Start-up News Roundup – 17th April

Below is our roundup of startup news in Australia for the week.

Guy Kawasaki Aims to Democratize Design Through Aussie Startup Canva

Quite a biggie this, Guy Kawasaki has joined the startup Canva, based in Sydney, as their Chief Evangelist according to this article in xconomy. Unfortunately he won’t be based in Sydney, but it will certainly give Canva good access into SV.

Dropbox opens Sydney office, amidst criticisms over Heartbleed bug silence

In this article in Startup Smart Dropbox is opening its first Australian office, with the business opening in Sydney to better support users in this geographical region.

Australia’s Campaign Monitor Raises $250 Million from Insight

Sydney-based Campaign Monitor, which makes software for email-marketing pitches, is raking in $250 million from venture-capital firm Insight Venture Partners; according to this article in the Wall Street Journal. Well done!

Hubspot to open Australia office and grow ‘inbound’ marketing

Title says it all, read more in this article in mUmBRELLA…

What’s wrong with our start-up sector?

This week, StartupAUS released the Crossroads report – a look at the startup sector in Australia and what needs to be done to grow it. This is covered in this article in The Age.From my perspective one of the biggest hurdles in creating a sustainable startup culture is the degree to which startups get taxed and the difficulties encountered in giving employees stock options.

You see, stock options for a startup is usually the only real ‘currency’ they have in the early days to attract talent and keep it. Also having stock in a company tends to help naturally align the employees interests with those of the business – they are much more likely to look at problems from the business & customer perspective and go that extra mile. This extra focus and attention is really critical to success and can often be the only difference between failing – execution is everything.

Microsoft chief urges Government to step up on broadband and digital economy

In this article in the Australian Financial Review, Microsoft Australia managing director Pip Marlow (no relation) has hit out at the federal government’s broadband policy and business inaction in improving innovation and productivity, saying a collective failure had cost the country $6 billion in gross domestic product last year.

I trend to agree with her assessment, although I still believe investing in the NBN to roll out to the public is ill advised – the focus should be to businesses first then the general public. Target those with the most need and most to be gained first.

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