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Aussie start-up scene on the up, entrepreneur claims

Friday, 25 November 2011 | By Michelle Hammond
The Australian start-up scene is in good health due to heightened media coverage and the strength of start-up incubators such as Pollenizer and Startmate, an industry player claims.

 

Jason Neave is the founder and chief executive of Punt Club, an Adelaide-based start-up that allows users to set up and run a punters club without the administrative burden.

 

Punt Club is currently incubated within Via Media Communications, a digital agency owned by Neave, which gives the company access to design, development and infrastructure expertise.

 

According to Neave, Australia appears to be getting a reputation as a source of promising start-ups, claiming the recent spate of success stories is sure to encourage “even more innovation”.

 

“Social media is an obvious contributor in the web application space, along with faster and more accessible development frameworks [and] APIs getting more sophisticated,” Neave says.

 

In addition to technology, Neave attributes the growth of Australia’s start-up scene to the upbeat attitudes of Australian entrepreneurs.

 

“Aussies have always had a strong sense of self belief, and success tends to breed success. Increased interest from the media helps too,” he says.

 

“Companies such as Pollenizer and programs such as Startmate have systematised the process here in much the same way as venture catalysts and incubator programs… have done in the US.”

 

“Their success is attracting even more attention from overseas. Systematising innovation sounds like an oxymoron, but those organisations are showing it works.”

 

But not everyone is as impressed with Australia’s start-up scene as Neave. Tyson Lundbech, who organised Startup Weekend Melbourne, says many Australians “have a bit of an old mindset”.

 

“We tend to think in terms of… ‘We have to patent a new idea and we have to be safe’. In reality, it’s about taking a risk, being radical [and] getting your idea out there,” Lundbech says.

 

“Australia is fairly untapped, and there is talent out there, but it isn’t being as nurtured as what it should be. It’s not happening here what’s happening overseas.”

 

Lundbech identifies collaboration, trust and the sharing of ideas as the keys to success for Australian start-ups.

 

“It’s about getting to market and getting out there. People won’t generally rip you off. People are likely to help you and work with you rather than rip you off,” he says.

 

“There’s so much you need to do and if you’re a single founder and have an idea, you need a bunch of committed people to drive the idea forward.”