Accelerator

The 5 Tricks To Build A Startup In 6 Months Like A Pro

I wanted to reach out to everyone in this blog post and share with everyone some awesome tricks to build a startup lightning fast, validate your idea within six months and have a growth-ready startup or die trying. Ok so not the latter, just the former.

What I want to discuss here are the great things you can take advantage of because you live in Australia. We have an amazing safety net to catch fallen entrepreneurs and a startup environment which now has pretty good infrastructure. So let’s get to it, what should you do? Well the first thing is to have an idea and assuming you have one, let’s get to the first step:

  1. If you are new to the startup game, time to get a business plan for your idea. So to get some free advice to put together a powerful business plan, go to the government’s business websites and look at the new enterprise incentive scheme or the grow your business development plan if you are anywhere, the small business bus if you are in VIC or the small biz connect if you are in NSW.

This is important because you are going to use your business plan for the next step. And in any case, it doesn’t hurt to have a roadmap to try and avoid taking the road to bankruptcy.

  1. The next thing to do is, if you are eligible, go on NewStart Allowance – yes, the dole. If you are a recently graduated student over 22, go on NewStart right now if you haven’t started working. You will use your business plan from 1 to qualify for this!

For those of you with a lot of pride this step can be hard. But trust me it is the way to go. However, care is needed if you currently work as quitting your job may disqualify you for NewStart. There is no point in lacking a cash flow while you a building a startup, so swallow your pride and open your bank account.

  1. Get all the benefits you deserve: rental assistance, concession health care cards, etc. Check out Centrelink for more info on what’s available to you.

This step is all about reducing costs to a minimum so that your NewStart goes as far as possible. Once we’ve got you living and able to have the food tank full so the sparks keep flying in your idea factory upstairs, it’s time to start supercharging that idea and taking it to the next level. How? With someone else’s money.

  1. Go find an incubator and use your wonderful business plan from 1 to trade 10% or so of your company for at least $20,000.

This step is essential. Basically you should be getting office space, more mentoring, access to a network of other likeminded individuals and more. There are many incubators around Australia which offer this, e.g. IgnitionLabs. A great blog at the fetch lists a longer list. This step is critical because it will fund step 5:

  1. Use your incubator money to hire your gun programming mate for 6 months.

Here you will be giving employee number one $20,000 and equity in your company to get the rocket primed for launch. The point of doing this is so both of you now have a wage, so that you can both be laser focused on your business idea and don’t need to work on the side. You now have two of you to develop twice as fast and discover twice as quickly if your idea is going to work.

Obviously you’ll use best practices to refine your product, lean startup methodology, design led innovation, etc. However, the point is, you’ve got your money, office space and team to start kicking some butt. Doing it this way means that instead of knowing if something will work in 12 months, you’ve got double the man power to do it in 6. So if you haven’t done it yet, get out there and do this and launch your business in 6 months and know whether it will work or not instead of wondering what if…

Entrepreneur Support at University: Risk & Reward

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Guest post by Josh Flannery,  Manager, Student Entrepreneur Development , University of NSW. Josh has a Master of Business & Technology (AGSM), a degree in Communications and has worked across Asia in both Startups and Commercialisation roles including 6 years in Japan, and 2 years in China & Hong Kong as Senior Regional Manager, China for Macquarie University. In 2005 Joshua Co-founded edtech company StudyLink株式会社, the Asia based sister company to Learning Information Systems Pty Ltd and also ran a boutique education consultancy in Japan, InterCreations, with fellow Japan guru Jeremy Breaden.

Josh has developed and launched the student enterprise program at UNSW which has helped launch early-stage start-up ventures for ~200 student entrepreneurs. If you want to get involved as a mentor, industry partner or a sponsor you can connect with Josh on Linkedin. The companies shown below are some of the startups launched in the last two years.

Too Early to tell

In 2014 one thing is certain when looking at the way universities in Australia are beginning to support their students in the area of entrepreneurship: no one REALLY knows if they are doing the right thing.

consciousstep

Conscious Step

One of the reasons is that we are still too early in the game. No university in Australia has formally dedicated resources to supporting student owned start-ups (i.e. start-ups where the uni holds no equity stake) for long enough to know.

If the university is not asserting ownership over students Intellectual Property nor taking a percentage of equity in their start-ups, then how can the investment in providing people, services and other resources really be sustained or justified?

Here are three medium to long term reasons why this investment by universities makes sense.

Student recruitment and differentiating the student experience

International student recruitment has been the key source of revenue generation for universities in Australia for a long time. Having served on the front line of international student recruitment for both an Australian university and as a service provider to many Australian universities, I have worked closely with student recruitment agent partners, schools and foreign universities in marketing to and recruiting international students. It has been the case for at least the 14 years I’ve been around that beyond the various groups, alliances and unreliable rankings, Australian universities have a tough time differentiating from each other – let alone strong competition from other traditional destination countries (US, Canada, UK) not to mention increasing competition from Asian countries too.

couchelo

couchelo

“What kind of job and salary can my daughter get if we pay for her to study at your university?” or, “What internship and work experience options does your university offer?” were two of the most common questions asked by parents of students ready to hand over their savings to invest in their child’s education. The only more common questions were regarding scholarships. In 2014, a good internship and promise of starting salary is not enough to stay competitive. There is an opportunity now, leveraging student entrepreneur and start-up support, to offer something more to these potential students and their parents. Whether or not a student continues an entire career of entrepreneurship or tries, fails and learns from a start-up journey before going for a safer graduate job think about this: If you were the person hiring new graduates for a role in your company, would you choose the student who has experienced running his or her own business or a student that has not?

Engaging industry and alumni for the one cause: student entrepreneur success

Universities in Australia are struggling to engage both alumni and industry to the same extent it happens in the US. Whilst alumni and industry are very different challenges, for different reasons working with innovative students brings real benefits to all involved. Whether it be big companies working with universities in running competitions and hackathons, or a university nurturing a network of alumni and then matchmaking alumni mentors and new student entrepreneurs, the results can be win-win-win.

Innovation for big companies, unique experiences for students or pre-backed start-up companies for students, alumni and industry can all be bi-products of these activities.

Foodbank Local

Foodbank Local

Once a university has a track record in this area, could the perception of that university change to mean it has become “a place to collaborate” and “a place where innovation happens”. If yes, then this alone validates an investment in student entrepreneur support both financially and in value of reputation.

Building an army: 10 years = 10 cohorts of students with a reason to give back

Longer term, of course, is the same reason US powerhouses like Stanford and MIT do this.

Supporting hundreds of student start-ups year-on-year can only mean planting seeds for future “good will”. The hypothesis says that when a student entrepreneur “graduates” to become a billionaire global success story, she will remember also the little university back in Australia where it all started. She will naturally want to “give back” a donation to the new batch of budding student entrepreneurs who hope to be like her one day.

Issueby

Issueby

Encouragingly this is already starting to happen, if only anecdotally. For example, the generous Mr. Michael Crouch has recently gifted a large donation which has resulted in the soon to launch Michael Crouch Innovation Centre at UNSW.

The UNSW Centre For Innovation

A Model Of The UNSW Centre For Innovation
Source: http://www.facilities.unsw.edu.au

So with these three examples alone, do the potential benefits in investing in free support for student entrepreneurs outweigh the risks for our universities?

Perhaps the greater risk greater is NOT making that investment. What do you think?

UNSW breaks ground on new Crouch Innovation Building

The UNSW Centre For Innovation

A Model Of The UNSW Centre For Innovation
Source: http://www.facilities.unsw.edu.au

The University Of New South Wales (UNSW) has started to get real Entrepreneurial and Innovation momentum. There are numerous pitch competitions, entrepreneurial groups and hardware hackers such as NSW Create, it feels like an entrepreneurial spring is blooming.

New South Innovations the commercialization group for the University has put significant effort into the new ‘Crouch Centre For Innovation’, which was inaugurated by its generous benefactor Mr. Michael Crouch.

Michael is the Executive Chairman of Zip Industries the company that pioneered instant hot water heaters. The ‘Crouch Innovation Centre’ is established with a vision to make Sydney the ‘hub of innovation’ of the Asia-Pacific region.

A Word About The Benefactor

Michael Crouch is an Australian businessman. Interested in promoting Australian exports, he was also the prestigious member of the APEC Business Advisory Council from 1996 to 2007. He is a member of the Advisory Board of the Australian School Of Business, and was a former member of the advisory board of the Faculty Of Commerce and Economics at UNSW. He also holds an honorary Doctorate of Business from UNSW.

Breaking ground on Crouch Innovation Centre

Breaking ground on Crouch Innovation Centre _ Credit UNSW ASB

An avid supporter of entrepreneurship and innovation, Mr. Crouch believes that Australia can achieve greatness through innovation.

The ‘Crouch Innovation Centre’ aims to promote entrepreneurship and innovation for its students. The centre will house state of the art facilities such as: an innovation hall and multipurpose work space; and a floor dedicated to special materials for fabrication. The various types of fabrication will include 3D printers, laser cutters, electronics, machining, etc. Initially the innovation centre will be available only for students, and then it may be extended to the university faculties and researchers. The centre will take the best of the innovation schools which are already up and running in Harvard, Yale and MIT, etc;  in the words of Mr. Geoffrey Garrett, the dean of the Australian School Of Business, “ inspire in students a life of innovation; to seek better ways to do things and solve problems.”

Location of the Premises

The centre is located beside the Australian School of Business building and inside the Material Science Engineering Building at the UNSW campus.

The UNSW Centre For Innovation 2

The UNSW Centre For Innovation
Source: http://www.facilities.unsw.edu.au

Final Word

The UNSW’s ‘Crouch Innovation Centre’ will help the university achieve greater milestones in the field of innovation. The centre will also be of huge assistance to the university’s various research initiatives that are happening in ASB and NSi. The construction of the centre will be complete by the commencement of the first semester of 2015, i.e. probably by April 2015.

 

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SydneyFirehose.com – Coke’s Big Data Startup Competition – The Quest for Big Data, Solutions and Entrepreneurship

Crunch data from 3 years of CCA shipments

Crunch data from 3 years of CCA shipments

This warehouse is emptied every two days. A few small changes to operations can make a huge difference.

Franki Chamaki

Franki Chamaki

Coke’s Sydney Startup Accelerator Team is launching a novel big data competition called SydneyFirehose.com. The team which was founded by Franki Chamaki and Jason Hosking has launched a number of really interesting initiatives over the last six months, centred around solving real meaty problems for Coke and creating new business opportunities and partnerships with startups.

The Sydney Firehose Big Data Startup Competition aims to give real data from a massive business to help entrepreneurs and software guys to get close to a real customer and hopefully start a new business or develop a big data application.

Analysing big data can lead to big insights and a greater understanding of business problems and ways to solve them.

The Sydney Firehose: Big Data Startup Competition  invites entrepreneurs to create something useful, marketable and unique by analyzing a huge set of data (1 TB/150,000,000 records), which will be given to them by Coca Cola Amatil, Coke’s Australian partner and bottler.

Jason Hosking

Jason Hosking

The data is basically the company’s supply chain data, collected by the company for the last 3 years. The data includes information of about CCA’s suppliers, clients, products, deliveries and orders.

The aim of the competition is to build an application or business that will make improvements to the companies operations by analyzing this data.

Big Data startups find it tough to find big companies that are willing to hand over their full operational history.

By providing the means and access to a huge set of data, the event aims at promoting innovation and as a result will hopefully help launch a number of new businesses.

The event is a great opportunity for entrepreneurs, who want to get access to an enormous quantity of data and use this to gain business insights and develop applications.

The features of the event include :

1. Coca Cola Amatil supplying three years of their Australian supply chain data for the entrepreneurs to access and utilize.

2. A platform to collaborate and learn from fellow entrepreneurs and mentors.

3. A chance for the participant to pitch their idea to a large prospective client, Coca Cola.

4. A great chance to meet extraordinary people from the entrepreneurship world and learn from them. The event will be judged by some great business leaders and entrepreneurs such as : Bruce Herbert, Rick Baker, Gerhard Voster, Ann Parker and Franki Chamaki.

They have some great prizes for the winner, $3000 in cash, startup training and 3 months of co-working experience with the Pollenizer team and the opportunity to pitch Coke as a customer for 3 months.

Coke trucks deliver to upto 40 customers per day

Coke trucks deliver to up to 40 customers per day

When and Where ?

The event will be held on the 15th, 16th and 23rd of November 2013. The participants can register on their website http://www.sydneyfirehose.com. The seats of the event are limited and are priced at  $20. There are 20 slots each for  entrepreneurs, designers and engineers.

The event will be held at :

The Hive

180 Commonwealth St

Surry Hills, NSW 2010

The Organizers

The event is co-organised by Pollenizer. A startup that co-founds businesses and organizes startup events like Firehose. Pollenizer was founded by Mick Liubinskas and Phil Morle in 2008. Mick Liubinskas is an entrepreneur, investor and technologist.

Phil Morle & Mick Liubinskas (looking very dapper) Credit Pollenizer.com

Phil Morle & Mick Liubinskas (looking very dapper) Credit Pollenizer.com

Mick and Phil Morle, the CEO of Pollenizer, worked in the team of Kazaa, a P2P sharing application that saw its rise during the end of the first generation of P2P networks such as Napster. In its golden days, Kazaa was downloaded and used by millions across the ‘World Wide Web’ for P2P sharing (over 300 million at its peak making it the most downloaded software in history at the time). They were also part of the team that helped launch Spreets.com which was sold to Yahoo Australia for $40m 18 months after launching.

UPDATE: Mick has taken up a new challenge at Muru Digital, the Telstra backed incubator, he will remain on the board at Pollenizer.

Final Word

The most unique feature of the event is it’s openness. The idea of making normally very tightly held data available to potential startups is a great initiative for the company and the potential startups.

Hopefully this initiative will see new businesses launched with Coke as a customer and help CCA improve its operations.

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Entries are open for the UNSW Sydney Seed Fund Pitch Session

Sydney Seed Fund Team Garry, Ari and Ben

Sydney Seed Fund Team Garry, Ari and Ben

NewSouth Innovations the commercial arm of UNSW has teamed up with the Sydney Seed Fund to run a Pitch Session aimed at UNSW Students and Staff.

I think this is a great initiative and getting closer to some of the funds in the US like Door Room Fund that tries to bridge the gap between family and friends and a VC round given we have a smaller angel scene here in Australia than the angel scene in Silicon Valley and find new businesses right at inception when students have time and opportunity to experiment and find interesting problems.

Sydney Seed fund is an early stage investment fund run by  Ari Klinger, Garry Visontay and Ben Chong all successful entrepreneurs with a good history of building new businesses and creating great exits. Both Ari and Ben are old mates of mine who joined Entrepreneurs Organisation around the same time the same time that I did.

 

They aim to find 25 interesting early stage companies, invest $100,000 and then offer extensive mentoring and support network to get the company to the position to be able to either exit or raise a Series A

 

  • Be pre-revenue and up to 18 months old
  • Be at least at prototype or near completion stage, up to pre-launch or market testing
  • Be focused primarily on an Internet-based business model or Internet-related technologies
  • Have a clear growth story
  • Have a high quality and committed founding team
  • Have potential for global scalability
  • Have a clear exit mechanism

 

UNSW Sydney Seed Fund Pitch is a video pitch competition for UNSW students. Participants are required to create a 3-minute video pitch about a great technological idea or online business model, which will be reviewed by senior entrepreneurs in a young investor syndicate for tech startups, Sydney Seed Fund. This is a great opportunity for students who have wanted to found their own startups or even just students which have a great business idea in mind which they believe can become successful.

 

The Sydney Seed Fund group will select the top 10 video pitches to pitch live in the final event. The winner will receive mentoring from Sydney Seed Fund’s founders and senior entrepreneurs, Benjamin Chong and Garry Visontay; who will offer great advice for you to become a successful entrepreneur.

 

Pitching sessions

Pitching sessions (Photo credit: lesteph)

 

Register Now

 

  • Registration open: 12 August 2013
  • Registration close: 20 September 2013
  • Deadline to receive 3-minute video pitch: 30 September 2013, 11:59 PM
  • The top 10 videos selected as finalists will be announced in early October
  • Pitching talk & Final Pitching Event with Sydney Seed Fund group: 17 October 2013, 5:30 PM – 8:00 PM

 

More information is available here http://www.nsinnovations.com.au/sydney-seed-fund-pitch

 

* Entrepreneurs Organisation used to be called Young Entrepreneurs Organisation before we all got gray hair and started to age out, EO is a global group of over 6000 entrepreneurs, entry was selective based on having founded or owned a business before the age of 40 which turned over >$1m USD pa. I highly recommend it, its like finding the mothership full of other entrepreneurs

 

 

 

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