5 things you need to know in Australian tech today

Atlassian co-founder Scott Farquhar.

1. Pinterest is back big time! All those rumours of its death are premature. After bottoming out at about 8 million users, it’s now hit a 100 million, improved the demographics and nailed a funding round in March that has it valued at around $US11 billion. Josh Nicholas explains how this amazing turnaround has big implications for ecommerce. The fascinating details are here.

2. Will ambos, firies and the cops get their own special internet? The Productivity Commission has put out a draft report about building an internet system for emergency services with three options: a dedicated government-built network, contracting with a mobile carrier, or a combination of the two, with price tags of between $AU 2.1 billion and $AU 6.1 billion. If you want to put some skin in the game, comments on the report are open until October 28. Read about it here.

3. Atlassian’s Scott Farquhar explained the nation’s skills gap problem. The tech company’s co-founder was on Lateline last night, pointing out that because the tech industry is nascent in Australia, the skills Atlassian needs to grow simply aren’t here, so he’s a major importer of talent.

Here’s what he said:

We do a lot for the local industry here. We have about 75 grads coming in next year to Atlassian. But we just can’t find the senior talent that we need in Australia. And so we recruit them from all around the world to come and work in Sydney…. Developers, product managers, designers, people in the technology industry with five and 10 years’ experience – we don’t have them in Sydney in the numbers that we need.

Mostly we get people from Silicon Valley, from Europe, and bring them to Sydney.

Read more about what Farquhar had to say here.

4. That’s not the only thing Farquhar’s investing in. He ploughed $750,000 into Queensland startup SafetyCulture last year, and just doubled down on the investment in a $6.1 million Series A funding round. The business aims to simply workplace safety auditing and documentation, and now has nearly 1 million user. It’s spending the cash on building its engineering teams and firing up the sales and marketing. Read about it here.

5. Keep an eye out for selfie drones this Christmas. IoT Group, a Sydney-based tech company selling affordable wearable devices such as a $99 smartwatch sold in Coles, announced it was going for an ASX reverse listing yesterday via small minerals explorer Ardent Resources and the share price nearly trebled, soaring to over three cents yesterday before settling at 2.8 cents today. Among the talent in the tech business is former Virgin Entertainment Group CEO Ian Duffell, who was also at Sony when the Walkman (Google it) launched. They’re working on a selfie drone from Christmas, along with a bunch of other wearables. Read about them here.

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