Aussie.EU bringing together ‘Aussie Mafia’ in Europe

Moving to Silicon Valley may be the ultimate goal for many Australian startups, but for others the history, culture, and growing startup communities of Europe are beckoning.

While the cost of living is largely far cheaper than that of Silicon Valley – and a number of Australian cities – a major problem facing startups heading over is that they are, for the most part, the ones breaking new ground; there is no established ‘Aussie mafia’ there to greet them and help them out with finding a place to stay, coworking spaces to set up in, getting through paperwork, and pointing out the best spots for coffee like there is in San Francisco.

Looking to bring the growing number of Australians in Europe together and make it easier for the next ones coming over is entrepreneur Jock Gordon, who is setting up an Aussie mafia of sorts called Aussie.EU from his base in Berlin. By bringing the community together and facilitating collaboration, Gordon’s vision is to help spur the creation of new ventures and success stories.

Gordon ended up in Berlin after selling his startup MenuPad, an iPad-based menu system for restaurants, to its US distribution partners three years ago. He sold up, went on a holiday, and landed in Berlin during the first week of summer.

“Everyone was so happy, then in winter I realised why. I saw Berlin is a great city, there’s a lot of brainpower here, there’s a real mix of expats from all around the world, you can get away with just speaking English, and the city’s got so much buzz to it, so I thought that it was the perfect place to start my next startup,” he said.

“I noticed that there were Aussies all around the place and some of them were very successful but they weren’t brought together in one place, so the idea for Aussie.EU came along as a place Aussies across Europe can come together, and Australian entrepreneurs, employees, and service providers can come together, to make it easy for people moving to different parts of Europe can have everything ready to go in one place.”

Officially launched in June, Gordon said he is currently looking to build up the Aussie.EU community in order to see what it is people want and need.

“Our strategy will start to evolve once we start to see who joins. We’ve had everything from CEOs of large listed companies to new startups that want help entering the European market,” he said.

As well as bringing Australians in Europe together, through Aussie.EU Gordon wants to connect these members to local experts who can help them out. He is working to partner with tax lawyers specialising in both German and Australian laws, for example, to make it easier for Australians to set up overseas.

“If you remove all the obstacles to make it really easy for them to make the jump overseas then there’s no excuses. If you have all the right lawyers in place, all the right accountants, and you’ve got that camaraderie there, it’s very easy to just say, okay, I’ll make the move. It put something that would be out of your comfort zone into your comfort zone,” Gordon said.

The number of Australian startups in Europe is sure to grow over the coming months and years with the launch of the Australian Government’s Berlin landing pad; the potential of the city was then immediately recognised by Startup Catalyst, which in June took a group of Australian entrepreneurs to London and Berlin to explore the opportunities for startups in both cities.

Announcing the landing pad in April, former Minister for Trade and Investment Steven Ciobo said placing it in Berlin will help Australian businesses develop stronger ties with Europe’s largest economy.

Home to European behemoth Rocket Internet and an estimated 3,000 active tech startups, Berlin was last year ranked ninth in the Global Startup Ecosystem Ranking released by Compass, jumping up from 15th place. The report also found Berlin is the fastest-growing ecosystem in Europe, growing quicker than London and Tel Aviv.

Valued between US$24.7-$30.2 billion, the Compass report also found that Berlin is the most gender equal and second most diverse ecosystem in Europe, with 49 percent of employees foreign and 27 percent women.

Like Gordon, Mon Wulff, CEO of Startup Muster, also has a particularly solid understanding of what makes Berlin tick. Having studied at the German International School in Sydney and then at university in Germany, Wulff said Berlin is “one of the most welcoming places you will ever go.”

“It’s more about community than it is about consumerism, and people accept you for who you are and who you want to be. We talk about the things you need to make a proper ecosystem, and the openness of Berliners and their willingness to accept anyone and everyone for exactly who they are allows for a serendipitous connections,” she said.

“It’s also a massive migration hub, so you’ve got people that are transiting from all around Europe, as well as from Australia, so it’s this melting pot of cultures and there is a necessity there as well to be innovative. They’re in the middle of what’s going on in Europe at the moment and Berlin realises they have to be Berliners about it and get shit done and make it work.”

Other countries around Europe are also opening their borders to foreign entrepreneurs. France, for example, launched the French Ticket program on which Advance Queensland’s HotDesQ initiative is based.

Queensland-founded startup Corilla experienced life as a startup in France while taking part in the NUMA Sprint accelerator program in Paris, the first international startup to take part in the program.

Cofounder David Ryan told Startup Daily earlier this year the team was “blown away” by France and the opportunities there, while also highlighting the fact that being based in Europe for a few months helped Corilla understand a significant portion of its users that it may not have gotten to know as well if it had stayed in Australia and kept its focus on the US market.

“I think you’re ignoring a massive part of the market if you’re not thinking of places of Europe and asking, what are the cultural differences here? Even little things, like how do we do our accounting here, how do we interface with the customers, what are their needs that differ from the American market?” Ryan said.

Aussie.EU is currently looking for strategic partners to help build up its range of services for the community.

Article originally posted on Startup Daily, 9 August 2016.

 

A new business network is here to help Aussie entrepreneurs

Aussie.EU has officially launched in Berlin, Germany, to bring together Australian entrepreneurs, services providers and investor communities focusing on the European market.

Aussie.EU is the brainchild of Adelaide born entrepreneur Jock Gordon who spent time travelling between Europe and Australia after selling MenuPad, the world’s first iPad restaurant ordering system, in the USA.

“There are some exciting Australian entrepreneurs and talent spread throughout Europe,” Jock, who is a 2014 Anthill 30under30 winner, said.

In April 2016 the Australian Government announced a Landing Pad in Berlin, under the National Innovation and Science agenda, to help Aussie companies accelerate growth by launching in Europe.

What mission is Aussie.EU undertaking?

“Aussie.EU will bring together an entire Australian entrepreneurial community in one place and will link into existing chambers of commerce across Europe,” explained Jock.

Shortly after launch, Aussie.EU had attracted over 100 members and had interest for collaboration throughout the continent.

Startup Catalyst, based in Queensland, is running trade missions globally to facilitate awareness and has just completed a 12-day trade mission in London and Berlin.

The aim of said mission was to connect entrepreneurs and investors from Queensland with the local ecosystem and build relationships.

Aaron Birkby highlighted that Australians need to be more globally aware and look at international markets.

It’s time to spread your wings

“One of the biggest challenges for Australian start-ups in entering a new business ecosystem is making the jump into a new market,” Jock said.

“The Aussie.EU network will connect an Australian business with the right people in a local market to help them get off the ground quickly.

“We’ll look at putting start-ups and experienced entrepreneurs with networks in Europe together with the relevant service providers to help fast track a company’s launch in Europe. This also helps build camaraderie in a new market,” he continued.

Jock further pointed out that whether companies want to base their business in Berlin, Amsterdam, London or Stockholm, a united Australian entrepreneurial community will help make it easier for start-ups that are in Australia to be able to easily plug in to existing Australians in the entrepreneur space spread across Europe.

“They will have mates and a common ground that they wouldn’t necessarily have when entering a new culture.”

Jock said he has met a lot of Australians in Europe.

“One of the common things about Aussies overseas in Europe is they tend to hang with the foreigners more than each other. This is a chance for a common group of entrepreneurial Australians to help each other move forward to a common goal of building successful businesses overseas. As a wise man once said ‘A single stick breaks easily but a bundle of sticks is strong’.”

The Aussie.EU founder insists that an Australian company could easily be able to link in with the start-up scene in Berlin, Stockholm, London, and now with the network in Krakow or Amsterdam.

“It’s only going to continue to expand as we continue to grow the user base and strengthen Australian businesses. There is a lot of interest from investors and strategic alliance partners to help the network grow.”

Article originally posted on Anthill Magazine, 21 July 2016.

Connecting Aussies to EU entrepreneur communities

Aussie.EU (www.aussie.eu) has officially launched in Berlin, Germany, to bring together Australian entrepreneurs, services providers and investor communities focusing on the European market. Aussie.EU is the brainchild of Adelaide born entrepreneur Jock Gordon who spent time travelling between Europe and Australia after selling MenuPad, the world’s first iPad restaurant ordering system, in the USA.

“There are pockets of Australians spread across Europe,” Jock said. “Aussie.EU will bring together an entire Australian entrepreneurial community in one place and will link into existing chambers of commerce across Europe.”

In April 2016 the Australian Government announced a Landing Pad in Berlin, under the National Innovation and Science agenda, to help Aussie companies accelerate growth by launching in Europe. Aaron Birkby from Startup Catalyst, based in Queensland, said: “Australians need to be more globally aware and look at international markets.”

Startup Catalyst is running trade missions globally to facilitate this awareness and has just completed a 12-day trade mission in London and Berlin, with the aim to connect entrepreneurs and investors from Queensland with the local ecosystem and build relationships.

“One of the biggest challenges for Australian startups in entering a new business ecosystem is making the jump into a new market,” Jock said. “The Aussie.EU network will connect an Australian business with the right people in a local market to help them get off the ground quickly. We’ll look at putting startups and experienced entrepreneurs with networks in Europe together with the relevant service providers to help fast track a company’s launch in Europe. This also helps build camaraderie in a new market.

“Whether companies want to base their business in Berlin, Amsterdam, London or Stockholm a united Australian entrepreneurial community will help make it easier for startups that are in Australia to be able to easily plug in to existing Australians in the entrepreneur space spread across Europe,” he said.

“They will have mates and a common ground that they wouldn’t necessarily have when entering a new culture.”

Jock said he has met a lot of Australians in Europe.

“One of the common things about Aussies overseas in Europe is they tend to hang with the foreigners more than each other, this is a chance for a common group of entrepreneurial Australians to help each other move forward to a common goal of building successful businesses overseas. As a wise man once said ‘A single stick breaks easily but a bundle of sticks is strong’. “

Shortly after launch, Aussie.EU had attracted over 100 members and had interest for collaboration throughout the continent.

“There are some exciting Australian entrepreneurs and talent spread throughout Europe,” Jock said. “An Australian company could easily be able to link in with the startup scene in Berlin, Stockholm, London, and now with the network in Krakow or Amsterdam. It’s only going to continue to expand as we continue to grow the user base and strengthen Australian businesses. There is a lot of interest from investors and strategic alliance partners to help the network grow.”

Originally posted on Newsmaker, 14 July 2016.