Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Where are all the .au startups?

An excellent post by Tom Coates at Plasticbag.org back in July entitled Where are all the UK start-ups? could very easily be applied to Australia as well. I'm not sure the reason that there isn't an explosion of local Web 2.0 ventures is due to shame. It's more like ignorance: most people who would be in the position to start such ventures wouldn't even know that the movement exists. The local Murdoch sites haven't mentioned Web 2.0 once. Neither has the Melbourne Age, or the Sydney Morning Herald. The Australian Financial Review has one story, but it's behind a pay wall so that's hardly going to set the world on fire. Nothing in Computerworld. ZDNet Australia has 12 results, only one of which is about a local company, Remember The Milk, and that was only written last week. I could go on, but it's too depressing.

It's not as if there are no local ventures. On the consumer side RTM is a fine example, as is FeedTagger which ben barren and others are working on, The Podcast Network by Cameron Reilly, and my own venture Tinfinger. On the more technical side, there's MetaWrap which is an open source web services project being co-ordinated by Sydneyite James McParlane. There are a number of Australian entrepreneurs blogging, such as Nik Cubrilovic and Yaro Starak. There was apparently a dinner in St Kilda for 2.0 types last night, so obviously there's enough to fill a story. Apologies if I forgot you (if you think you belong in that list, post a comment with URL!).

I feel like there should be more than this. Part of the appeal of the new movement is the low cost barrier to entry, so the problem of lack of investment that plagues non-Silicon Valley startups shouldn't apply any more. It's just a matter of getting the right people interested, to give them an "aha moment" that will put them on the path to creating something we can all use and enjoy.

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