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October 2016

launchgroup.com.au > Blog > 2016 > October
25 Oct

Startup organisations unite to respond to review of the R&D TaxIncentive

by launch-admin Oct 25, 2016 0 News

Australia, 25 October 2016: An alliance of startup organisations are calling for startup-friendly enhancements to the R&D Tax Incentive scheme. The submission, prepared by StartupAUS and supported by FinTech Australia, StartupWA, StartupTas, TechSydney, Startup Adelaide and Startup Victoria, proposes a series of key recommendations to the Federal Government review that would see the scheme enhance its investment in innovative, high-growth businesses.


StartupAUS CEO Alex McCauley said the R&D Tax Incentive is most effective when directed to startups. National research conducted by StartupAUS in support of their submission found an overwhelming 98.7% of startups we surveyed indicated that they would hire additional staff with increased income from the R&D Tax Incentive, 82.4% of which would be specifically in an R&D capacity.  


“When the R&D Tax Incentive is spent on startups, three critical goals are achieved. Startups are supported when they are at their most vulnerable, R&D output gets a big direct boost, and our fastest growing tech companies are encouraged to stay and create jobs in Australia. In short – you get a lot of bang for your buck when the R&D Tax Incentive goes to startups,” McCauley said.


CEO of Fintech Australia Danielle Szetho said, “The R&D Tax Incentive has already done so much to drive our fintech industry forward. The Federal Government now has a great opportunity to focus it where it’s desperately needed – on incentivising better collaboration between startups, corporates and researchers to drive much-needed commercialisation outcomes.”


CEO of TechSydney, Dean McEvoy said, “At a time where other global cities are investing more heavily in their startups and high growth technology sectors it would be a disaster if the government reduced its most effective supporting initiative.”


Managing Director of Startup Adelaide Jenny Vandyke said, “I believe that strengthening the R&D Tax Offset for our innovative, high growth startups is one of the best ways to stimulate jobs growth and strengthen our economy, particularly in the pressure cooker economic environment we’re facing here in South Australia.”


Director of StartupWA Justin Strharsky said, “The R&D Tax Incentive is one of the best levers we have to stimulate investment in innovation and encourage growing ventures to stay in Australia. We should increase its impact on early stage startups, especially by making payments quarterly, to drive job creation and make this a great place from which to build businesses.”


CEO of Startup Victoria Georgia Beattie, said, “The $2 million cash back cap will reduce available cash for startups in our economy. Increasing the cash available here will culturally change for the better the way Australians approach innovation. A focused increase towards small companies will be bait to attract smart innovators to put their minds towards Australia’s fundamental economic challenges.”





Mr McCauley also acknowledged how effective the scheme was in supporting early stage businesses.


“Access to capital is the single biggest challenge facing early stage businesses, and the R&D Tax Incentive is one of the biggest levers available to government to provide support. Our research shows that 89 % of startups say R&D Tax Incentive is either critical (68.9 %) or very important (20.3 %) to their business, while 87.8% of startups say that receiving the R&D Tax Incentive quarterly rather than annually would make a ‘huge’ (77%) or very large (10.8%) difference.”


In August, 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. These findings echoed figures released in the US, where economists have found that startups compose less than 10% of all firms, yet they contribute 20% of job creation at companies with more than one employee.

StartupAUS has recommended a number of relatively low-cost amendments that could make a significant difference to the impact of the scheme on startups. These include:  


1. Increase the amount paid to startups.

Analysis conducted by StartupAUS and KPMG suggested even very substantial increases to the amount claimable by early stage tech startups (doubling it, from 45% to 90%) would only cost $90 million in a scheme that in total costs more than $3 billion each year. StartupAUS believes this part of the scheme delivers the most value, and suggests giving it a significant boost.


2. Pay it quarterly.

Cashflow is the single biggest issue facing most startups. Some 87.8% of startups surveyed in support of this submission said that receiving the R&D Tax Incentive quarterly rather than annually would make a ‘huge’ (77%) or very large (10.8%) difference to the cashflow of the business. Many startups are currently borrowing against future R&D Tax Incentive payments, which can involve hefty interest rates and substantially eat into the effectiveness of the scheme. Paying the tax incentive quarterly to early stage startups would deliver a powerful boost to their viability and growth prospects.


3. Make it simple and transparent.

The application process for the R&D Tax Incentive is cumbersome and lengthy. It costs founders time that could be used on their business, and often advisory fees to help put the application together. Simplifying the process would streamline applications and deliver more of the resources of the scheme to the right people (businesses, rather than middle-men).


4. Extend collaboration incentives to larger enterprises.

The Expert Panel Report recently released by the Government proposed an additional incentive for collaboration with universities and research bodies when conducting R&D. Startups currently find it very difficult to access IP developed at universities, therefore StatupAUS welcomes any step to make this process more rewarding. Further to this, extending the collaboration entities to include larger enterprises could be a valuable factor in helping startups form strategic partnerships with corporates.


5. Don’t cap the low end.

The Expert Panel Report suggested capping refunds to smaller companies under the scheme to $2 million. StartupAUS a cap of this amount cuts the refund available to many of many of Australia’s most promising scale-ups. If a cap is required, StartupAUS recommends a much higher number (around the $5 million mark) would be more appropriate.


Mr McCauley continued: “The vast majority of Australian startups claim the R&D Tax Incentive. Startups, almost by definition, are working on innovative new products and services that require a bit of time and money to develop and get right, and many of those costs are eligible for refunds under the scheme. The capital provided under the incentive for early-stage and growing businesses is a lifeline to many startups that can literally make the difference between growth and failure for a promising venture,” he said.


The Federal Government’s public submission process is open until the 28th of October. If you’d like to make a submission, head to this website and follow the instructions. Feel free to take as much as you need from our submission, or tailor to your own views as appropriate. Alternately, you can fill out the government’s feedback survey here.



Data from StartupAUS’ survey conducted in October 2016 on a nationally representative sample of 74 startups:

  • An overwhelming 98.7% of startups said they would spend any increase they received in the R&D Tax Incentive on hiring additional staff. Of these, 82% said they would hire additional staff to conduct further R&D.
  • Currently, startups can access the 43.5% refundable tax offset, meaning they can claim a refund of 43.5 cents for each eligible dollar spent on qualifying R&D.
  • StartupAUS’ March submission estimated that, properly targeted, an increase in this figure from 45% (as it then was) to 90% would cost about $90 million. Given that overall spending on the R&D Tax Incentive is around $3 billion annually, this would be a very minor increase.
  • FinTech Australia research found 72% of fintech startups are looking to form partnerships with other banks, corporates and startups. However, 41% of these same startups also said they currently found it challenging to build partnerships with those same organisations.


Media Contact

Louise Proctor louise@launchgroup.com.au 02 9492 1003 / 0452 574 244


About StartupAUS


StartupAUS is a not-for-profit entity with a mission to transform Australia through technology entrepreneurship. StartupAUS believes a strong home-grown tech sector is vital to future Australian jobs and wealth. But getting there will require a national imperative to create the right environment, with a supportive culture and more entrepreneurs with the right skills.


StartupAUS will expand its efforts to bring financial partners on-board to help corporates have a bigger voice in the emerging innovation conversation and assist StartupAUS in increasing its resources and activities ahead of this year’s election, as both sides of politics vie for innovative traction. The organisation’s current corporate partners include Salesforce and Google Australia. It also has a growing list of philanthropic benefactors including successful tech entrepreneur, Steve Baxter, Co-Chairman of CHAMP’s Board of Directors and Investment Committee, Bill Ferris, and Director and Co-Founder of Allen & Buckeridge, Roger Allen.


For more information, visit: www.startupaus.org

24 Oct

Queensland Leaders Converge On Future of ICT: ACS QueenslandAnnounces Inaugural Access IT Conference

by launch-admin Oct 24, 2016 0 News


Keynotes include: Brisbane’s Lord Mayor, Graham Quirk, Tim Wark, Data61, CSIRO; Cat Matson, Chief Digital Officer, City of Brisbane


Plus Draft 2018 QLD ICT Curriculum Announced (Years 11 &12)


Australia, 24 October, 2016: The ACS – the professional association for Australia’s ICT sector – today launched its inaugural Access IT Conference, a large-scale, two-day event that brings together key leaders in ICT to discuss its future, as well as showcase Queensland’s growing global hub of ICT businesses, talent and industry collaborators.


Held at The Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, Brisbane’s Lord Mayor, Graham Quirk, will officially open the Access IT Conference, which features more than 30 inspirational technologists, innovators and industry thought leaders spanning technology, business, enterprise, education, academia and politics.


Together, keynote speakers and conference delegates will address some of the biggest challenges in ICT – including how to secure Australia’s $179 billion economic future amidst an ICT skills deficit[1]; the need for increased collaboration between industry, government, business and education; the latest megatrends in ICT; and why Queensland is taking the lead as Australia’s thriving technology ecosystem poised for significant global growth.


Keynote speakers include: Tim Wark, Director of Products, Programs and Marketing at Data61, CSIRO; Cat Matson, Chief Digital Officer, City of Brisbane – who is one of only two CDO’s in the world; Dr Sally Ernst, Co-Founder, UK and Australian Cyber Security Networks; Dr Catherine Ball, Telstra Queensland Business Women of the Year; Wade Alcorn, Managing Director, Alcorn Group and more.


ACS Queensland State Manager, Ross Medina, said: “It is exciting to bring together such a stellar line-up of speakers, innovators and delegates who are shaping and advancing ICT.


Australia is currently undergoing a significant digital transition and the need to strengthen our nation’s digital skills and capabilities – from the classroom to the office – is now critical. While projected demand for ICT professionals is expected to grow 1.3 per cent in Queensland by 2020[2], this needs to increase in order to meet future demand for specialist ICT skills,” said Mr Medina.


Queensland in particular is fast garnering a reputation as Australia’s burgeoning startup state and is home to a growing hub of technology businesses and innovators, such as Alcorn Group, Blue Ocean Robotics and Atech. “These businesses – and the talent behind them – are tapping into the huge potential of ICT and are paving the way for other businesses to follow,” said Mr Medina.


In addition to speakers and panelists, the conference will feature a special Industry Hacks segment. This is an opportunity for delegates and speakers to unite and develop real-world solutions to industry challenges. These solutions will be presented to the conference’s expert judging panel and summarised into a whole-of-industry white paper. This will later be shared with relevant government leaders to ignite fresh conversation on the direction that ICT in Australia should take.


Mr Medina added, “Education, including a stronger emphasis on digital literacy in Australian classrooms, will go a long way in tackling the challenges we face. This is why ICT education is a core component of Access IT and it is an honour to announce that Jo Butterworth will unveil the draft 2018 Queensland ICT Curriculum for students in year’s 11 and 12 during the conference,” said Mr Medina.


Attending delegates also have the opportunity to connect with a range of industry specialists via the conference’s Mentor Centor, including recruiters, mentors, personal and business coaches, career advisors, attorneys, and more.


The conference is held over two-days, on 24 and 25 October 2016. More than 20 Queensland businesses will also be exhibiting.


To view the full speaker line-up please click here.


To view the full conference program please click here.


Event details:


What:    ACS Queensland Access IT Conference


When:   Monday 24 October 12pm – 4:45pm and Conference Dinner 6:30pm – 12pm

 Tuesday 25 October 8:30am – 5:00pm


Venue: Brisbane Entertainment and Convention Centre


Who:       Annastacia PalasczczukQueensland Premier

 Tim Wark – Director of Products, Programs & Marketing at Data61, CSIRO

 Paul Martyn – Deputy Director General, DSITI

 Graham Quirk – Brisbane Lord Mayor

 Ross Medina – ACS Queensland State Manager

 Cat Matson – Chief Digital Officer, City of Brisbane

 Megan Cook – Principal Product Manager, Atlassian

 Wade Alcorn – Managing Director, Alcorn Group

 Dr Sally Ernst – Co-Founder, UK and Australian Cyber Security Networks

 Dr Catherine Ball – 2015 Queensland Telstra Business Women of the Year








*The following figures are taken from ACS’ 2016 Digital Pulse Report


ACS’ findings on ICT in Queensland:

·       Projected demand for ICT professionals is 1.3 per cent annually. While this is below the national average of 2 per cent it is an encouraging result for an economy seeking to build its capabilities in the digital economy.


ACS’ findings on the state of ICT in Australia:

·       ICT workforce to grow 2 per cent annually from 628,000 in 2015 to 695,000 in 2020

·       Six out of the top 10 skills now sought after for ICT specialists are non-technical skills such as project management, sales and customer service skills.

·       2.5 million Australians in non-ICT roles have reported digital literacy skills are an increasingly important part in their job

·       Australia’s digital economy is expected to grow $139 billion by 2020, an increase of 75 per cent since 2014.




Further information

Louise Proctor, Launch Group, 0452 574 244 louise@launchgroup.com.au

Sarah Jane Williams, Launch Group, 0409 362 675, sarahjane@launchgroup.com.au


About the ACS

The ACS is the professional association for Australia’s Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector. Over 20,000 ACS members work in business, education, government and the community. The ACS exists to create the environment and provide the opportunities for members and partners to succeed. The ACS strives for ICT professionals to be recognised as drivers of innovation in our society, relevant across all sectors, and to promote the formulation of effective policies on ICT and related matters. Visit www.acs.org.au for more information.

10 Oct

MCN hits Dynamic Scheduling milestone on Foxtel Platform

by launch-admin Oct 10, 2016 0 News

MCN delivers over 60 per cent of all advertising campaigns on the Foxtel network through Dynamic Scheduling 


Sydney, Monday 10 October, 2016: Multi Channel Network (MCN) this month reached its ambitious end-of-year goal to deliver 60 per cent of all Foxtel advertising campaigns through Dynamic Scheduling, establishing a new benchmark for highly targeted and efficient television trading in Australia.


The Australian industry-first solution allows MCN to trade audiences rather than just traditional TV spots by optimising campaign placement and responding to changes in viewing habits across the Foxtel platform.


MCN Chief Sales and Marketing Officer, Mark Frain, said achieving their end-of year-goal ahead of schedule was a milestone for MCN and sets a new precedent for the way television advertising is traded in Australia. It also highlights that when you fill a requirement in the industry, the market will follow.


“Moving from a spot transactional model to a dynamic audience and campaign delivery model has allowed MCN to manage and optimise campaign delivery. Fundamentally, this has enabled MCN to guarantee and deliver targeted television campaigns, as well as lower the operation burden for agencies and create enormous efficiencies around campaign management and schedule building.” 


In a marketplace where TV audiences have continued to fluctuate, the Dynamic Trading product has enabled MCN to deliver on campaign commitments. From January to September 2016 inclusive, MCN delivered for 329 different advertisers, 994 different products, 4607 campaigns, all traded against 42 different demographics. 


Frain continued: “As the landscape becomes increasingly complex, market innovations like Dynamic Scheduling plays a significant role in keeping things simple, consistent and efficient.


“Sophisticated and automated spot placement based on up-to-date audience predictions, campaign delivery and inventory utilization is the way of the future – it is reflective of the digital marketplace and it allows for a more targeted, quality campaign outcome,” Frain said. 


 Ends –


Further information: 

MULTI CHANNEL NETWORK                                                                                          

Louise Proctor, Launch Group


Ph: (02) 9492 1000/ 0452 574 244                                         


About MCN: MCN is Australia’s leading media sales company, representing the advertising interests of Foxtel, Network Ten, FOX SPORTS, Telstra Media, plus many other premium content brands.


Accounting for the biggest commercial audience share of television and the largest broadcast-quality digital video network in Australia, MCN represents 15 capital-city free-to-air channels from Australia’s fastest growing free-to-air network, Network Ten, 71 premium subscription television channel brands across Foxtel, 117 premium digital publishers, plus online catch-up and streaming TV services tenplay and Foxtel Go. 


MCN also represents 31 Digital-Out-Of-Home-TV screens and partners with Qantas to manage its domestic and international inflight entertainment network. MCN is a partner in MBX, a programmatic advertising exchange with NewsCorp.


A pioneer of innovative digital advertising solutions, MCN has led the development of local and world leading initiatives including Australia’s largest TV audience panel, Multiview, Australia’s most advanced trading platform, Landmark, and the world’s first integrated programmatic private marketplace for TV. 


Established in 1997, MCN is a joint venture between Foxtel, FOX SPORTS and Ten Network.