KPMG launches accelerator for start-ups to conquer America
When 10 minutes on a Florida stage with Tony Robbins led to Gold Coast entrepreneur Brad Illich poaching a $US180,000-a-year client away from Salesforce, he knew he had to get serious about America. Illich, whose company NewBook runs bookings and customer relationship management for 400 Australian hotels, was being interviewed by Robbins at the self-help guru’s Business Mastery course. “He asked me what I wanted to achieve and I blurted out ‘I want to put your mate Marc Benioff out of business’. Robbins is like, ‘OK I’ll let him know’, but then afterwards I get tracked down by all these Salesforce clients.” Apart from snaring the Salesforce departee, an investment firm called Advantage Gold, Illich says he’s also got a commitment from an affiliated firm, Trading Advantage, currently spending $US250,000 ($350,500) a year on Salesforce. “It put just staying in Australia into perspective. The average client spend here is $10,000 a year,” he says.
Paying for program
NewBook has now become one of 11 enterprise technology start-ups to have paid $10,000 in the hope that elevate61, an accelerator backed by KPMG and Advance, will help them crack the US market. The program will see the start-ups, selected from more than 60 applicants, paired with industry and subject matter experts from Advance’s and KPMG’s networks. Workshops on US market entry strategy will be followed by a 10-day trip stateside in May, followed by “demo-day”-style pitches back in Australia to investors and corporates. The program wants direct outcomes, the head of KPMG’s Innovate practice, James Mabbott says. A standout from last year’s inaugural elevate61 intake was job management software provider simPRO, which won its first US clients and set up a US office on the strength of relationships built through the accelerator, Mabbott says. “We’ve selected start-ups that are already selling an established product in Australia, hopefully we can help them take the next step.” US expansion is already on the cards for another of the 2016 elevate61 intake, parcel-sending start-up Sendle, however, founder James Chin Moody hopes the program will help decide how, when and with whom. Formerly in an international development role with the CSIRO, Moody says too many entrepeneurs underestimate the power of a “compressed visit” to a prospective market.
Other start-ups investing in elevate61 for 2016 include Accodex, a back office for freelance professionals; Artis Group, an app-builder for emergency and incident management; City Beach Software, which helps retailers list products across multiple marketplaces; Cover Genius, a global distributor of insurance products for online businesses; GymSales, a customer relationship management system for the fitness industry; Inkling Women, a training provider specialising in gender diversity; rapporr, a private messaging platform for mobile teams; studylane, a platform for recruiting international students; and VoiceID, which claims to enhance business processes with voice recognition technology.
Published by Michael Bailey in Australian Financial Review – Feb 16. Click here to read the original article.