Atlassian co-founders Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar. Photo: Nic Walker
Australian start-up success story Atlassian has taken another step towards the giant tech company stakes by making two key appointments to its board and rekindling rumours of a Nasdaq listing.
The software company nabbed former Symantec chief executive Enrique Salem and Jay Parikh, an Atlassian client whose day job as vice-president of infrastructure engineering is to keep Facebook running. The appointments will lend the company big-time expertise and kudos in the US market.
“We are thrilled that Jay and Enrique are joining our board,” said Scott Farquhar, the Australian co-founder of Atlassian.
Facebook vice president of infrastructure engineering Jay Parikh. Photo: Facebook
Salem is on US President Barack Obama’s management advisory board and other technology boards.
Atlassian chairman Doug Burgum is a former Microsoft and SuccessFactors heavyweight, director Murray Demo was chief financial officer of Adobe, while the two remaining board members are venture capitalists.
The new appointments will add further fuel to expectations the company will complete an initial public offering (IPO) on the Nasdaq stock exchange later this year.
Enrique Salem, ex-CEO of Symantec.
Mr Farquhar and co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes, who made the 2013 BRW Rich 200 list this year valued at $250 million each, have remained silent on an IPO but have pledged not to list in Australia.
‘‘Any future listing, if it were on the cards, would not be on the ASX,’’ Mr Farquhar told BRW in June.
‘‘We’d be almost the only software company [on the ASX] … you wouldn’t get the valuation, they wouldn’t understand our story the way the US would.’’
Alan Noble, engineering director at Google Australia and startupAUS board member. Photo: Quentin Jones
Started in a Sydney garage on a $10,000 credit card debt, Atlassian was founded in 2002 when the pair were both 22, after meeting at the University of NSW while studying science and technology degrees.
Atlassian is one of many Australian start-ups going for gold in the US.
This week Perth company Moko revealed it would reach 5 million American college students with its bespoke mobile advertising-driven social network. It hopes to list on Nasdaq in the near future.
Australian start-up festival announced
Atlassian’s move came as StartupAUS, the non-profit group formed to foster technology entrepreneurship in Australia, announced Australia’s first start-up festival.
Starting September 18, Startup Spring is a three-week, Australia-wide festival of more than 50 events and activities that aims to ‘‘celebrate and promote’’ the tech start-up community.
It will encompass gatherings in NSW, Queensland, South Australia, Victoria, Western Australia and the Australian Capital Territory. In Sydney alone there will be a pub meeting for start-ups to talk to each other face-to-face, a barbecue, an entrepreneurs day at Google’s office, a ‘‘walkabout’’ day during which start-ups will open their doors to visitors, and even a day for people to learn how to pitch ideas.
“Australia has film festivals, music festivals and wine festivals which are a tremendous celebration of our culture,’’ said Alan Noble, founding board member of StartupAUS and engineering director at Google Australia. ‘‘Now it’s time for the country’s first start-up festival.’’
Mr Noble said the festival would help Australian start-ups take centre stage.
‘‘We want to see Australian kids growing up not just aspiring to be lawyers, doctors, or bankers, but also to see entrepreneurship as a valid and rewarding path,’’ he said.
This reporter is on Facebook: /bengrubb