Did Matt Barrie (one of the current kings of the Australian startup scene) come to visit? Did Andrea really meet The Greek God of Gardening? Is there really a seed fund that invests pre-revenue, pre-traction and pre-prototype? What did the Puntaa boys get up to?
Week 2 in our River City Labs Accelerator and just like in our epic week 1 blog post, our lawnmowing startup has lots to share again. Here goes…
Mick Liubinskas – muru-D (Sydney)
Mick Liubinskas is the muru-D, Sydney-based, in-house facilitator. If you’ve never heard of him, maybe you’ve heard of some of the organisations he’s been involved in: Geek; Kazaa; 10 Startups; Pollenizer; Startmate; 1000 startups; Zapr; IBM; Virgin Interactive; MassMedia; eCoast; Dynamic Realm; Tangler; MyPeople; BonBon; LingoPal; 3eep; Getprice; Astro Quiz; or WooBoard (acquired this week by Reffind).
Mick’s presentation was about focus started his talk with the following slide:
The company was Facebook. It only serviced 10,000 Harvard students and it was up against the well-funded (and now virtually defunct) Friendster. The odds were stacked against it. But thanks to its initial extreme focus, it has become a $250 billion runaway unicorn company.
Similarly, Uber started in just one city. They focussed on one, simple offering and did not try to be all things to all people. Today, the company is valued at $50 billion.
We thought lawn mowing was niche enough in the home services industry, but Mick was adamant that we need to narrow even further. And he challenged all of the other teams to think the same. He wanted us all to focus – with a discipline like never before.
To see more of Mick’s slides, click here. In the meantime…
Or, option F… eat more Burritos?
Mentor Dating Night
On Tuesday night, local Brisbane mentors came to generously offer their time and expertise to the five startup teams. In a night akin to a mentor dating night, teams and mentors mingled, hoping to find their perfect matches. Huge thanks go out to all of the mentors who volunteered to help the five teams!
Heather Smith – Xero Partner – ANISE Consulting
Heather Smith came in to train the teams on the accounting software platform, Xero.
Brett Geoghegan – Startmate Alumni
Brett Geoghegan came in to provide some one-on-one mentoring about User Experience Design (UX) to Process-PA and ParkFit.
FanTees – Fashion & E-Commerce Meetup @ RCL
FanTees shared their truly inspiring story: 70,000 t-shirts sold via Facebook advertising and an e-commerce website. Incredible. Congratulations FanTees. And thanks for the free Accelerator team t-shirts!
Max Loosen – sendhelper
GreenSocks (a lawn mowing marketplace) Skyped with sendhelper (a cleaning marketplace) from the Singapore cohort of our muru-D Accelerator program. S$60,000 revenue since April? Nice work guys!
Peter Laurie – RCL’s Mentor-in-residence
Peter Laurie, (Director at software development Junta and) Mentor-in-residence at River City Labs, shared his business and software development knowledge with Puntaa (one of our accelerator teams) and other keen participants from the River City Labs community.
Garry Visontay – Partner at Sydney Seed Fund
Garry Visontay, General Partner at Sydney Seed Fund, came, sat and educated.
- Been in 5 startups, plus invested in several more (both in and outside of the Sydney Seed Fund)
- Had an accidental (long) corporate career with a US consumer company (Procter & Gamble)
- Invested in DesignCrowd, OneFlare, RecruitLoop (also co-founded), and more
- Feels most comfortable investing when the founders have proven at least 1 growth engine/channel
About the Sydney Seed Fund:
- Started with 25 high net individuals
- Sweet spot for early stage startups – mostly pre-traction and pre-revenue (yes, you read that correctly, before customers and sales) …and even pre-prototype!
- 7 investments to date: CompeteShark; RateUs; Handkrafted; GoFar; BreathWell; Trademark.Vision; and Qwilr
- Goal is 20 investments ($100-$150k each)
- Look for a world class founding team, and ideally an idea with strong IP and/or uniqueness
- Dream Teams = 2 founders (a biz person and a tech person) or 3 (if you also have a domain expert)
- Try to build an ecosystem of support around their startup founders
Common mistakes by startup founders:
- Putting too many bells and whistles on their product too early
- Not doing enough sales and marketing experimentation
- The global standard for raising money is to obtain an 18 month runway
- You really need to be looking to raise funds 6 months ahead
- Never get down to only 3 months runway because it can take 3+ months to raise additional funds
Friday Open House at River City Labs
Another fun night of networking with other River City Labs residents, invited guests and anyone interested in our 14-week accelerator program.
What about after-hours?
Costa Georgiadis – ABC Radio’s Greek God of Gardening
Costa: “Hey Andrea! Aren’t you with GreenSocks – that awesome lawn mowing startup? The one with the great Grass & Garden blog? OMG, let me grab you for a photo. I’m so excited to meet you!!”
Okay, so maybe that’s stretching the truth a little. Let’s rewind…
Andrea: “Hi Costa, I can see you’ve just queued up for 20 mins at the Caloundra markets to get yourself a hot Turkish Gozleme. Would it be okay if you let it go cold so I can get a photo of you for our garden blog?”
Costa: “Aaahhh, sure. But you have to get in the photo with me?”
Andrea: “Aaahhh sure.”
Huge thanks to the Greek God of Gardening, Costa Georgiadis, of ABC radio’s Gardening Australia for genuinely letting his gozleme go cold to humour my request for a photo for GreenSocks. Legend!
ParkFit app – We uploaded new rigs!
The ParkFit guys asked for some help in uploading some new rigs (ie. photos of outdoor exercise equipment) into their new app. We uploaded ours. Can you help the team and upload more?
Startup Catalyst Trip – Steve Baxter and Peter Laurie
Forever-generous Brisbane tech entrepreneur (and founder of River City Labs), Steve Baxter, left on Saturday for Silicon Valley with Peter Laurie (River City Labs’ Mentor-in-residence) and 20 tech-savvy youth who were selected for an all-expenses-paid Startup Catalyst immersion trip.
The mission? To stimulate Australia’s next generation of tech entrepreneurs.
The reality? An awesome gig for those lucky enough to still be under 25 years of age!
Puntaa have a new HQ
The Puntaa boys (Jordan, Damon and Nick), slept in their new home-away-from-River-City-Labs-home. Not sure why, but TV shows and movie names come to mind… Three’s-Company, Two-and-a-Half-Men, Three Men and a Baby (…is there something we should know, boys?).
Riverfire Brisbane – the view from Richard’s apartment
Yes, this was the amazing view from Richard’s apartment on Saturday night for Brisbane’s night-of-nights, Riverfire. He may need a Ukrainian-flatmate-from-a-Gumtree-ad to help pay the rent (true!), but it’s worth it for a view like this, don’t you think?
The Puntaa and Outbound guys witness the Broncos victory
Can you see the Puntaa and Outbound guys in the background? No, neither could we, but that’s where the guys were headed after Friday’s Open House. And with a glorious 31-12 preliminary NRL final win over the Sydney Roosters, they’re sure to have partied hard.
Shark Tank – Season 7 debuted with Ashton Kutcher
Yes, Shark Tank fans (like me) were excited to welcome guest Shark Ashton Kutcher into our homes over the weekend when season seven debuted on America’s ABC. It was business, inspiration and entertainment all wrapped into one. Loved it!
What about Matt Barrie?
Sadly, Matt Barrie didn’t make it in, as planned. But as you can see, we were pretty busy without him. But hopefully he’ll reschedule (hint, hint, Matt Barrie) for one of the 12 weeks we have left to go on our program. It would be awesome for each team to get some one-on-one time with someone as impressive in the Australian startup ecosystem as Matt.
That’s a wrap for week 2. Thanks Everyone for sharing your photos and anecdotes.
Have a fantastic week!
ps. Did you miss our epic week 1 blog post? Click here