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The State of the Australian Startup Ecosystem

Since the launch of the $1.1 billion National Innovation and Science Agenda in December 2015 as well as new tax incentives for early stage investors, the startup ecosystem has evolved and developed in an unprecedented way. As support increases from both investors and accelerators what trends will begin to emerge and how will they define the future of Australia’s startup ecosystem?

Our 9th Early-Stage Innovation Briefing focused on ‘The State of the Australian Startup Ecosystem’. Held at KPMG Australia’s Sydney offices at Barangaroo, attendees discussed how to best support Australian startups and the impact that government, investors, accelerators and incubators have on the ecosystem. The forum was opened to the audience, where they interacted with the panel to consider how Australia can compete with other countries to become a hub that fosters innovation.

Here’s a quick recap of how the evening unfolded:

Startup Panel

The startup standup included James Jordan (Co-Founder at Sprout), Krishan Caldwell (CTO at SignOnSite) and Matt Pope (Founder at SpaceConnect). Each company presented their traction and how investors and accelerators can help to grow their business. This first hand experience provided a unique insight into the perspective of founders, highlighting their struggles and their views on how to best support the startup ecosystem.

Corporate Panel

The panel included Colette Grgic (Chief Innovation Officer at BlueChilli), Slava Kozlovskii (Founder at Eveeh) and James Tilbury (Acceleration Program & Operations at EnergyLab), James Jordan and Matt Pope, from the startup standup, also joined the panel.

The corporate panel discussed the changing landscape of the startup ecosystem with the transition from traditional agnostic accelerators towards corporate and vertical accelerators. This emergence of new vertical accelerators such as EnergyLab provides a focus on particular industries within the startup ecosystem. Similarly, corporate accelerators have surfaced as a consequence of the mismatched culture between startups and corporates and the need for a bridge to ease communication between the two. The conversation also underlined the need for government support and how cooperation and partnership between accelerators and the government would increase growth within the startup ecosystem. The panel also examined how changes to the 457 visa will impact the pool of talent within Australia, while they emphasised the importance of policy makers not inhibiting innovation. Funding was also debated; with the consensus being that while funding in Australia is more conservative than other countries, there is not a lack of investment and rather most startups at the seed stage are not investable. The panel presented their thoughts on the most successful startups highlighting how these have evidence of a significant problem and a solution that closely aligns with the problem. The level of skill and founders’ ability to execute a viable strategy are also substantial factors that accelerators and investors use to screen potential startups.

An interesting takeaway was the panel’s views on how to best support the startup ecosystem. Discussions surrounded financial and educational support with the need for an increased awareness of the startup landscape within Australia. The panel underlined the importance of investment in different companies, with various founders in order to create a diversified portfolio. Final remarks surrounded collaboration and the need for startups, accelerators and investors to support, rather than compete, with each other. This will allow the ecosystem to thrive and attract more talent and investment.

The next Early-Stage Innovation Briefing and Artesian Funds Update will be held in Melbourne in July.

Artesian & KPMG Early-Stage Innovation Briefings are special events reserved for Artesian Venture Capital Fund investors only. To find more about how you can become an investor and gain access to exclusive events and research request a follow up.

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