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Planting the seed for business


For Andrey Shirben, entrepreneurialism is not defined by simply starting and running a business. Beginning in Israel at the early age of 19, Shirben soon identified himself as an entrepreneur with wider aspirations to build and grow businesses of the future.

Anticipating an impending boom of online business, Shirben sought to realise his goals by paving his way in the digital sector.

Shirben told Dynamic Business “very quickly I realised that the future is likely to be online, so most of my successful companies were digital…around online marketing, advertising and digital distribution.

“In several of these companies I was both the first investor and an operator as well as setting up their footprint all over the Globe.”

Shirben admits that while starting a number of successful businesses, plenty of mistakes have been made along the way. Playing “the startup game for quite some time” in a variety of different positions has taught him a great deal he said. 10 Years ago, armed with a wealth of knowledge and experience, he decided to turn his attentions to helping other entrepreneurs build their businesses, save time and money and avoid the mistakes he made.

Characterising himself as an “older brother,” Shirben now uses his informed perspective to help other entrepreneurs grow and scale their companies.

Joining forces with three other high profile investors, Shirben is now one of four founding partners in Follow[the]Seed. Headquartered in Sydney, Follow[the]Seed is spread across the Silicon Valley, Tel-Aviv and Beijing, and will cater to the growing, but under-resourced market of startups seeking to raise between $0.5 and $2 million.

Building a $50 million pool for second-stage funding to Australian startups, Follow[the]Seed has already received over 60% of its target in pre-commitments following registration in August as unconditional Early Stage Venture Capital Limited Partners (ESVCLP) by the Venture Capital Board of Innovation Australia.

Mr Shirben said “as the fund, we do things very differently from the others, so we’re heavily data driven and our entire screening process is being powered by proprietary algorithms we’ve developed. By doing so, we’ll be able to substantially scale our capacity and assess more opportunities.

“We want entrepreneurs from all over the country to approach us.

“We’ll be investing in ‘habit-forming’ companies and supporting visionary entrepreneurs, solving real problems and our partners will bring a wealth of experience to assist them in doing so.”

According to Shirben, Australlia has the potential to foster local talent as well as attract foreign talent. The combination of diverse backgrounds, skillsets and ideas he hopes will make for a vibrant tech startup ecosystem. It just needs to be nurtured.

For some, entrepreneurialism is not just about starting businesses, but instead, planting the seed to kick-start others.