Silicon Valley's Launch Festival Moves to Sydney

17 Jul 2019

I recently attended a startup conference in Sydney - Launch Festival. It was such an great experience and free for founders. The conference is run by "famous" angel investor Jason Calacanis, from the Silicon Valley podcast this week in startups. The conference will be back in Sydney next year, rather than in the usual San Francisco location.

Below are my top 10 takeaways from a range of speakers at conference.

Funding Syndicates
are on the rise. Large groups of angel investors, investing together to share opportunity and risk, usually coordinated from a web platform, and by a lead investor. The syndicates tend to fill a gap between the seed capital/incubator stage and VC funding rounds.

With all the software tools now available, we are seeing the emergence of the no code startup. Duct tape together your solution using tools such as zapier and typeform and then apply manual labour, in order to rapidly launch and test your market. If it works, you can then secure funding based on fast growth to build a scalable business. This insight has grown out of the emergence of founders without coding experience building fast growing startups, bringing in different skill-sets and domain expertise.

Think global first.
It is now possible to build a global startup from Australia. Enough unicorns (canva, atlassian, campaign monitor, others) have shown it is possible.

The concepts of moving your tech startup to Silicon Valley is now outdated, as San Francisco is prohibitively expensive for a startup without traction. As much as 4k a month for a one bedroom apartment. Talent is also very expensive, and staff change jobs on average every 12 to 18 months. Rather than living in San Francisco, visit the valley quarterly to access expertise, investors and buzz.

Silicon Valley is suffering from group think, which is now hampering innovation. Startup hubs elsewhere are well advanced and building strong communities (Austin, London, Toronto, Tel Aviv, Berlin, Sydney).

Consider keeping the majority of your tech employees working remotely prior to finding product-market fit. Tech talent recruited globally may be of superior skill and available at a lower cost. As a startup, you may end up pivoting and needing to move to where your customers are. This move will be made more difficult by an established local team and office.

One approach to marketing web or software products is to build a product so good and cheap, so as to not need a sales team. Rely on word of mouth instead. This is in contrast to the traditional corporate software sales model.

A listing on angel list is essential for founders, angel investors, VCs. It's the LinkedIn of Silicon Valley. It's a great place to start when auditing your potential investors/founders.

In the past, most tech startups were:
Tech in, tech out
(build technology, sell technology)

The model now is more like:
Tech in, service out

This model requires a different type of founder and company. The bias towards the startup made up of only engineers and developers is now long outdated.

A process for raising startup capital. When looking for funding, approach your potential investors as if they were your customers. Identify 100+ potential investors at the top of your "sales" funnel. Enter these into a spreadsheet or CRM. Document and automate the process. It's important to keep in regular touch with your potential investors, and keep the pace up, keeping them informed of your progress, and who have decided to invest.

When pitching to an investor prepare a teaser slide-deck and a detailed deck. Use the appropriate presentation to suit. Or send the teaser deck through before your meeting. After the first meeting, email your investor FAQ soon after.

Startups at the conference

Apart from the content talks, over 30 startups pitched, with the winners securing 100k and a 12-week incubator in San Francisco.

Here are a selection.
Automated wine sampling - real-time wine insights for wine producers, charged by barrel.
Book a local musician for your (private) event and create a live music experience.
Compare IVF clinics
The Smart Inclining Bed. Converts ANY Bed into a Hospital Bed.
Start a punters club and bet with your mates.
Find your ideal home care or disability service.
Cost, time, and distance minimization for transport and delivery.
Get headhunted. Pursuited is the first recruitment method to truly prioritise the candidate’s wishes.
Home services on demand

Happy Startuping!