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Obama’s back in – but what do start-ups think?

Thursday, 8 November 2012 | By Michelle Hammond

US-based Australian entrepreneurs have offered a mixed response to the re-election of US President Barack Obama, who eclipsed Republican rival Mitt Romney yesterday in a bitterly fought contest.

 

Barack was reinstated for another four years after winning some of the most important swing states including Ohio, Virginia and Colorado.

 

“We have picked ourselves up, we have fought our way back and we know in our hearts that for the United States of America the best is yet to come,” Obama said in his victory speech.

 

Obama said he is returning to the White House “more determined and more inspired than ever about the work there is to do”.

 

So what does Obama’s re-election mean for entrepreneurs? Here’s what a few US-based Australian bosses had to say.

 

Phyl Georgiou, Tiggly

 

Georgiou, an Australian student at Harvard Business School in Boston, is the co-founder of iPad-inspired start-up Tiggly, which is raising funds on Kickstarter.

 

With regard to Obama’s start-up policies, Georgiou says he’s excited about the JOBS Act, which makes it easier to crowdfund, because “we had a lot of headaches and legal costs proving our investors were credited”.

 

But Georgiou isn’t entirely won over by Obama.

 

“My sense is that people in start-ups were quite supportive of Obama but not necessarily for his start-up policies,” he says.

 

“As a student, I see a lot of very talented people have visa issues as they graduate. I think Obama should make it easier for these people to stay in the US.”

 

Haig Kayserian, Kayweb Angels

 

Based in New York, Kayweb Angels is an angel fund led by Australian chief executive Haig Kayserian. It was formed in response to the lack of engineering talent in New York’s tech scene.

 

“What I definitely did not witness were members of the US start-up community crossing over from their traditional party allegiances to side with the other party, based purely on policy that would benefit US start-ups,” Kayserian says.

 

“Those who claimed they were independent and not party-aligned, which is a minority of Americans, made their decisions on which way to swing based on other issues of importance such as economic policy, foreign policy, education, human rights, etc.”

 

“For me, a political tragic, this was an uninspiring campaign for start-ups.”

 

“The result is four more years of President Barack Obama, and I will deal with that along with my venture partners and portfolio colleagues.”

 

Anthony Goldbloom, Kaggle

 

Goldbloom is the co-founder and chief executive of Kaggle, a platform for data prediction competitions. Originally located in Melbourne, Kaggle is now based in San Francisco.

 

Goldbloom told Wired it would be nice to see measures introduced that simplify the administrative burdens involved in running a company.

 

“We have employees in California, Indiana and New Jersey. We file tax returns in each jurisdiction and have different obligations to our employees in different jurisdiction,” he said.

 

“Streamlining this process is not something a president can do alone, but it’s unlikely to happen without a presidential push.”