Silicon Beach: A Sneak Peek at Australia’s Startup Ecosystem

April 26, 2016

12:51 pm

Have you considered Australia as a launching pad for your newest startup? It turns out, that there is a small, but very active startup ecosystem down under. Let’s take a look at a quick overview of it.

Top Australian Startups

Let’s kick things off by taking a look at a few startups that have been doing some big things in 2015 and 2016.

Marketplacer – This tech startup allows companies to develop online marketplaces on a large scale by providing them with the needed infrastructure. This includes SEO optimization, content marketing, CRM, and even the framework for their online storefronts. Their current valuation is 70 million dollars, and they have plans to expand into the UK this year.

CoinJar – CoinJar isn’t the only bitcoin exchange that has been created. However, it is distinguished in that it has managed to connect bitcoin with actual brick and mortar banks. For a relatively new startup, that’s a heck of an accomplishment. CoinJar has raised a significant amount of investment funds and is definitely poised for growth.

Glam Corner – This startup appeals to those who have a high sense of fashion, but lack the funds to purchase designer wares. The company rents designer dresses and accessories to such consumers. They’ve had an extraordinarily successful launch that was helped by a half million dollars in seed funding that the founders received from AirTree Ventures.

Of course, these are just three examples of startups that are noteworthy, Australia currently boasts a large list of startups that are doing exciting things.

Key Startup Investors

It’s important to remember that no startup ecosystem is going to be very healthy without a healthy number of VC firms and angel investors ready to help these entrepreneurs fund their enterprises. Here are just a few of these firms.

Sydney Seed Fund – This startup investment fund specializes in helping tech startups that are at the seed stage. Their stated goal is to provide funding for 20 startups by providing each company with about 100k in startup cash. The company has both investors and advisors on staff to help them discern which startups are the best pre-revenue investments.

The Sydney Angels Sidecar Fund – This is another investment company focusing on early stage startups. They work with the Sydney Angels and have 10 million dollars to invest in companies that are ready for early round funding.

AirTree Ventures – AirTree specializes in investing in Australian based startups. They focus the largest portion of their investment dollars on series A stage investing, but have a fairly significant amount of money in seed funding as well. Approximately 20 percent of their funding goes to Series B. Their average investment in a company is about 1.5 million dollars.

Role of the Government in The Startup Ecosystem

On April 20, 2016 the Australian government announced an exciting new initiative that involves using 280 thousand dollars and partnering with Microsoft Australia and MassChallenge. This initiative will use local and international mentoring, startup pitch competitions, and startup boot camps to help potential entrepreneurs get their businesses off the ground.

The goal is to encourage innovation and further business growth to benefit Australia’s business climate. Hopefully, this combination of Australian political leadership, philanthropy, and business will be fruitful for many startups that will launch in 2016.

Trending Niches

If you were going to launch your startup up enterprise in Australia, what would you do? Here are a few things that are trending in 2016:

  • Crowdfunding might surpass traditional venture capital funding;
  • Tech startup folks should pay close attention to wearable technology and IOT;
  • Data security will reemerge as a very important industry; and
  • Financial tech startups are likely to boom in 2016.

Challenges and Roadblocks

There is no perfect startup ecosystem, and Australia is no different. To close things out, here are some roadblocks and challenges entrepreneurs and investors face.

  • Too many companies outside of Australia are making business acquisitions taking money and talent out of an already small pool
  • Not enough is being done to make launching and headquartering startups in Australia cost effective
  • In spite of recent efforts, many entrepreneurs feel as if there is a lack of government support for startups, especially online startups
  • The cost of living is rising

Ultimately, there is a lot of startup potential in Australia, but moving forward the only way to sustain this is for the government to act to create a more business friendly environment.

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Abdullahi Muhammed is a writer, difference maker and entrepreneur. He is the founder and CEO of Oxygenmat and he writes for Forbes, Entrepreneur, The Huffington Post and a few other sites.

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