Digital entrepreneurship

22 September 2013

Across the world, national governments and regional economies are putting considerable effort into digital start-ups in the hope of accelerating economic growth. This trend is driven by the clear recognition that start-ups – and particularly high-tech start-ups – are the economy’s primary driver of job creation.

In the US, from 1990 to 2011, Internet companies still in business after 11 years averaged 144 workers, against an average headcount of 41 workers for the private sector as a whole [U.S. Census Bureau]. In Australia, according to a recent PwC study online and high-tech start-ups are expected to account for 4% of GDP and 540,000 jobs by 2033, up from 0.1% of GDP and 9500 jobs today.

Yet the track record of start-up creation is dismal: 87% of all start-ups do not make it to Year 5. A huge amount of money, effort, and enthusiasm is wasted in an attempt to turn seemingly promising ideas into successful businesses.

Faulty start-up policies

Fronesys is working with start-ups, universities and multi-nationals to improve this situation. In our view, the biggest problem with driving a host of new start-ups is a faulty understanding of how start-ups work. The standard expectation is that these nascent companies are just small versions of large, established companies. As a result, much of what goes into getting these start-ups going is sound from the perspective of business school speak, but turns out to be impractical and wasteful in practice.

Steve Blank, one of the key proponents of the Lean Start-up theory, claims that start-ups are temporary organisations in search of a sustainable business model and that such a business model can be discovered through systematic experimentation and close interaction with customers.

Based on the long-ranging experience of Fronesys’ partners as entrepreneurs, VCs and business executives, we work with partners and clients to deliver a cohort of digital natives who are better skilled in the creation and nurturing of digital enterprises, by:

  • identifying start-up skills
  • developing and refining new start-up methods
  • developing and delivering entrepreneurship training


A Shift in Perspective – How Universities Create Value

Jyoti Banerjee, partner at Fronesys, highlights that by adopting the principles of integrated thinking and reporting, universities can move away from a focus on reporting short term financial metrics to a multi-stakeholder approach which offers compelling narratives about their value.