A billion reasons BlueChilli makes me proud

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It’s been a massive start to the new financial year at BlueChilli!

For me, July kicked off with a whirlwind trip to the US, where I had the huge honour of sharing a stage with Barack Obama(!!) in Washington DC for the Select USA Conference on Innovation, putting Australian startups on the global map.

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Our US friends are very keen on Australian innovation, as we prove time and time again we can do so much with so little. Another awesome highlight was spending time with gurus like Steve Blank, where I didn’t walk out of the meeting – I floated.  In a word, he summarised what BlueChilli is trying to do with “Wow!”

I really love the way all the people I met in the US were so keen on supporting entrepreneurship, with “how can I help?” being the most common question asked. Everyone is there to drive innovation forward – something we need to embrace back in Australia.

When BlueChilli began as a startup ourselves back in 2011 we were a team of 4 people, acting essentially as tech advisors and coders for our first few startups.  I even did the software for the first few!  We were building something completely new, rapidly developing and iterating our model, and in true start-up fashion, learning loads from our mistakes along the way.

Fast forward to today… the BlueChilli team has exploded with over 35 people in three states and two countries, to make sure we deliver the unique support all our founders need to succeed. We are now Australia’s only end-to-end startup studio. We have built an amazing team of people, delivering a proven model for startup development and growth, and our startups are kicking goals all over the world.

BlueChilli now works with non-technical entrepreneurs right across their startup journey, providing in-house technical product development and design, education through a structured accelerator program with expert advisors to train founders how to become great CEOs, investment through our $10M ESVCLP fund, and scaling opportunities through our relationships with corporates and investors.

Nothing makes me prouder than seeing the results this model is delivering for our startups.

Just this week, two of our startups have launched into the market – with Therapair and CurrencyVue now live!

Meanwhile, Hugh from Button.aI was virtually over in San Francisco pitching at the VentureBeat MobileBeat competition to a panel that included Albert Lin from Sequoia Capital!!

On the tech side, Microsoft has today confirmed their continued support for BlueChilli portfolio startups, extending their provision of $360K in credits per startup through BizSpark Plus to new startups coming into the portfolio. Last year they provided over $7m in credits to our portfolio companies and we remain the only Australian accelerator providing this world-class tech support to our portfolio companies.

These are the kind of partnerships we will continue to foster and grow, to ensure Australian startups can get a leg-up through BlueChilli.

We have big ambitions for BlueChilli and all our startups – as highlighted in this article in The Australian this week.

Our vision of a $1 billion portfolio by 2020 sets a very clear direction for our team and drives the way we work – with a focus on building scalable businesses with great CEOs who will become global success stories.

One of the key outtakes for me from the US trip was how much work we have to do in Australia to build a healthy culture around startups and innovation. One where failure is looked upon as an opportunity, where we can wear our learnings on our sleeve and where high expectations are celebrated.  We need to be strong and competitive if we’re to survive.

Building a business is hard – it’s not for everyone. But at BlueChilli, we are lucky to work with so many ambitious founders who are up for the challenge – to take their big ideas and create great companies with the potential to make a real impact on the world.

It was great to have the chance to light a fire under the Australian startup scene in the US and drive new links between our emerging ecosystem and theirs.

As Obama himself said at the conference, “There’s no better time to invest in technology”.