After a fantastic welcome bringing together the founders and the rest of our delegation, we prepared for a huge day at the NASDAQ Entrepreneurial Center in the heart of San Francisco.
A Straight-Talking Zuckerberg
conversational format, Rohan began by fielding questions from the delegation. After listening intently, Arielle framed a rich discussion on the fly. Satisfying the delegation’s burning questions, she candidly shared what it takes to gain the attention of a VC firm in a crowded market.
Arielle stressed the importance for KPCB to find mission driven entrepreneurs, who are working on meaningful problems; the solutions created should incorporate cutting edge technology such as machine learning and artificial intelligence; and the importance of a founding team to remain diverse and have the systems in place to attract and keep the best talent.
Building International Linkages from Melbourne to San Francisco
Two important presentations followed that stressed the importance of deepening the relationship between Melbourne and San Francisco. From Melbourne’s point of view, the CEO of Innovation and Science Australia Charlie Day introduced Vice Principal of Enterprise at the University of Melbourne, Doron Ben-Meir. Doron outlined the University of Melbourne’s exceptional asset base which has driven its growing interest in innovation and entrepreneurship at the intersection of research and industry. He shared the growing initiatives around campus, including the well-established MAP (us, woo!) and the university’s partnership with the NASDAQ Entrepreneurial Center, just one example of exceptional partners that will support the endeavours of MAP and our founders into the future.
Bruce outlined the colourful history of the NASDAQ and the inspiration for the Entrepreneurial Centre which serves as an important linkage to Silicon Valley and the world’s startup community. Questions flowed quickly after the overview, as the delegation was curious to hear more about Bruce’s background, factors for his incredible professional success, and stories of interactions with some of the world’s most enigmatic startup founders.
Searching for Social Impact in the Bay Area
The entire delegation was particularly taken by Tumml Director, May Samali. Tumml is a San Francisco-based accelerator for startups that focus on the social issues cities face. May gave us a detailed overview of the types of social enterprises capturing market share in the Bay Area – which incidentally are various transport innovations or ride share solutions like their startup Chariot.
May took time to go over unique experiences impact entrepreneurs encounter as they scale, detailing the active investment landscape available to them from either side of the spectrum: from foundations and family offices through to venture capital funds. She finished with some words of advice for the MAP founders; to remain creative, seek out partnerships and focus, focus, focus on execution! Stellar advice from an inspiring agent of change.
An Afternoon of Alternative Marketing, Atlassian Style
MAP’s Entrepreneur in Residence, Jeremy Kraybill was excited to introduce his college buddy and high flyer Spencer Frasher who heads up Marketing at Atlassian.
Spencer retold the legend that now surrounds founders (and college buddies) Mike
Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar – how they radically rethought entry of their enterprise software into international markets from Australia. Spencer also shared how Atlassian’s viral-like, word of mouth marketing techniques generated organic uptake of their product and in-built feedback mechanisms helped them focus on quality. He also briefly touched on Atlassian’s unique culture, and the fact that it’s quirkiness has only just been captured into companywide values explains the visionary approach Cannon-Brookes and Farquhar have taken to their startup.
The session captured the imagination of the MAP founders and generated an animated discussion that included invaluable practical advice, especially for founders building Business-to-Business companies.
Mixing Things Up with Mentors
After these 5 incredible sessions, things were just getting started for the MAP16 founders!
They were treated to a mentoring session with a stellar selection of mentors from our wider networks in Silicon Valley and our incredibly talented delegation.
Over the next hour each of the mentors provided specialised knowledge to each founder and generously opened up their networks to help our founders on their journeys. The mentoring session allowed each of our founders to walk away with a more nuanced understanding of where to take their businesses after the Silicon Valley experience.
Demo Day Silicon Valley
As night fell, the founders practiced their pitches while the NASDAQ Entrepreneurial Center opened its doors to the wider Silicon Valley community: our delegation; speakers who returned to watch the startups in action; local founders; friends of MAP and the University of Melbourne joined to support the MAP startups as they pitched for the final time as part of the MAP16 startup accelerator.
Perhaps it was the adrenalin and atmosphere of the night, the words of wisdom or the knowledge shared that afternoon, but as each of the founders confidently took to the stage and delivered their pitches with everything they had, we couldn’t have been prouder!