The ASX is in San Francisco this week wooing local tech firms to list Down Under
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This week the ASX has ventured to San Francisco to pitch to local startups to list Down Under.
This Wednesday evening (US time), it will host an event in the Bay Area open to founders only where it will promote itself as an alternative to the NASDAQ.
The event will be at Google’s headquarters and in attendance will be ASX executive general manager of listings Max Cunningham, and senior business development managers Kate Galpin and James Posnett.
Also making the trek to sit on the expert panel are law firm DLA Piper, local venture capitalist firm 42Phi Ventures and investment bank Moelis Australia. While Moelis has its own office in San Francisco, Australian director Daniel Hutchison will come across the Pacific for the event.
The most prominent panel member will be Life360’s (ASX: 360) CFO Wendell Laidley. Life360 listed on the ASX last month and operates a family networking app.
While it had raised money from Silicon Valley venture capitalists, its first investor was Australian and its co-founder, Chris Hulls, decided Australia would be better for his firm.
Hulls told CNBC he admired that Australia has substantial capital relative to its population, due to compulsory superannuation. He also noted IPOs in the US do not always provide ideal valuations for founders, an issue which, according to Shaw & Partners analyst Darren Vincent, also beset Revasum (ASX: RVS).
A key topic at the event will be controlling later stage equity dilution.
However Silicon Valley is not the only place that US tech firms, even those listed in Australia, call home.
The ASX’s roadtrip is also taking in cities such as San Diego and New York.
Of the 15 US health and tech firms listed prior to Life360, only five came from the Bay Area. Among the other homes of tech firms were New York, Georgia and Salt Lake City.
Of course, Silicon Valley is the main hub of the US ecosystem, home to established tech giants Facebook, Google and Apple, and growing firms Uber, Slack, Zoom & Pinterest.
But cost of living pressures and cut-throat competition have led to some firms and tech talent going elsewhere.
Many listed Australian firms with US offices have gone beyond the Bay Area. For instance, LiveTiles (ASX: LVT) opened offices in Seattle, home of its partner Microsoft, as well as financial hub New York.
Specifically in New York, LiveTiles has its global headquarters in Manhattan and also an Intelligent User Experience hub in up-state city Rochester.
When LiveTiles announced the office last year, Governor Andrew Cuomo took the chance to remind everyone: “Before there was a Silicon Valley, Rochester was the Silicon Valley.”
And he is correct. Once upon a time Rochester was home to Kodak and is home to a major private tech college.
Unlisted Australian companies Atlassian and Big Commerce have based themselves in Austin, Texas. While both companies declined to comment on the ASX’s bypassing of Texas’ capital, they have previously boasted about how positive basing themselves in Austin has been for them.
An earlier version of this story suggested the ASX were only visiting San Francisco. We now understand they are making visits to other US cities including New York and San Diego.