STARTUPS shouldn't just be viewed as disruptors, but rather buildable platforms for big corporations, according to a recent report by StartupAUS.
Australia's top 20 ASX-listed companies have decided they can't go it alone, and believe that banding together with the startup community holds the most promise to help them buck trends.
The verdict is out from roundtable discussions hosted by KPMG and StartupAUS, which brought together Australia's biggest companies, with the findings released in a report today by StartupAUS CEO and founding director Peter Bradd (pictured).
The report found that companies see it as a 'must' to be exposed to the processes, tools and mindsets that built modern-day juggernauts like Google, Facebook, Airbnb and Netflix, and this could be achieved through acquisition, partnering, licensing, co-developing, acqui-hire or headhunting.
"We aren't growing fast enough," says Bradd.
He says that besides looking to startup hubs such as Silicon Valley and Tel Aviv, Australian companies need to take cue from the pockets across London, Berlin, Singapore, Chile and Paris that have brought together big business and startups to great success.
"Being realistic about the position of Australia as a centre for startups is an important place to start. The support of innovation and the development of the startup ecosystem needs to be a long-term view.
"New investment and support is necessary to get things going, but it is only after sustained support and development over the longer term that the big corporates will start to view startup communities as opportunities."
The Australian Information Industry Association (AIIS) singles out 'open innovation' as one of the best ways to innovate, which is when companies work with external entrepreneurs and innovators.
A case in point is Google, which initiated businesses such as YouTube and Google Maps externally, while locally success has been achieved through corporate incubators such as Telstra's Muru-D and the Optus Innov8 $150 million seed fund.
Stone & Chalk's Craig Dunn says large lenders need to promote a healthier environment for risk and investment, but the government also needs to change its attitudes.
"Some may say it's a demand and supply issue, that it's about having better startup investment opportunities available," says Dunn.
"But the major challenge is our risk appetite here in Australia. We need to shift the risk appetite of investors to more greenfield opportunities, and the government does have a role in that by underwriting some of the risk through tax benefits."
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