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Yammer launches Australian operation

Friday, 18 February 2011 | By Oliver Milman

Yammer, the US start-up dubbed the ‘Facebook for businesses’, has expanded to Australia, praising the level of tech innovation in the country.


Last November, Yammer raised $US25 million in funding in the US and has subsequently expanded from its California base, setting up shop in Australia.


Yammer’s Melbourne office will be headed by BlueFreeway co-founder Simon Spencer, who will work alongside Ross Hill, founder of entrepreneurs network The Hive. The office will act as the headquarters for a push by Yammer into the Asia Pacific market.


“Australia has been an early adopter of enterprise social media. When Yammer’s sales team came out here from the US, they were struck by the maturity of questions from clients – far more so than in Europe,” Spencer tells StartupSmart.


“We are seeing a strong VC marketing the US but there are great ideas coming out of Australia. A lot of the original work for Google came from Australia. There are great examples of innovation here – I’m very bullish about Australia’s capabilities in this area.


“It’s easier to find quality people in Australia than in California – we can leverage that talent here.


“(Yammer launching here) is a tick of approval for Australia in that it shows there is a realisation about the potential of enterprise social media and that collaboration is a driver for productivity.”


The site was launched in 2008 and was co-founded by David Sacks, former COO of PayPal. Sean Parker, founder of Napster and founding president of Facebook, is on the board of advisors.


The site has been called ‘Facebook for businesses’ as it uses a similar user interface, but is confined within a certain company. Client businesses can use Yammer as a kind of new-age intranet, posting problems, updates or questions for colleagues to respond to.


Spencer says that Yammer already has a number of large clients in Australia, including Deloitte and 118 different government departments. The company plans to have a team of six people in Melbourne by the end of the year.