by George Nott

Aussie startups get government leg-up in San Fran

Aug 30, 2016
Collaboration SoftwareGovernmentInnovation

A government funded hub for Australian startups has opened in San Francisco, the first of five set to launch worldwide.

The ‘Landing Pad’, run by Austrade, is giving young companies access to workspace within startup accelerator RocketSpace for 90 days, as well as providing advice, connections and training.

“This Landing Pad will let some of the best and brightest Australian startups take their ideas and innovations to the next level by being in the global hub for technology and entrepreneurship,” said Australia’s consul general and senior trade and investment commissioner in San Francisco, Chris Oldfield.

The Australian start-ups working at RocketSpace, which boasts 17 ‘unicorn’ tech companies now valued at more than $1 billion in its alumni, include: Rosterfy, a management solution for large volunteer-led events; Koala Safe, a child-friendly home Wi-Fi network; Gymsales, business development software for gyms.

Other startups include OpenCities, which allows local governments to better deliver online services and requests to residents; VAXXIN8, a vaccination management solution for healthcare workers and Arthritis Relief Plus, a natural and patented product that’s effective for sufferers of joint pain.

“The San Francisco tech ecosystem really leads the world in fostering successful startups and has produced outstandingly successful companies. Now a diverse group of Australian startups will have the best possible opportunity to find similar success,” added Oldfield.

There is a growing contingent of Australian technology innovators working in the Silicon Valley area, collectively known as the ‘Aussie mafia’. Some are fearful of the phenomenon of Australia’s best minds leaving these shores for the US – the so-called ‘brain drain’, while others say it should be encouraged – if they can be tempted back.

Further Landing Pads are due to open in Berlin, Shanghai, Tel Aviv and Singapore, funded by $11m as part of the government’s National Innovation and Science Agenda.

In each location Austrade will use its business networks to facilitate access to investors, customers and strategic partners, the agency said. The Landing Pads will also receive visiting Australian university and business delegations.

“We are delighted to work with Austrade and offer access to our ecosystem to help Australian tech startups grow,” said RocketSpace Founder and CEO, Duncan Logan.

“RocketSpace is committed to creating a bridge between Silicon Valley and the world’s top tech hubs to help the most promising startups think and expand globally.”

The coworking space lists Uber, Spotify, Podio, Hootsuite, Kabam, Domo and Leap Motion among the companies ‘who have hit their stride’ with its help.