Comments from StartupAUS CEO, Alex McCauley
“The NSW Government’s plan to establish a new supersized startup hub in Sydney is good news for NSW and the broader Australian startup economy as a powerful stimulus to create new high-growth businesses and jobs across the State.
“One of StartupAUS’ key recommendations in its 2016 Crossroads Report is for governments at all levels to work with industry to establish a national network of innovation districts in major cities. It’s great to see this starting to happen.
“Startups are powering jobs growth here and overseas and it’s great to see the NSW Government getting behind the development of a high-growth tech ecosystem. Last year the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science released figures showing net job creation comes from early-stage and startup businesses – with young companies creating nearly all of the 1.6 million net new jobs in Australia from 2003 to 2014.
“As Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW, Skills and Small Business, John Barilaro identified, a flourishing startup community is essential for creating the jobs of the future and will ultimately encourage a pipeline for future growth. Startup hubs can act as a focal point for startup-related activities and events, address the current fragmentation of offerings, and provide valuable opportunities for collaboration between startups and larger technology companies.
“This ambitious new proposal could provide the sort of world-class innovation district Australia needs to put itself on the international innovation map. It’s a courageous step in the right direction, and it’s critical we now work to realise the full potential of the project. StartupAUS is committed to working closely with relevant industry stakeholders to help make this one of the most dynamic and effective innovation precincts in the world.”
30 June 2017
StartupAUS CEO, Alex McCauley
“StartupAUS is pleased to see that that CEOs and CIOs have been included in the Medium and Long‑term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) as part of The Turnbull Government’s updates to the occupations lists for a range of temporary and permanent skilled visas. These are key positions for emerging high-growth businesses and the ability to hire executives to fill these roles from a global pool of talent is critical to the success of the sector.
“There is still significant work to be done in bringing the skills list into line with the current needs of young tech companies in Australia, however. A range of cutting edge digital and technology skills are not included in the list despite extensive input by the sector to the Government’s consultation process.
“Also unaddressed is the fact that salary minimums currently don’t take into account equity, limiting access by startups to the visa regime.
“We will continue working closely with the Government to ensure the lists reflect genuine skill needs for Australia’s high growth business sector,” Mr McCauley said.
Australia, 15 march 2017: A new report shows Sydney has the potential to punch significantly above its weight in technology.
The Startup Genome Global Startup Ecosystem Ranking Report 2017 shows Sydney achieved the highest Exit Growth rate in the world over the past two years at 370 per cent.
The city also ranks 10th in the world for funding, 12th for talent and 13th for global market reach.
“Sydney’s startup scene is booming now – we are poised with more venture capital and more energy than ever before,” said Dean McEvoy, CEO of TechSydney.
“It’s a critical time for our industry. This report proves Sydney has what it takes to be in the Top 10 ecosystems in the world. We just need to accelerate our growth and the size of the industry with a central hub for startups.
“If we provide space for the density our industry needs to grow and we all come together – in spirit and in one location – we will be an unstoppable force and create the next generation of jobs for Australia.”
Sydney ranked as the 17th overall tech ecosystem according to the report – largely because of its relative size and lack of density in comparison to tech behemoths like Silicon Valley.
However, a number of additional international powerhouse ecosystems were included in the Global Ecosystem Report this time around – and the criteria was significantly widened – meaning although Sydney was ranked 16 in the last report, being ranked 17 this year is actually a more impressive result.
CEO of StartupAUS, Alex McCauley, said: “Australia has moved quickly over the last 18 months and this report reflects our achievements.
“Sydney still ranks as one of the best startup ecosystems in the world, and there are only nine countries ahead of Australia on this list. Yet despite the clear progress we’ve made, the rankings remain largely static.
“There’s a very clear message here: this is a hugely competitive, global race – we need to run fast to even maintain our position. That’s why it’s so critical that we don’t lose focus.”
“It’s clear with a ranking of twelfth for talent, that Sydney universities are providing the talent pool to make an impact on the global stage,” said UTS Vice-Chancellor Professor Attila Brungs.
“Our students are tomorrow’s entrepreneurs and critical thinkers, and we will continue to provide innovative programs and opportunities for all our students which prepare them for the future of work.
“UTS, at the heart of Sydney’s start-up ecosystem, will continue to support the on-going growth of the ecosystem by collaborating with ecosystem partners on research and skills development initiatives to drive innovation”.
Tim Williams, CEO of the Committee for Sydney said, “The report demonstrates that the startup sector in Sydney is continuing to deliver a strong global performance, in an increasingly crowded field and against ever greater competition.
“Sydney remains the best performing city for startups in Australia, which again demonstrates the major contribution that the city makes to the Australian economy overall.
“However, it also highlights the crucial relationship between startups and liveable cities that connect entrepreneurial businesses with high-quality public transport, world-class educational establishments and dense, attractive places to live and socialise. Here, Sydney has further to progress.”
The report assessed 55 startup ecosystems across 28 countries (the last report assessed 40 ecosystems in 25 countries and did not include China, South Korea or Japan).
The Startup Genome Global Startup Ecosystem Ranking Report 2017 is available for download here
For media inquiries and interviews with Dean McEvoy of TechSydney, contact Liz Stephens, Head of Media & Communications at TechSydney on 0407 224469 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
For interviews with Alex McCauley of Startup AUS, please contact Louise Proctor at Launch Group on 0452 574 244. For interviews with Tim Williams, please contact James Hulme, Director of Advocacy at The Committee for Sydney on 0410 941 706. For interviews with UTS please contact Terry Clinton on 0419 293 261.
Fintech tackles $700 million payment fraud gap ahead of NPP
Australia, 06 July 2017: Secure payments data platform EFTsure today announced Series A funding of $2 million from Australian venture capital firm, Our Innovation Fund, LP (OIF), founded by Geoff Levy AO, David Shein and Jerry Stesel.
The fast growing fintech is helping enterprises tackle the annual $700 million cost of payment fraud in Australia with recent client wins including ASX200 businesses, councils, schools, SMEs and not-for-profits. The funding injection will be used to scale the business and to address new initiatives such as the rollout of the New Payments Platform (NPP) in October 2017.
Established in 2014 and founded by a team of banking technology and finance professionals Ian Mirels, Mike Kontorovich and Mark Chazan, EFTsure provides a specialised software solution to enterprises, validating the integrity of their payment data and ensuring the name of the payee matches the BSB and account number prior to making a payment.
Ian Mirels said the risk of payment fraud is high in Australia with many finance officers unaware that Australian banks don’t match payee names with account numbers when payments are processed – leaving enterprises vulnerable to fraud and error from internal and external threats.
“Payments fraud is a growing area of cyber crime in Australia, with fast payment methods significantly increasing the risk of fraudulent activity. It’s critical to ensure a focus on both fast and secure payments as the new NPP platform is introduced”, Mr Mirels said.
Our Innovation Fund’s Geoff Levy AO, said, “Payments protection is an essential need world wide. EFTsure is in a pivotal position to capitalise on the growing demand for this need given their deeply experienced team and their established client base. Our Innovation Fund is excited to partner with EFTsure to accelerate their growth. EFTsure are already seeing a large value proposition in what they’re doing to reduce the incidence and opportunity for fraud and error.”
“We understand the average cost of a cybercrime attack to an Australian business is in the order of $276,000. As a current and former director of several ASX companies, having EFTsure’s payment protection in place – especially in the challenging environment of increasing internal and external payment fraud risk – gives me more comfort. EFTsure is a necessary tool in a company’s toolbox in the fight against cybercrime”, Mr Levy said.
EFTsure’s unique cloud-based, ‘crowd-sourced’ supplier database provides real-time matching of payee names to bank account numbers at the point of payment. Additional compliance checks for ABN, GST status and numerous other alerts provide a best practice ‘Know Your Payee’ solution for businesses of all sizes. EFTsure has begun signing up specialist partners to extend and accelerate its market reach.
Mirels continued: “Industry studies show that the average anomaly rate in vendor master files where payee details reside is around 20 per cent, which can lead to payment errors of around one per cent. This is an issue that will have even greater exposure as NPP rolls out and funds are transferred in near real-time.”
EFTsure is dedicated to helping organisations identify and protect themselves against risk and error that occur in the payment process. Our Best Practice Know Your Payee solutions provide real-time alerts and messaging against broad and accurate payee relationship data. We also assist businesses with verifying supplier data, streamlining their supplier onboarding process and ensuring payee compliance.
EFTsure’s Know Your Payee (KYP) crowd sourced, cloud based, independently verified database of payee information delivers unprecedented insight into your external payee relationships built on the principle that if the depth and accuracy of your payee data is maintained then your organization is better informed and is capable of protecting itself against fraud, error and non compliance as well as ensuring Best Practice payee relationship management.
About Our Innovation Fund, LP:
Our Innovation Fund (OIF) is an Australian based venture capital firm that is focussed on partnering with exceptional entrepreneurs building world-class innovative and scalable early stage technology businesses. With $50 million under management OIF is building a portfolio of up to 20 investments. OIF invests in early stage businesses with innovative, high growth or disruptive technologies or business models with demonstrated market demand. The firm’s Founders, Geoff Levy AO, David Shein and Jerry Stesel, its Partners, Investment Committee members and Investors are made up of some Australia’s leading entrepreneurs and business builders. The team has significant investment, funds management, operational, and strategic experience across multiple companies, sectors, stages of development and geographies. OIF is sector agnostic and invests at the seed stage ($250k – $1m) through to Series A ($2m – $5m) where a product/market fit has been proven. The team at OIF has a long track record and the privilege of partnering with some of Australia’s leading entrepreneurs. In addition to EFTsure, OIF has invested in Instaclustr, Enboarder, Recomazing, Assignar, Stream Lending and Advanced Navigation. OIF also co-invests with other leading domestic and offshore VCs and strategic investors.
Sydney, 06 July 2017: Australian venture capital firm Our Innovation Fund, LP (OIF), has led a $3 million Series A funding round in cloud based Australian construction technology business Assignar. OIF is a $50 million, early stage investment fund backed by some of Australia’s leading entrepreneurs and business builders including Geoff Levy AO, David Shein and Jerry Stesel and other high net worth strategic investors across Australia, US, Asia and the UK.
Assignar is a cloud based SaaS platform built to help construction contractors improve efficiency and safety by providing end-to-end real-time management of a company’s workforce, assets and compliance. Whilst sub-contractors today rely on paper, excel spreadsheets and many point solutions to track people, assets, certifications, inductions and forms, Assignar allows contractors to use digital and mobile forms enabling scheduling, compliance, communication and real-time tracking.
Assignar was founded by serial entrepreneurs Sean McCreanor and Marko Tomic and it now counts companies like UGL, Lendlease, Sydney Trains and Liebherr among their significant and fast growing client list in both Australia and the United States.
The capital raising was undertaken to accelerate growth through direct sales and channel partners, before expanding the footprint in the US market, where the company already has a presence through in-bound leads as well as the ongoing development of the platform.
David Shein, a Founding Partner of OIF, said: “We’re incredibly excited about the opportunity ahead for Assignar and we’re grateful to be partnering with such an exceptional team led by Sean and Marko. Assignar has a great product which is generating real traction in the market and that’s being demonstrated by the increasing list of customers and its fast growing annual recurring revenues.
“We’re looking forward to working with the team to build on this success and to grow Assignar into a global leader in the construction software market. We believe Assignar has the potential to be a great Australian technology company, exporting its product to the world and one that we can all be immensely proud of,” said Shein.
Sean McCreanor, Founder and CEO of Assignar said: “construction technology services will boom in the next few years, off the back of the Federal Government’s $75 billion investment in Australian infrastructure projects and an existing $16 billion construction pipeline”.
“We couldn’t be more excited about the next phase of Assignar’s business growth. Partnering with OIF provides us with not only the capital we need to continue to grow and expand, but, more importantly, they’re a true partner that will help guide the strategic direction of the company, open doors and help us take this business to the next level,” he said.
The investment in Assignar is OIF’s eighth investment since establishing in late 2016.
OIF is sector and industry agnostic and is investing in innovative and scalable early stage technology businesses led by exceptional founders and a proven product-market fit. The team at OIF has a long track record and the privilege of partnering with some of Australia’s leading entrepreneurs. In addition to Assignar, OIFVC has invested in Instaclustr, Enboarder, Recomazing, EFTsure, Stream Lending and Advanced Navigation.
Media Contact: Louise Proctor email@example.com 02 9492 1003
Our Innovation Fund (OIF) is an Australian based venture capital firm that is focussed on partnering with exceptional entrepreneurs building world-class businesses. With $50 million under management OIF is building a portfolio of up to 20 investments. OIF invests in early stage businesses with innovative, high growth or disruptive technologies or business models with demonstrated market demand. The firm’s Founders, Geoff Levy AO, David Shein and Jerry Stesel, its Partners, Investment Committee members and Investors are made up of some Australia’s leading entrepreneurs and business builders. The team has significant investment, funds management, operational, and strategic experience across multiple companies, sectors, stages of development and geographies. OIF is sector agnostic and invests at the seed stage ($250k – $1m) through to Series A ($2m – $5m) where a product/market fit has been proven. OIF also co-invests with other leading domestic and offshore VCs and strategic investors.
Home battery storage the cornerstone of energy affordability, security and low emissions
New research shows renewable energy use at a tipping point – with 62 per cent of Australians using or interested in introducing renewable energy in the home.
Australia, June 9 2017: Australia’s Chief Scientist, Dr Alan Finkel, will today release a report into the nation’s energy market, which addresses the dilemmas of price hikes, stabilising the grid from blackouts and the integration of renewable technology. However, the focus on traditional strategies to meet the emissions targets set out by the Paris accord overlooks the critical role home power solutions such as batteries and smart meters will play in stabilising Australia’s power supply and reducing costs for consumers renewable energy startup Evergen said.
Evergen CEO, Emlyn Keane, said: “We are concerned the Finkel Report underplays the growing impact of consumer technologies and services, such as intelligently managed solar and battery storage. These technologies will become a core part of the energy mix, especially as networks of homes start to operate as ‘virtual power stations and contribute significantly quantities of energy to the grid’. The recommendations around home energy generation seemingly fail to account for the sheer interest in these solutions among Australians, and the opportunity that government has to assist consumers in deploying these solutions to reduce their power bills.”
New nationally representative research conducted last week by Pureprofile reveals a significant 62 per cent of adult Australians are either currently using some form of renewable energy in their home or are interested in introducing renewables into their home.
“Our research shows we have reached a tipping point around the use of renewables in the home, with most Australians keen to ‘do their bit’ and sign up for renewable energy now or in the near future. This demonstrates that there is the real potential to transition Australia’s grid to a more decentralised model with high penetrations of distributed energy resources (DERs) such as solar PV, batteries, EVs and smart appliances also creates a range of diverse opportunities for innovative products and services. These include home energy management systems, energy trading platforms and home automation solutions. Australia’s leading position in this transition also creates opportunities to export technologies and services in this area.
“Australia has a rapidly expanding, highly innovative local renewable energy market that holds great potential to deliver economic opportunities, as our reliance on traditional energy reduces. In partnership with the CSIRO, we have locally-developed, market leading smart technology that helps consumers manage their energy consumption to make it even more efficient,” Mr Keane said.
“The ability for this technology to apply deflationary forces on the cost of power is something we cannot afford to overlook. At the moment, home-generated power is considered to be separate to grid energy solutions. We believe it would be far more effective to have the two working in concert,” Mr Keane said.
“Australia has the potential to be seen as a global innovator in renewable energy, as recognised by the Finkel report, and demonstrated by the breakthroughs that the CSIRO has made into clean power innovation. While we do have incumbent industries that employ a lot of people and are a critical part of Australia’s economy at the moment, the government also needs to recognise that as renewables become as lucrative as coal and gas mining, Australia’s economy will suffer if we don’t start the transition process now and invest in developing exportable, innovative technology around renewables now,” Mr Keane said.
Louise Proctor firstname.lastname@example.org | 02 9492 1003 | 0452 574 244
Evergen is a new energy services company that sells and manages intelligent home energy systems comprising solar power and batteries. The ’intelligence’ technology is provided by the CSIRO, which periodically analyses and remotely updates the system to improve over time. AMP Capital is a major investor in the company alongside CSIRO.
Evergen is run by energy scientists and advocates of change for clean solar and battery storage technologies for the home. The Evergen team includes the former CEO of AMP Capital and Evergen Chairman Stephen Dunne.
Budget 2017 does not go far enough in ensuring power security
Sydney, 15 May 2017: Despite an understanding within the budget, and other recent rhetoric by the government, that Australia’s power grid is in need of a rethink, the real opportunities to leverage renewable energy to the nation’s economic benefit are being missed.
“On Tuesday, Treasurer Scott Morrison handed down his 2017-18 Federal Budget, and many of the measures designed to boost energy security and their effectiveness don’t go far enough, with regards to jobs and economic potential,” Evergen CEO, Emlyn Keane, said. “Renewable energy has a far healthier future ahead of it than incumbent energy sources, and growth in the industry will result in a boom for jobs, as well as economic activity around R&D and technology investment. The potential for renewable energy to lower power costs will also be of benefit to taxpayers and businesses alike. It’s just a pity that the government isn’t seeking to leverage this within its own economic plans.”
The economic value of renewables is being recognised around the world, and despite the hostility towards renewables, recent stats indicate that Australia has had its best year for investment in renewables on record in 2016, and is on track to meet its goals for 2020. This is both the case at government level, with many state governments competing with one another to announce the largest renewables projects, and also the case with community projects. On the latter point, a recent report has shown that Australians have financed more than $24 million in community renewables projects.
Renewables also create jobs. According to the Advanced Energy Now 2017 Market Report, in the US alone, there are 3.3 million people employed by advanced energy. It is equal to the employment provided by retail stores, and twice the jobs in construction. “The money, and the investment is there, but what is Australia really doing about it? We ask that the government look more closely at the potential that Australia has to become a world leader in renewable energy, when renewables will clearly become as lucrative as coal and gas mining for those nations that are willing to make the investments now and develop innovative technology.
Additionally, something that’s been often forgotten in the discussions about energy security and the price of power is the raw potential for rooftop solar and batteries to play a big role in Australia moving forwards.
“Through Evergen, there is locally-developed smart technology that helps consumers with rooftop solar and batteries to make the most of their investments. In conjunction with the CSIRO, we have developed market leading technology in the renewables space,” Mr Keane said.
The ability for this technology to apply deflationary forces on the cost of power is something that shouldn’t be overlooked; at the moment, home-generated power is considered to be separate to grid energy solutions being developed, but we believe it would be far more effective to have the two working in concert,” Mr Keane said.
Mr Keane has provided his thoughts on other energy initiatives announced through the budget:
● A$90 million to expand gas supplies, partly through increased unconventional gas exploration – There have been tens of billions of dollars invested over the last 10 years to develop Australia’s gas resources for export. The $90 million in response is not going to move the needle and will take years to come to fruition.
● A potential Commonwealth buyout of an expanded Snowy Hydro scheme – This is interesting from a State and Federal funding perspective and is intended for States like NSW to invest in infrastructure. There is no direct impact on energy markets however, as it relates to an existing asset simply changing hands. Evergen would like to see a focus on small-scale solar and battery systems, which can improve the reliability of power supply. Some systems currently on the market can actually provide backup power to the house if there is a blackout. Concepts like micro-grids and virtual power stations that coordinate lots of individual solar and battery installations, can provide support the broader grid, improving reliability in extreme weather events.
● Up to A$110 million for a solar thermal plant at Port Augusta – It’s interesting that the Government would select any particular energy technology ahead of another – particularly solar thermal, which hasn’t necessarily proven itself to be cost effective in comparison to alternative technologies. The Federal Government has had subsidies available for large-scale renewable energy for years now, without mandating any particular technology. Market forces have determined that large-scale wind and solar photovoltaic have been the most cost-effective solutions to date.
● Monitoring of gas and electricity prices by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission – Australians don’t need more monitoring to tell them that their energy bills are too high. Consumers do have options to lower their bills, however it means taking matters into their own hands, and investing in new technology, such as solar and batteries coupled with intelligent management that gives them control.
Mr Keane continued: “At a time where Australia’s economy would benefit from easing power prices, the prominence of these items in the budget is an ominous sign of what’s to come in terms of price rises. Wholesale electricity markets have risen to unprecedented levels and unfortunately we could see that translating into higher residential prices in July,” he said.
Matthew Sainsbury | email@example.com | 0423 393 300
Louise Proctor | firstname.lastname@example.org | 0452 574 244
Evergen is a new energy services company that sells and manages intelligent home energy systems comprising solar power and batteries. The ’intelligence’ technology is provided by the CSIRO, which periodically analyses and remotely updates the system to improve over time. AMP Capital is a major investor in the company alongside CSIRO. Evergen is run by energy scientists and advocates of change for clean solar and battery storage technologies for the home including renowned energy scientist Dr Glenn Platt and former CEO of AMP Capital and Evergen Chairman Stephen Dunne.
Amazon Australia: Already In Demand,
Especially For The Younger Generations
While almost 50% of Australians overall remain unsure about whether they will use Amazon Australia,
60% of those aged 18-24 years are already sold on the US retail giant
6 July 2017 – Amazon can expect a generally warm reception from Australians when it launches locally later this year according to new research by global data and insights company Pureprofile.
The new national survey data reveals that many Australians from all demographics already use Amazon for buying eBooks or goods from overseas. However, the jump in numbers of Australians that plan on using Amazon once it has a direct presence in Australia is substantial – particularly among the younger generations – and will put additional pressure on incumbent retailers.
According to the survey of a representative sample of over 1000 Australians, currently, 24% of Australians have shopped at Amazon’s Australian online store for eBooks. Similarly, 24% have made purchases from Amazon’s overseas websites – such as the US and UK.
The interest in Amazon is being principally driven by people in the 25-34 age demographic, of which 32% of users have shopped on Amazon online, and 25% of users have bought from Amazon offshore. Of those in the 35-44 age demographic, 21% and 28%, respectively have made similar purchases.
However, significantly more – 46% – of Australians are planning to use Amazon once it launches locally, and unsurprisingly it’s the younger generations that will drive that demand. The survey found 60% of people 18-24, 61% of the 25-34 age demographic, and 51% of the 35-44 age demographic reported an intention to make use of Amazon Australia.
“Amazon has a powerful brand presence amongst Australians despite its focus being primarily within international markets until recently,” said Pureprofile Founder & CEO Paul Chan. “If you look at the statistics, only six per cent of Australian consumers are unaware that Amazon is moving into the local market. This suggests that the brand is already strong and well-known here in Australia”.
“Overall, there remains a fair amount of uncertainty over whether Amazon in Australia will be the way that Australians ultimately want to do their shopping – 48% of respondents said that they were currently ‘unsure’ about whether they would shop at Amazon Australia. However, this number shrinks dramatically with younger people with only 16% of Australians 18-24 years sharing that same uncertainty.
“Today’s consumer has access to an incredible amount of data that enables them to make retail decisions based on self-research. Ten years ago, a consumer would rely upon advertisements, sales people or word of mouth. The Amazon model empowers consumers to use the power of their personal profiles to offer reviews and create a marketplace of collective intelligence that helps making retail decisions simpler and more efficient,” said Mr Chan.
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About Pureprofile (ASX: PPL)
Pureprofile Limited (ASX: PPL) connects brands with empowered consumers across the world by finding, understanding and engaging them through direct-to-consumer technology platforms. The Pureprofile group is now a global leader in data insights, programmatic media, big data, and quantitative research, as well as consumer lead generation through the recently acquired Cohort group. Pureprofile delivers next generation marketing solutions for more than 700 brands, publishers and research groups worldwide.
02 9492 1041 | 0449 543 181
June 29, 2017 – Global data and insights company Pureprofile Limited (ASX: PPL) today announced a partnership agreement with AA Smartfuel, New Zealand’s largest fuel rewards programme and one of New Zealand’s largest, most engaged loyalty programs with partnerships including major fuel retailers such as BP and Caltex.