August 2017 Update: Strong steps in the right direction


Over the past few weeks, our Investment Director, Tom Ellis, was invited to attend multiple events within the Australian early stage community.

This includes the Muru-D Melbourne Boot Camp, a fireside chat at the York Butter Factory, the University of Melbourne MAP Gala and the River Pitch series hosted by River City Labs and Steve Baxter in Brisbane.

We believe it is a promising sign for the Australian start-up world that there are so many of these resources, facilities and events accessible for early stage companies and it was encouraging to note that several of the key themes we have identified as prerequisites for success in the broader market were apparent in a few of the more successful companies selected to showcase themselves across these events.

We hope to share two of these themes that were consistently reiterated across these events that will put founding teams in good stead to take full advantage of the many available resources across the network. 

1. Coachability: All the resources in the world are not useful unless a team is coachable. Coachability is one of the key things that early stage investors look for in the teams that they invest in, so it’s something to keep in mind when dealing with potential investors and advisors. From what we have seen over the past few weeks, the teams really cared about the opinions of the mentors and investors and were eager to learn from their experience.

2. Clarity: In addition to being coachable, companies need to be very clear on the problem that they are trying to solve and the customer they are trying to serve. Having this clarity from the beginning is extremely important so you know where to focus your efforts, and where you might be wasting your time and resources. The focus should ideally be concentrated on long term growth prospects and on the alignment of interests.

Taking heed of these two suggestions will place any company in good stead to fully capitalise on the resources available.

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In addition to professionally hosted events, the level of support available in the broader market is probably at the highest it’s ever been. There are plenty of very informed people within the network who have strong experience starting and running companies. If you are experiencing a problem, chances are there is someone available who has previously dealt with the same issue - and often times people are willing to provide their feedback for, at most, the price of a cup of coffee.

That said, if you are going to reach out to these people and facilities, make sure you are prepared to absorb what they have to say and take it on board. Teams can sometimes convince themselves that what they are working on is flawless and do not respond well when people offer constructive criticism about their company.

Overall, what we have observed recently is another sign that there are many promising companies budding within Australia whose development we look forward to seeing. The increase in support networks and mentorship available for early stage companies is only going to bring positive results in future.

Muru-D Melbourne, the York Butter Factory, MAP and River City Labs all represent strong steps in the right direction.

At MAI Capital, our focus is on providing the resources for promising Australian healthcare and agricultural technology companies to scale into China. We are always happy to connect with aligned teams who are trying to tackle this challenge.