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Forbes names Kaggle CEO among top techies

Thursday, 22 December 2011 | By Michelle Hammond
Kaggle co-founder and chief executive Anthony Goldbloom has been named one of Forbes’ 30 Under 30 top tech entrepreneurs, one month after the Australian start-up secured $US11 million in funding.

 

Originally based in Melbourne, Kaggle uses the internet and social media to host online data analysis competitions to solve data problems for consumers. Clients include NASA and Ford.

 

Goldbloom founded the business in 2010 along with Jeremy Howard and Nicolas Gruen. It recently secured $US11 million in funding from investors including PayPal co-founder Max Levchin.

 

Goldbloom, a 28-year-old economic modeler, has been named one of Forbes’ 30 top technology entrepreneurs under 30, recognised for his achievements both within Kaggle and beforehand.

 

Prior to Kaggle, Goldbloom built macro-economic models for the Reserve Bank and Treasury.

 

In 2010, he teamed up with Howard and Gruen, and Kaggle was born. However, the start-up struggled to raise money in Melbourne, prompting the founders to look to the United States.

 

After raising $US11.25 million in Silicon Valley, Kaggle decided to relocate to San Francisco to expand its data-mining labour market, appointing Levchin as chairman of the company.

 

Kaggle’s staff numbers are now set to rise from just a handful to more than a dozen as the company rolls out new competitions for new customers.

 

Kaggle receives a fee for running the competitions and for making company data anonymous so that it can revealed on the internet.

 

Goldbloom says while he was surprised by his Forbes nomination, describing it as humbling, it is a reflection of Kaggle’s success.

 

“It’s recognition of the fact that Kaggle is at the juncture of some really big trends. Kaggle is taking a novel approach to a really big market,” Goldbloom tells StartupSmart.

 

“We came to Silicon Valley less because of the opportunity to raise funds and more because of the atmosphere here. Everyone is optimistic and that optimism is somewhat infectious.”

 

Goldbloom is hopeful the Australian start-up scene will continue to grow with the help of increased media coverage, which “has a really big impact”.

 

“The big issue is the cultural issue. I think that media attention on successful start-ups is the best thing that can happen to the Australian start-up scene,” he says.

 

While Kaggle is now very much at home in Silicon Valley, Goldbloom says moving to the US is “maybe less necessary than it was 10 years ago”, insisting there are alternatives.

 

“Read stuff like the Hacker News or Eric Ries’ start-up book – you can get a lot of the ideas of Silicon Valley without being there by reading pretty intensively,” he says.

 

“One advantage of being a bit isolated is that Australian entrepreneurs have more space to think creatively and be less swept up in the start-up of the moment.”

 

Another Forbes technology nominee with a connection to Australia is 28-year-old Matt Mickiewicz, co-founder of 99designs, which allows designers to work on tasks set by users.

 

Mickiewicz believes the international profile of Australian start-ups is improving, which is good news on the funding front.

 

“As we see more and more Australian companies successfully exit and go public, the entrepreneurs and CEOs behind those businesses will become angel investors,” he told The Australian Financial Review.

 

“[They will] hopefully put money into the local economy and the local start-up scene.”