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Australian startup snapshot: CryptoPhoto

Adam Bender | March 11, 2013
Two-factor authentication using pictures on a smartphone or paper card.

After Advance flew him to Silicon Valley, Drake decided to stay another two months in the San Francisco Bay Area to "absorb the Valley culture" and figure out the model for a successful startup, he said.

"I don't know yet because I'm not a success, but I'm guessing it's based on synergies between the venture capitalists that you manage to attract and the other companies that the same venture capitalist is already assisting."

Help is waiting for Australians in Silicon Valley, he said. Drake met a group of successful Australian startups dubbed the 'Aussie mafia', which provided a co-working space and important introductions, he said.

"My business will always be [in Australia]," Drake said. However, Drake said a Silicon Valley presence will be critical to his business's future success.

The customers Drake "most wants to land," including Facebook, Google and LinkedIn, "are all in the Bay Area."

Speaking out

Drake plans to speak at TEDx in Noosa this April about how he is "disgusted with the state of the security industry," he said.

He aims to "contrast the difference between [setting up a business] legitimately like I've just done versus what I see hackers doing for their businesses."

"Doing it legitimately nowadays is becoming less and less of a sane option," according to Drake.

Scammers can set up a website for about $20 a month and accept payments via Bitcoin, he said. "If you're an actual trading business, you've got to register your company" and comply with a long list of financial laws and regulations.

"The list of overheads is completely crazy, and if your business actually becomes successful, then you're going to be stuck with patent trolls coming out of the woodwork to destroy you, anyway."


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