full opinion/analysis by Renai LeMay
20 September 2013
Over the next two weeks, Australia’s technology startup industry will explode with over a hundred diverse events that will vividly demonstrate its vibrancy and potential. The long winter after the failure of the dot com boom a decade ago is finally over: Australia’s startup spring is here, and its energy is infectious.
If you were watching closely, and very few people were, the year of 2008 was a pivotal one for Australia’s long-dormant technology startup scene.
At the time, the US technology startup scene was feeling its full strength and power. Startups such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and others — companies which provide services which the global community takes completely for granted today — had launched and were growing extremely rapidly, bolting on the kind of traffic which only companies of the calibre of Google were used to seeing to their sites. The availability of venture capital was exploding and hundreds of millions of dollars was being invested in the sector.
The epicentre of the boom would prove to be a large house in Atherton, California, where entrepreneur and investor Michael Arrington had turned blogger for his site TechCrunch, and started throwing what would become highly influential parties attended by the new startup kings of Silicon Valley. The buzz at the time was well-captured in an article published in Wired magazine, as well as a widely read book by technology journalist Sarah Lacy. Entitled Once You’re Lucky, Twice You’re Good, the book did much to remind the technology industry that this wasn’t the first time its startups had conquered the world.
However across the Pacific in Australia, the situation was very different. In fact, while the US technology startup scene at that point could be said to be exploding in a firework-like show of splendour and power, in Australia the sector was more or less, well … dead.