In Startup Smart

What keeps Australian startup founders up at night in their quest to build ambitious new companies that could change the world?

Is it creating the right product and keeping customers happy, or staying ahead of the curve and making enough profit?

Finding talent

Flamingo founder Dr Catriona Wallace says finding talent is her biggest concern.

“Because we’re working in artificial intelligence and a new sector conversational commerce, it’s difficult to find data scientists an technologists who have the right skill set,” she tells StartupSmart.

“We’ll continue to search globally for these people.”

Being disrupted

As Prospa matures into a larger and more formalised company, co-founder Beau Bertoli says staying innovative is becoming a bigger challenge.

“What keeps me up at night is thinking about how to disrupt our own business,” he tells StartupSmart.

Nurturing a strong culture of innovation and fearlessness around change is vital, he says, especially as a startup transitions into a more structured organisation.

“How do we keep disrupting ourselves so we don’t become the incumbents?” he says.

“That’s harder the bigger you get.”

Tackling social problems

Vännen founder and former engineer Jacqueline Haines says she’s kept up at night by the number of social issues the tech sector is well-equipped to solve.

“We already have the solutions for most of the world’s issues, we’re choosing not to enact them,” Haines tells StartupSmart.

It’s what motivated her to create a platform that sells ethically produced sex toys while raising awareness about sexual and reproductive health rights.

“[Entrepreneurs] hold something quite different to a lot of people, if you could put those brains into a room, or dump them into a problem they will find very ingenious ways of finding a fix,” she says.

Aboriginal entrepreneur and co-founder of DHIVE Leigh Harris also thinks greatly about the kind of social, cultural and environmental problems innovative ideas can solve.

On top of that, he’s often figuring out what can be done to create a more inclusive and equal digital economy.

“What can I build to make things better for people?” he tells StartupSmart.

Doing enough, doing better

Emerging entrepreneurs Elizabett Akerlund and Patrick Gaskin constantly think about what more they can do to get their ambitious startups growing in the right direction.

Cardly co-founder Gaskin tells StartupSmart he ponders at night: “What could we be doing better?”

“You start applying that question to all the areas of the business a startup founder needs to think about and your brain will have a hard time switching off,” he says.

Similarly, Akerlund says she gets caught up in all the big ideas and new solutions she can work on.

“A lot is currently keeping me up at night, as my startup is not a well-oiled machine that can run itself yet,” Akerlund tells StartupSmart.

“Staffing numbers are low to keep costs down and any problems that may arise are new, so I am constantly learning how to fix things and find solutions for the first time.”

What keeps you up at night? Tell us in the comments.

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