Quick, name one Aussie startup.
If you’re geeky and well-read, you probably said Atlassian, makers of Jira and other software development tools. But you probably stopped right there. Health Engine? HiSeis? Canva? Agworld? iCetana? I drew a blank on those too.
But there is a startup scene of sorts in Western Australia, and now Boundlss, a sort of big data of behavior or Google Analytics for people, has measured it and mapped it.
It’s small, as you might have expected, with just $32.8 million invested over the past five years and just $5.66 of VC money per capital in major cities such as Perth — which compares to $3,945 per capital in Silicon Valley, the global capital of startups. But the fund pool is growing, with $70 million known in VC funds currently and an estimated upcoming deal flow of $14 million annually.
However, there must be something good happening in Australia, as some known players are entering the space, including Qualcomm Ventures, Golden Gate Ventures, and of course the much-loved Aussie telco, Telstra.
Some of the things the local community needs to work on, according to the report authors, include a more centralized ecosystem where ideas and collaboration can flourish — sort of like a Geekdom in San Antonio or a RocketSpace in San Francisco, perhaps. In addition, the community needs more hero stories — such as Atlassian, or Chomp, the app search tool started by Perth-based founder Cathy Edwards and bought by Apple for $50 million.
“Perth’s startup ecosystem is much like a startup: in its early stage of growth, with lots of energy and limited resources,” the report says.
Perhaps a more pressing problem is that the number of students in computer science programs across Australia is dropping, and dropping rapidly, the report says. That’s a core problem that will kill any startup ecosystem, as new talent flooding the scene with new ideas — and the skills to implement them — is critical to any wannabe startup hub.
And, typical of emerging hubs, there’s an increasing need for mentors, the been-there done-that types who have built technology, raised money, created companies, and successfully exited. Those entrepreneurs are also great sources of angel investment — a la the PayPal mafia in Silicon Valley — that spur further innovation. That angel investment, unfortunately, is sorely lacking in Australia.
The full report is available from Boundlss.
Are you making or losing money with marketing automation? VB is working with marketing expert Ian Cleary to investigate marketing automation ROI. Help us out by answering a few questions
, and we'll help you out with the data.