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Search on for next big idea
Bill Tai and Lars Rasmussen. Picture: Simon Santi/The West Australian

Venture capitalist Bill Tai is turning into a quasi local.

Granted, the avid kitesurfer has ulterior motives for coming back to Perth every year since 2010.

According to the Silicon Valley veteran, who was an inaugural investor in Twitter, WA's lifestyle, beaches and wind keep pulling him back. It is those drawcards, he says, that could help Perth become a tech hub.

"It's a lot like the Californian lifestyle here - super active people who work hard and play hard," Mr Tai said yesterday.

It is well known in the technology industry that if you want to score a deal, learn to kitesurf.

"But also, a big part of the reason I've started doing more investment here is that I find it culturally friendlier and the field of play is an easier frame of reference to understand," Mr Tai said. "It's a great place."

It is a sentiment echoed by his friend and developer of Facebook's new search engine, Lars Rasmussen.

"You can build a company for the world, anywhere in the world," Mr Rasmussen said. "There are smart, well-educated people in Perth and the world market is becoming easier to address through advances such as cloud technology."

As co-founder of Google Maps, which he developed in Sydney, Mr Rasmussen knows the tyranny of distance is a thing of the past.

"We never thought of us being in Sydney in any way would limit our market," he said.

"It simply takes someone to ignore where they are and just make it happen."

The duo were in Perth yesterday as keynote speakers at the OzApp Awards. The Perth-based national awards, now in their second year, recognise the best new developers in the country.

For Mr Tai it is the ongoing search for the next big thing that drives him. "Essentially, I come to these things because I want to find the next Facebook and have a couple per cent for $50,000 . . . and there's no reason why it can't start here in Perth."