In amongst all the technical workshops at yesterday’s Google Developer Day in Sydney was a panel discussion on venture capital and entrepreneurialism. Getting an idea off the ground takes as much business judgment as it does technical know-how, so we brought in a few experts that have been around the block with a start-up or five.

Rebekah Campbell, founder of Posse told us how it took one-and-a-half years and “more than 1000 meetings” to raise enough money to get her idea off the ground. She talked about the various forms of funding sources, such as government grants.

Many in the audience asked Mick Liubinskas, co-founder of Australian angel investor group Pollenizer, about the do’s and don’ts of attracting investment. His advice? Do be stubborn about sticking to your vision. But don’t wait forever to launch. A fast launch is essential to testing your idea or concept. And don’t be so inflexible to not consider a different approach.

Scott Farquhar from Atlassian told us about the importance of keeping focus and how making lots of mistakes are okay (such as opening up, and then quickly closing, a New York office after realising it was in the wrong place). Just make sure the mistakes aren’t fatal ones, he says.

What came out strongly in the session is that you need to take the leap and not be afraid of failure. While Australians celebrate success, we do not do so well at embracing those who tried and failed. Business people who lead failed companies are too often tainted with innuendo of wrongdoing, when we should look to them as pioneers who can bring wisdom to their next venture. At Google we say: “fail fast and iterate.” We cultivate an environment where failure is fine, as long as you do it quickly and learn from it.

Behind most people’s stories of commercial success are often a history of start-ups which didn’t go the way they intended. Just ask Pollenizer’s Mick, who has worked on 150 businesses - not all of them hitting the mark.

At the event I asked how many people in the room wanted to do a start-up one day. Three-quarters of the 100+ crowd put up their hands. So the good news is that there’s certainly no shortage of budding Aussie entrepreneurs wanting to give it a go.

Posted by Alan Noble, Engineering Director, Google Australia.