News Pulse for November 1, 2016

A daily download of SME, startup, fintech and tax news from around Australia.

Why are online retailers setting up bricks-and-mortar stores?

As Australia’s online shopping industry matures, some websites are finding that in order to grow, they need to embrace more traditional sales channels by opening pop-up shops, showrooms or even a permanent store.

In the United States, the online shopping behemoth Amazon.com plans to open convenience stores and customer pick-up sites, having already tested the waters with its three book shops on the west coast.

Aussie startup simPRO hits out at local bank and VCs after raising $40m from US

When Brad Couper, the chief executive of Brisbane-based software-as-a-service company simPRO, was toasting a $40 million capital raising from New York venture capital firm Level Equity earlier this month, he couldn’t help but shake his head at the lack of support from his local bank.

After one of the year’s largest startup funding rounds, the maker of cloud-based software tools for tradies is valued at north of $100 million, but back in February the local bank it has used for 14 years had refused its application for a $2 million business expansion loan.

Perception vs performance in small business

Australian consumers are increasingly spending their money with big businesses rather than supporting local stores, despite professing their affection for small business, a new survey has found.

The American Express-commissioned ‘Economy of Shopping Small: Customer Counts’ report has revealed a two-year declining trend, with 78 per cent of respondents saying small businesses have had a positive impact on their lives, but only 37 per cent increased the number of times they shopped at small businesses in the past 12 months.

Australia’s small business sector is punching on gamely

If you were going to say anything about Australia’s small business sector, you would have to say that it is tough.

Faced with an economy that naturally seems to support duopoly and oligopoly industries, the small business sector keeps battling on.

And because small business is where a lot of Australians work, the health and outlook for the sector is of vital importance to the health of the overall economy.

Former AFL star Joel MacDonald to raise $5m and list his start-up GetSwift

Former Melbourne AFL footballer Joel MacDonald will take his logistics management platform, GetSwift, public via an ASX listing to raise $5 million.

Unlike most early stage businesses that go to the public markets as a source of capital, though, GetSwift does not need the cash.

The start-up has constructed a series of algorithms which let businesses optimise delivery routes, streamline their dispatching and task assignment, send branded alerts automatically to customers about their orders, and capture digital proof of delivery via photos or signatures.

Cost And Complexity Of All-in-one Marketing Suites A Barrier To SMBs Seeking Automation

There’s a huge disparity in the use of marketing automation software between large corporations (60%) and small to medium businesses (10%)*. According to Kraig Swensrud, CMO of email marketing start-up Campaign Monitor,  the cost and complexity of all-in-one marketing suites, designed for the ‘big end of town’, have typically been barriers to SMBs seeking greater marketing efficiencies.

He spoke to  Dynamic Business  about this problem and the opportunity for SMBs to access the features of mega-vendor marketing clouds without losing their sanity or breaking the bank. The solution, he explained, involves multiple vendors and a move to a ‘best of breed’ marketing technology stack.

Managing Business Expenditure On Melbourne Cup Day

Melbourne Cup Day is known as the race that stops a nation. While it’s a public holiday only in Victoria, Australians around the country take the afternoon off to socialise with friends and colleagues. They participate in office sweeps and bet directly on the race and many enjoy a long lunch. It’s such an iconic event that Channel 7 estimates 90% of Australians over 14 watch the race.

This all makes Melbourne Cup Day an ideal corporate entertaining opportunity. Some organisations invite clients, partners or other stakeholders to events while others use it as a chance to treat their employees to a fun afternoon out. Either approach means most of the day’s expenses are likely to be reimbursable by the business.

ACCC chair Rod Sims eyes potential regulatory reform to police start-up buyouts

ACCCAustralian Competition and Consumer Commission The ACCC is Australia's competition regulator and national consumer law champion. chairman Rod Sims has warned legislative changes may be required to increase the competition regulator’s scope to police the acquisition of tech start-ups by larger incumbent firms.

The competition tsar was expanding on comments made in a speech last week , which called for greater vigilance against damaging market concentration caused by mergers and acquisitions, and his ideas have members of Australia’s tech start-up community worried they could be prevented from selling their firms.

The good and not-so-good of the Melbourne Cup for SMBs

The Melbourne Cup generates millions of transactions and billions in revenue for small businesses on the morning of the race, but according to a survey from accounting software provider Xero it can be costly in terms of loss of productivity for SMBs.

According to transactional data from Xero , last year’s Melbourne Cup saw SMBs process $2.4 billion on the morning of the race – up an average $400 million from the same period two weeks before and after the Melbourne Cup.

Sydney is the start-up capital of Australia, Premier Mike Baird says

MANY cities have aspirations of being Australia’s version of the Silicon Valley but there is one place that’s clearly the favourite of tech companies.

No, it’s not Adelaide, which has declared its intentions to become a “ smart city” , or regional cities where the National Broadband Network has been rolled out first, like Ipswich, Ballarat, Prospect, Wollongong and Gosford . No, it’s good old Sydney.

Xero on hunt for new CMO as Andy Lark exits amid global restructure

Andy Lark is to leave Xero after the accounting software company announced changes to its organisational structure.

Accounting software company Xero has told investors it is restructuring in pursuit of its goal of reaching $1 billion of operating revenues. The ASX and NZX-listed company says it is implementing a ‘flatter’ organisational structure with country managers reporting directly to the CEO.

The Xero for workplace safety opens headquarters in Australia

A New Zealand company working to make workplaces safer with intelligent mobile technology is opening headquarters in Melbourne to accelerate growth across the ANZ region.

ASX-listed Vault Intelligence will spend the next few months setting up shop in Carlton and making key additions to its sales and engineering teams.

Fintech hits $200 million loan milestone

Leading online lender Prospa has announced it has reached $200 million in loan originations adding another achievement to a recent string of success.

As well as being listed 31 out of 50 in 2016 Fintech100 by H2 Ventures and KPMG, Prospa has also secured an additional $50 million from a large local institutional funder – taking its total capital raised to more than $100 million.

Tips, comments or suggestions? Let me know in the comments, send me an email or tweet me @simeonduncan.

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