Java genius faces venture capital worries

Java genius faces venture capital worries

InteRad Technology is set to make its first IT venture capital pilgrimage to the US in early July, knowing full well the Americans are the only people willing to give them a proper hearing.

The Brisbane-based software developer, like many before it, is bursting with innovative technology to the point of betting the family house and around $1 million in funds on its new Java product.

But it still struggles against what Lorraine Cobcroft, InteRad Technology's managing director, concedes is the inability of Australia's government and financial industries to properly support local IT innovation.

"Unfortunately, venture capital is non-existent in Australia," Cobcroft said. "Australia has lost the plot in terms of supporting its own technology."

InteRad Technology is hoping to raise at least $1.5 million when it meets with US executives from Sun Microsystems and other investors next month.

According to Cobcroft, executives from Sun's Australian arm contacted InteRad after learning of its Java development product, build-IT. They then suggested a meeting with US Sun execs to discuss investment licensing options.

"We have actually been accepted into Sun's Partners for Development program," she said.

Cobcroft said build-IT is designed to help new Java developers overcome the difficulty of learning such a complex language.

"For anyone that is not a highly skilled Java programmer, it is very difficult," she said.

The company began developing build-IT last September, with initial trials already underway ahead of the official launch expected in September.

By using a "100 per cent visual" programming approach for both front and back-end logic, early testing reveals the software is 80 per cent easier to learn and 700 per cent faster to program than other market alternatives, Cobcroft said. "We're teaching rank novices within 12 months."

InteRad's teaching programs are largely conducted via correspondence, with universities in India and the US already using build-IT.

Cobcroft said Bond University is the only Australian Institution interested in build-IT.

InteRad plans to set up an international distribution channel once it has finalised plans with Sun.

She said ultimately the channel will also provide marketing expertise.

The company believes a worldwide revenue target of $100 million for this year is "easily attainable".

"If Sun gets behind it we're halfway to the goal posts," she said.

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