Australian Unicorns, Australian style.

Mar 22, 2017 · 2 min read

It’s well documented that Australia is awesome. Despite some shitty infrastructures (i.e. internet speed) we’ve turned out some amazing entrepreneurs here. One big thing that I think holds us back — we often don’t see ourselves or what we’re capable of, as world-class.

Australia produces unicorns. Billion dollar companies. I found twelve so far (tech companies). I’m sure there are more. Like Atlassian, Envato (estimated), TechnologyOne, Iress, Campaign Monitor (estimated), Seek Ltd, REA Group, Carsales, MYOB, NextDC, WiseTech Global and Vocus. And we’ve got many more sitting in the hundreds of millions range like Aconex, Redbubble, Freelancer, Catapult Sports, The Catch Group, Menulog, Tyro Payments, BigCommerce, Platfora, OzForex, iSelect and Canva.

Australian investors also do world-class deals. They’ve lead rounds with international syndicates (eg Square Peg Capital lead with Fiverr and went in on Uber, and Blackbird Ventures with Zoox).

We’ve attracted some of the world’s biggest startup accelerators (eg Techstars, 500 Startups, MassChallenge, Startupbootcamp). International funds are syndicating deals with Australian funds and doing Australian deals direct (eg Airwallex, OB1, CliniCloud, Culture Amp).

(I don’t advocate for everyone to raise btw. Bootstrappers are doing very well. BuiltWith is an amazing example as are Envato and Atlassian, of course.)

Australia has style. Our cities are regularly listed among the most liveable. Our food, coffee and wine are best of the best (we always miss it when we travel). Our homegrown arts, culture and fashion are world renowned, and we respect the creators. Despite our size, we hold our own with professional sport. We’re excelling in medical research (I haven’t listed med and bio unicorns here but there are a few like Mesoblast and Nanosonics).

Absolutely we‘re well on our way to developing a world-class ecosystem *and we can maintain our Australian style*. We don’t need to be Tel Aviv, San Francisco or Boulder (which are great but they don’t have dropbears).

Australia is the kind of place people want to move to after they’ve had an exit. Why would we want to change that?

None of us really know what the next Australian successes will be but we can support the entrepreneurs trying. Here’s five AUS startups you should get to know: Airwallex, HealthKit, OB1 (made Bloomberg’s list of 50 startups to watch), Finch (just went through the Yodlee accelerator) CliniCloud.

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