Let’s Talk: The Startup Generation


How do we ensure that the startup market doesn’t become saturated?

In less than 10 years, Australia has experienced a startup explosion with innovative entrepreneurs founding some of Australia’s most exciting and successful businesses.

And with one of the world’s strongest economies, Australia is home to a thriving startup ecosystem, but how do we ensure the market doesn’t become saturated?

According to general partner of Our Innovation Fund, Jerry Stesel, “The Australian startup ecosystem has developed some incredible people and businesses and we think there is an exceptional amount of opportunity yet to be generated.”

Australia is still a growing market for startups and in this competitive era, it’s important for budding entrepreneurs to go beyond B2B marketing and connect personally with their customers.

Serious Levity CEO, Michael Langdonsays: “A play button is the most attractive Call to Action button there is, so embrace it and showcase your personality – through video … Remember, you’re not in B2B or a B2C market – it’s now all H2H: Human-to-Human. Use video to make those all-important human connections.”

In this week’s issue of Let’s Talk we asked business leaders their thoughts on The Startup Generation … How do we ensure that the startup market doesn’t become saturated?

Adam Theobald, Founder, Ordermentum and Hey You (formerly Beat the Q)

In my opinion it’s too late – the startup market is already saturated. But that’s ok. Startups are about what actually counts. They are about real meaningful change and impact, not just selling a dream. To a certain extent, the shine has already come off the sector in the last 12 months. Reduced confidence levels and some high-profile wobbles in Uber and Tesla have taken some of the gloss out of the market. However, they needed to. Startups must deliver meaningful results, and not just talk about being the next Uber of something. They should be changing an industry in real terms, like the Canvas, Atlassians, Airtaskters and hopefully Ordermentum’s of the world.

Ren Butler, Community Lead, Inspire9

The day we think the startup market is saturated is the day we think we’ve solved every business and consumer problem. That’s practically impossible. I think the key is to put an emphasis on diversity of perspective. In the startup community we often see clusters of ideas, as we are influenced by many of the same factors. The more diversity of perspective and experience we have; the more dynamic and distinct startups will flourish. This will in turn challenge the startup services market to elevate their current service offerings and create new ones.

Most of the global entrepreneurship research studies reflect that Australia is still a growing startup market. This is good news for the startup community because there’s a plethora of other blueprints to look to for direction. It is important we strive to have a startup market evolution that reflects our unique cultural and professional diversity.

Jerry Stesel, General Partner, Our Innovation Fund

We’d LOVE the startup market to be saturated with high-quality people and teams who are working hard to add value to their customers and communities and who are building meaningful businesses. Building a meaningful business obviously involves an incredible amount of hard work, focus, resilience, luck and dedication. We see our role as helping exceptional founders materially increase their chances of success by working hard each day to add material value to them and their business. We’re keen to see as many Australian startups succeed and founders should take a few steps to increase their chances of success and decrease their risks. Validating ideas in a cost-effective way is key. Speaking to customers, getting your product in market and developing and constantly iterating your MVP and product is key. Founders should also surround themselves with value-adding people who complement their own skill set be it co-founders, employees, advisors and investors. Startups should also try bootstrap as far and as long as makes sense: a dollar of revenue is better than a dollar of funding any day of the week! The Australian startup ecosystem has developed some incredible people and businesses and we think there is an exceptional amount of opportunity yet to be generated. Our role is to help that become a reality and to help develop our local ecosystem so that we meet our potential.

Michael Langdon, CEO, Serious Levity

Leveraging the emotive powers of video is without doubt the best way to generate new business. Here at Serious Levity we send personalised video messages and proposals to prospective clients – and the conversion rate from these is phenomenal! A play button is the most attractive Call to Action button there is, so embrace it and showcase your personality – through video – to future clients. Chances are that by injecting a little bit of charisma and humour you’ll make a real connection to those prospects. Remember, you’re not in B2B or a B2C market – it’s now all H2H: Human-to-Human. Use video to make those all-important human connections.

Jonathan Englert, founder, AndironGroup

I’m not sure you can actively do anything about saturation or whether it’s actually a problem. After all, startups with value should thrive no matter how many other startups there are. If there is a problem, I think it’s an institutional one. It seems to me the startups that are born outside the institutionalised startup machinery (in other words, in the actual market) seem to do better than those which aren’t. Often we’re seeing “institutionalised” startups based on ideas that are either warmed-up versions of better ideas being developed overseas or with no clear path to viability. Australia seems to sell itself short on its innovation and it shouldn’t —it’s just that some of the most exciting innovation isn’t happening in controlled, institutionalised environments and as a result is hard to quantify.