Mike Vallender is a seasoned entrepreneur who has built and developed multiple businesses across a range of industries. He specialises in selling new technology into developing markets and excels at creating clear strategies that drive businesses forward.
Mike has successfully raised capital and developed growth strategies at every stage of the business life cycle.
In 1999, as Managing Director of technology start-up Hotcopper Australia, Mike developed the strategy and built the team that saw two successful rounds of funding, raising $1 million in seed capital and then followed by a successful Initial Public Offering on the Australian Stock Exchange.
In 2000, Mike negotiated a deal with Bourse Data Limited to purchase Hotcopper, resulting in a single listed entity with multiple revenue streams, a combined cash balance of over $10 million, and a market capitalisation in excess of $50 million. The initial seed investors reaped a return of 600% on their original investment in less than two years.
As CEO of the newly merged entity, Mike restructured the business with the new board as it acquired several companies and ultimately merged with Wealthpoint, a business unit of Saint George Bank. The bank eventually bought all public shares and delisted the business into a division of the bank.
As CEO of Hotcopper and Bourse Data, a division of Saint George Bank, Mike restructured the company to be sold to private investors. Both companies exist today and Hotcopper relisted 15 years after its privatisation.
In 2004 as Managing Director of CSIRO spin-out Windlabs systems, Mike worked with a team of research scientists to commercialise their wind resource assessment Intellectual Property asset. The company achieved the milestones necessary to convert a $400,000 promissory note into equity and secured a $450,000 research development grant from the Federal Government.
Mike led Windlab as it evolved from a supplier of high-definition wind maps into an early stage developer of wind farms. After several rounds of funding, the company is now a multi-national player and changing the way the world engages with energy.
In 2006, Mike accepted an offer from Telstra to join its emerging video conferencing and collaboration division as a sales specialist. He was responsible for delivering sales of Cisco, Polycom and Microsoft video collaboration services into Telstra’s largest customers.
Mike generated and closed out sales opportunities with 12 sales specialists and circa 500 account executives as part of a small national team accountable for delivering $100 million in revenue.
In 2011, Mike accepted an offer from Logitech to develop a strategy to sell their newly acquired video collaboration business called Lifesize Communications into the ANZ market via Telstra and its partners.
As Logitech’s Regional Sales Manager for Lifesize, Mike developed and managed distribution, channel and end-to-end business relationships with Telstra and its partners.
In 2015, Logitech sold Lifesize and today it is an independent technology company, partly owned by Logitech, with over thousands of SaaS Customers. Their ambition is to list in the near term.
Mike now spends his time mentoring and coaching a new generation of entrepreneurs ready to take on their own adventures. He does this via this website and coaching directly where and when he can.
His intention is to generate and coach ten thousand entrepreneurs. Mike wants to embed into their thinking a build order for success. Model, plan and execute. He reckons that 10,000 entrepreneurs executing like this will solve a million problems worth solving.
In 1990, Mike founded OptiSoft Pty Ltd, an innovative Western Australian technology start-up. This contributed to much of his early thinking around running companies, especially technology start-ups.
In five years, Optisoft sold everything from PCs to software development. It was building networks, email systems and websites. Its speciality was sales force automation and customer resource management systems long before Salesforce.com was even a domain name.
The company had its own website, which is preserved here – OptiSoft
OptiSoft provided Mike a hands-on education on running a tech start-up. It allowed him to learn accounting, tax, and the beginnings of corporation law.
Fundraising in those days consisted of closing another sale and asking for prepayment, or going to your debtors and telling them they needed to pay up because you needed to meet payroll. He learnt it was OK to go to your debtors and asked them to prepay for your services as it was also in their interest to keep you alive.
By 1995, OptiSoft was doing business across ANZ and Southeast Asia. It was immersed in the Internet and associated technologies that were emerging globally. In August that same year, Netscape listed with an IPO on the US stock market. It was that day Mike said to his business partner, “I think this Internet thing is going to take off”.
Mike was working closely with Australian start-up Ozemail during this period with a front-seat view to their IPO on the US stock exchange. They were the first Australian company be included on NASDAQ. Soon after Mike negotiated a deal with them that resulted in his entire team being integrated into Ozemail and him being appointed state manager for Victoria.
Mike went on to build Ozemail’s wholesale services division securing 56 ISP’s before Worldcom purchased Ozemail for circa AUD$500 million in 1999. With a handy bonus from the sale of his shares, Mike decided that his next move was to list a dot com start-up on the ASX, which is how he found Hotcopper Australia.