Jessica Gardner Reporter

Jessica covers Australia's technology start-up scene, writing on breaking news and trends in entrepreneurialism, media and marketing. She was previously named Australia's best New IT Journalist for 2011.

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Go: Tips for Silicon Valley

Published 23 August 2012 04:35, Updated 23 August 2012 10:56

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Get realistic. “Once you get to the Valley it doesn’t mean that money falls in your lap,” serial entrepreneur Ryan Junee says. “You still have to be really good. I think some people get the impression that you just wander over here and do a few meetings and you suddenly get a million dollars.”

Get in touch with the network of Australians already there. “Niki [Scevak] brought the Startmate companies over to [co-working space] StartupHouse, which connected with me and Bardia [Housman] and in turn we connect them with our networks,” Elias Bizannes says.

The most productive approaches, especially to potential mentors or investors, will come from a middleman. “Referrals are like oxygen,” the co-founder of online travel marketplace Flightfox, Todd Sullivan, says.

Getting settled will take time. “It’s not just new friends but also things like your credit history [to get bank accounts and credit cards]. It’s like starting from scratch,” Bizannes says.

Networking doesn’t just mean dinner and drinks, “but collaborating on projects”, Bizannes adds.

And it’s not a big open party. The founder of web coaching community Sessions, Nick Crocker, moved to the Valley after working on start-ups in New York. “It’s surprisingly much quieter and socially much more limited. Unless you know someone very well, the dinner parties are behind closed doors.”

When raising money, brands matter. “What I find is, you go to an event or party . . . and the first thing you get asked is who funded you,” Kaggle’s Anthony Goldbloom says. “If the answer is sufficiently impressive it’s, ‘What does your company do?’ People always said to me, even if you’re taking a valuation hit, go with the bigger brand VC. It felt a little bit strange at the time but I would give exactly the same advice now.”

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