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WiseTech Global founder urges start-ups to stay nimble

WiseTech Global founder, Richard White, has advised Australian start-up businesses to avoid government grants and university collaboration consider the small domestic market size a blessing not a curse.

Speaking at last week's Australian Financial Review Innovation Summit in Sydney, White said his company had taken no “handouts” or private equity investment in the 22 years between starting to code the logistics platform which became WiseTech's flagship product, CargoWise, and WiseTech, listed on the Australian Securities Exchange as being valued at $1.13 billion.

“The capital constraints in Australia are a good thing, and more entrepreneurs need to see them as a good thing," White told the Australian Financial Review. “There is too much emphasis here on the hand out from government for a tax break or a grant, but those have enormous distorting effects and cover you in bureaucracy to deal with.

“Too much capital too early kills companies…Not having it forces you to be smart, it forces you to be profitable because cashflow becomes how you grow the business. You look at Atlassian, Aconex, us, it's a similar story.”

Emphasising his 'go it alone' theme, White was also heavily critical of the commercialisation nous of universities, pouring accelerant on a debate about their role in Australia's entrepreneurship culture.

Established in 1994, WiseTech, provides cloud-based software solution for the logistics industry, giving freight forwarders a single platform to manage the movement of goods. The company has more than 100 users worldwide.

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