A Sydney-based lawyer has rejected recent claims Australia is suffering from an entrepreneurial brain drain, after launching an online social network for overlooked start-up talent that incorporates video pitches.
HeyStartup was founded by tax and commercial lawyer Minbo Wang, and software engineer Eric Bae.
Wang says contrary to recent claims in the mainstream media, Australia’s “spirit of entrepreneurship and adventure is alive and well”.
Published last month, the article discusses the reasons behind Australia’s “brain drain”. That is, the increasing number of tech entrepreneurs leaving Australia for the United States.
“But The Sydney Morning Herald have failed to see and recognise the very real and passionate community of entrepreneurs growing and starting their businesses right here at home,” Wang says.
Wang says there are plenty of great ideas and start-ups in Australia – they’re just not being recognised.
“It’s the people that leave that make the story and make the headlines,” he says.
“We should be focused on the people who are here, starting up great businesses and supporting the Australian economy.”
“HeyStartup seeks to be a social network for start-ups, and hopes to build and sustain local communities of entrepreneurs.”
“We’re still in beta testing, but we’ve got about 60-70 signups right now.”
Wang says starting up a business is lonely, which is why co-working spaces, such as Fishburners, are so popular.
“[However,] it’s really hard to find someone in your area. They’re all tech but some are working in mobile, hardware-type stuff, web apps, etc. It’s a little bit of pot luck,” he says.
“What if there was a place where you can sign up and say: Who is there working in mobile who I can talk to?”
In addition to offering a more relevant network of contacts, Wang says HeyStartup allows entrepreneurs to post 60-second video pitches on the site.
“Over the past five to seven weeks, we have gathered 20 short pitch videos from Australian entrepreneurs with ideas and start-ups in Australia,” he says.
“The video pitches started as a promotional type thing. The feedback has been really positive so we’re actually going to integrate [the videos] with the site.”
“It’s a really great way to find out about start-ups. In 60 seconds, you really connect with the person… If you’ve got an investor looking for their next start-up, they can come to the site.”
“If they don’t like one pitch, they can move on to the next one… In a video that’s unedited, in 60 seconds you can see what kind of person you’re dealing with.”
“There’s no flash or glamour. It’s just them, unadulterated and unedited.”
Meanwhile, 8Contacts, which is about to enter its beta-test phase, is another new online service seeking to introduce a “degree of precision” into networking.
“Using the 8Contacts platform, networking is now as simple as creating a shopping list of the type of people you wish to meet,” spokesperson Sean Grobbelaar says.
“Our professional networkers then use the information you provide them to connect you with the contacts you are looking for.”