🌞 Earlywork #50: The Gen Z Authors Uncovering Australia's Startup Landscape
Featuring a guest piece by co-authors of The Rising Tide - Adam Miller, Sachin Shah & Saurav Risbud + offer from Superhero + gigs from Sitemate & Payleadr and a One Minute Hustle with Chez Spigelman
Ello ello Earlyworkers!
Fresh off the press is Earlywork #50, a careers newsletter providing free weekly career resources, news, jobs & real-world career stories for 2000+ young Aussies & Kiwis in the tech, startup & social impact landscape.
If you’re not already part of the crew, subscribe now to keep a pulse on our latest stories and conversations:
💡Weekly Cheeky Tip
We’re celebrating the launch of The Rising Tide: Your Guide to Startups & VC in Australia this week!
Our good friends Adam, Sachin and Saurav are the three musketeers behind this e-book. You might know Adam and Sachin from their podcast, aptly named “The Sachin and Adam Show”, and Saurav from his work with student group Textbook ventures.
We chatted to the three of them to find out a bit more about their book and how it came about.
PS: you’ll definitely see a few familiar faces from the Earlywork community in this book.
How did the idea for the Rising Tide come about?
Both of us have podcasts - The Sachin and Adam Show and Launch Codes - where we have interviewed leaders in the startup and investing space such as Tim Fung, Alister Coleman, Moses Lo and Jessy Wu. After these conversations, we came away knowing so much more about the tech landscape in Australia and immensely excited about its future trajectory.
We came together a few months ago to see if we could collaborate on a resource that took our insights on the space and shared them with readers. Five months later, this turned into a 65-page primer on the startup, VC and angel investing landscape in Australia, built from hundreds of hours speaking to leaders in the space.
We worked with the amazing Hannah Ahn and Savina Kuan to design the look and feel of the book, which in our (albeit biased) opinion, looks awesome.
What are you hoping to achieve by sharing this info with the community?
The book’s name reflects our firm belief that there is a rising tide of tech and startups in Australia. Wherever you look, there are unicorns, breakthrough innovations and talented operators choosing to work at Canva over CommBank. We love the community that Earlywork has built, and it is further evidence of the energy and passion in Aussie startups and tech.
But despite the growing excitement, this is still a space where information is sometimes opaque. This is our shot at giving the community the tools to make their mark. It’s everything we wish we had when we started university.
“ The ones who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones that do”
- Steve Jobs
So, what’s happening in the Aussie ecosystem?
Australia is making itself known as a world-class environment for successful startups and tech companies. Our homegrown talent is starting to get noticed on the global stage:
We’ve gone from 1 unicorn in 2019 to over 20 in 2021
Afterpay made Australian history by announcing the largest acquisition we’ve seen - a $39 billion deal with Block (formerly known as Square).
“In the last decade, Australian founders have built some of the most successful businesses in the world. In the next decade, they’ll pave the way for a whole new generation of companies to follow in their footsteps”
- Nick Crocker, Partner at Blackbird
Canva, Atlassian, Afterpay have led the charge with their incredible growth, but now we’re starting to see a surge of Aussie companies that are cracking the $100 million mark too.
This latest report from Airtree Ventures shows that Australia is producing world-class startups faster than ever.
As the saying goes, follow the money
A key driver of the rising tide is the role of investment, more specifically, venture capital. Put simply, venture capital helps build the future; these players invest in the moonshot ideas that traditional investors probably steer away from.
VC is also incredibly risky since we’re dealing with early-stage startups that have a high probability of failure. This, however, has not stopped the growth of venture capital in Australia.
In November 2021 alone, $1.4 billion of funding was raised, based on figures from Cut Through Venture. Get this - founders named “Chris” alone have raised $1.2 billion in 2021.
The e-book delves more into the key factors that VCs look for when picking winners, impact vesting, and how young people can make their mark in venture capital.
“We will see cheque sizes continue to grow over time, and deals will be done faster. The sector still has a lot of growth ahead of it...global VCs participate in local rounds as well as more local players rewrite their playbooks to remain competitive”
- Alister Coleman, Managing Partner at Folklore Ventures
What about the lone-ranger, angel investors?
Angel investors also play an important role in the investment of the startup ecosystem. Angels are usually individuals who can write decently-sized cheques and invest them in early-stage startups. They are often mentors for founders but don’t necessarily take a seat on the board (unlike VCs).
Some notable angel investors include:
Tim Ferris - founder of BrainQuicken, author, and podcast host. He’s invested in Uber, Evernote and Spotify.
Naval Ravikant - yep the one and only @naval in the Twittersphere and co-founder of Angel List. He’s invested in Uber, FourSquare, Twitter, Opendoor, Clubhouse, Notion and more.
Much like VC, angel investing can be very risky. However, there’s good news for those who are willing and able to be angel investors. In a lot of cases, you will need to be a sophisticated or accredited investor to participate in syndicates or make individual investments (you’ll need to have a lot of money for this!). For the average joe, there are crowdfunding options such as Republic, Equitise Birchal and Wefunder.
Sachin, Adam and Max recently closed their first angel deal - an investing in Asaak, a fintech business based in Uganda. Check out the e-book for all of the details.
This is only a taste of what’s inside the e-book. Each part is sprinkled with interviews with leaders who are much more qualified than us. Here is a freebie with Elicia McDonald, Partner at Airtree.
You can get your copy of The Rising Tide here. All profits will be going to World Vision Australia.
What content would you like us to cover next? Anything we missed? Keen to share your own Weekly Cheeky Tip?
🌏 Earlywork Community
📚 Trending Topics
Our favourite reads and resources being discussed in the Earlywork community.
Immutable is making some serious waves - it became the fastest unicorn in Australian history 🦄
Sara Blakely’s (founder of Spanx) story of how she grew the business into a $1.2 billion Blackstone exit.
On Deck is raising a $100 million accelerator fund called ODX. Check out the investment memo!
Cool new product called InLoop which generates NFT memberships for a community 🎨
🦸♂️ Ecosystem Exclusive: Superhero
Investing was a hot topic in 2021 with every Reddit troll thinking they’re the next Wolf of Wall Street.
But investing doesn’t have to be complicated (or highly speculative). At Superhero, we like to keep it simple.
All you need is $100 and you can own a share of companies like Apple, Tesla and Spotify with $0 brokerage on U.S. shares and ETFs and $5 brokerage on Aussie shares. That’s less than a beer at your local.
We’ve also partnered with Qantas so you earn Qantas Points on eligible trades and transfers. Download the Superhero app to start investing (and earning Qantas Points for your 2022 Euro Summer).
-Josh, Growth @ Superhero
😎💼 Top Gigs
💪Finance & Operations Associate @ Sitemate
Sitemate creates software solutions specifically for industrial companies operating in the built world. Their first product Dashpivot allows these companies to streamline and standardise their processes in a new digital format.
The company values transparency, autonomy and focus on outcomes over hours. They’re now looking for a grad to help build finance and people systems as the company scales.
💪 Business Development Manager @ payleadr
⚙️ Full Stack Developer @ payleadr
We’ve got two roles from Payleadr!
Payleadr is a startup that’s allowing businesses to create, receive and customise direct debit payments. They are building the tools to allow businesses to spend more time on running the business, and not on the admin.
Payleadr is looking for a bizdev manager to focus on the beauty and salon niche - helping these businesses build strong revenue streams via memberships. You’ll help Payleadr generate new leads, do product demonstrations and be responsible for the ongoing support of clients.
They’re also looking for a full stack engineer to own the design, development and maintenance of core systems in the business.
The team at Payleadr is still small so these are the perfect opportunities if you want to explore the fintech space in a high-impact role.
👉 Apply now and check out more top gigs like these at Gigs by Earlywork
Disclaimer: Earlywork received monetary compensation for the roles featured in this section. If you’re keen to have your roles featured, check out our premium listing options here.
1️⃣ 🕐 💪 One Minute Hustle
We are back once again with One Minute Hustle, a bite-sized interview with an emerging Australian young startup founder or operator.
This week, let’s get inside the noggin of a young founder who is changing the way we discover cohort-based courses.
Chez Spigelman, Co-Founder @ Next Cohort
⚙️ What are you working on?
Cohort based courses (CBCs) are the future of online education. We're the Yelp for CBC's - providing a platform for ratings and reviews of CBC's, allowing students to confidently discover new avenues of community and learning.
🌱 How’d you get started?
When Covid hit, I quit my job (early to the "Great Resignation"). I joined a CBC and it changed my life - literally and figuratively. My mission is to help anyone access that same change life-changing educational and communal experience.
The current incarnation is the first version - it hasn’t changed much at all. It’s built with Softr.io on the front end and Airtable on the backend - all no code. Softr is the Cinderella of no-code tools - it’s just right. Powerful enough to make a dynamic web app, yet simple enough to learn quickly and with simplified design choices (as opposed to say Webflow, which can overwhelm newbies).
If there is one tip I’d have for someone keen on a side-hustle is to play around with the free tiers of both tools - you’ll be amazed and inspired by what you can build, it feels like having wings for the first time, especially for someone who has lots of ideas and lacks the technical skills to execute upon them.
When it came to initial user acquisition - I spread the word through my personal social network as well through On Deck, and I started a Twitter account (hypothesising that my potential users were likely Twitter users as well). For Twitter I used a followback strategy - first, I set a daily schedule of simple but original content (highlighting an interesting CBC) - then I set a Zapier zap to send me a daily summary of all Tweets that contained the phrase “cohort based course”, then I’d like those tweets, follow all participants in the thread and get involved in the conversation.
After a couple of weeks, I had a bunch of Twitter followers and newsletter signups - I DM’d/emailed them all and asked for some time for a Zoom chat (highly, highly recommend this book for user chats), got a few positive responses and after the chats had more data to take the next step.
In summary, there’s a famous line in startup land that first time founders care about the product, second time founders care about distribution. Separately, in VC land, there’s a focus on founder/market fit - i.e. is the founder passionate about solving problems in this market, and do they have an edge it in as well.
For a first time founder or side hustler, I’d recommend going after a market you’re familiar with and passionate about. You’ll instinctively know where your potential users hang out - then it’s just a matter of getting to them, which can require experimentation and persistence, which are simply skills that come with repetition.
tl;dr? Just ship it.
🤔 Why do you do what you do?
The CBC I joined was the On Deck No Code Fellowship. During the course, I built a tool during a weekend hackathon. It took a life of its own and has now morphed into NextCohort.
Humblebrag here, but I probably know the most in the world about the sheer quantity of CBC's available today. If you'd like to join one, DM me on Twitter (@ChezSpigelman) and I'll recommend one that will fit you well.
Keen to share your story, or know a young startup founder or operator we should feature next?
Share your deets and we’ll get in touch!
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Ciao for now,