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R&D tax concessions lure Silicon Valley tech startup to list on the ASX

Thursday, 16 October 2014 | By Broede Carmody

Silicon Valley technology company 1-Page has become the first US tech startup to list on the Australian Securities and Stock Exchange, joining a growing list of American tech businesses entering the Australian market.


The company’s stock surged 70% on its first day of trade, closing at 34 cents and giving the company a market capitalisation of just over $40 million.


1-Page listed on the ASX after raising $8.5 million through a reverse takeover of InterMet Resources Limited. The company says the funds will be used primarily on marketing and scaling the cloud-based human resources platform.


The company’s software is used by leading global and US companies, enabling them to individually rank and prioritise candidates for positions based on an ability to solve real-time business challenges.


Co-founder and chief executive Joanna Weidenmiller told Fairfax tax concessions for research and development spending lured the company to Australian shores.


“People in the tech scene in Silicon Valley think it is strange we are listing in Australia but when we explain all the advantages they think it’s a genius idea,” she said.


“The programming talent here is getting really strong, and even if we need to import people, Sydney is an attractive destination.”


1-Page’s listing on the ASX has once again brought employee share schemes into the spotlight, with a number of industry groups arguing a reform of the scheme and tax concessions will encourage more US tech startups to move to Australia.


Under the current rules, employee share options – often used to lure employees to startups who might not have the cash flow to offer a significant wage – are treated as income and taxed at the employee’s marginal tax rate.


Stephanie Caredes, tax counsel at The Tax Institute, told SmartCompany reforming the employee share schemes will make Australia more attractive to startups looking to enter the Australian market.


“Currently, discounted options acquired under employee share schemes are taxed upfront,” she says.


“The proposal announced by the government earlier this week to move the taxing point to later when the options are exercised should make receiving options more attractive to employees.


“Having employee share scheme tax rules in Australia that don’t unfairly burden taxpayers is a good thing for any startup looking to operate in Australia.”


This story originally appeared on SmartCompany.