Why the ‘Next Silicon Valley’ Is Always Silicon Valley
Apr 9, 2014 | by | No Comments | Read More→

Ever since the GFC of 2008, cities around the world have been quick to call themselves the ‘next Silicon Valley.’ In fact, the so-called next Silicon Valley has been declared to be just about anywhere and everywhere a small cluster of innovative businesses pop up. Yet, Silicon Valley, a relatively small patch of Northern California that extends from San Jose up into San Francisco, continues to prove those who think the center of innovation will someday be somewhere else wrong. Why? Read this piece in the Atlantic Monthly by Derek Thompson who says that as talent continues to draw more talent to it, the next Silicon Valley can only be in one place…Silicon Valley. (read more)

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What’s Your Business Worth
Mar 24, 2014 | by | No Comments | Read More→

VikiForrest head shot black and whiteThey say things come in 3′s, maybe that’s because 3 is a great number for us humans to wrap our head around. Right now 3 of the companies we are working with here at ANZA are focused on raising capital and each of them are working on answering 3 big questions: How much? Who from? What valuation?

Making the right decisions at this point is a balancing act. It involves facing the facts (what I call “head” activity) and trusting your instincts (“heart” activity).

Determining the capital requirements of a company (i.e., “how much”) is something most CEOs have a strong sense of certainty about. They have a deep understanding of the financial metrics of their company and what they will need to achieve their milestones. This is “head” activity.

When it comes to potential funding sources (i.e., “who from”) there is often more debate. There is a strong desire to really like the person who invests in your company, to believe they can truly help you meet your milestones, share in your vision and support you when times get tough. This stage requires a blend of head and heart working together.

Which brings us to question number 3, what’s my company worth, or what valuation? This is when the “heart” invariably takes over. Putting a price tag on your company, “your baby”, does not always stand up to reason. But I think this step can become less painful when we give our head the proper amount of information to work with, and control the heart.

So few of us really understand the mechanics of valuing a company. But that’s what’s needed at this stage. So, we’ve gone out to our network and brought in Joe Orlando, Director of Business Valuation at Frank, Rimerman + Co. to break down the complexities of business valuation for our “Faces of the Network” series.

Watch Joe’s explanation of business valuation. If you are getting ready to raise capital, it should be a good start to helping you strike a healthy balance between head and heart.

Viki Forrest is the CEO of ANZA Technology Network. ANZA specializes in working with technology companies from smaller markets to access the large US market. If you are an entrepreneur ready to explore U.S. business opportunities, contact Viki at viki[at]anzatechnet[dot]com.

Viki Forrest is the CEO of ANZA Technology Network. If you are an Australian or New Zealand business looking for more information on how to expand into the US market, email Viki at viki[at]anzatechnet[dot]com for more information. – See more at: http://www.anzatechnet.com/anza-heading-australia-february-5-14/#sthash.PrQGWAGk.dpuf

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An Investor Defines ‘What Makes an Awesome Founder’
Feb 20, 2014 | by | No Comments | Read More→

It is good to know how investors think. Here’s four traits Rob Go, of Next View Ventures, says make an “awesome founder”. In short, you must be smart and tough, convincing, superlative, and be fit for the task at hand. The example Rob gives for this last trait is that it’s not important to have strong, technical founder at the helm of a company where technology is not a differentiator. You may agree with some of these attributes – or all of them. Read the rest of this story here.

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ANZA Heading to Australia, February 5-14
Jan 23, 2014 | by | No Comments | Read More→

VikiForrest head shot black and whiteI’ve just planned my first trip to Australia for the first two weeks of February and I’m excited about meeting with those of you who are ready to make 2014 your year for launching and expanding business opportunities in the US.

Although the year is not even a month old, there is a healthy back-to-business buzz in the air here in Silicon Valley that is undeniable. From economic and innovation standpoints the climate is the best I’ve seen in my 13 years here. The energy is fantastic, and everyone is eager to be back on board and ride this wave into 2014.

Which brings me to ask those of you in Australia (and New Zealand) who have not yet taken advantage of growing your business in the US – can you afford to miss out?

I’m encouraging CEOs and founders to talk with me early this year. Jump start your new market plans by meeting with me in:

Sydney – 5-7 February
Adelaide – 10-11 February
Melbourne – 12-13 February
Canberra – 14 February

If you are in those cities on the above dates and would like to meet, you can email at viki[at]anzatechnet[dot]com.

If those dates don’t work for you, we can set up a Skype call for a time that does. Just send an email with with a quick 10-second elevator pitch or 100-word summary (no attachments).

Viki Forrest is the CEO of ANZA Technology Network. If you are an Australian or New Zealand business looking for more information on how to expand into the US market, email Viki at viki[at]anzatechnet[dot]com for more information.

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American Money, Australian Talent and a Challenge from New Zealand
Oct 29, 2013 | by | No Comments | Read More→

oracle_2680938bI took advantage of some spectacular sunny weather in San Francisco last month to go and see a few of the America’s Cup races on a brilliant San Francisco Bay – and I know many of you here in the Bay Area did the same.

New Zealand quickly piled up a heap of wins vs. the Americans, who, incidentally were skippered by the Aussie Jimmy Spithill who helmed a mostly Aussie crew. In fact, among our vibrant ex-pat community here in Silicon Valley, you would think the Cup Finals were between Australia and New Zealand.

And that got me thinking as the Australians . . . I mean Americans . . . mounted a stunning comeback from an 8-1 deficit to top the Kiwis, and keep the Cup in America’s — and Oracle chief Larry Ellison’s — possession.

American money plus Australian talent is an unstoppable combination in virtually any endeavor. Jimmy Spithill and his team delivered the never-give-up, never-surrender performance we see so often in entrepreneurs from Australia.

But we shouldn’t forget that New Zealand was in there, too. Getting to the Finals is no small achievement, especially for a country with a quarter of the population of its bigger, some say, more boisterous neighbor.

In the end, it was an all-ANZA spectacular taking place in the burgeoning heart of the Valley — San Francisco.

Australian and New Zealand companies looking to come to the U.S. and tap into the American action — as well as its money — should talk to us now. Even if you feel right now that the waters are calm, you can continue to sail smoothly with an 8-1 lead and bide your time on committing to global commercialization, remember this most recent America’s Cup.

Winners know that they can’t afford to wait.

Ready to move forward and find out how you can get a spot in our Fast Track program now? Email me today.

Viki Forrest is the CEO of ANZA Technology Network. If you are an Australian or New Zealand business looking for more information on how to expand into the US market, email Viki at viki[at]anzatechnet[dot]com for more information.

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Procrastination Is the Thief of Time
Oct 20, 2013 | by | No Comments | Read More→

VikiForrest head shot black and whiteThose of you who regularly read our newsletters know that I make frequent trips to Australia with our mentors to talk with entrepreneurs about their U.S. market plans and our Fast Track program.

On my most recent trip with ANZA mentor Steve Line, we talked with more than 60 people running successful businesses in the Australian market. Ten say they are ready to work with us, but only five will. What happens to 50 percent of really good companies with a strong shot for success in the U.S.? Procrastination.

Procrastination is the thief of time. While an entrepreneur looks for reasons not to take the leap into the U.S. market (the VC industry in Australia isn’t ready to fund them yet, the product isn’t perfect yet, the business model isn’t quite right yet, the team needs that one extra player), the window of opportunity in Silicon Valley closes.

While waiting for the time to be right in Australia, the time to market in the U.S. does not become longer. It vanishes.

One of our network members, Duncan Davidson, the Founder and Managing Director of Bullpen Capital in Silicon Valley, who has made several trips to Australia himself, backs this up. In one of our recent “Faces of the Network” videos, Duncan explains how he believes the Australian tech ecosystem even has built-in mechanisms for slowing down high-performing companies! (Watch Duncan’s video here.)

How do you get around this? Well, many of us over here in the States (along with several people prominent in Australia’s tech scene) often suggest that Australian entrepreneurs raise what they can in an early round from friends and family and angel investment and then get over to Silicon Valley. In other words, don’t procrastinate.

Ready to move forward and find out how you can get a spot in our Fast Track program now? Email me today.

Viki Forrest is the CEO of ANZA Technology Network. If you are an Australian or New Zealand business looking for more information on how to expand into the US market, email Viki at viki[at]anzatechnet[dot]com for more information.

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Visa Considerations for Starting Up a Business in the US
Aug 23, 2013 | by | 1 Comment | Read More→

Rosanna FoxGuest blog post by Rosanna Fox, Associate, Gibney, Anthony & Flaherty, LLP>>>>>>>

The difficulty in obtaining appropriate work authorization to operate a business in the US often comes as a surprise to entrepreneurs seeking to enter the US market. A foreign individual or entity seeking to start a business in the US, has several visa options, each with its own benefits and limitations:

  • B-1 Business Visitor/Visa Waiver: Business visitors can use the B-1 visa to facilitate entry to the United States for certain limited activities including meeting with business associates and negotiating contracts. This visa category can be helpful for business owners in the initial stages of US establishment because it covers activities such as the incorporation of a US company and finding a business premises for lease. Citizens of visa waiver countries (including Australia and New Zealand) can use the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) to enter as business visitor without the need for a visa, if they are otherwise eligible for the VWP. It is important to note that a B-1 business visitor cannot engage in productive employment in the United States and cannot be on US payroll, therefore the business owner or manager will require work authorization before actually managing the US business operations.
  • E-1/E-2 Treaty Trader and Investor: The United States maintains treaties of commerce and navigation with several countries globally including Australia, Japan, Taiwan, Philippines, Thailand, and South Korea. The E-1 Treaty Trader visa allows nationals of a treaty country (either individuals or organizations that are at least 50 percent owned by treaty nationals) to come to the United States to engage in international trade between the US and the treaty country. The E-2 Treaty Investor visa allows nationals of a treaty country (individuals or organizations that are at least 50 percent owned by treaty nationals) to come to the United States when investing a substantial amount of capital in a US business.  For the E-2 visa, the investment can include funds or other assets and must have the objective of generating a profit. The capital invested must be “at risk”, meaning subject to a loss if the investment fails. Certain employees of E-1 and E-2 visa holders can accompany their employers in E visa classification, if they are also nationals of the treaty country and if they are either Executive or Supervisory employees, or those with essential or specials skills.
  • L-1A New Office: Where an overseas entity seeks to establish a US office, it is possible to send a manager or executive to the United States as an intracompany transfer in L-1A visa status. The US petitioning entity must be an affiliate, subsidiary, parent or branch of the overseas company, and must have secured an appropriate physical office space and must show that the US office will support an executive or managerial position within one year of the approval of the petition. The transferring employee must have been employed as an executive or manager with the overseas entity for one continuous year within the three years preceding the transfer. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will scrutinize the corporate relationship (ownership documents) between the US and the overseas entities, the business plan for the new US office including financial and other business projections, the financial status of the US entity, the US lease agreement, and the managerial experience of the transferring employee and his/her anticipated US role.  New office L-1’s are initially approved for just one year, but can be extended in increments of two years, up to a maximum of seven years, if it can be shown that the company supports the managerial or executive position.
  • H-1B Specialty Worker: The H-1B visa for specialty occupations can be utilized by entrepreneurs working for their own companies in the United States, if an employer-employee relationship can be established and if the company has the independent right to control the foreign national’s employment. Bear in mind that the annual H-1B visa cap may limit the employment start date and, in practice, very small businesses can face hurdles in petitioning for H-1B status for employees.
  • E-3 Treaty Visa: The E-3 visa is a treaty-based visa for specialty occupations available exclusively to Australian citizens. The application process is generally much more straightforward than the H-1B process because applicants can apply for the visa directly at a US Consulate abroad, rather than seeking pre-approval with the USCIS. Furthermore, while there is an annual cap on E-3 visas of 10,500 for each fiscal year, the E-3 visa category tends to be undersubscribed and in practice E-3 visa holders can apply for the visa throughout the year.  However, as with the H-1B visa, an employer-employee relationship and the company’s control over the visa applicant must be established in order to qualify for this classification.  Finally, as with the H-1B visa, meeting the eligibility criteria for E-3 tends to be more challenging for small businesses.  

There are also a number of immigrant visa (green card) options available for entrepreneurs to permanently move to the United States. These include the employment-based, first-preference visa for multinational managers and executives, if the US employer has been doing business for at least one year, as an affiliate, subsidiary, or branch of the entity that employed the foreign national abroad. The National Interest Waiver under the second-preference immigrant visa category may also be considered, if the individual can demonstrate that their business endeavors will be in the interest of the United States. The EB-5 immigrant investor program may be an option for foreign citizens who invest either $500,000 or $1,000,000 (depending on the unemployment rate in the geographical area) in a commercial enterprise in the United States which creates at least 10 new full-time jobs for US citizens.

This immigration article is provided as general information by Gibney, Anthony & Flaherty, LLP and does not constitute and should not be construed as, legal advice. If you have any questions please contact Rosanna M. Fox (rfox [at] gibney [dot] com).

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Why Redwoods Don’t Grow in Australia

Tom SheehanGuest blog post by Tom Sheahan, CEO of Red Oxygen >>>>>>

Redwood Trees: The three redwood subfamily genera are: Sequoia and Sequoiadendron of California and Oregon, USA; and Metasequoia in China. The redwood species contains the largest and tallest trees in the world. These trees can live to an age of thousands of years.

The business environment isn’t much different than the natural one. To grow a good business you need:

  • Good, creative , honest, industrious people
  • Society that has a rule of law and protects intellectual property
  • Supportive public policy
  • Deep source of private investment

Australia has many positives that are the basics when establishing a business.

Good, Creative, Honest, Industrious People

You would be hard pressed to find any awards ceremony; whether it is literature, movies or music, absent of an Australia on one of the finalist’s lists.

Rule of Law and Supportive Government

Without a doubt, Australia is one of the most respected and ethical governments and has a very developed legal system, with a strong enforcement of intellectual property. The Australian Government has set up innovate programs to support businesses’ growth: Commercialisation Australia or CA grants, R&D Tax Credits, Export and Marketing Development Grants (EMDG). These are some of the most generous and innovative programs in the world.  The Commonwealth government just recently committed an additional $378 million to Venture Australia.

A Deep Source of Private Investment

This is the Australian Achilles’ heel for businesses in technology and biotech. There always seems to be large amounts available for mining and real estate, but the investment in biotech and technology is miniscule. The past and existing governments under Liberal and Labor recognize this, and have committed public dollars to address this problem. If Australia really wants to grow a Redwood it needs to come from the private sector.

Look at the funding of the following Redwoods:

  • Google – raised $25 million in a series A
  • Twitter – raised over $600 million in several rounds. Yes, I know their revenues are only somewhere over the $100 million mark and some of the information available is sketchy. Regardless, they have raised a lot of money which would not be available if it were an Australian entity.
  • Facebook – raised of $600 million in four rounds with one round of debt.  Facebook is a great example of a disruptive idea given the capital and environment to grow.

I know there have been more failures than successes in Silicon Valley. One recent failure that comes to mind is Color Labs. They raised over $41 million from Sequoia Capital, Bain and Silicon Valley Bank, and according to their website, “Regretfully, the app will no longer be available after 12/31/2012.” They did have a great website and beautiful offices in Downtown Palo Alto while it lasted.

Australian entrepreneurs accept (for now) that there are no $40 million investments to be had  in Australia for an A round, let alone $600 million. The funds in the US will be available for companies that survive and make it to the US. To do that, Australian firms have to prove their business models and become profitable sooner.

There are several examples of successful Australian-started companies; 99 Designs, Atlassian and Red Oxygen. The ones that have raised capital are mature, profitable businesses. Atlassian raised over $60 million in series A from Accel Partners, and 99 Designs raised $35 million from Accel and four individuals. Red Oxygen has only received private money from only US investors. The Aussies that make it to the US for their series A rounds are 6-foot, 4-inch tall first graders, mature beyond their years.

In Australia, there may never be a Google, Facebook or Microsoft, but there will probably never be huge $41 million failures.  However, if Australia wants to grow Redwood trees, the private sector needs to set up and invest!

Tom Sheahan is the CEO of Red Oxygen. He has more than 20 years of experience in the American and Australian IT/Telecommunications industry.  Before co-founding Red Oxygen in 2001, he was the Country Manager for InterVoice in Australia/ New Zealand. Prior to taking over the Australia-New Zealand sales efforts, Tom held various sales and marketing positions with in InterVoice-Brite and Arrow Electronics. Red Oxygen is based in San Francisco, CA.

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The Right Fit
Apr 18, 2013 | by | No Comments | Read More→

VikiForrest head shot black and whiteLast month I was in Sydney and Melbourne with one of our mentors, Mike Loftus, a serial entrepreneur and the entrepreneur-in-residence at Silicon Valley’s Angels’ Forum. Mike and I met with 50 companies from these two cities, as well as several entrepreneurs who flew in from other states.

ANZA Technology Network’s business imperative on these trips is to find companies that are the right fit for our Fast Track program. So what does the right fit look like?

The Fast Track program is all about speed to market. That means a product has to be ready to fit into its new market. With a market the size of the US, finding the right, first market niche that offers rapid uptake and leads to high-growth is critical. Most products can find the right niche. That is something our Fast Track mentors do well – work with entrepreneurs to get the right product/market fit.

Another consideration is whether the time is right for a company to move to the US. Over the years, we’ve seen too many companies come to America too soon, without the resources required to support growing a global business (usually due to underestimating how long things take). On the other hand, we’ve seen many who have waited too long. These companies continually put off entering the US market until everything is ‘right’ (it never is), and unfortunately, they end up being far too late to market to succeed.

This leads to the last – and most complex – element of the right fit, the entrepreneur. And this is why we travel to Australia to meet in person with our prospective Fast Track clients. Only when we see the passion and belief that an entrepreneur has in his or her business, the determination to win and willingness to learn, do we know we have the right fit.

Every company – and every entrepreneur – is different. That’s why the ANZA Fast Track is not a one-size fits all, but rather a process of making sure that it is right for each participant. That it is the right fit.

Is the time right for you and your company to accelerate your growth in the US market? Send me an email and we’ll set up a time to talk.

Viki Forrest is the CEO of ANZA Technology Network. If you are an Australian or New Zealand business looking for more information on how to expand into the US market, email Viki at viki@anzatechnet.com for more information.

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Victorian Companies Fast Track Discount

ANZA offers a specialized version of our Fast Track services to Victorian SMEs with strong global potential across a wide range of innovative technologies including medical technologies, sustainable (environmental) technologies and small technologies (nano or micro).

This offer has been underwritten by the Victorian Government’s $8 million Smart SMEs Innovation Commercialisation Program (ICP), of which ANZA Fast Track services are included. If your business is located in the state of Victoria, and you are seeking to explore new market opportunities in the US or China, please complete this short form so we can contact you directly with more information.

MORE ON FAST TRACK

Fast Track is your business accelerator into the US or China market. Time to market is a top-priority for all CEOs. ANZA has developed Fast Track with this in mind. With the right connections and a laser-sharp focus Fast Track reduces the costs and risks associated with expanding your business into the US or China. Whether it is raising capital, finding distributors or securing new customers, ANZA has the network of experts to work with you to accelerate your success.

Fast Track services include:

  • Development of strategic sales and marketing strategies
  • Building distribution channels
  • Attaining new customers
  • Securing capital
  • Access to a trusted network of advisors

For an assessment of your US or China opportunity contact us directly or complete this short form.

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