Marie Claire feature

Screen Shot 2013-01-09 at 2.28.41 PM

On my to-do list for a long time has been to get on to some official outreach for our company. However, a year in and I’m still yet to send out a press release or email journalists about us. So, it’s reassuring that we started receiving media queries directly (which is the way it’s supposed to work really)! One such was Marie Claire Australia magazine. They’ve just released a list of 10 people ‘Raising the Bar in Female Achievement’ (or “raising the bra” as I accidentally said) across different industries. The Fetch was selected for the tech category and you can read the full piece here or in the February edition of the print magazine. Thanks kindly to the crew for the love!

Aussie Startups relaunches

Quick post to let you know that has relaunched with a YC Hacker News style board and I think it’s a great idea. The aggregated community-selected approach should do the trick in getting important, relevant and well-crafted content out there to interested peeps. It should also co-exist nicely with the HN due to the localisation and focus. Anyway, check it out and submit items to get it bubbling away. And for a bit of weekend reading, check out this post on Hacking Hacker News!

Attention Australian startup founders

Edit 7/2/12: Enter!

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 ( [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 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.



Community management workshop take two

In celebration of the annual Community Manager Appreciation Day coming up on 23 January and after a pretty amazing sell-out 30-person event last November, I’m going to be running another workshop to discuss current happenings in community management. I’m off to San Francisco on the 9 February again so am hoping Tuesday 7 February date suits people!

I really enjoyed the discussion we had on the night so thanks to those who came to the first workshop and yes, an email will be coming your way shortly with some follow-up material! It was also great to get a feel of the level and background of the audience. Most of the people in the room were senior full-time social media and community managers working across a mix of government, non-profit, retail, academia, enterprise, startups and small biz. Nadia from ElliotOwl did a write-up of the event, which you can check out here. There’s also some lovely feedback below, which might help convince you to come hang with me at the next event. :)

The workshop’s agenda can be viewed here and will cover both strategical big-picture stuff and detail-oriented tools and tips. I also include some of the research I did in my master’s thesis so there’s deep insights, stats and charts involved too.

To RSVP and book your ticket, please head over to Eventbrite:

Thanks and hope you can make it!


Five more Australian startups to watch

Following on from the first post titled ‘Five Australian startups to watch‘, I’ve now researched some more startups that’ve piqued my interest coming into the New Year. Part of this series is to highlight great stuff happening in our community and to bring awareness through link love to those innovating and creating in Oz. As per my last write-up, I’d like to stress this list is independent – I’ve only met two founders below and pick startups based on a loose-‘watchability’ criteria. So without ado…

1. Kaggle

You know you’re off to a good start when a company has a CrunchBase profile! Here’s Kaggle’s. Last month, the now-SF-based startup raised $11 million in Series A from Index And Khosla Ventures – a promising and hefty amount for an Australian startup. Founded in 2010, this site hosts competitions to find analytical/statistical and predictive modelling solutions. Not dissimilar in concept from the multiplying logo-contest sites, Kaggle rewards big data scientists with thousands of dollars in exchange for the IP they provide on the challenges. Unless you’re a PhD from a quantitive field or in need of access to the collective Kaggle community brain, it’s unlikely you’ll ever use or take notice of this startup on a consumer level. Brands like Nasa and Microsoft will and do though.

Founder(s): @antgoldbloom
Funding: Series A of $11M

2. Pygg

Pygg is a recently-launched app based out of Pollenizer in Sydney that allows you to pay someone in a fun and social way. It’s quite simple – after you’ve registered with Pygg and integrated with PayPal, you can pay another user via Twitter and email. The service currently charges $2.50 (inc. GST) when you fill up your account, which is just a little more than the PayPal fees – it’ll be interesting to see how the business model evolves over time.

Founder(s): @pollenizer
Funding: Though Pollenizer’s fund

3. Open Shed

Following in the collaborative consumption style mainstreamed by the likes of Airbnb, Open Shed is a peer-to-peer marketplace allowing people to rent stuff off each other. The wheels were set in motion a year ago today after one of the founders saw #collcons leader Rachel Botsman give a talk at TEDxSydney and referenced such sites in the US and UK. Seeing the opportunity for a local equivalent, Open Shed launched a few months ago and has since won $10K from Nokia’s In Hindsight competition. It’ll be interesting to see how the concept goes since we’ve seen rental sites before in Oz through Rentoid and one of Angel Cube Melb’s startups has moved from renting to tasks.

Founder(s): @_lisafox & Duncan Stewart
Funding: Bootstrapped

4. SneakingDuck

Recently launched by the founders of Shoes of Prey, Sneaking Duck follows a similar online retail trajectory – this time as a glasses and eyewear version. I know what you’re thinking, who buys glasses without trying them on first and making sure the prescription’s right?! Well, the ex-Googler team have successfully done it before with hard-to-fit shoes and seem to have most things covered in their FAQs. These guys also know how to bootstrap, check out this informative post on funding as well as some of the other golden tidbits on their blog. Oh, and as the popularity of non (plano) lenses is proving, you don’t even need imperfect vision to get a pair!

Founder(s): @mikeee, @jodiefox, @mmmichaelfox & @ausmark
Funding: Self-funded/bootstrapped

5. Barkles (edit 2012 – site has shut down)

When I was in Berlin this year, I met up with the Ashton- and Madonna-backed app Amen, which touts itself as the best and worst of everything. So when I first saw the Melbourne-based Barkles, I thought it might be similar in the way that a user posts something other users agree or disagree with. However Barkles is predominantly web-based and allows for lengthier discussion on each statement. While some of the more accessible ‘dogfights’ like ‘Is Glee shit?’ or ‘Is Christmas a horrific, commercialized excuse of a celebration?‘ get your attention, in-depth and highly-engaged debate could make this site a long-term player. Add a bit of Quora’s tone to it and you’ll have something really powerful in this space.

Founder(s): @diesellaws & @jaydwhiting
Funding: Bootstrapped

Working on something you’d like to share? Email me.



P.S. Please feel free to rejuice this post when people are back at their desks mid-January.

Sydney’s startup ecosystem visualised

I’ve recently started posting about what’s going on in Australia’s startup community, both here and on The Fetch blog. This involves regular featuring of startups that are piquing my interest and also some curatorial pieces on the coworking spaces and as of today, a list on the incubators and accelerators across the country.

There’s been a promising response and while I need to add a few more in, I’ve just received an amazing map of Sydney’s startup scene thanks to Sebastien Eckersley-Maslin (founder of BlueChilli). I love me some public-transport-esque #mapporn… check it out below and/or click to enlarge. Nice work guys! Would love to see one created in other cities.