Ecosystem done. What Perth startups need now are success stories

Startup Weekend

Almost exactly three years ago I attended the first Startup Weekend in Perth. 100 plucky individuals bought tickets to attend. 40 or so got up on Friday night to make a 1-minute pitch (if they went one second over, they were stopped in their tracks). From these 40 pitches 15 or so teams formed by 9pm that night, and they were off and running.

By Sunday evening the teams had to pitch their ‘completed’ ideas to some judges. Some had almost complete products out on the web, or in the Google play store. They had branding, cool designs, working products, had engaged in customer validation and had learnt a tremendous amount. Perhaps 6 or more months of learning had been crammed into a frenetic 48 hours. Most would wake up a little bleary Monday morning and return to their day jobs.

I was one of the mentors on that first weekend, and I remember the ‘Breakeven app’ who I worked with ended up in 2nd place. The leader of the team had attended two Startup Weekends in New York previously and thought Perth’s one was better. Better in terms of the quality of the attendees, mentors, judges and ideas.

Wind on three years and there have been 5 startup weekends. There are now 5 tech accelerators in Perth (a year ago, there were none). There have been 3 iterations of Founders Institute. There are half a dozen co working spaces. The Perth morning startup meetup has 1500+ members. I have accumulated a list of 250+ startups that I know of (there are probably way more, and I am finding out about new ones every week).

The ecosystem is full and vibrant. None of this existed 3 or more years ago.

A well known Perth-based VC Matt Macfarlane told me once, “first comes the ecosystem, then the success stories, then the investors.”

We’ve got the ecosystem, now we need some success stories.


2 thoughts on “Ecosystem done. What Perth startups need now are success stories

  1. Great post Charlie. I wonder how you would define success? There are a large number of Perth startups that have incorporated (i.e. are technically a business)? There are probably many Perth startups that are running? There are probably some that are making some profit? There are probably a few that are making a good profit? But, unless they are keeping very quiet, there are no rockets? In my opinion, this is an indication that, generally speaking, founders and the community, put too much emphasis on and spend too much time on starting startups and building products/services (the traditional approach to startups) and not enough time searching for the “golden ticket business model” (the lean startup way). Unfortunately, app competitions, demo days,… all encourage the former not the latter.

    • Fantastic point Ashley. What I mean by success stories are ones are household names like iiNet (perhaps the only billion dollar tech success grown from a home in Perth?). We need more of these, that people know of and perhaps use daily. Of course, there are many successful startups and tech businesses. But we need the wheel to turn full circle by having successful multi minion dollar wins and those winners to come back and do more…

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