Canberra technology prodigy Michael McGoogan founded what would become one of Australia’s largest cloud service providers, UberGlobal, in his Rivett bedroom when he was just 14.
It was the early 2000s and Michael, a self-confessed computer geek, had identified an opportunity to make money hosting and designing websites for businesses. Within six months, he had 500 customers. Few of his clients knew they were dealing with a Year Eight student who took support calls during classes at Melrose High.
That company became UberGlobal, which now has over 70,000 customers and was last week acquired by Melbourne IT for $15.5 million. 27-year-old Michael has stepped down from his role as non-executive director of UberGlobal to become chairman of hosting outfit Crucial.
He describes the past few months as an emotional period. While he is disappointed by the returns generated by UberGlobal’s leadership team following his resignation as CEO 18 months ago, he has also relished the experience of taking a company from the bedroom to the boardroom.
He acknowledges the hard work of his team in growing the company to this point.
“Often the press is generated by the founders, and it doesn’t mention the employees who’ve worked 100 hours a week building the company. I’d like to give credit to the guys who deserve it and thank them for their hard work,” he says.
Now that his UberGlobal journey is over, Michael plans to spend more time helping young entrepreneurs bring their business ideas to fruition. He says aspiring entrepreneurs are welcome to connect with him on LinkedIn and request to meet for coffee, though he does say that at its core, his business advice is simple.
“Pull your finger out and just do it. Without confidence, self belief and ambition, it’s difficult to convince others to back you. You need to believe your story yourself.”
While Michael no longer lives in Canberra, he’s spent enough time in the capital to learn that a lack of competition actually makes Canberra an ideal city for entrepreneurs.
“Canberra often goes unrecognised for being a city where you can easily stand out. There aren’t thousands of entrepreneurs competing for attention. In Canberra it’s much easier than in other cities to tell your story and generate PR.”
When it comes to telling that story, Michael recommends being unashamed about your achievements.
“Enter every award that you can, talk to reporters and build relationships,” he says.
“The biggest thing UberGlobal did to improve its credibility was to build relationships with publications like BRW and SmartCompany that provide awards. When you appear in those publications, it gives investors, staff and customers the confidence that you’ll be around for long enough to do business with.”