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Client of the month – June (Colin Kinner)

Normally we like to talk about how we help our clients. Well not this time. This time we would like to share with you (a lot) more about Colin and what he does for the small businesses and startups around Australia, especially his new venture Startup Onramp.

Program to boost chances of success for 1,000 new and aspiring startup founders

Website: http://www.startuponramp.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/startuponramp

Startup Onramp, a training and mentoring program for tech startup founders, has launched in May in Brisbane and has been praised by leaders of the startup community as the first of its kind in Australia with the potential to save founders a lot of time and money by avoiding “predictable” mistakes.

The program is founded by experienced startup mentor and investor Colin Kinner who has worked with hundreds of Australian startup founders over the last decade and has seen the behaviours that consistently lead to success, as well as the pitfalls that often lead to failure.

As author of the acclaimed StartupAUS Crossroads report, Colin identified that Australia needs more startup founders – at least ten times more if we are to measure up globally – and we also need improved training for new founders if their ventures are to succeed.

“The principles behind Startup Onramp are pretty simple,” Kinner says. “Most startups fail. I want to help first-time entrepreneurs ‘un-fail’ their startup by doing a lot more of the stuff that leads to growth and a lot less of the stuff that leads to failure.”

“I also want Startup Onramp to have a positive impact on the Australian startup ecosystem by producing at least another 1,000 highly capable startup founders over the next couple of years,” he says.

Well-known investor and shark on Channel 10’s Shark Tank, Steve Baxter agrees that investors are looking for startup founders who know their stuff.

“I expect to see Startup Onramp produce a whole lot of investable founders. We’re not short of people with ideas, what we really need are people who know what they’re doing and aren’t going to become startup roadkill,” says Baxter.

According to Kinner, the program can create a ‘softer landing‘ for those who want to make the leap from the safety of their day job, but are stymied by fear of failure.

“There are many aspiring startup founders with great ideas, but too few actually quit their day job and start a company. In many cases it’s because of the perceived level of risk and a lack of knowledge about what to do. Those that do start often make predictable and avoidable mistakes that can cost them a lot of time and money.”

This was a situation faced by Australian entrepreneur Hugh Geiger, now based in Silicon Valley, who agrees that the new program can make a real difference to how founders start their companies. “If I’d had access to Startup Onramp when I started Ollo Wearables it would have saved me months of wasted time and hundreds of thousands of dollars,” Geiger said.

Startup Onramp commenced in Brisbane in May and will expand to other Australian cities later in the year. Kinner says he also plans to roll out a student stream of the program to help universities meet the growing demand from students for applied training relevant to tech startups.

Run over 12 weeks, the program comprises a structured series of evening workshops that follow a logical progression from idea validation to product development, customer acquisition, investment and growth.

As Startup Onramp’s lead facilitator, the program leverages Colin’s significant experience as Entrepreneur-In-Residence for the Slingshot HCF Accelerator, Investment Manager for the CEA Startup Fund, and before that CEO of the ilab incubator and Mission Lead for the Startup Catalyst Silicon Valley mission.

Colin will be joined by co-facilitator Peter Laurie as well as guest presenters including investors Steve Baxter and Elaine Stead and a roster of startup founders who will share specific learnings they have had in their own companies, plus subject matter experts covering topics such as growth hacking, legal, finance and PR for startups.

The Queensland Government is supporting Startup Onramp through its Advance Queensland Startup Events and Activities Fund. Queensland’s Chief Entrepreneur Mark Sowerby said: “This is a great initiative, and one that I’m sure will contribute to Queensland becoming a major hub of startup activity. There’s no replacement for experience, and the Startup Onramp team has that in spades.”

The first Startup Onramp cohort has been running out of Brisbane’s River City Labs since 16 May. There is already a waiting list for the next one so if you are interested, get in quick!

For more details of what is involved and the next intake dates check their website www.startuponramp.com.

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