My highlights from Emergence 2019

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The other week I was fortunate to head to #Emergence2019, held in both Brisbane and Sydney and hosted by Wholesale Investor. It was a melting pot of smart people with smart ideas, delivering some of the world’s edgiest innovations.

The conference is unique in that it provides a platform for entrepreneurs of all shapes and sizes to get together, share expertise and showcase their innovation and creativity. It also gives investors the opportunity to connect with entrepreneurs and businesses at the earliest stages of development.

Over the two days we heard from a diverse range of speakers on how tech and innovation is impacting their industry, and in some instances, how they’re using it to break through norms and turn the proverbial on its head.

One session that really resonated with me was from James Spenceley (Founder of Vocus Communications and CEO of MHOR Asset Management) who’s candour and generosity in sharing his investment journey, things he looks for when he’s making investments, and some of the mistakes he’s made along the way was hugely engaging.

But with such quality of speakers and panels, it really is hard to choose a favourite session.

Instead, I thought I’d share with you my top 3 takeaways from the conference:

 

1. Capital raising remains as hard as it’s ever been.

Around my network, I often hear comments that raising capital is “easy” or “straightforward”.

Well the150 people in the room last week would beg to differ.

There just isn’t as much capital available here in Australia as once there was; and the efforts to seek international interest and convert on that interest is a long and expensive process in and of itself.

Businesses of all sizes are constantly looking for alternative ways to find capital or better use cash flow strategies to fund projects and innovation.

Raising capital is NOT easy.

 

2. Staying on top of government and industry change is vital.

What’s the saying…the one thing that’s constant is change? Well that is for certain when it comes to what businesses are eligible for different government programs.

Seasoned investor and start-up guru Steve Baxter spent some time talking about his experience in this space and had some great insight into what he believes robust government programs should look like. Steve particularly focused on the recently proposed changes to the R&D tax incentive and how any changes need to carefully consider the impact on our fragile start-up ecosystem.

Staying on top of industry news can be tough and while the amount of content being produced on a daily basis is substantial, looking to an industry specific government bulletin such as the R&D Tax bulletin is essential.

 

3. The Australian tech market has a very exciting future.

Suggestions that our tech intelligence and start-up bubble here in Australia is close to bursting seems completely ridiculous after seeing the brilliance in the room in Brisbane and Sydney. There were a number of presentations across the 4 days from truly innovative companies representing a number of market sectors, from Biotech to fintech – we seem to have it all.

I was also fortunate to hold a session on Day 1 of the conference and talk more specifically about R & D funding and the opportunities available through the Government’s R & D incentive scheme. This was well received and it got a number of people in the room thinking about alternative ways to attract funding.

I shared some top tips for navigating the incentive eligibility and application process; explained the customer benefits of a Radium Advance and how that can help your cash flow position; and lastly, I shared a case study from one of our most common customer profiles.

If you weren’t able to attend (or even if you were!) and you’d like a copy of the presentation, please email me directly at david.weir@radiumcapital.com.au or call me on 0459 816 177.

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