Thanks for the name-check mate. I started highlighting my favourite bits in your post and realised I’d highlighted almost all of it so hit undo.
You hit the nail on the head: Australian early-stage investors don’t back moon-shot startups primarily because we don’t have to. We see enough deal flow from solid, revenue-forward startups with great teams and a detailed knowledge of the problem they’re solving.
In the US all the variables are different — volume of startups, number of investors, exclusivity of deal flow and obviously, capital available. It forces more investors to take greater risks because you don’t even get a look in on the best investments out there — they all go to the super-angels and the guys with the best old-boy networks created by working together for a decade at an AOL, Intel, Cisco, Apple or Google.
If you can’t get your startup idea backed, take a job with another startup which can. Yes, founding team members get more of the equity than you do, but we have employee share option plans in Australia now, and if a funded startup won’t offer you equity, they are trying to screw you, and you should say no.
Maybe one thing we need more of is education around how to be successful as an early hire at an Australian startup? Most of us are focused on founders and investors, when we know that to be successful (like, $1–5M successful) you only need to be an early hire in a winning startup.
$2M means you can pay off your debts and stop paying rent and mortgage. Have you considered how enabling that can be, to never have to pay interest again? It’s a hell of a lot easier to do your next startup!