For Australia to become a top ten startup ecosystem Australian founders need to be risk takers and go long according to famed US Angel Investor Jason Calacanis.
Calacanis, the author of the book Angel: How To Invest In Technology Startups – Timeless Advice from an Angel Investor who turned $100,000 into $100,000,000, and investor in six Unicorn startups including Uber, Thumbtack and Wealthfront spoke with Startup Soda in the lead up to the Launch Festival Sydney and shared his thoughts on what it takes to build a top ten startup ecosystem.
Highlighting the success of Australian Unicorns Atlassian and Canva, Calacanis stated that “founders need to be bold and to really try and build meaningful companies”. If they then have the opportunity to go public like Atlassian has done, and buy Trello, then becoming a large sustainable company is virtuous.
Having companies go public is a common theme in successful startup ecosystems. In fact, one of the reasons why Silicon Valley has such a dominant position in the startup ecosystem is because every time a Google, Facebook, or Dropbox goes public another 500+ angel investors are created, as well as a few thousand millionaires. Those people in turn launch new companies or back their friends startup creating an ongoing cycle of success.
For startup Founders sitting outside of the Silicon Valley ecosystem however Jason had some wise words of advice,:
“just because you are in Sydney, Melbourne, Miami or Hong Kong doesn’t mean you aren’t as serious as companies in Silicon Valley, because with every company in Silicon Valley not every Founder is from the Bay Area. 99 times out of 100 they are not.”
Not only that, but one of the reasons why Calacanis has chosen to bring the Launch Festival to Sydney is because he wants to tap into new startup ecosystems. He has already seen success with this model, finding CafeX in Hong Kong and Blokable in Seattle.
Jason and his team can then help bring that startup to Silicon Valley where having an office and a presence there can help accelerate their growth and trajectory. “
Our belief is that a great founder can come from anywhere but if they spend some time here in Silicon Valley things can go much faster for them because of the talent pool, fundraising and knowledge here” according to Calacanis.
Finally, Jason shared his thoughts on any intercity rivalries, saying that “it’s nice if there is a friendly rivalry. I think that’s healthy” and that it shouldn’t matter at the end of the day as investors are going to follow the companies with the greatest potential for success.
*** This article is the first in a series of in-depth articles based on our interview with Jason Calacanis. The full podcast will also be available shortly.
To learn more about Jason Calacanis you can: