Australian-founded tech start-up Veokami is among the latest batch of companies to participate in the 500 Startups program, as it prepares for an investor pitch early next year.
Veokami, founded by Australian entrepreneurs Brett Welch and Chris Hartley, helps users locate and share videos from events such as concerts, political events and conferences.
The company has been operating in the US since March, although it officially launched in August.
Based in San Francisco, Veokami recently began a three-month residency at 500 Startups, a California-based incubator led by serial entrepreneur Dave McClure.
500 Startups provides early-stage start-ups with funding ranging from $10,000 to $250,000 via seed investments, a start-up accelerator program and micro-fund models.
Another Australian start-up, Chorus, is part of this year’s intake. Meanwhile, Melbourne-based tech start-up BugHerd was one of 21 companies in the previous batch of 500 Startups.
Welch says Veokami wanted to participate in 500 Startups because it “literally bolts on an army of strong supporters”, including subject matter experts, connected mentors and other founders.
“Second, ‘demo day’ creates a great focal point for productivity and gives you a high level of visibility to press and investors,” he says.
Veokami team member Noah Sidman-Gale says participating in 500 Startups is already proving to be an invaluable experience for the company.
“Since we have been here, we have defined a clear vision of our long-term goals and have begun the design and implementation of new features,” he says.
“Google, LinkedIn, Facebook and Apple are all within a 10-mile radius of the building, so networking with the biggest names in tech really is as easy as starting a conversation with the stranger in front of you while you wait for your morning coffee.”
“The new office keeps you focused on your grind because everyone here is trying to make it big, and the reality is that very few of these companies will be around in a year.”
Despite this, Sidman-Gale says the 500 Startups office is a melting pot of innovative start-ups.
“To my left sits the 300milligrams duo that created a simple and effective platform that centralises discussion for teams,” he says.
“To my right is Abodigy, a start-up that is redefining home maintenance. No more than 25 feet away resides Central.ly, Chorus, MelonCard, Fitocracy and Forrst.”
“We are all unique companies with the common goal of blowing up, getting paid and continually improving a product that adds value to people’s lives.”
Sidman-Gale says Australian start-ups looking to crack the US market should take advantage of any networking opportunities that come their way.
“Of course, the last course of action would be to move to an area that is very start-up-friendly,” he says.
“One of the advantages to living in the Bay Area is the huge network of mentors, investors and other entrepreneurs that support one another on the road to success.”
Welch says doing business in the US is much more network-driven than it is in Australia.
“Thankfully, there are plenty of Aussies out here who are willing to help newcomers, especially those that help themselves,” he says.