UQ Enterprize competition
UQ's Enterprize competition closes on 23 July 2007.
It is basically involves preparing and pitching a business plan for a new venture. The only condition is that a UQ student must be in your team.
UQ Business School will provide the winning team with a $100,000 prize for the purpose of commercialising their new venture. i.lab will provide one years occupancy and access to i.lab member services to one finalist team. One team may be eligible to win both the $100,000 prize and the i.lab prize.
Venture capital in Queensland
The Venture Capital Unit at the Queensland Department of State Development is promoting the following events:
1. ilab Seminar - Sources Of Capital For Start-ups - Tuesday 17th April, Toowong
2. First Tuesday - Tuesday 3rd April, Brisbane
3. Founders Forum - Tuesday 17th April, Gold Coast
4. AICD Briefing Series - Expansion Capital & Exit Strategies - Tuesday 17th April, Gold Coast
Being a director of a VC-backed company
A VC Working Group On Directory Accountability And Board Effectiveness has released a White Paper on " A Simple Guide to The Basic Responsibilities of VC-Backed Company Directors" (simple registration required).
The Guide covers the following topics:
- What You Need to Know Before Joining the Board
- Defining the Board’s Essential Role
- General Duties and Responsibilites of Private Company Directors
- Summary of the Legal Requirements of Board Service
- Common Characteristics of Effective Private Company Boards/Directors
- Common Characteristics of Ineffective Private Company Boards/Directors
- Minimum Service Expectations of VCBC Directors
- Minimum Expectations of Board Service for Management Directors
- Minimum Expectations of Board Service for Independent Directors
- Minimum Expectations of Board Service for VC Directors
The Guide also provides some useful board and director evaluation tools.
It is easy to read and provides a good introduction for someone who is approached to serve on a start-up board.
AVCAL releases private equity and venture capital survey
AVCAL has released its 2006 Australian private equity and venture capital survey.
The findings include this comment on innovation:
Australian technological innovation and R&D commercialisation are some of the main benefits of PE investment: three-quarters of investee companies launched new products in the past year, while only 27% did so prior to the PE investment.
Furthermore, for the recipients of venture capital in particular, the investment is usually necessary for the first product launch to occur.
The case studies include a number of technology companies.
Second Life: a fresh approach to a cease and desist letter
Cease and desist letters are usually heavy-handed.
But when Darren Barefoot put up a parody of Second Life called Get a First Life, using a variation of Second Life's logo, Second Life's lawyers responded with a nonexclusive, nontransferable, nonsublicenseable, revocable, limited license to use the modified eye-in-hand logo rather than a prohibition demand.
Legal liability of employee web designers
In Houghton v Arms  HCA 59, the High Court of Australia has held that two website designers who misled an internet wine business about the operation of a bank’s financial transactions facility were liable for misleading and deceptive conduct under the Victorian Fair Trading Act 1999 even though they were employees. The representations were fundamental to the wine merchant's decision to structure his business in a particular way.
Mr Arms traded under the name "Australian Cellar Door" and formulated a proposal for the provision by means of an internet web site, www.auscellardoor.com.au, of a service for the direct marketing of the products of small to medium independent wineries. The expectation was that direct "cellar door" sales would attract sales tax at a much lower rate and would avoid the need for the payment by the wineries of the margin, usually in the order of 30 per cent, required by agents or distributors when sales were effected by retail outlets. However the promised payment mechanism could not achieve that result.
The trial judge had accepted that representations had been made to their client Mr Arms, the substance of which was that, in order to run his business effectively and operate the auscellardoor web site, Mr Arms was not required to obtain any documentation from the wineries other than a form, with provision for banking details; WSA (the employer)had engaged in that conduct when it was incumbent upon it to alert Mr Arms to the existence of the additional requirements of the ANZ Bank, or to ascertain that there were no such additional requirements in order for a winery to become an ANZ e-Gate merchant. Ryan J found that, had Mr Arms known the true position, he would have changed the auscellardoor web site to a profitable method of trading by November 2000, not June 2001, and would not have lost the sum of $58,331 from the seven month "set back".
While the trial judge gave judgment against the employer but refused judgment against the employees, the Federal Court of Appeal allowed the action and the High Court upheld the Appeal Court decision.
Australian businesses seek investors- overseas
The stories about private equity deals in Australia grow daily (eg James Packer's media restructure) but what about investors in start-ups?
This Bulletin article chronicles the flow of Australian innovators to the US for funding.
Australian Private Equity & Venture Capital Association (AVCAL) is an aggressive advocate of private equity investment.
Its website has some excellent resources including audio recordings of its state networking prersentations and copies of presentations at its 2006 conference.