TECH in AMERICA (TiA)

SHARING AMERICA'S TECH NEWS FROM THE VALLEY TO THE ALLEY

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atlassian_-mike-_-scott[1]by Pui-Wei Tam , courtesy Bloomberg
Atlassian is the rare technology company that was home-grown in Australia. Now it’s getting further away from some of those Aussie roots.

The company, which makes collaboration software used by developers, is today adding two Silicon Valley executives to its board — former Symantec CEO Enrique Salem and Facebook vice president of infrastructure engineering Jay Parikh. They join a slew of other Valley executives who have been recruited to Atlassian’s board in the past three years, including former Adobe CFO Murray Demo and Accel Partners venture capitalist Rich Wong, to make a total of eight directors.

The new board members are the latest step into Silicon Valley for the startup, which is working towards an IPO. About eight years ago, Atlassian opened an office in San Francisco and placed its marketing, legal and human resources operations there. It now has a dual-headquarters structure between Sydney and San Francisco. In 2010, the company took a $60 million investment from Accel, a top Silicon Valley venture-capital firm that was an early investor in Facebook.

Scott Farquhar, Atlassian’s co-CEO, said the company looked globally for “people with the best tech experience and it’s in the U.S.,” which helped lead to the Silicon Valley-heavy board. He declined to comment on any IPO timing, but acknowledged that adding current and former executives from Facebook and Symantec to the board was “definitely not a backwards step” to a public offering.

Board member Wong said the new additions are “definitely part of the journey” by Atlassian to deepen its networks in Silicon Valley. He said the company has taken a “paced” approach to this by slowly building up an eight-member board over three years.

Atlassian, which Farquhar said has been profitable for years, sells its collaboration tools over the Internet to companies from Nike to Ford Motor and has been growing revenue at double-digit rates annually. In 2011, bookings totaled more than $100 million, the company has said. Atlassian has about 700 employees and expects to be at 1,000 workers by the middle of next year.

Farquhar, who is currently spending a few months in San Francisco and is normally based in Sydney, isn’t forgetting about Australia though. He said he and co-CEO Mike Cannon-Brookes have been investing in the tech startup scene back home, by putting money into a local incubator called Startmate and getting involved in some local venture capital through a small firm named Blackbird Ventures.

“We are hoping over time we can transplant our experience globally in tech in Sydney,” said Farquhar.

Thank you, TiA

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