StartupAUS report: How to enable more Australian startups

StartupAUS published a report highlighting some of the issues that startup founders in Australia face. It's a good read, covering the problems but also proposing a number of solutions. You can view the report as a PDF, or read a summary from Delimiter:

The report highlights a number of key issues facing Australia, including the fact that Australia’s startup sector is maturing at a slower rate than many other nations; that high-growth tech companies could contribute 4 percent of the nation’s GDP by 2033, compared to just 0.2 percent today (adding 540,000 jobs to the economy); and that in 2013, Australia invested just $4.5 per capita in Venture Capital for start-ups, compared to $120 in Israel, $85 in the US, $20 in South Korea and $15 in the UK.

One thing that surprised me from the report is just how small the startup community here is. After examining how badly we're performing, the report makes a number of recommendations about what should be done. Examples are the creation of an entrepreneur visa, changing the tax treatment of employee share options, better tax treatment for angel investors, and enabling crowd funding.

I don't think what we're doing at Octopus Deploy really counts as a "startup" in the sense described in the report, and perhaps that's why I found the report interesting, but also pretty irrelevant to us. Like most of the discussion about startups these days, it feels heavily geared towards helping would-be founders find VC funding. It's all about chasing funding.

While Australia might be a bad place to start a "startup", it's not too bad of a place to start a bootstrapped business like ours. There really is only one downside: the timezone makes it hard to offer great support to 95% of customers at times that suit them, so we have to wake up early and go to sleep late sometimes. The tyranny of distance naturally makes it difficult to connect with and influence trends in other areas of the planet.

I do have one idea though: our banks could do a lot more to provide solutions to help Australian companies process payments from overseas customers. Ideas like that are pretty irrelevant to the startup scene though, since almost by definition collecting revenue isn't something a startup will ever worry about :-)

A picture of me

Welcome, my name is Paul Stovell. I live in Brisbane and work on Octopus Deploy, an automated deployment tool for .NET applications.

Prior to founding Octopus Deploy, I worked for an investment bank in London building WPF applications, and before that I worked for Readify, an Australian .NET consulting firm. I also worked on a number of open source projects and was an active user group presenter. I was a Microsoft MVP for WPF from 2006 to 2013.