For a while I’ve been thinking about putting together a ‘keiretsu‘ of Aussie online startups.

Technically, a real keiretsu in Japan is “a set of companies with interlocking business relationships and shareholdings”.

More loosely speaking, a keiretsu is a group of non-competing businesses with a strategic relationship. It strikes me that in Australia we have a bunch of non-competing online startups each individually fighting to build their audience and trying to nimbly outmaneuver larger, richer, powerful businesses. When I had dLook CEO Theo Tsiamis on the show last month, and he talked about their hundreds of thousands of visitors, I thought “hmmm, they have hundreds of thousands of visitors, TPN has hundreds of thousands of visitors, we should do something together”.

Theo and Meg were all for it and so today I’m happy to announce a strategic alliance between TPN and dLook.

You may have noticed recently that the newly re-designed TPN homepage carries a very prominent advertisement for dLook. In my opinion, dLook is the best place to search for Australian businesses. If I have a choice between supporting a small, Aussie startup run by entrepreneurs or a billion dollar company run by managers living off of someone else’s risk, I’m going with the little guys, especially if their service is as good or better than the big guys. As consumers, you should support the innovative startups because without them the billion dollar companies play the “maximize profits, stifle services” game.

And, from today, when you are searching dLook for businesses, you will see some TPN advertisments. For example, check out their restaurant listings and keep an eye in the banner on the right hand side. Hopefully, some of dLook’s users will want to grab themselves some excellent podcasts.

I’d like to invite other Aussie online startups to join the keiretsu. We can support each other to build big audiences for our respective services. The more successful we all are, the stronger Australia’s startup community becomes which, in turn, will improve funding opportunities, accelerate revenue models, and generally strengthen the Aussie online market. As they say “a rising tide carries all ships”. Let’s work together more closely than sharing VC tips over beer. Let’s build genuine value.

I say that if we throw our weight together, we can make an impact in the local marketplace faster and stronger than we will alone.