TECHNOLOGY SPECTATOR: 2011 hits and misses

Crowdsourcing, group buying and the $1.2 billion sale of MYOB made waves at home, while tech IPOs failed to deliver on Wall Street.

It’s been an interesting year for technology M&A and while the deal numbers may not have set the world on fire, there is plenty of evidence that the stars are aligning for 2012 to be a blockbuster year. The sector hasn’t been immune from the subdued M&A sentiment in 2011, with overall deal activity relatively flat globally but as a recent report by Ernst & Young LLP's Transaction Advisory Services points out, it’s likely to be a different story next year as the growing demands of today’s digital consumer will spur significant strategic activity among technology companies and PE firms.

The key driver of this activity is the transformative impact mobile, cloud and wireless technology has had on the way we work and play, and trends like crowdsourcing, group buying and cloud computing are only going to accelerate in 2011. With that in mind, here’s a look at some of the biggest hits and misses of 2011 both at home and abroad.

Crowdsourcing hits the right note

Starting at home, it has been a great year for locally-grown crowdsourcing outfits, many of whom have attracted serious attention from Silicon Valley. One big beneficiary was 99designs Limited, which managed to secure $35 million in funding from venture capital heavyweight Accel Partners. Accel was an early investor in Facebook and Groupon, and the partnership with the Melbourne-based online marketplace for crowdsourced graphic design solutions has by all accounts been a match made in heaven. The funding has already seen 99designs spread its wings into Canada and the UK with expansion plans to further ramp up in 2012. Accel has a happy history of striking it rich down under and last year pumped $60 million into Atlassian and $110 million into OzForex. Atlassian has really been the poster-child of local start-up success so far and 99designs is seemingly generating a similar sort of buzz, which leads us to our next big crowdsourcing story of the year, Kaggle.



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