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Collusion founder hits out at local VCs ahead of Silicon Valley relocation

Friday, 25 May 2012 | By Oliver Milman

A Sydney entrepreneur has slammed the local venture capital market for being “asleep” ahead of his business’ foray to the US, where he aims to raise a total of $10 million from interested investors.

 

Robert Yearsley’s start-up Collusion has recently been the talk of Sydney’s tech scene, despite only emerging from a short Beta mode yesterday.

 

The business provides a new way of writing, drawing and collaborating on the iPad. For a price point somewhere between $100 and $150, customers can buy a stylus, app and collaboration tool that will allow them to take notes or sketch plans and share them in real time with others.

 

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Collusion already has $30,000 in sales orders and is primed to list its project on crowdfunding site Kickstarter, where Yearsley says he expects an initial target of $100,000 in funding to be surpassed by as much as $5million.

 

The business, which Yearsley founded with Sumeet Patel and Navdeep Saini, is set to relocate to Palo Alto in California within the next two months, in a bid to raise a further $5 million in funding.

 

Yearsley says that he probably wouldn’t shift the business to California if Australian investors showed the same level of interest as their US counterparts.

 

“We’ve not spruiked ourselves to investors at all, but we’ve already had three investment enquiries from the US. There have been no enquiries from Australia,” he tells StartupSmart.

 

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“It seems that Aussie tech VCs can’t even be bothered to look at what’s going on in their own backyard. I could go round chasing them all and try and get them out of a meeting, but the US investors are just in a different league.”

 

“We would want to stay in Sydney. We’ve enjoyed living and working by the beach and we could base the business anywhere, really. But we’ve been tearing our hair out at the investors here because unless it’s a proven model in the US or UK, they aren’t interested.”

 

Yearsley says that he has already been approached by a Colorado advertising agency keen to do pro bono work for the start-up, as well as invites from Microsoft and Facebook to visit their offices.

 

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“There’s some great interest from some of the really serious players in the US, but locally everyone seems to be asleep,” he says.

 

“We will look to recruit around 10 people in the next 12 months and then do the cliché of renting a house with a garage in Palo Alto and code like crazy.”

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