Phil Sim

Web, media, PR and… footy

Get global – literally

I’m going to riff a little longer on the B5 Media thing as they’re has been some really interesting comments worth exploring.

Rick, the VC behind the deal, commented: “Three Aussies bagging some VC coin, com’on, that’s gotta be worth something!”

To which, Aussie entrepreneur Nik Cubrilovic responded: “Actually the story of Aussies bagging VC coin (as Rick puts it) is an interesting story on it’s own – VC isn’t big down under and I am sure this is the first ‘new media’ deal”.

Which prompts the question: Would B5 have gotten to this point, without Jeremy the canuck being a pretty high profile leading man up there closer to where the action is. I dare say, probably not.

We had Darren Rowse along to our Kickstart event earlier this year and was astounded to hear Darren say at that event that he was about to meet up with Jeremy for the first time after having had this B5 gig operating for more than a year. The backstory as to how B5 has evolved is fascinating in itself.

But the fact that Jeremy, Darren, Duncan and Shai have gotten to funding point with this unusual multi-national company structure might have some value for other companies from Australia, and other such international outposts. That is, make a North American merger quick smart so that you have access to networks where there is far more access to money/parnterships/etc.

Or else, start global from start. When you’re putting together your traditional three-man startup, why shouldn’t an Aussie start off from the word go with an Indian tech specialist and a US biz dev guy. I know that’s not how startups usually get off the ground, but why shouldn’t it?

One thing I know, is I’ve seen Australians try and do it all themselves, constantly jetting to and from the US or going through the rigmerole of setting up a US office and it can be terribly draining financially, professionally and personally. I’ll be doing that to some degree myself over the next month as I head over to both the UK and US.  The fact that Darren and Duncan have managed to land Canadian VC dollars without barely having to step out of the country is worth thinking about.

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4 Responses

  1. Darren says:

    it’s a bizarre world we live in. There’s no ‘barely left the country’ – we didn’t leave it at all and still havn’t met Jeremy. For that matter Duncan, Shai and I have never met either despite sharing a country :-)

    try explaining that you’ve never met your partners in a multi million dollar company to friends and family (or trying to convince your wife that it’s a good idea)….

    As I say – it’s a bizarre world….

  2. […] Phil has a post that got me chuckling a little. It’s called Get global – literally and it bounces off b5’s VC funding that we announced earlier in the week and mentions the way we as a founders team of four (Jeremy, Duncan, Shai and myself) are yet to meet. […]

  3. Duncan says:

    I’d argue that we could of without Jeremy…although the difference here was obviously we ended up with Canadian funding as opposed to US funding (which without Jeremy is what we would have looked at).

    On the VC side it’s a discussion I had with quite a few people at your own conference recently Phil. The feedback was there actually is there is a surprisingly large amount of VC opportunities in Australia, but very little to none in Web 2.0. It’s a combination of lack of market awareness, the fact that Australia still remains 2-3 or even more years behind the rest of the world (see my earlier notes of Web 2.0 at Influence) and a Government that makes life difficult for us.

    Side note though, we were actually approached by one Australian outfit who was interested in discussing VC funding opportunities with us…however we were already too far gone at that stage with the VC funds we ended up signing on to.

    Back to your main points: it’s far easier to start global from the beginning in most marketplaces: Australia isn’t big enough in terms of consumers or even venture capital for that matter. Geography no longer is the barrier it once was. Where I live isn’t necessarily a major consideration in the global marketplace, although obviously being local does have some advantages, but it’s no longer a necessity. I’ve also probably spent more time talking to Jeremy and Darren on Skype than I would have ever done if I’d been working face to face with them :-)

  4. Shai Coggins says:

    Very interesting point you’ve made here.

    When I launched my own network to begin with (AboutWeblogs), I didn’t really think of it in such terms. But, when approached by Jeremy and the guys, I realised that “going at it alone” was tough if I want to grow a business. That’s why after some consideration (and talks with my bloggers at the time), I knew that a partnership with these 3 guys (yep – we’ve never met) was the right thing to do.

    And, so far, so good. ;)

    So yes, in some ways, for me it is a lesson on learning how to grow and flourish through strategic partnerships.

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