5 things you need to know in Australian tech today


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Maile Carnegie reckons by the time Australian companies summon the will to change, it’s too late. Image: Supplied.

Welcome to Tuesday. Happy anniversary to the ABS. A week is a long time in census counting.

1. We wrote down the unwritten rules of working in a startup. Chris Pash spoke to the likes of Peta Ellis, CEO of River City Labs, Mark Woodland at Xplor, Simon Cheatham at OnMarket BookBuilds, Ordermentum CEO Andrew Low, and DSYNC founder Simon Church, among 11 startup entrepreneurs to harness their insights in one big and juicy guide to everything you need to know about startup culture. Sharpen your pencils and start taking notes here.

2. The NBN says they’re even better than on track and the rollout “continues to exceed its connection and financial targets”, according to its commentary to its FY16 results today. But as Gizmodo’s Rae Johnston points out, “NBN targets have been a source of contention, with moving goalposts and a lack of transparency being the main criticisms — and NBN seeking changes from the ACCC to the nature and extent of reporting commitments for rollout progress hasn’t exactly helped”.

Nonetheless, the numbers look pretty good, with the NBN boasting “an unbroken run for over two years” in hitting its targets. The latest KPI of 2.632 million homes ready for service and 955,000 premises activated, was surpassed 250,000 and 100,000 premises respectively. Meanwhile network revenue is up from $164 million to $421m, well above the $300m target thanks to a 156% rise in end user numbers.

A quarter of households can now access the NBN, and the company’s target is nearly half of all Australian households by mid-2017.

3. Maile Carnegie wants to make ANZ the Google of banks. The former head of Google Australia, who was poached to run digital banking five months ago, only started her new gig three weeks ago after a spot of gardening leave, and reckons the bank’s culture is not that different to her old workplace in a major interview with the AFR – pointing to the $2 billion ANZ writes off annually in bad loans as an example of their willingness to take risks.

But here’s the interesting part about embracing change from the Fin:

She says she has seen numerous examples where companies have ignored impending disruption and put off changes until it is too late.

“Generally what I see more often than not in Australian companies is they don’t get the will to change until they no longer have the means to make the change,” she says.

“As soon as you have had any kind of success, your mind starts going towards less about imagining the future and more towards how do I protect what I have. ANZ is going to have to start to accelerate innovation or face trouble from start-ups and other places.”

Read the rest here.

4. IPOs are doing just fine. Putting Guvera’s aborted float to one side, it looks like the market’s pretty keen if you’re thinking of floating, with nine companies listing on the ASX raising $995.7 million, compared with $420 million in June. More importantly, their average monthly return beat the ASX 200, according to the latest OnMarket IPO Report.

Oventus Medical was the strongest performer, jumping 62% since listing on the July 19. Race Oncology was up 22.5%, but retailer Kogan.com ended the month down after the $1.80 shares dropped 16% on the first day and are now trading at $1.575.

The goss on who’s up and down is here.

5. Speaking of share prices, ASX-listed ASG Group is pretty pleased with itself today. The IT services company released its results today, with EBITDA up 32% to $26.7 million on revenue of $188.7 million, up 16%. The balance sheet improved through debt reduction and a $5.1 million share buyback, with net debt now at $2.9 million.

In FY16, ASG signed contracts worth more than $300 million, including $180m in new contracts. CEO Geoff Lewis pointed to improved margins, helped by outsourcing offshore.

“Our EBITDA margin of 14.2% will continue to strengthen as our revenue base builds, giving further momentum to earnings growth in FY17,” he said.

Lewis said corporate Australia was changing how it procured and adopted new technology, buying it as a service.

“In conjunction with world leading partners like Oracle and Symantec, ASG has a fast-growing business advising some of the country’s biggest organisations on how to best take advantage of what’s available with technology,” he said.

And while the business is optimists for the year ahead ASG has not declared a final dividend, but says it will look at to a restoring dividend payments in FY17.

ASG shares are currently up nearly 15% to $1.20.

See you tomorrow. I’m on Twitter at @simonthomsen.

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