One thing that surprised me about the 2017 Startup Muster report (that probably shouldn’t have)

paul naphtali
Published in
3 min readNov 22, 2017


The startup ecosystem has grown so much in the four years since we first launched rampersand. Today’s Startup Muster report, drawn from the responses of a few thousand founders and startup community members is a reminder of how far we’ve come and how far we have to go.

The report is here if you want to check it out. Congratulations to Monica Wulff and her team.

A few findings leapt off the page at me:

  • The fact 36% of founders were born overseas is yet another compelling reminder of how stupid the Federal government would be to clamp down on immigration.
  • The incredible range of startups being launched: the top three industries were fintech, edutech and internet of things.
  • The slow and hopefully steady climb of female founders over the last few years was reassuring — up from 16% in 2014 to 25% in 2017. Although, the fact one in four is something to celebrate is also a clear signal about how much more we all need to do. Especially as 38% of startups had zero women in their teams.

But one of the elements that really struck me was the research into what kind of support startup founders need. It was reassuring, and highlights a conversation that we’ve been having internally at rampersand for many years.

Here are the most popular results for what founders needed support to achieve:

When you think about what makes or breaks a startup, a few things spring to mind. Dedicated and smart founders who can build a great team; helpful investors who are on your team rather than telling you what to do and saddling with you unfair terms; enormous amounts of hard work, and a tonne of resilience from everyone involved.

One of the differences I have noticed in the Australian startup scene compared to when I worked in Silicon Valley and Israel is that here, fewer people here consider achieving media exposure as critical to their business.

For some companies, it’s not. But for many, working collaboratively with the media and being able to share your story in a way that is true, interesting and exciting is essential. Media-hyped companies can turbo-charge their word-of-mouth marketing, play a powerful role in shaping the national conversation about innovation and entrepreneurship, and when it comes down to it: they also command higher valuations (and acquisition prices).

This is something I’ve been passionate about for years. I worked on the frontline with six companies in Silicon Valley and Israel to build their brands, develop their narratives and make sure they were interesting to journalists, and saw time and time again just how powerful a well-known brand was.

Not all companies need media exposure or can afford to prioritise it throughout their whole journey. Some of our portfolio companies, such as Expert360, Stackla and Assembly (previously PromisePay), have engaged the media pretty consistently throughout their journeys. Others not so much, but they know we’re available to empower them to do so well when they’re ready. It’s one of the reasons why we were so excited to welcome Rose Powell, Fairfax journo turned Canva comms whiz, to the team.

Of course startups on their way to being big businesses need more than just media. According to this year’s Startup Muster report, founders rank their need for mentoring, investment and access to corporate clients (and the ability to close deals) very highly.

Rampersand was launched to do exactly that. To offer startups more than just money, based on the idea that access to expertise, mentoring and connections to future clients or industry leaders are every bit as valuable for a startup. Come say hi here.

This post has already gone on for longer than I anticipated it would, so thanks for reading. If this is an area of interest, sign up here for regular updates and also tips and insights on a range of things, including how to create and effectively manage media engagement.

It was so exciting to see how quickly #startupaus is growing.



paul naphtali

Investor & startup supporter. Co-founder @rampersand_fund

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