fbpx

Startup Muster (Featuring Murray Hurps) – Coming Soon

Adam Spencer_Circle Written by Adam Spencer

@welcometodayone

Get a list of the one piece of advice from over 15 startup founders interviews.

This episode was made in part by the support of New Economy Media, publisher of new economy news – innovation news without the jargon. Read more here –  neweconomy.media

Follow us on Instagram for updates, announcements and exclusive stories we post only to Instagram

Today you’re going to hear the story of Startup Muster through its founder Murray Hurps. 

Startup Muster is a report that produces the most comprehensive data on the Australian startup ecosystem with the goal of measuring and publishing the progress, challenges, and opportunities within the startup ecosystem. Startup Muster is important because the startup world here in Australia is in no sense of the word booming. But it could be, and Startup Muster aims to make the data available for us to course-correct our ship. All hands on deck, let’s go back to day one where this story begins…

Transcript

Murray:

Our export profile in Australia is things that we dig up, or grow and ship overseas. For the first time in human history, you can address every customer in the world and service every customer in the world from a laptop in Sydney. As a 16 year old. And we’re not doing that. We’re still going into the same jobs, and trying to dig things up or grow them and ship them overseas.

We have a wonderful export opportunity that doesn’t care that we’re in Australia, and provides much bigger opportunities than what we’re realizing through any other industry at the moment. And we’re not pursuing it. And we need to.

Adam: Hi, I’m Adam Spencer and welcome to day one, the show that goes back to the very beginning, to share the untold stories of incredible Australian startups and the organisations that support them.

Today you’re going to hear the story of Startup Muster through its founder Murray Hurps. 

Murray:

I’m Murray Hurps, I’m the Director of Entrepreneurship for UTS, also co-founder of Startup Muster.

More

Adam:

Startup Muster is a report that produces the most comprehensive data on the Australian startup ecosystem with the goal of measuring and publishing the progress, challenges, and opportunities within the startup ecosystem. Startup Muster is important because the startup world here in Australia is in no sense of the word booming. But it could be, and Startup Muster aims to make the data available for us to course-correct our ship. All hands on deck, let’s go back to day one where this story begins…

We start this story off with Murray taking us back to when he was a teenager starting his little startup.

Murray:

When I was 16, starting my little startup, there was no incubators, accelerators. Not as we know them today. All the investors that I spoke to were overseas. All the people we hired we overseas. It was a very different time, and that company did okay. But I wonder, how it would have gone if I would have started it today, with the wonderful opportunities that are all around us, now. And I wonder how far we can push that, and what kind of potential we can realize, through the work that I’m doing.

Adam:

Murray is an amazing champion for startups in Australia. And by listening to that little snippet we can begin to understand what drives him to be that champion, but he is too modest to ever admit that’s what he is. 

Startup Muster started in 2015. And by started I mean the first report was released, well before that though Murray was doing a lot of groundwork all in his spare time. 

Murray:

I’ve got a terrible habit of coding things myself because I like coding. It’s why I started doing what I was doing. When I was seven years old, I started coding, was kind of consulting out, doing reverse engineering work when I was 14. Launched Ad Muncher when I was 16. And never kind of figured out, that I should stop coding.

So, the first version of Startup Muster was this, myself developing the survey. I knew this was a transient audience, and we needed a lot of data points collected. So, to develop a custom survey that showed you how you fit into the ecosystem, as you progressed through it. Tried some interesting kind of sharing mechanisms, to help virality of the survey, and help it spread within the community as well.

And just, pursuing that, while also doing a lot of consultation with different organizations who support startups to ask, “What do you need to understand, to better support startups?” And incorporating all of those data points into what was being collected.

Adam:

Murray is steadfast in his conviction that Australia needs Startup Muster or an equivalent organisation. For the purpose of that which I alluded to in the introduction. Things aren’t going as well as they could be, and we need data to help us get a clear picture of where we are now to help us move into the future. 

Murray:

Five years ago, imagine a nascent startup industry in Australia. A couple of small spaces opening up, Fishburners had been open for a couple of years, at the time. I was a member at Fishburners but wasn’t involved in running it. And was doing a little bit around startup boards, and different organizations that were trying to support in the creation of more startups in Australia.

And was becoming a little bit frustrated that there wasn’t good data available. There had been a few reports out, around the time, from respectable organizations. But if you look at the underlying data, there’s definitely big question marks over the data sources that were in use at the time.

And I thought, “If this industry has any hope of succeeding, it needs to able to communicate what it’s doing, what impact it’s having, what problems it’s having. And communicate it freely and broadly so people that want to support it, or even people that don’t understand it, know why it’s important and how it can be supported.”

Like, we’re flying blind in so many ways that a lot of money is spent in different programs and different policies that, designed with good intentions, but without the kind of data that I think people expect them to be incorporating into those decisions.

Adam:

The bottom line is the potential of the startups in Australia to positively impact our whole country can not be overstated. And the future could be very bright. However, in order to get to that future, or indeed, reach any meaningful goal, we need to measure our progress.

Maria:

It’s really important to manage what you measure. And if  you don’t measure, you’re not progressing. And Startup Muster measures the performance of the innovation entrepreneurship ecosystem and reports on its health. And nothing else is comparable in the country.

Adam:

That’s Maria. She is on the board of Startup Muster.

Maria:

My name is Maria MacNamara, and I’m a Non-Executive Director on three boards; the Spark Festival, the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce, and the International Women’s Forum. I also have my own company, Portal Ideas, and I’m Chief Cheerleader for a number of other organizations. The first, the newest one is neweconomy.media, which is a new news site that we’re creating.

And then I’m also on the advisory board for the China-Australia Millennial Project. I’m a Chief Cheerleader for Fathom AI, which is the world’s data source on the future of work. And of course, I’m on the advisory board of Startup Muster.

Adam:

As we’ve heard Murray started Startup Muster, mostly in his spare time, in the beginning, doing all the work himself. But having worked in the Startup world for quite sometime before starting Startup Muster, Murray had connections and people he could turn to for help. Maria being one of those people, but another one was Startup Muster’s to be CEO, Monica Wulff.

Murray:

I was putting by far the most time in, at the time. There was a couple of people involved, as advisors, that were incredibly helpful. Monica Wulff, I managed to get the ear of, at the time, when she was at the ABS. And she’s an incredible person, and, much more incredible than I can explain in a podcast of this length. But she was happy to volunteer some time to making sure that some of the statistical approaches we were using were relatively valid.

Adam:

Monica would go on to be the CEO of Startup Muster and although Murray and Monica were the two main people involved in the operations of Startup Muster, there were many other people behind the scenes making sure a report as comprehensive as Startup Muster was beyond reproach. 

Running an operation that relies so much on trust and accuracy is a time-consuming endeavour. Startup Muster has put out reports for the past 4 years starting in 2015 and funding has been integral to being able to do that, but the early days of Startup Muster were the 2-minute noodle days. Murray and Startup Muster were…  

Murray:

Self-funded, for the first two years. And then, managed to recruit Google and the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science as major supporters for the following three years.

Adam: 

Finding partners that truly want to support and support Australian startups have been absolutely crucial to the survival of Startup Muster and allowing it to make the contribution it has made. Often an underappreciated and unnoticed contribution. 

Murray:

We managed to get Google first.

And bless Alan Noble, the lead of engineering in Sydney. He is an incredible person, and I think Google has a wonderful track record at supporting startups, startup support organizations around Australia. And with good reason. I think they realize that if there’s a vibrant tech scene in Australia, that makes it easier to operate a company like Google, it makes it easier to attract talent to the country. And it makes it easier to find talent within the country.

Adam:

Getting Google on board proved to be an important step because it allowed Startup Muster to land other vitally important partnerships. 

Murray:

I think there’s an altruistic approach, from Google, that I haven’t seen from any other companies. But as soon as they were supportive, the Department, I think was more willing to match funding and support, once they were on board.

Adam: 

The department Murray was referring to is the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science.

Maria:

Startup Muster was funded by the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science for a number of years. And it also received some funding from Google and UTS and others. We don’t have sufficient funding for it to continue. 

Adam:

When I spoke with Murray he was really hoping to have the support to make the Startup Muster 2019 report happen. 

Maria:

We’re in the market now and have been for almost two years looking for ongoing funding. The thing about Startup Muster is that it’s not something that can be commercialized in a way like any other business. It’s a service. And in order to retain its integrity, we have to be really careful who we take money from.

The most logical place for it to come is from the government. And I appreciate that everyone knocks on the government’s door, but in this instance, in order to guarantee the objectivity and the independence, it absolutely has to be from them.

Adam:

Today Murray is the director of Startup Muster and is determined to see Startup Muster survive.

Murray:

I don’t think it’s question of whether Startup Muster will continue. I think it’s a question of when it will continue. We’ve got some partners on board, in terms of data preparation and report preparation, and some of the expensive parts of what we do.

We still need funding. And we need funding to a point where I’m confident we can do it well. That we’re not doing a half-assed job, that doesn’t properly represent the wonderful things that are happening in Australia.

Adam: 

The future of Startup Muster is unclear, one thing is crystal clear though, Australia needs Startup Muster.

Murray:

If we can’t get the funding in time for this year, we will take this year to think about what we’re doing, to better prepare for next year. 

But, we’ll come back, and we’ll come back better.

Adam: 

And here’s why Startup Muster is so valuable and what it does well.

Murray:

What Startup Muster does well, is collect data from busy people. So the technology and the completion rate of the survey is, for the length of survey we have as well, is quite remarkable. Our ability to get in front of a lot of startup founders and supporters across Australia, we do better than anyone else has so far, I think.

And the third thing we do well is, generate trust in people. So for five years, all we’ve done is collect data and publish it, for the benefit of people in the industry. That’s a very hard thing to manufacture overnight. We’re asking very sensitive questions of people, like, their revenue, their investment, their plans, their concerns. And I think it’s very hard to get in that position, and I think something that needs to continue or rather, not be wasted, once that trust has been established.

Adam: 

All of Murray’s professional life has been devoted to driving entrepreneurship and startups forward.

Murray:

Everything that I do is finding larger and larger levers to drive entrepreneurship in Australia. 

Adam: 

And, he says it is a challenge to do so, that’s part of why Startup Muster as an organisation is so important, and it was mentioned earlier in this story that measuring where you are is really important because it allows you to see how far you have to go and without knowing that it’s really hard to make plans to get there.

Murray:

Startup Muster has taught me that we’ve got a lot of work to do in Australia, that what I thought was a booming industry is actually a little bit in trouble, at the moment. It’s not growing in the way that it could. And it’s nowhere near the size that it could be, or the impact that it could be having.

We need good data on what is happening, here, so that people can understand that problem. That’s there’s not enough happening here, and why there’s not more happening here. Whether it’s Startup Muster or someone else, or some government body or whatever, it needs to be collected. It needs to be freely available, it needs to be transparent. And, we need it soon.

Adam:

Thank you for listening to the story of Startup Muster. I hope you enjoyed it. Everything that was mentioned in the episode today is on the show notes page on welcometodayone.com/startup-muster.        

Adam:

You can follow us on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook by searching Welcome to Day One or clicking the links on the shownotes page for this episode at welcometodayone.com/startup-muster.

Thanks for listening to the Startup Muster story on Welcome to Day One. This episode was created by me, Adam Spencer.

Interviews conducted by me, Adam Spencer.

A big thank you to Murray Hurps from Startup Muster and Maria MacNamara for taking the time to be involved.

The script was written by me, Adam Spencer.

Music by Lee Rosevere, full attribution on our website welcometodayone.com

This episode was produced by me, Adam Spencer and edited by Natalie Holland.

Thank you and see you next time!

Less

Resources mentioned

Credits

A big thank you to Murray Hurps from Startup Muster and UTS and Maria MacNamara for taking the time to be involved.

Ways you can support the show

Leave a rating or review

Enjoying the show? Head to http://ratedayone.com. If you have a minute, we would really appreciate if you left us a rating wherever you listen to your podcasts and subscribe if you haven’t already for more great episodes like this one.

This link will show you how you can do that on whatever platform use.

Popular Platforms

Become a Patron

From just a few dollars a month you can help us continue to create this show for you and get exclusive access to full interviews with our guests.

Support the show on Patreon.

Sponsor the show

Want to become a sponsor? Get in touch. Send us an email. 

Follow on Social

Music Credits

Music by Lee Rosevere.

Title: Let’s Start at the Beginning

Source: Let’s Start at the Beginning 

Licence: CC BY 4.0

 

Thanks for listening! Catch you next time.

Slingshot (Featuring Trent Bagnall) – Coming Soon

Slingshot (Featuring Trent Bagnall) – Coming Soon

Written by Adam Spencer @welcometodayoneGet a list of the one piece of advice from over 15 startup founders interviews.Follow us on Instagram for updates, announcements and exclusive stories we post only to InstagramToday you're going to hear the story of...Transcript...

Alan “The Nice One” Jones – Coming Soon

Alan “The Nice One” Jones – Coming Soon

Written by Adam Spencer @welcometodayoneGet a list of the one piece of advice from over 15 startup founders interviews.Follow us on Instagram for updates, announcements and exclusive stories we post only to InstagramToday you're going to hear the story of...Transcript...

The Studio – Featuring Chantal Abouchar

The Studio – Featuring Chantal Abouchar

Written by Adam Spencer @welcometodayoneGet a list of the one piece of advice from over 15 startup founders interviews.Follow us on Instagram for updates, announcements and exclusive stories we post only to InstagramToday you’re going to hear the story of Chantal...