at FoodStorm with their product CaterXpress were one of our earliest adopters of the Azure Cloud Computing platform – and they haven’t looked back since!
If you haven’t yet checked out CaterXpress, their software, FoodStorm, is a web app that helps people in catering; food manufacturing and distribution manage their food orders from placement to delivery. FoodStorm tracks customer orders, creates production and delivery reports, sends invoices, manages stock and much more.
I also have to agree with Anthony’s advice for startups when he was asked what his biggest “aha” moment since founding the company? “The most profound thing I’ve learnt running a small company is to always consider your own quality of life in every decision you make. You need to rule your business, don’t let it rule you. If you have a business that makes you happy, ultimately you will build great things and delight your customers while you’re at it.”
You can check out his answers to this and more of the questions as seen in these snapshots here featured on the BizSpark Blog, on Facebook or even more coverage in this snapshot here from techMeme!
Well Done guys!
On June 15th- 17th 2012 we are holding a Kinect Bizspark Start-up Camp as our kick-off activity following the successful launch of our Queensland Microsoft Innovation Centre. We are looking for aspiring entrepreneurs and developers to come and be a part this exciting opportunity. We are after either established teams with an innovative idea for a kinect application to work on over the weekend, or individuals we can match with ideas and teams for the weekend.
The Bizspark Kinect Start-Up Camp will allow you to learn about Kinect and the foundation concepts through comprehensive presentations, hands-on labs, and supported development time. The first day will cover training in depth thanks to John Obrien and Bronwen Zande from Soul Solutions and the second two days will be an opportunity for you to work in teams to build your own projects with the support of business & technical experts. The event culminates in a pitch to a panel of judges & investors who will decide on the overall winner.
Watch this space as our agenda and prizes for the weekend to be announced shortly!
Date: 15th -17th June 2012
Location: Microsoft Level 28, 400 George St, Brisbane 4000
Things to bring Here are some personal items you might want to bring to the Bizspark Kinect Start-Up Weekend:
- Notebook Computer
Registration and Event Questions
This is a unique opportunity and places are limited. To register your team for the weekend event please provide us with the following:
- A 250 word description of what your team plans to work on over the weekend. If you intend to come freelance, tell us a bit about yourself and we can pair you up.
You can register here. If you have an additional questions please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kinect for Windows devices will be made available for use over the weekend. The event is specifically targeted to BizSpark companies, however developers that are not part of the BizSpark program are more than welcome to attend to gain access to this valuable training event.
Its been nearly 5 months since we last held a Startup Camp! I don’t know about you but I am really looking forward to being involved in yet another one of these fantastic events.
What is a Startup Camp?
A Startup Camp is an intense event – not for the faint hearted. It brings together a combination of technical and business advice to help early stage startups bring an idea to proof of concept stage over an intensive 3 day period. The teams receive 1 day of technical training by Microsoft and Industry experts and then we also sprinkle the weekend with sessions from business experts to help develop the idea and provide advice around taking the solution to market & pitching for funding. Advisors will provide business advice and pitching coaching.
What’s in it for me?
Day 1: Attendees will receive an Intensive Deep Dive in Azure thanks to Steve Nagy Readify Senior Consultant and Azure MVP . He will provide attendees with a business and technical overview of the Windows Azure Platform
Day 2 & 3 are all about building your application. There will be many experts on hand to help you get your application up & running. You will have support with the presentation and delivery of your pitch with several practice run throughs scheduled across the weekend.
At the end of Day 3 you will be pitching to a panel of Judges and investors to win some awesome prizes including Xbox Kinect bundles and a PR piece for your business that will be featured in an exclusive interview in a technology publication!
Our Judging panel currently includes:
Gordon Bell (Principal Researcher at Microsoft , co-developer of the Bell-Mason Diagnostic and has also been involved with startup companies, investing time and/or money in over 100 companies),
Mark Pesce (writer, researcher, engineer, futurist and teacher – but most commonly known as Judge from The New Inventors) and
Sebestien Eckersley-Maslin (Founder of Venture Technology firm Blue Chilli investing in startups, Anthill 30under30 winner 2008 & 2010, top UNSW researcher, Kidpreneur mentor).
More details on the panel to be announced soon….
Throughout the weekend, the Microsoft Marketing team will be involved in helping you mould & define a marketing plan around your product and as you work towards your final pitch on Sunday evening. There will also be business tips & tricks sessions and technical experts on hand to help you really get your application humming along!
So, if you are interested in getting a days intensive training for Azure, then taking advantage of the technical, business and marketing experts on hand throughout the weekend to build a proof of concept and prove your business idea – This event is for you!
So…… I’m a Startup! How much does an awesome event like this cost to attend?
The event is free to attend.
Any costs incurred as part of attending the event are not covered.
Where & When is it Being held?
Friday 9th September 9am – 5pm
Saturday 10th September 9am – 7pm (ish) Its up to you when you stop work but we will have to vacate the premises!
Sunday 11th September 9am – 7pm (With drinks , nibblies & networking after the judging is announced)
The event will be held will be in Sydney – but at this stage we are still finalising the details of the location – stay tuned!
We look forward to seeing you there!
Register Now >
If you would like to volunteer to be involved in the weekend event or present a business session – please email your details to Catherine Eibner
PS – please register soon as places are limited
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!
For those of you that headed along to last weeks BizSpark APAC Entrepreneurs Summit – you would have heard Ian Gardiner of Viocorp and founder of Innovation Bay giving his top tips for success in growing a global business – the main take away I took from his session was the importance of achieving life balance! We will have the recording for that session available soon and its absolutely worth watching! Along with that talk was the recurring sentiment of the speakers throughout the day on the growing opportunities to gain funding here in Australia. It turns out that an opportunity to pitch to Innovation Bay Angel Dinner is just around the corner and a great opportunity to take steps towards getting Angel Investment, see details below:
If you have a business in the high-tech space that is looking for funding, you might be interested in pitching at Innovation Bay’s Angel Dinner in Sydney on Tuesday, 21 August.
Here’s what you need to do:
• Submit a 90 second video (any format acceptable but don’t exceed the time limit) to email@example.com
• Tell us about your business and why we should select you
• Explain your value proposition in a strong and punchy format....we want to know why you are poised to succeed and why someone would want to invest in your business. As pointers:
o Business overview - who you are, what you do, your experience, your team
o What problem you are solving and do you offer a different solution
o The market - size and opportunity
o Investment - how much, what do you need it for, why should someone invest
o All this in only 90 seconds!
• Get it in by COB, Friday 10 August 2012
• The top 9 videos, as selected by our panel of experts, will be uploaded to Innovation Bay Angels website (private log-in access only) where members can further discuss your business with you and then vote for their favourite/s.
• The 4 pitches that receive the highest votes from our members, will be invited to present at the Dinner.
To give you an idea of what worked in the past, click here to view ImageBrief’s video submission. ImageBrief are one of our most recent success stories. They raised $600,000 from a syndicate of unnamed angel investors after pitching at our Angel Dinner last August. (Thanks to Simon Moss for letting us publish this).
As Domenic gets ready to launch his new Incubator in Richmond, Melbourne we have decided to work together to have one of our First Melbourne BizSpark Meetup Events at the new space.
Domenic Carosa is Executive Chairman of Internet investment firm Future Capital. In his session you will learn how to raise money for your internet business and also find out how Future Capital can invest into your company. Domenic has personally raised over $50 million over the last 10 years and has been involved in over 60 acquisitions and divestments This webinar is being run in conjunction with Microsoft BizSpark Meetups so is an excellent opportunity to come together and meet with other Startups, entrepreneurs and like minded people.
Date: Monday 4th of June.
Time: 11am -12:30pm
Where: Level 3/534 Church Street, Richmond
Space is limited so please Register Now
Get ready for Tech23 2012! Throw your hat in the ring to showcase your business.
Tech23 has already unearthed superstar technology businesses like Centryc Solutions, Go Catch, Kaggle, roamz, and more! Last year we had 8 companies in the 23 from BizSpark Australia including the winner of Last Weeks BizSpark Asia Pacific Entrepreneurs Summit, Go Catch. Let’s see if we can increase that number this year! :)
Your company could join this celebrated list by applying to be one of the Tech23 in 2012.
There is $100,000 in cash prizes up for grabs thanks to the NSW Government which will be awarded at the Tech23 event, taking place on Tuesday 23 October 2012.
Tech23 is THE competition for young, innovative Australian start-ups. 23 exceptional technology companies are given FIVE minutes to show off their business to an audience of over 400 potential investors, mentors, entrepreneurs, and customers. Panels of expert industry leaders will then probe and offer advice to make your company shine.
A further 23 early stage start-ups will win a space to exhibit on InnovationIsland – prime real estate to showcase their ideas and discuss their innovative solutions. If your company is young with lots of potential – you should be on InnovationIsland!
It is free to apply for Tech23 and InnovationIsland. Applications close Thursday 16 August 2012. Visit www.tech23.com.au for details on how to apply.
Tech23 2012 Event Details
Date: Tuesday 23 October 2012
Venue: The Auditorium, Reservoir Street, Surry Hills
Apply: To apply to be one of the Tech23 companies, visit http://tech23.com.au/apply.php.
If you have a fast-growing, innovative company that is based in Australia with technology at its core, this is your big opportunity. Apply to be a Tech23 2012 company today!
Today in Australia is Anzac Day. Lest We Forget. ANZAC day is where we all take time out of our day to day lives of work, school and all the things that we are lucky enough to have the freedom to enjoy because of those who fought for our freedom in years gone past. We take time to to thank all those who served and died in military operations for our Country as well as think of the bravery, support and camaraderie that the Australian & New Zealand forces were renown for.
Keeping in mind that Australians are known for this kind of support, it seemed somewhat relevant to have this guest post today, a request for help from a fellow Aussie.
Today Nicola puts a call out for a “comrade” to help her with her new startup, FitIntegrate. She has been successful in applying for Melbourne based Incubator Angel Cube and now needs a technical co founder to help her create the technology to bring her company vision to life. If the below sounds like you – feel free to reach out to her via the details below.
Seeking ROR Technical Cofounder Based in Melbourne for SAAS, Catering to the Fitness Industry
Hi. I’m Nicola. I am the founder of FitIntegrate. FitIntegrate is essentially an automated temp agency for the fitness industry. More specifically, FitIntegrate matches relevant instructors to gym classes.
Where FitIntegrate is at:
-Launched Private Beta in Feb 2012
-Currently120 users signed up (a mix of instructors and gyms)
-It’s built in Ruby (to date the development has been outsourced)
-FitIntegrate secured a spot in the AngelCube 2012 accelerator program
-Has first “big” deal/customer in the pipeline
I am looking to bring on a ROR technical cofounder to take FitIntegrate to the next level. The next iteration involves text message integration, payment gateway integration and a new UX/UI implementation. The design component is being outsourced at present. Backend development will be where this cofounders talents lie.
Ideally, I am looking for someone who:
-Enjoys the gym/fitness space
-Has startup experience and/or is SUPER passionate about getting involved
-Is available full time to participate in the AngelCube program (some flexibility here)
-Gets sh*t done (no flexibility here)
So, what’s on the table?
Equity… And a little cash (if necessary).
A bit about me…
The idea came about as a frustrated instructor myself. I’ve had over 6 years experience in the fitness industry in a variety of roles, ranging from instructing to gym management. This means I know customers well, and have also built up a strong network. FitIntegrate is my first start up; however, I have had experience working with startups through my internship at Adventure Capital. Currently, I am one subject off achieving a Masters of Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Business + fitness is pretty much me in a nutshell.
Over to you…
If you are interested, check out the site http://www.fitintegrate.com/users/sign_up
Drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with some feedback on the site - anything - and a bit about who you are and what you have done. Links to recent work would be awesome.
The team here at Microsoft *really* want to help you build the best app you can for the upcoming Windows 8 Launch.
We have locked our best engineers in a room and given them the very important job of reviewing and providing advice to developers for their Windows 8 application and called it the Windows 8 App Excellence Labs.
In Nick Hodge’s beautifully succinct words:
This is open to *any* Windows 8 Developer in Australia, free of charge.
I love this feedback from Garry Holden from Handiware, on submitting & having his first App reviewed:
I think it went great. They had already played with my App before the initial call, so there was a lot of discussion about what was good, and what could be better. They gave me a lot of feedback and pointed out a few bugs which I am now in the process of fixing. They even did it all with a sense of humor which made the experience that much better.
I think it went great. They had already played with my App before the initial call, so there was a lot of discussion about what was good, and what could be better. They gave me a lot of feedback and pointed out a few bugs which I am now in the process of fixing. They even did it all with a sense of humor which made the experience that much better.
This is a fantastic opportunity to get feedback on your application – but also to get some additional visibility of your application not only within the teams at Microsoft – but in the Windows Store!
We only have 64 2-hour slots available so get it quick!!!