Maybe it was the way we explained it. Maybe it would have been difficult to understand no matter how well we explained things because it didn’t fall into many people’s paradigms around how to best use your time. Either way, there was always some confusion about what PushStart did and why we existed.
For us it was really simple. PushStart was created as a gap filler. A flexible organisation built to help fill the gaps wherever they existed in the startup community.
In the beginning that included broad educational events, networking and mentoring. After that we turned our focus to the accelerator program we’d always promised we’d run.
But many of those gaps are now filled. As such, it’s time for us to re-assess where we focus our attention.
PushStart = Community
On July 1, PushStart reverted back to its community roots.
That means it is now focused on non-commercial activities that add value to the many new and existing startup founders and organizations that form the local startup community.
We had great success with this in our first 18 months of existence. For instance, with the help of the largest group of experienced startup mentors in Australia (without whom PushStart would never have achieved anything) we helped organise over 1000 startup/mentor mentoring sessions.
In addition, many startups and founders that are well-known names in our community today came through events we ran, when they were at the very beginning of their journey. The fact that we could be one of the first conduits to the community for people of that caliber is something we’re very proud of.
The End of the PushStart Accelerator
When we kicked off our accelerator, as our first commercial activity, a lot of the broader community actives were put on hold while we focused on doing the best we could for the PS12 teams and our investors.
It’s clear now that it’s difficult to be fully committed to both building the community and to commercial activities at the same time. When trying to do it through the same organization it becomes significantly more difficult.
As such, and as mentioned above, the decision has been made to revert PushStart back to its community roots and the PushStart Accelerator program will cease to operate.
To be clear, this is not an indicator of the success of the 2012 program. 6 of the 8 PS12 teams continue to operate successfully and, without wanting to steal anybody’s thunder, there should be various announcements in the not too distant future which will demonstrate how well they’ve done as individual startups, and as a group.
Nor is it an indicator of our ability to keep operating. There was enough support for us to keep running programs. As many of you know we were even considering a FinTech program for 2013 which had significant support from leading local and international Financial Services orgs. But, for a variety of reasons, the decision to not run a program made more sense.
The New PushStart
From an organisational perspective, the lead role in PushStart will be taken over by co-founder Roger Kermode who has done an exceptional job of marrying the big end of town (through his senior leadership role at HP and the AIIA) with startups.
I will be focusing my attention on a new, commercial, startup organisation. With a team of amazing local founders and investors, that new organisation is going to be awesome for Aussie startups and will give more founders, more opportunities and more options for success than PushStart was ever able to offer them before. I suspect investors will be happy with the new model as well.
That certainly doesn’t mean I will be lost to the PushStart community. I am, and will always be, involved with PushStart.
There will also be close ties between PushStart and the new organisation I will be involved with which will I believe will be incredibly valuable to the PushStart community.
I will have some more news about what that new organisation looks like and what those commercial activities will be very soon, but that’s a topic for another forum.
Again, to be clear, things aren’t stopping for PushStart. Just changing.
Below are some of the existing and upcoming PushStart activities that might be of interest to you
- Mentor Connect – On July 1 we re-opened Mentor Connect, bringing back the much-loved and highly successful system that connects Australia’s best startup industry mentors with startup founders in an easy to use way. You can get the details on our website.
- Accounting for Startups – We’ve noticed a gap in the basic business skills of many founders so are addressing that with an accounting for startups event on August 20th.
- Customer Connect! – In conjunction with the AIIA, we’ll be running another event to help connect startups with executives in large corporates. The goal is to provide better access for startups to domain expertise, reference customers, distribution partners and of course potentially investment or acquisition opportunities. More news on this as we finalise it.
A huge thank you to our sponsors who make everything PushStart does possible (we’re always looking for more, if you’re interested…)
- Rebecca, Alfred, Peter and the whole Optus team for being so generous with their time and financial support
- The Ninefold team for also being so supportive of PushStart, especially Peter James who has been a font of wisdom, not only for the organization but for me personally.
Again – a big thank you to everyone who is part of the PushStart community. I really want to reiterate that this is not a step backwards. It’s a positive step forward based on the goals of PushStart and the continued growth of the local startup community and its supporting organisations.
Both Roger and I are excited about the upcoming challenges and look forward to filling gaps in the local community for a long time to come