Attention Australian startup founders

Edit 7/2/12: Enter madeinoz.org!

Someone was recently chatting to me about the lack of awareness of Australian startups by VCs (even local ones), with poor national press coverage doing us no favours. I agree with this to a large extent and as result have been posting more about our startups here and also over on The Fetch Blog. However, I also think Australian startups need to stand up and own the fact that they’re Australian. I think we can often be obsessed with trying to appear global and appeal to certain markets, like the US, rather than pushing our own story and roots. What I’ve witnessed in other startup communities around the globe is that they have a real pride and bond around origin – particularly their city. New York is perhaps the best example of this – and likely a result of the ever-present dominance from the West Coast. ‘Internet Made in NYC‘, which lists all the NYC-based startups is one of the most useful startup resources to have. It’s visited by job seekers, journos and investors alike.

You can read more about the list in the FAQ at the bottom but the following will give you an idea about the structure.

“What do these companies have in common?

  1. They are mostly coded in nyc
  2. They have 10K+ people use or visit their site monthly
  3. They display “Made in NYC” as prominently as its copyright — and it links to this page (http://nytm.org/made). [Optionally, (a) spell out “New York City” and/or (b) precede with an adverb/verb]“

No denying where Skillshare is based

In Australia, I believe a crucial step in evolving our ecosystem is bonding cross-city and providing transparency around who’s here. We should create our own version of ‘Made in NYC’ as ‘Made in Oz’, and pop links in footers everywhere! It’s good to see leaders like 99designs have kicked things off.

99designs is "Proudly Australia" (although only on the .com.au domain)

Perhaps we could even add some green and gold into the mix… ;)

So cheesy it's back in fashion

And one for good measure – 6wunderkinder wearing the badge:

A proud Berlin-based startup 6 Wunderkinder (check out Wunderlist & Wunderkit)

Thoughts, commentary, discussion?

Have a good weekend.

Cheers,

KK

16 thoughts on “Attention Australian startup founders

  1. I for one am a big fan of this idea – As much for national pride and community development as for competitive differentiation – As a general rule the US (which, let’s face it, are our primary customer target outside of Oz) love Aussies and what we do.

    Good call.

  2. Are 99 Designs proudly Australian or smart marketers? I notice that if you switch the location to US, that proudly Australian disappears. It shows if you switch to Australia. Perhaps A/B testing shows increased conversion for Australian users when they see “Proudly Australian”?

  3. I completely agree! Let’s make Australia proud and display our pride to the world whilst we’re at it! I’m the Founder of new start up @acitywithquirk, and we are intentionally placing ourselves locally, preferring to highlight our amazing city, Melbourne! Hence, the .au. So…all for it! Love the kangaroo logo…so daggy it’s definitely cool – like a vintage cardi! Aliki Komps

    • I reckon Aussie branding is relevant to aussie customers. But something is distracting or irrelevant to your customers in other parts of the world then drop it. Customers come first.

      Personally I’m not a fan of the ‘made in nyc’ thing. As a user, it feels like the site is saying “oh, by the way I’m going to tell you that I feel patriotic about the place that I live.” I’m saying to myself “Ok, fine, but is that relevant to me? Not really.”

      With that said, I totally agree that we need to be pushing our own story and roots. To each other. More storytelling and more physical events for a start.

      Just a personal view.

  4. It is a good idea, Australia is getting stronger and stronger in the global startup landscape. Will see what I can do with my start up, the only problem I can potentially see is when you try to get into another country and another local market, the “Australian Made” doesn’t particularly add any points, instead could make it even foreign.

  5. I’m not sure if “Made in Australia” will work – notice that all of the other places are cities and not countries. I feel this gives people something slightly more tangible to associate with. Australia is a big place – if it were “Made in Melbourne” I think it would have a better ring to it. Much smaller group of start ups, but still…

  6. I OH today “Melbourne seems to be the tech capital of Australia right now.” and would love to see a daily source of local startup news. http://prtlnd.com/ is one of my favourite city sites, and I reckon the city sites are much more popular than country sites. There seems to be a lot of small posts here and there with incomplete lists, but nothing has the pace that is required to make a big presence stick.

  7. Re: The Made in Oz thing version Made in Melbourne –>

    Australia is a big place… sure, in terms of size but in terms of population and markets – it’s actually pretty small. I also think the inter-city competition that goes on (especially Sydney and Melbourne) is too sandpit like and distracts us from presenting the best of Oz startups to the world. If you look at the criteria of the Made in NYC list, we’d probably have trouble curating a comprehensive list for Melbourne alone. Although, I’d love more transparency over user numbers as they’re a safe indicator of traction.

    Another ad hoc comment about the proposed list – as we begin to establish ourselves more startup-wise, I see players in Australia struggle to find their place in the community. As a result, we seem to be getting an ownership rather than collaborative vibe of late. My vision for the list would be that it is completely independent and not affiliated with any one person, place or business – rather, a grassroots endeavour from founders themselves.

    Peace.

    Kate

  8. Good points I think culturally it’s not too dissimilar to tall popp syndrome.

    I for one would love an Australian tech company focused podcast to ad to the list; currently comprised of Rise to the Top, Mixergy, This Week in Startups and a few others.

    As do the list, why not have it under the auspice of Silicon Beach Australia?

  9. I ran into this same issue when I started brainstorming how to market a Twitter app (www.metrotwit.com) we were building in Australia.

    The Australian Made logo although recognizable is an unjustifiable cost, especially for software startups who want to make every penny count. http://www.australianmade.com.au/logo-usage/ It starts at $250 and then goes up to 0.1% of every $ in sales.

    As an alternative, we’ve just been promoting our “Australianism” with just a “Made in Australia” tagline in the footer. Surprisingly, a lot of people actually pick up on this and tweet about it. We think it’s helped differentiate us at least.

    Also, we also come across people who tweet at us who are Aussies and we usually reply with something like “thanks for supporting Aussie developers” which also builds strong brand loyalty.

    It’s both good/bad that Australian startups kind of get lost in the sea, because on the internet it doesn’t really matter where it’s made, but at the same it’s good to recognize the fact that not all the cool stuff has to be from America.

  10. Agreed with all your points. We hope to facilitate Australian Startups with the funding they require to get their ideas into action and onto the world stage through crowd funding. We invite Aus start ups to list their projects and their funding requirements with us at http://ipledg.com/ and let’s see if we can help them get the funding they need quickly and easliy.

  11. Love the idea of branding homegrown tech startups in a similar way to the ‘Made in NYC’ stamp. I’m one of the Co-Creators of OzFounded (http://www.ozfounded.com) – a map of the Australian startup and tech community. We’ve had over 120+ startups list within the past two weeks since launch. Will definitely think about putting together a logo that could be distributed by the site and freely used by Aussie startups.

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