June 10, 2012
The team at Perth, Australia-based startup Floq, which we recently covered, has been working on a project mapping the tech scene in Oz.
“Australia might not be top of mind as a hot spot for digital innovation,” said Floq founder Jonah Cacciope, “but with Aussie companies like Kaggle, Atlassian and 99Dresses making a dent in the digital universe, it’s only a matter of time before the next Facebook comes from down under.”
So to shine some light down under, Floq has released the first findings from our recent Startup Nation survey of the Australian digital ecosystem (see the infographic below).
Digital startups, VCs and incubators all helped out. “We asked everyone to rate how supportive their friends, family, mentors, investors and city were, on a seven point scale from very helpful to very unhelpful,” explained Cacciope.
The findings? Mentors and advisors are the most supportive aspect of the startup community. However, investors (a vital piece in the puzzle for building an Aussie digital success story) come out least supportive. In terms of the best place for a startup to launch, Sydney comes out as most supportive.
I asked Cacciope via email about why they decided to undertake this project and what they learned. Here’s what he had to say:
Why we put the infographic together
We ran the Startup Nation survey and created the infographic because we wanted to help bring the Australian tech startup community together. For some reason, maybe it’s the large distances or maybe the fact that the startup community is in it’s infancy over here in Oz, but we haven’t been great in getting together and supporting each other. And weirdly, there was no comprehensive database of all the startups in Australia so we saw a need that we could easily fill with the Floq platform.
We’re also really interested in how much location and face-to-face interaction plays a part in the success of startups. Often, creative hubs are quite densely populated, like London, New York and San Francisco. Even Florence during the 16th century was a pretty dense city with Da Vinci and the Medicis bumping into each other often. These kind of places encourage interesting interactions, great support networks, creative thinking and the kind of healthy competition entrepreneurs get off on.
Floq HQ is in Perth, the most isolated city on the planet ,so we wanted to see if Australia had any dense hubs for startups. Hopefully this will help young turks pick the best spot to place their office, and hell, we might even move our own office.
What we learned
We were keen to learn how supportive different cities are across different factors – family, friends, mentors and investors. We had a sneaking suspicion that investors would come out badly, but it’s a shame to see that they do score so poorly. I think this data highlights that Australia is still quite conservative when it comes to approaching the digital economy. VCs and non tech angels are still more focused on traditional industries like mining and manufacturing despite the 32% growth the Australian digital economy is experiencing.
What surprised us
We were really surprised by how large the Brisbane startup scene is. It doesn’t seem to get any national press, and I couldn’t name you one startup I know from Brisbane. But not only does it have 20% of the startups on the infographic, it’s still growing as we speak and should overtake Melbourne in numbers in the next few days. Not only does that show you how many startups are based in BrisVegas, as they call it, but also how pumped the community is that they can work together so well to double the numbers overnight.
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