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Aussie startup Kounta wants to counter perils of point-of-sale “lock-in” for SMEs

2:40AM | Thursday, 12 February

Australian startup Kounta has launched in the United States in order to stake a claim in the increasingly competitive point-of-sale software market.   Kounta, which is based in Sydney, has proved popular with retailers who want the flexibility of both online and offline solutions across multiple platforms – including iPads, Android tables, Mac OS, Windows and existing point-of-sale software.   North American president of Kounta, Jason Seed, says while the company is entering a “busy market” it is up for the challenge.   “On the one hand you have companies like Square and Groupon that have entered the POS market and done quite well,” he said in a statement.   “However, they have ulterior motives to get you on to a specific payment provider or service, which they obviously earn money from. They are far from being open and this lock-in is dangerous for small business owners.”   Despite taking on an investment from MYOB in June last year, Kounta will face stiff competition from other POS startups – including mobile payments company Square which was started by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey.   However, Seed says he expects Kounta to stand out because in his view the startup’s approach is “completely different”.   “We have built an open platform that integrates with everything else, so small business owners can choose the payments provider, or accounting software or ordering applications, that suits them best.”   “Similarly, the current crop of POS startups are too simplistic. They either tie you down to a specific operating system, or are beautiful, but lacking in deep features that small business owners need.”   Follow StartupSmart on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

ACCC cracks down on Spreets daily deals site for alleged false claims

7:46AM | Tuesday, 1 July

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has initiated Federal Court proceedings against daily deals site Spreets, which it alleges misled consumers in 2011 and 2012.   The crackdown by the competition watchdog comes just six months after online group buying site Scoopon was hit with a $1 million penalty for making false or misleading representations to businesses and consumers.   The ACCC released a statement yesterday saying it will allege Spreets made false or misleading representations about the price of certain deals, the ability of consumers to redeem vouchers and the applicability of consumer guarantees under the Australian Consumer Law in relation to the right of consumers to receive refunds during 2011 and 2012.   At the time, Spreets operated one of Australia’s largest consumer-facing online group buying sites. The site has since changed its focus and now publishes deals offered by third party group buying sites including Scoopon, Groupon and Living Social.   Amanda Millar, director of trade marketing and corporate affairs for Spreets’ parent company Yahoo!7, told SmartCompany this morning Yahoo!7 “has been in discussions with the ACCC about these matters for some time” and has “already, of our own accord, made substantive changes to the Spreets business model”.   Millar says the changes were in part “to ensure that the Spreets businesses practices protected our users against breaches to consumer law”.   “Beyond this, it is not appropriate for us to comment any further on matters that are before the courts,” says Millar.   The ACCC said it has received “a significant number of complaints” about online group buying sites in Australia since the industry emerged in 2010 and regulators have been working to improve the practices of the industry.   “Businesses selling to consumers online have the same obligations under the Australian Consumer Law as all other businesses, and consumer guarantees, including refund rights, apply when consumers purchase online,” said ACCC chairman Rod Sims in the statement.   “Online businesses must ensure that they do not mislead consumers and that the price and any restrictions on a deal being offered are clearly and accurately stated,” he said.   Sally Scott, partner at Hall & Wilcox, told SmartCompany the maximum penalty for misleading conduct by a company is $1.1 million per offence. While Scott says she has not seen documents relating to this particular case, if the ACCC is alleging three offences from Spreets, the maximum penalty could reach as high as $3.3 million.   Scott says it is essential for businesses to ensure any representations they make are not misleading.   “[Businesses] need to check all communications and representations such as those in advertising, communications with suppliers, warranty terms, statements made in a shop and statements on a website,” says Scott. “Businesses need to think out of the box as to where they might make representations.”   Scott says companies also need to be aware of their obligations towards other businesses, including suppliers.   “The Scoopon and Spreets cases show that businesses can be targeted for misleading representations made to consumers and to other businesses, including suppliers,” says Scott.   “Whilst many businesses are now more aware of the risk of making misleading representations to consumers, there is less awareness of the risk of making misleading representations to other businesses.”   “The ACCC has proved over the last four years or so that it is willing to pursue businesses that engage in misleading conduct,” says Scott.   A directions hearing for the case is scheduled for July 30 in the Federal Court in Brisbane. The ACCC is seeking declarations, pecuniary penalties and costs.   This story first appeared on SmartCompany.

Over their heads with no quick fix and hostile investors: Adioso’s story

11:47AM | Friday, 29 November

After two years of hustling, hacking and scrambling to make their new take on searching for travel data work, the Adioso team were running out of cash fast when they realised the time had come to face the facts and try not to panic.   Co-founder Tom Howard told StartupSmart they felt they were onto a great thing when they launched in 2008, but they had underestimated the challenges they’d face.   They had received lots of positive customer validation, raised $350,000 in angel funding and even secured a coveted spot in the Y Combinator Accelerator program, in the early 2009 cohort that transformed Airbnb from a great idea into a booming start-up.   “It was in 2009 after battling away at the idea for a bit that we realised we were in over our heads,” Howard says. “We’d tried everything, trying to trick ourselves and investors that we were building something that was really working.”   Adioso lets people search for flights more naturally, searching using more flexible categories such as regions and seasons.   “We realised there was a reason products like ours didn’t exist. Our product was completely at odds with how the travel industry worked so we couldn’t get the data in the form we needed,” Howard says. “We realised we’d have to overcome the huge industry barrier. The more we looked at it, the more we understood why no one else had. And here we were, just a few scruffy guys from Australia.”   Howard says this realisation was terrifying, and hung over his head for months as they tried to work out how to overcome it.   “As the head of our little team, I felt really lonely. We had nothing but tough decisions and only slow possible progress ahead of us,” Howard says.   He adds the situation was made even more difficult because they had several investors who were increasingly concerned about their investment.   “It was tough because we’d had investors and supporters who were really encouraging when it was going well, but when times got tough some withdrew their support, some became hostile and some were very aggressive and full on with advice that we knew was wrong,” Howard says.   Howard says they received a lot of advice to invest in a business development person to bring airlines on the platform.   “We knew chasing the airlines wasn’t the best idea then. The technology wasn’t ready for the airlines to want to come on board, and the market wasn’t ready so even if we got them, we wouldn’t be able to keep them,” Howard says.   The Adioso team had been focused building their tech platform, but the fact they couldn’t wrangle the available data into the structure they needed was crippling how many options they could offer, a make or break factor in the hyper-competitive travel industry.   Howard says their enthusiasm and commitment mingled with their panic, and they invested way too much time and money trying to grow the demand for their limited offer with marketing gimmicks.   “It didn’t work. So we were at the crossroads: do we give up and shut down, and try something new and do we hold out?” Howard says. “We had no money left. We seemed like damaged goods so new investors wouldn’t touch us and our old investors didn’t want to chip in anymore.”   He adds many advisors suggested they pursue a deals model, as Groupon was “the biggest thing in start-up land” at the time. He adds it was tempting, but they knew they had to stop investing in gimmicks and start fixing the core issue.   Through the panic, they realised several larger companies were beginning to seek travel data in new ways, so they decided to hold out for a little bit longer.   “We completely overhauled the product but kept building as if we had everything we needed, because as soon as we had it, we’d be in prime position to make it work,” Howard says.   The wait and see play paid off. Flight data continues to become increasingly manageable.   The Adioso team now have three online travel agencies on board and over 35,000 active signed up users.   They’ve doubled the team and Howard says their first and hopefully biggest hurdle is behind them.   “We’re integrating new data and negotiating with airlines. It was certainly tempting to chuck it in, but now we can see the best thing which was to watch the industry, and decide to chill and wait it out,” Howard says. “We’re not huge yet, but we’re growing again, this time probably for the long haul!”   This story is part of our Start-ups are Scary series. If you've survived a tough and terrifying moment in your start-up's journey and want to share what you've learned with the wider community, we'd love to hear from you: rpowell at startupsmart dot com dot au

New app heralds the next generation of radio: socially attuned and completely customisable

10:23PM | Monday, 7 October

Omny, an app allowing users to combine news clips, emails, social media updates and articles via voice-to-text software, launches today after over 20 months in development.   Created by 121Cast, the app allows people to create their own customised audio channel. The app also includes a recommendation algorithm to suggest content.   121Cast co-founder and chief operations officer Ed Hooper told StartupSmart they were excited to see it finally launch.   “Seeing how it can change people and their behaviour is really exciting, as is the opportunity make that commute period really productive all over the world,” Hooper says. “We’ve all been doing this for so long and everyone knows about it, so how this goes is tied to our personal brands, what we stand for, and our credibility.”   Co-founders Long Zheng and Hooper began exploring the idea for the app in 2011. They had previously worked on an international award winning start-up involving farm irrigation automation software.   “But it was the GFC and we were still students, so for a whole lot of factors it didn’t work out but it was an amazing journey,” Hooper says, who gave up studying at Stanford to return to Australia to work in the Groupon team just as coupon sales were taking off.   He was working at Groupon when Zheng got in touch to talk about how to turn the issue of commute productivity into a business opportunity.   “I was constantly looking for a good opportunity, but I didn’t want to jump on something unless it was awesome, because you want to put everything into it. When Long called me up and we started talking about an audio solution that read you your emails and updates, I realised this was it. I literally could not stop thinking about it,” Hooper says.   Omny sources content from over 30 providers, from music apps such as Spotify, to news groups such as the ABC and BBC, to Facebook, Google and Microsoft. Hooper says all the early conversations were focused on the difficulties of developing such an app, rather than building a business around it.   “Whenever we’ve spoken to potential partners or investors, the assumption is always if we can make the app work, the money stuff will be fine,” Hooper says. “The feedback we got was the idea was there and it could definitely be a business, but also that it was going to be really hard to build and we’d need significant expertise.”   They brought on third co-founder and chief technology officer Andrew Armstrong in February 2012. They’ve gone on to hire a front-end developer and a data scientist as well.   To guide the development, the 121Cast team launched a test app, SoundGecko, in mid-2012.   “We realised we didn’t have a clear idea of what we were creating and needed some real data. We tried surveys and interviews, but it didn’t really get us there. So we took a small fraction of this app, and bundled it as a standalone,” Hooper says.   SoundGecko, an app which read websites and PDF documents for users, has almost 50,000 active monthly users. It allowed 121Cast the opportunity to test the reception of voice-to-text, and also the data requirements for sending audio to thousands of users across the world.   Over 210,000 people have downloaded SoundGecko on iOS, Android and Microsoft phones.   “We found that managing all three platforms was quite hard. As soon as we’d launch a version, we’d see things we needed to change and there were always things we should have done on the first one,” Hooper says. “For the resources we have, it just isn’t feasible to be updating the app on all three platforms. So we’re fine tuning the iOS one while we do the core Android development.”   Omny is currently a free app. 121Cast will introduce ads and affiliate marketing in the coming months, and are exploring a premium subscription for launch later next year.   “SoundGecko definitely validated that people would pay for the premium features, such as more voices, and the Omny premium subscription will probably not include ads,” Hooper says.   Hooper adds financial opportunities will emerge from the user data over time.   In order to fund the development, the 121Cast team used their own capital and raised a series of seed investments.   “We burnt our own savings and lived off them for quite a while. We decided we were going to do this regardless, and between us we could go for about a year without raising funds. Let’s just build this because we have to do it,” Hooper says.   They went on to raise $250,000 from Adventure Capital and the SingTel Optus Innov8 program in November 2012; $20,000 from the University of Melbourne Accelerator program in late 2012, and just over $250,000 from Commercialisation Australia in July 2013.   “With the investment, if we knew we need to do something in the future, we started building the relationship as early as possible and find out what’s important to our potential partners and match them on multiple data points,” Hooper says.   Hooper says they’re focused on Australia at this stage, but will be looking to expand to the US, United Kingdom and other English speaking markets in the next few years.

Assessing a start-up’s potential in 12 minutes and 56 questions

9:57AM | Wednesday, 4 September

I was asked to look at a business opportunity the other day on behalf of a mate and fellow member of the Entrepreneur’s Organisation in Melbourne.   He is currently sailing around the world with his family for three years, after successfully selling his business. It made me realise how I was able to use all of my experience to gauge a complete position on a start-up in a phone call, which lasted 12 minutes with the founder along with probably 15 minutes of prior research.   As a result, I thought it would be useful to share my screening process, which helps me form an opinion quickly as to whether to continue the conversation.   I’ve seen a lot of pitches and get approached by a number of entrepreneurs who want and need help. Unfortunately, ‘time’ is the scarcest resource, so it’s critical to get it right before committing to anyone.   I’ve also got enough of my own opportunities to work on, but generally happy to hear someone out as it’s great to connect with smart, motivated entrepreneurs and stay in touch with them for the future in the event that we can’t work together today.   Some entrepreneurs want money, others want guidance, but before I can work out what I think they really need, there’s a bunch of things I need to assess before actually looking at the business itself. Here’s my approach: Before I start, I warn them that I’m about to bombard them with questions to gain a quick picture, and likely to cut them off to avoid rambling, so now I’m less likely to offend and at least very clear about the next 10 or so minutes!   The person   It’s imperative to understand their background, experience, skills and motivation as it’s initially the founder driving the business forward:   What’s your background? Which high school did you attend? What did you study at uni? What grades did you get at school and uni? Did you work while you were at high school or at uni? What subjects did you love? What do your parents do? What do your brothers and sisters do? Where do you live? Have you had to pay rent? Who pays your credit card bill? What are your monthly living expenses? What are you passionate about in life? What are you really good at? What do you suck at? Why do you want to be an entrepreneur? What hours do you work on your start-up? What time did you get out of bed today? Who have you worked for? What skills did you learn? Have you been in business before? (If not – I stop there. I’d rather someone who has tried and failed but not someone too green.) Who funded it, how did it go? Have you failed in a business before? If so, what were your biggest lessons? What are the last three business books you’ve read and when did you read them?   I’m looking for someone smart, motivated, ambitious and with a strong work ethic who has no option but to succeed. I like to understand their ‘breed’ and potential culture fit. It’s often the family background that helps establish some pattern for work ethic, motivation and values set.   Would you rather back a maiden horse who has never won a race or likely to come close, or back a maiden who’s got great potential and willing to do what it takes?   If the person is not suitable, it would only be out of curiosity sake to hear about the actual business opportunity.   Story continues on page 2. Please click below. The opportunity   Here’s the exciting bit. What’s the business and opportunity all about and what stage is it really at:   Tell me about your business (assuming I’ve already had a look at the website or some other information as I like to be prepared before wasting my time) What problem are you solving? How big is the problem? What’s the value for a customer? What’s compelling about your offering? How easy would it be to replicate what you are doing? Who are your current competitors or similar players? What are the barriers to entry? Have you any experience in this industry sector? What role do you play in this business? How much money have you personally invested? Who plays the other roles – who are they and what are their backgrounds? What’s the current shareholding if you currently have partners? What value do they add? (this could kill the deal as often the equity is already split too many ways for not much added value unless a complete restructure) What are the macro factors going on in the industry right now? Is the industry growing or declining and do you know why? How much have you invested to date in this business in terms of hours and money? What metrics have you achieved so far i.e. number of users, current customers, growth rates? How much has it cost to acquire a new customer (does this person even know their own metrics? Most don’t!) What feedback have you had from current customers who’ve bought your product/service? How do you plan to grow this business?   It’s amazing to see how some entrepreneurs go along way down the track without knowing a whole lot about their industry, the market, other players and generally what’s happening.   They don’t know where their opportunity lies in the scheme of things, nor know who has come and gone before them and why.   It’s a huge risk to have a founder who has no intimate knowledge of their industry or sector with limited experience. A lack of experience is fine if the energy, motivation and willingness to learn is there; assuming they’re a great operator with a great market opportunity.   Often, the opportunity lies in being able to help fill many voids as an experienced entrepreneur is less likely to need help and more likely to want more for less.   The ability to fast track growth cleanly and smoothly and add genuine value based on my experience, knowledge and networks is what I am looking for.   Assessing the deal   Does the founder have realistic expectations given that they need help, and most likely a lot of help, where their business would otherwise fail?   What are you looking for specifically now to grow – cash, resources, contacts, expertise? What are you willing to give up? Could I replicate what has currently been done in a short amount of time for a fraction of what the current owner has spent? Is there anything that’s compellingly unique that provides some protection against new entrants? Do I like these guys – could I hang out with them day to day? Are they future leaders? Do they listen and want to learn? Can I add genuine value to this business? Do I understand the associated risks with this business and industry and can they be managed? Am I passionate about this industry, product or service offering? Is it worthwhile my time, energy, resources and commitment?   In a nutshell, there is no shortage of opportunities, but there is definitely a shortage of good people with good opportunities that meet your criteria at a deal that is worth your while! It’s a long-term investment with any new business, particularly if you are willing to be ‘hands on’ rather than a pure cash investor.   My hit rate and likelihood of success has significantly improved as my experience grows and my screening process gets better, although there is no secret formula. Ask any successful venture capitalist in Silicon Valley who overlooked Facebook, Google or Groupon in their early stages!   Some entrepreneurs can really surprise you and perform wildly above your expectations, and others can severely disappoint and go missing in the wilderness (literally).   When times are tough, it’s easy to spot those that choose to survive and those that choose to fail. Although this is half the fun of start-up land, which is ultimately where the risk and reward is the highest!   If you want help assessing a start-up opportunity on your behalf – feel free to contact me via www.jonathanweinstock.com.au.

Don’t market based on price: It’s the biggest mistake you can make says marketing expert

9:30AM | Tuesday, 3 September

The biggest marketing mistake a start-up can make is relying on low prices to compete and attract new customers, says marketing consultant John Dwyer.   Dwyer has worked with over 27,000 businesses across 58 industries through his marketing business, The Institute of Wow.   He says start-ups and small businesses need to recognise price is the easiest way larger players can muscle them out of the market.   “It’s an easily replicable strategy, and you don’t want to make it too easy for your competitors,” Dwyer says.   “It’s just not sustainable, unless your entire business becomes about it and you’ve got that scale. Most companies can’t sustain discounting as an ongoing strategy.”   According to Dwyer, focusing on price will attract the wrong kind of customer.   “What we learned from Groupon and all of those coupon places is price will attract people, but the wrong people,” Dwyer says, people who won’t come back.   Instead, start-ups should instead focus on creating a marketing strategy that has nothing to do with price.   “You need to create a wow factor that takes your customers’ eyes off the price. Most parents I know couldn’t tell you how much a McDonald’s happy meal actually costs, because they get caught up in their kid’s excitement about the toy,” Dwyer says.   The wow factor has to be something suited to the brand but unexpected.   “Small business owners concentrate on telling people about things that people are not the least interested in. They think good service is a unique selling point, but we all kind of expect that even when we don’t get it often,” Dwyer says. “If you don’t have a genuinely unique selling point, you’re invisible in a sea of sameness.”   Dwyer says the wow factor should be complemented by a strong focus on selling a problem solution.   “You can boost your marketing by mastering what I call the Panadol effect. They used to tell us all about the drug, and how it works. But now they sell the solution, getting rid of a headache in 15 minutes and their sales have rocketed,” Dwyer says, adding this is true for businesses of all sizes.   “Customers are not the least bit interested in features, we’re interested in benefits,” Dwyer says. “Small businesses need to understand this, but big businesses don’t get it either. Don’t tell me about the features, tell me how you’re going to fix my problem and the phone will ring off the hook.”

Online shoppers splash more cash on hump day, research shows

8:30AM | Tuesday, 20 August

As Australians spend more of their money online, where and when they’re spending is becoming relevant for retailers considering how to target their marketing.   According to the National Australia Bank’s latest Online Retail Sales Index, Australians spent $13.9 billion in the year ended June, up 21% on the 12 months ended June last year when $11.5 billion was spent.   And according to research by data analytics and marketing strategy firm Quantium, much of that spending is happening in the middle of the week, with Wednesday the peak day for spending.   National Online Retailers Association chief executive Paul Greenberg says the data could have implications for retailers and the timing of their digital marketing.   He says retailers may take a “fish when the fish are biting” approach to their marketing.   Quantium’s research shows Saturday and Sunday are the weakest days for online retail spending. Sales rise on Monday and Tuesday, peak on Wednesday at just over 16% of online spending, before tapering off Thursday and Friday.   Greenberg adds that retailers may also consider targeting their marketing towards days when online spending falls in the hope of boosting it so they can “smooth out” sales across the week.   Greenberg and Adam Ferrier, a consumer psychologist and founding partner of Naked Communications Australia, told StartupSmart higher spending online during the week was most likely because it was when consumers were mostly likely at work and in front of a computer.   Ferrier says consumers could also be motivated to shop during the middle of the week as a break from work.   “These days at work are normally more intense,” he says. “Potentially people are looking for a bit of retail therapy.”   Ferrier adds that the research may redefine when impulse shopping may occur.   “It might be during those times in the afternoon on ‘hump’ day when you need a break or are hungry for a distraction,” he says.   Ferrier also says Friday may be a more “frivolous and fun” time at work in the lead-up to the weekend and leave workers less inclined to want to shop online.   Greenberg suggests weekends are generally weaker for online retail because people are out and about with their families.   Online shoe fashion retailer Shoes of Prey has found Wednesday is their best day for sales, with co-founder Jodie Fox telling StartupSmart they received around 20% more sales that day than the rest of the week.   “I’m genuinely surprised,” she says, adding that it went against her own experience of not having a particular day when she did her own online shopping.   Fox says while Wednesday may be their biggest sales day, they don’t target their marketing to a particular day.   “When we want to share a message with our customers we look at what’s the best way to communicate that message, then the channel – whether email, video, Facebook – then we use that particular channel to its best advantage,” she says.   Retail consultant Franz Madlener was sceptical of the Quantium research that Wednesday was the day consumers spent the most online.   “Customers buy when they have money,” he says.   “Most customers don’t have money on Wednesdays because most people don’t get paid on Tuesdays. It simply doesn’t make sense then that most people would shop online on Wednesdays unless there were extenuating circumstances such as Groupon having their best deals on a Wednesday, or Jetstar their best flight prices on a Wednesday, particularly if customers have never otherwise spent on Wednesdays compared to late week or weekends.”

Would you share your company equity to lock in long-term customers? This start-up plans to

7:40AM | Wednesday, 31 July

Restaurant booking and discounts website Lunchalot is offering members who sign up for three years as part of its platinum membership package the opportunity to share a 20% stake in the company.   Founded by television comedian Mikey Robins and entrepreneur Richard Tenser, over 3000 paying members already use the app to access subsidised meals at over 500 restaurants.   The platinum membership program will be launched next week. Platinum memberships will be capped at 30,000 nationally. There are currently 7300 available in NSW.   Tenser told StartupSmart the scheme was designed to enhance the community aspect of the service.   “I know community is a bit of a hackneyed web term, but as a dining club it’s really important to us. We want people to come on board and be ambassadors and be engaged in the model and get behind it,” he says.   Tenser says there are tangible benefits from a strong community for both diners and restaurants.   “We want our community to want our company to succeed. It’ll help restaurants get more bookings so they’ll offer more tables for users. This will also lead to more restaurants jumping on board too.”   Platinum members equity entitlements will be settled when the company is sold or floated. Memberships cost $29 per quarter, or $79 per year or $139 for three years.   There are no immediate plans to sell or float the business. Platinum members can either sign up immediately for three years or wait until they’ve reached their third consecutive year in the program.   Tenser says while they don’t know how the business will grow, and they’re no Groupon yet, it could be a windfall for early adopters.   “We’re not saying it’s going to be a huge windfall for them in the future, but it might be,” Tenser says, adding that if Groupon, the US online coupon provider, had adopted a similar model to Lunchalot’s, its platinum members would have received $100,000-plus on the first day of its float.

ACMA slams Groupon Australia with formal warning for violating the Spam Act

3:19AM | Friday, 15 March

Group buying giant Groupon has been slammed by the Australian communications watchdog, which has issued a formal warning to the company regarding its daily email newsletters – and the ability to unsubscribe.

Revealed: Characteristics of $1 billion consumer tech companies

3:36AM | Friday, 15 March

The average age of companies that the owners sell at more than $1 billion is seven years, according to US venture capitalist Jacob Mullins, who has revealed the common characteristics of $1 billion consumer tech companies.

Andrew Mason fired as CEO of Groupon: “I’m okay with having failed”

3:38AM | Friday, 15 March

Groupon founder and chief executive Andrew Mason has been fired on the back of the group buying site’s December quarterly loss.

Group buying industry amends code to crack down on compliance and complaints

3:41AM | Friday, 15 March

An industry code developed to regulate the group buying sector has been tightened, with additions including more clearly defined refund conditions and specifications over how many vouchers are sold in an individual deal.

Nine reasons why LinkedIn is becoming Linked-out!

3:24AM | Thursday, 14 March

I love LinkedIn. It’s the best tool for professional networking by far. As an owner of a recruitment agency and an entrepreneur, my time and spend has shifted towards LinkedIn.

Academic names worst CEOs of 2012 – five lessons for start-ups

3:08AM | Friday, 15 March

Start-up founders looking to avoid being labelled a bad chief executive should heed the advice of US university professor Sydney Finkelstein, who has compiled a list of the worst CEOs of 2012.

Start-ups strut their stuff at CES 2013

3:19AM | Monday, 11 March

The 2013 International CES, the largest in the tech show’s 45-year history, has wrapped up, with start-ups ranging from the Pebble ‘smartwatch’ to a device that informs people if they haven’t taken prescribed medication grabbing attendees’ attention.

GeoNext Startup Showcase to reward location-based innovations

3:08AM | Monday, 11 March

Start-ups looking to make their mark with location-based technology are being urged to submit their pitch for the GeoNext Startup Showcase, with prizes including a two-hour strategy session on capital raising.

Optus Innov8 Seed Program sinks $700,000 into first Aussie start-ups

3:52AM | Monday, 11 March

Venuemob and 121cast are the first Australian tech start-ups to receive funding from the Optus Innov8 Seed Program, pocketing $450,000 and $250,000 respectively for their innovations.

Group buying consumer spending revised down to $530 million

3:56AM | Monday, 11 March

Group buying niche players have been warned of tough times ahead following predictions that consumer spending in the sector will drop to $530 million this year, revised down from more than $600 million.

VC cash flowing to apps rather than telco networks: Report

9:54AM | Thursday, 27 September

Venture capital firms are too focused on funding “network users” such as mobile apps rather than the networks themselves, according to a new report.

10-month-old fashion site The Iconic snags $19.2 million

9:26AM | Wednesday, 12 September

Sydney-based fashion retailer The Iconic has landed almost $20 million in funding from JP Morgan Asset Management, despite launching less than a year ago.

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