Merton Lawyers say G’DAY at SXSW 2018
When Merton Lawyers landed the opportunity to partner with Austrade and G’Day USA at SXSW and set up camp at Australia House, we knew we were going to be in for an exciting time – and we are pretty happy to say that on all fronts SXSW 2018 didn’t disappoint.
For starters, what law firm wouldn’t want to be a part of the coolest interactive, music and film conference where diverse ideas converge with over 70,000 creative thinkers for nine awe-inspiring days in Austin, Texas?
Aside from seeing some of the freshest Australian talent across tech, music and film, it gave us the chance to meet and lend our expertise and experience to the many creatives, entrepreneurs, government and corporate representatives that made their way down the infamous Rainy street: destination Australia House. We had a great time helping these US folks gain a better understanding of the nuts and bolts of investing in and doing business both in Australia.
Australia: friendly, relaxed and open for business
While we’d like to think the couple of thousand people lining up to get into Australia House was in anticipation of the wisdom on offer by us, Hugh Jackman choosing the same place to launch his Laughing Man coffee brand may have had something to do with it. Hugh co-hosted a panel titled How Social Entrepreneurs are Inspiring Change which was just one of the big themes of the conference, and where we fit in.
Our mission at Merton Lawyers is to help US entrepreneurs, founders, startups and established businesses set up office and expand into Australia, and SXSW was a terrific opportunity for us to meet and chat to individuals and businesses about the Corporate Advisory services we offer to help them expand down under. Whether it’s a digital, retail, tech, media, property, energy or resources business, many of the challenges are the same: how to protect Intellectual Property (IP), navigating red tape and regulatory issues, how best to utilise the support of Austrade and various Australian state investment groups (each state and territory offers their own unique set of incentives), and most importantly general advice on navigating the intricacies unique to setting up shop in Australia.
Also, being the firm American businesses turn to when they want to expand into Australia, SXSW gave us a chance to connect with our friends in the USA and introduce our Australian and US network to each other.
It’s impossible not to get caught up in the buzz and excitement of SXSW. We were lucky enough to catch Q & A’s with some of the world’s greatest innovators, including Elon Musk, whose interests cross multiple industries including transportation, energy, AI and space and is currently leading the race to enable humans to travel between planets. In addition to discussing space travel, Elon described himself as close ‘to the cutting edge in AI’ which both excites and scares him, because “It’s capable of vastly more than almost anyone knows, and the rate of improvement is exponential.”
Aussie startups taking on the world live from Australia House
There were plenty of Aussies at Australia House proving to the US and the rest of the world that we’re capable of inspiring stuff down under. One of the Australian entrepreneurs that caught our eye was Stephen Oh, Founding Director of XM2, a global provider of aerial photography and videography. Stephen’s extensive experience as a producer and director in high-end film production and his deep understanding of cinematography has enabled him to lead a team of experts in the research, development, custom design and manufacture of bespoke drone aircrafts. Founded and headquartered in Melbourne, with offices on the Gold Cost, Los Angeles and Seoul, XM2 brings world-class aerial cinematography to the world. When production work includes Westworld, Aquaman, Pacific Rim and Pirates of the Caribbean it’s no surprise that Stephen and his team are becoming number one in the world for drone production. These guys are living proof that Australia can mix it with innovators on a global scale.
It’s entrepreneurial success stories like Stephen and the team at XM2 that gets us, and potential US investors excited. We’re here to help companies thrive – from their minimum viable product (MVP) stage right through to advising on the right time to go public through an IPO process, and everything in between. Like many US businesses eyeing off investment in Australia, we saw plenty of that fearless entrepreneurial Australian spirit at SXSW and spoke to numerous creatives and founders from all walks of life gathered in Austin to realise their dreams on a global stage. Honourable mention should go to Hugh Jackman here for being ‘the quadruple threat’ of dancer, singer, actor and entrepreneur uber success story!
When 70,000 people descend on a small American city for an ideas fest, next-level things happen. And we could talk about what we discovered for hours – but why not go to the source and enjoy some highlights of conversations we found inspiring? We hope you do, too.
References from SXSW 2018.