Hundreds of Aussie developers and entrepreneurs are moving to Silicon Valley every year, but one Melbourne based start-up has found success with a different formula.
“We kept the talent here in Australia,” says James Kane, founder of the mobile development studio Two Bulls. “But we opened offices in New York to give us access to U.S. clients.”
The tactic paid off when Breadcrumb, a point of sale app designed and developed by Two Bulls in partnership with a U.S firm, was recently acquired by online retailer Groupon.
Asked why many Australian tech companies are choosing to move their operations offshore John Cameron, Australian Manager at Two Bulls, said “there is not a culture of funding technological innovation in Australia like there is overseas. The business community and venture capitalists in Australia tend to shut the door to inexperience, there is an unwillingness to move away from traditional business criteria that are inadequate when evaluating innovative game-changing ideas.”
After winning the Coke Zero Mobile App Competition and a World Summit Award in 2011, the team at Two Bulls look set to make waves at this year's Apple Worldwide Developers Conference.
“Despite the challenges faced by Australian firms the world is starting to take notice of the innovative ideas and untapped talent that we are producing locally,” said Aaron Vernon, Lead Developer at Two Bulls. “We may be a small team and from down under, but we come fully loaded with Augmented Reality t-shirts that let you play an arcade game on another person's back,” said Aaron. “Even our business cards are interactive, there’s just no one else in the world doing this stuff at this level yet.”
“The world is very much aware of the talent we are producing locally, geography isn’t the issue. There are some great programs from government, but if the tech sector is to thrive in Australia investors need to be given some incentive to help realise the industry’s potential,” said John.
And yet according to James, there are worrying trends that governments at a state and federal level are moving in the opposite direction. “Film Victoria recently shut down their digital media funding and every year there are rumours of the federal government removing software from its R&D rebate,” says James.
“This is an industry that has huge potential, but we’re struggling against the dollar. If governments don’t wake up to that, in ten years time we won’t just be regretting the decline of our manufacturing industries, we’ll be wondering why we didn’t do more to invest in an IT services industry that could provide jobs for the next generation,” says John.
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