Pentagon 9/11/06 distraction

I returned last week from a 15-day tour of some of Australia and New Zealand’s hottest IT start-ups. I specifically describe these as “IT” companies because unlike in the States, where the Web 2.0 movement has spawned hundreds of new companies, the Australasia marketplace hasn’t been captivated by the same frenzy. Indeed, of the nearly 50 companies I met in a seven-stop itinerary through the major tech venues of the region, only two companies specifically addressed the consumer market.

Instead of mash-ups and consumer-generated content and social networking businesses, the Aussie and Kiwi entrepreneurs have their sights squarely set on the enterprise or on technologies and services that enable businesses to better serve their customers.

Maybe one can expect an upside down (from the U.S.) approach to the market from lands south of the equator. Simple math is the more likely explanation, however. Stand on the Golden Gate Bridge and take in a 360-view of the Bay Area. Within your view are more than 10 million people, a population that equals that of New Zealand. With a land mass the size of the United States, Australia’s population is a fraction of that of the U.S. In short, there simply is no meaningful consumer market. The money market is business.

So what sort of technologies are our friends working on Down Under? Here are a few of the companies I met. Ltd
Think your business systems are secure? The team at will be the judge of that. The company brings the tools and expertise to evaluate end-to-end security, identify, and recommend remediation. The company doesn’t sell remediation services; they’re engineers are objective experts at identifying vulnerabilities. In fact, this team is among the very best in the world and the one companies such as Microsoft call on for consultation.

Vigil Systems
Taking a bus in Columbus, Ohio? You can thank Vigil Systems for the very safe ride. The company develops training and evaluation tools that combine sensors, video, and real-time input from supervisors to train drivers, who can then review evaluations in context. Vigil Systems has made strong inroads (pun intended) in the municipal transportation market in the U.S., a big enough opportunity to keep the company busy for the near future. But the platform that combines and records data input over time and geography could have broad applications.

QDC Technology
As marketers push for increasingly personal advertising, QDC Technology will be there with the platform to combines video elements, renders and streams video ads in real time. The QDC platform integrates with CRM systems to generate very specific, custom messages. The company, founded by a team of technology and former advertising execs, has trialed the system with major brands in Australia and is ready to make its mark in the States.

Rising Sun Research
Moviegoers have come to appreciate Australia and New Zealand as a new center for filmmaking. Still, the center of film production is Hollywood. How do directors down under engage with producers in L.A.? Rising Sun Research is tackling this problem by delivering a collaboration system that synchronizes the film review process across the Internet to eliminate miscommunication and error.

September 11, 2006


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