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“I’d love to see an Atlassian mafia”: Why this entrepreneur left Atlassian to launch her own startup

Thursday, 21 May 2015 | By Broede Carmody

Software startup Atlassian has consistently been ranked as one of the best places to work in Australia. However, just a few months ago one of its product managers decided it was time to pull the plug and launch her own venture.


Natasha Prasad is the co-founder of FitSessions, a platform similar to ClassPass in the US but playing to Sydney’s strengths by specialising in outdoor fitness classes and bootcamps.


The startup is on track to launch in June, with customers paying a subscription fee of $100 a month to access any of the classes or boutique studios the company has partnered with.


While a number of subscription fitness startups have launched in Australia following the success of ClassPass, Prasad says her almost two years of experience at Atlassian will help her develop the right product.


“Atlassian has obviously been around for more than a decade, but it is a company that is very good at innovating and staying on top of new product developments, thought leadership and where the market is going,” she says.


“So one of the things I’ve definitely learnt is how to genuinely innovate and not just follow. And the way you do that at Atlassian is through a lot of testing – so using a lot of data and putting products out there and taking every piece of feedback you get and iterating rapidly and going through that cycle of learning and building.”

Prasad says Atlassian also teaches people how to work in a collaborative environment, which will be another leg-up in a competitive environment.


“Atlassian is all about teams and teamwork, so building a high-functioning team and stepping up to the market and product challenges is another thing I really learnt,” she says.


“Product management is being like a founder or CEO; you’re doing a bit of everything… so the whole philosophy of product management is really valuable. To be perfectly honest, we don’t know what the uptake of this model will be – we’ll have to iterate and pivot quite a bit.”


Prasad moved to Australia from New York two years ago, and says the local startup ecosystem here has come a long way in a short amount of time.


“It’s just been really great to see it grow and more startups take risks and people take risks by quitting their job to do this,” she says.


“That certainly wasn’t the case 18 months ago. I’m sure we’ll see a lot more people leave to start their own thing – I’d love to see an ‘Atlassian mafia’ that comes out in the next 12 months that really executes and builds the next Australian tech success stories.”


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