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Chasing start-up value through venture capital

Holly Morgan | June 9, 2017
With innovation high on the Australian agenda, entrepreneurs are entering a new era in technology.

"But venture capital firms also specialise in helping companies achieve this kind of growth with capital, connections and insight." As an Australian entrepreneur, Sharkey believes such a decision comes down to the end goal of the founding parties.

"If your objective is to create a lifestyle business, or your product is more niche, sometimes it often makes little sense to pursue venture capital," he acknowledged.

"Even if you are positioned to build an enormous company, there are always other options to fund a business. Atlassian self-funded using credit cards for a long time and only later when they became successful, raised funds."

Fundamentally for Sharkey, a start-up's ability to tackle the tiers and advance to the next level in the market is underpinned by its overriding ambition.

"Every year the stakes go up," he said. "You think you are at the highest level you can go, that it's the hardest puzzle and once you solve it, it feels great.

"But feeling great is the sickest feeling in the world because you always think what is going to go wrong now? You really do bleed for the problem. And it comes back to whether you have the ambition to keep going."

Echoing Sharkey's assessment on the qualities required to be successful in a highly competitive technology market, Garrett said that success comes to those that understand the journey never ends.

"You talk to first time entrepreneurs and once they've raised a series A funding round from Silicon Valley they think they've made it," Garrett said. "But then the pressure just increases.

"Then suddenly, the same entrepreneur sells the company or goes public and it's very anti-climatic and a very long-drawn out process.

"And then - after all of that - they realise they have another set of stakeholders still to deliver for. So, even when you ultimately exit, it never really stops."


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