Sydney is home to the bulk of Australia’s startups. Perhaps its biggest success story is Atlassian, which had an IPO for $462 million, with other recent success stories like BigCommerce and CampaignMonitor driving attention towards and excitement within the local tech and startup sectors. Overall, the country enjoys a highly-educated, multilingual workforce which positions it well for providing talent to startups and expanding to other markets. Still, the general perception of startups in the general population remains a bit risk-averse and Aussies are surprisingly modest when it comes to singing their own praises. While the economy is strong with low risk for businesses, Australia — and Sydney especially — is very expensive. Sydney startups also face the small Australian market, meaning they must scale internationally very quickly — often tackling Indonesia or China.
These businesses offer industry expertise and are a source of startup talent and potential customers. They help fuel the local startup community.
IPO'd at $1.05B on
IPO'd at $462m on
Up and coming startup
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Matt Barrie is an engineer and entrepreneur who founded Freelancer, an online marketplace for freelance professionals. Matt also utilizes his engineering acumen as a professor at the University of Sydney’s Department of Electrical and Information Engineering. Matt is a strong proponent of Australian entrepreneurship, serving as a mentor at Incubate, muru-D and other organizations.
Annie Parker is a leader in Australia’s tech sector, co-founding muru-D, a major Sydney accelerator. Muru-D is supported by Telstra, bringing the Australian telecoms giant’s network and expertise to the city’s startups. Annie is also Director of Code Club Australia, which provides programming education to primary school students.
In 2007, Phil Morle founded Pollenizer, an incubator and major player in the Sydney startup ecosystem. Pollenizer provides consulting services around “startup science,” developing efficient organizational practices modelled off those of startups to spur creativity in firms of all sizes. Phil also helped establish Australian startup blog From Little Things.
Andrey Shirben is one of Australia’s most prolific angel investors and entrepreneurs. He founded SYD Ventures, an early stage investor. In addition to his work as an investor, Andrey is an active mentor, providing guidance at SYD, PushStart AU and muru-D.
Peter Huynh is an entrepreneur and Startmate mentor who co-founded Optus-Innov8 Seed, a VC group backed by SingTel that serves as a major Series A investor. Peter’s expertise in building corporate partnerships makes him well positioned to scale the Australian startup ecosystem.
Sebastien Eckersley-Maslin founded BlueChilli, which has become one of the biggest entrepreneurial resources in Sydney. BlueChilli offers acceleration and incubation services for startups as well as support in marketing and other areas. In addition to being a serial entrepreneur, Sebastien also possesses tremendous engineering acumen.
Pete Cooper founded SydStart, a Sydney based conference for entrepreneurs that has become a major hub for the tech community. In addition to his extensive experience as a financial executive, Cooper is also an entrepreneur, founding Coinr, as well as a technology consultant through his leadership of Cooper Sydney.
Niki Scevak is an entrepreneur who co-founded Startmate, an Australian entrepreneurial network offering capital and advice for selected startups. In addition to his role as a mentor at Startmate, Scevak also serves as Managing Director at VC firm Blackbird Ventures, which invests in promising Australian startups.
Scott Farquhar co-founded Atlassian, a major Sydney software developer and icon in the country’s startup community. In addition to his work at Atlassian, Scott contributes his expertise as a founder by mentoring other entrepreneurs at Startmate and as an investor at Blackbird Ventures.
Mike Cannon-Brookes co-founded Atlassian in 2002. Since then, he has helped lead it into one of the country’s biggest startup successes. Mike helps build Australia’s startups through his mentorship at Startmates, his investment work at Blackbird Ventures, and his professorship at the University of New South Wales.
While Google technically had a presence in Sydney since 2002, this was the official announcement of its office. It's one of Google's largest global engineering centers and the birthplace of Maps.May 2006
SydStart is the largest professional tech startup conference, expo and community in Australia and is well on its way to being the largest in the region.2009
The program united some of Australia's most notable founders to launch the incubator and grow the early-stage startup scene.August 2010
The core program of UP Global, the arrival of Startup Weekend events are milestones for any early-stage startup scene.July 2011
A combination accelerator, agency, and venture fund, BlueChilli is a stalwart in Sydney's startup community, helping grow dozens of companies to date.April 2012
An Australian Seed Program supported by telecom giants Optus and Singtel, the program provides a launchpad for potential expansion Asia.June 2012
Beyond runing the first nationwide festival for startups and entrepreneurs, StartupAUS runs a variety of initiatives to promote and reinforce Australian startups.September 2013
Muru-D will go on to be an anchor for the local tech scene.October 2013
In one month, Sydney startup darlings Atlassian and Campaign Monitor both closed major investment rounds. Atlassian walked away with a valuation of $3.3B, and Campaign Monitor's $250M raise was the largest venture round in Australian history.April 2014
Atlassian IPOs for $462 million on the Nasdaq, providing further validation to the ecosystem in Sydney. The company was founded in 2002 and its most famous product is the enterprise chat software, HipChat.December 2015