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First four local start-ups selected for Startup House

Thursday, 5 April 2012 | By Michelle Hammond

The NSW Government has announced the first four tech start-ups that will gain subsidised access to Startup House in San Francisco, as part of a program designed to help start-ups crack the US market.


Earlier this year, NSW Trade & Investment launched the Australian Technology Showcase program which promises to help 12 tech entrepreneurs gain a foothold in Silicon Valley.


As part of this promise, the government will subsidise the cost of renting office space and accommodation at Startup House, a venue where start-ups cohabitate as they develop their ideas.


Startup House is the brainchild of Australian entrepreneurs Elias Bizannes and Bardia Houseman, and New Zealander Stephen Weir.


Located in San Francisco’s SoMa district, Startup House is a 36,000 square foot facility providing premium office space, a co-working space housing 210 desks, a café and a hostel.


The first four companies to gain subsidised access to Startup House are:

  • RecruitLoop: a marketplace of experienced recruiters that charges an hourly rate with a recorded video interview platform, saving employers on cost and time.
  • ScriptRock: offers online storage of information technology system configuration information, which can be stored, downloaded and executed as a test to improve system quality and save money.
  • ZeroMail: an email client with an integrated virtual assistant that builds personalised filters to sort priority emails and separate views for notifications, newsletters, etc.
  • Brainworth: presents a personalised curriculum in a game environment.

ScriptRock co-founder Michael Baukes says in order for start-ups to succeed – in Australia, the US or anywhere else – they need to set manageable goals.


“We want a small amount of customers that love the product, rather than a huge number of customers – it’s about quality,” Baukes says.


“If, after all your hard work, you are still not getting commitment, it’s time to walk. When the response doesn’t go beyond ‘could be’ or ‘in the future’, it’s time to exit.”


“But do so on good terms, as you never want to close the door on a future opportunity.”


Similarly, RecruitLoop – profiled by StartupSmart last year – says starting a business can be incredibly overwhelming, so it’s important to stay focused.


“[Our] biggest challenge was probably very similar to any other business in a pure start-up phase – you’re trying to turn an idea into a functioning business,” co-founder Michael Overell said.


“There’s an endless list of priorities and areas to work on… The challenge is knowing what to tackle and when.”


“Make a decision and act on it early. The progress you make from moving quickly almost outweighs the risk of making an irreversible mistake.”