INNOVATION

The Next Silicon Valley Success Stories Could Begin In Australia

It's because we're so hot right now.

21/06/2016 7:30 AM AEST | Updated 15/07/2016 12:53 PM AEST
NEW! HIGHLIGHT AND SHARE
Highlight text to share via Facebook and Twitter
Shannon Stapleton / Reuters
Aussie tech firm Atlassian has paved the way for other startups to access US investment.

Silicon Valley's start-up scene is "overheated and expensive", and could lead to firms looking to Australia for innovation, an expert has said.

Startup veteran Teresa Engelhard, who has two decades' experience working in the field in both San Francisco and Australia, said global trends are beginning to favour Aussie companies.

"A couple of venture capitalists I know in Silicon Valley is that they are paying attention to what's going on in Australia and taking notes," she told The Huffington Post Australia.

Investors had previously been turned off by strict labour conditions and the geographical distance.

StartupAUS
Teresa Engelhard says Aussie startups are getting lots of attention from the US.

"Another factor favouring Australia is that Silicon Valley is a bit overheated and expensive so having offshore engineering teams (is seen as) as an advantage."

Aussie firms such as Deputy and Wisetech Global have their tech teams based here. Engelhard said Australia is a lot cheaper as a base, but the internet is helping our cause, too.

"A lot of these companies are able to go and get global market share because their businesses are online and they can attack world markets," she said.

Deputy
The team at Aussie software startup Deputy have opened a US office and are growing their business but kept their main operations in Melbourne.

Engelhard says the time is right for Australian companies to take the bull by the horns and grow because we are impressing the pants off overseas investors with our do-or-die approach to business -- and our ability to do it on the smell of an oily rag.

"If you look back over the last 10 years there was a shortage of capital in Australia and what that meant was entrepreneurs had to be very savvy about bootstrapping and building a very healthy business model from day one," she said.

"And this is something I hear all the time from Silicon Valley: 'Wow, Australia is a best-in-globe-bootstrapper'. You would not see a company pitch for a billion dollar valuation on angel funding and bootstrapping in the US -- it just doesn't happen, there's too much money around.

"In some ways there's actually too much capital available in Silicon Valley so they throw money at these companies and they waste it. The opposite has been the case in Australia where the entrepreneurs are going to make a company succeed come hell and high water and they have to do it with little capital."

She has recently joined the board of StartupAUS, an advocacy group primarily for tech startups which advises on policy and is heavily involved in the Turnbull Government's Innovation Agenda.

Fairfax Media via Getty Images
Minister for Innovation Wyatt Roy, right with MP Phillip Ruddock, wants Aussie tech leaders based in Silicon Valley to come home (and maybe bring a few talented friends along too).

Part of the program includes sending $11.2 million on innovation landing pads in Silicon Valley and other tech hotspots around the globe to allow Australian entrepreneurs direct access to innovators and investors.

"It will provide Australian tech start-ups with a collaborative workspace, allowing them to pursue international opportunities. The next Atlassian, 99 Designs or Hydrus could be launched from here," said Minister for Trade and Investment, Steven Ciobo of the Silicon Valley pad launched in February.

Turnbull and Minister for Innovation Wyatt Roy have been campaigning to bring home what Roy calls the "Australian mafia" -- Aussie tech talent based in Silicon Valley. Turnbull has even touted Western Sydney as a possible location to build our own version of the global tech hub.

More On This Topic

Advertisement
Advertisement