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Bootstrapping a $10M Creative Marketplace: Envato Founder Couple Collis and Cyan Ta’eed (Part 7)

Posted on Wednesday, Nov 21st 2012

Sramana: What does the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Melbourne look like?

Collis Ta’eed: It is a growing ecosystem. I feel that I have seen a tangible growth in the number of businesses here over the years, and we have had some VC funds move in. We have an incubator and an angel fund here. One of the things I hope for is that Envato and other startups in Melbourne help create and foster a startup environment. We have had some employees leave and start their own film review company, and that is going reasonably well.

There are a lot of incubator and small startups here. The ecosystem is still growing. It is difficult sometimes to be far away from Silicon Valley, but that can also be a good thing. We may not have the connections, but we can also fly under the radar a bit and there is less competition for talent. We are a bit sheltered when it comes to hiring.

Sramana: Technology media only covers startup stories based on funding announcements. That is ridiculous.

Collis Ta’eed: We should take a tiny round of funding just to get some press! I’m joking, of course.

Sramana: I play the triple role of being an entrepreneur, running a for-profit incubator, and being a journalist. I wrote for Forbes and my blog has been around since 2006. I have a very defined opinion on this topic. Most of the journalists do not have enough business sense to know what a good company is. They rely on business investment to determine what business is worth writing about. I don’t need that endorsement. I can figure that out on my own. I may be the only journalist like that out there.

Cyan Ta’eed: I have never thought about it that way, but it really does make a lot of sense.

Sramana: How does it work for you as a couple to be in business together?

Cyan Ta’eed: We get that question a lot. Nobody can imagine wanting to live and work with the same person every hour of the day. The only honest answer that I can give you is that we are both incredibly clingy and enjoy sharing every aspect of our lives together. While we were operating the business and traveling at the same time, we spent about three months in Hong Kong. I went out to get my hair done and when I got back, we both realized that we had not been apart, other than those three hours, the entire time we were in Hong Kong.

Collis Ta’eed: It may not work for everybody, but I think it is nice to have some support. My father was the CEO of an IT company and once he asked me if it felt lonely being a CEO. I told him not really because I have my brother, my wife and my father. I have plenty of support.
Sramana: I write a newsletter every Monday morning and I wrote a trend spotting piece about couples who do startups together. I see couples doing great startups together. I completely see that the passion required to start a company can be a great aphrodisiac!

Cyan Ta’eed: It is definitely something you can share as a couple if your passions are aligned. It is a wonderful thing to be able to do together. We talk shop all the time. It is good fun.

Sramana: This is a great story. Congratulations and best of luck as you continue growing your business.

This segment is part 7 in the series : Bootstrapping a $10M Creative Marketplace: Envato Founder Couple Collis and Cyan Ta'eed
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"Most of the journalists do not have enough business sense to know what a good company is. They rely on business investment to determine what business is worth writing about."

Well said!!!
Just realized how true this is. Businesses get more media coverage only when some VCs pour is millions.

Hari Wednesday, January 2, 2013 at 2:40 PM PT

Right. Entrepreneurship media is absolutely pathetic. They are perpetuating the myth that Entrepreneurship = Financing, when Entrepreneurship = Customers + Revenues + Profits; Financing is Optional.

Sramana Mitra Wednesday, January 2, 2013 at 9:54 PM PT