So my placement at Pollenizer is nearing an end, but I’d like to think that between now and 10 weeks ago, I know A LOT more about startups and how they are taking to world by storm. Anyway, after reading Isaac’s Singapore Startup FAQ – I thought I’d provide some of my research about startup industry in Sydney and the opportunities that are present for those who are interested in taking the entrepreneurial path. Feel free to comment, provide feedback and add your perspectives, as I’m almost certain that I will miss a few things.
Regardless, the bottom line is that the startup scene in Sydney is definitely growing and does provide entrepreneurs relatively more opportunities when compared to other cities in Australia and increasingly, the world.
For general information about startups – Australia
- The Entourage aims to inspire entrepreneurs by providing advice from former success entrepreneurs.
- Bunch of blogs on here – this site ranks them according to traffic, authority and if they generate ‘buzz’.
- StartupAus is a not-for-profit that is attempting to foster and build technological entrepreneurship in Australia. They’ve got free resources and events, and are excellent for info, news, blogs and support.
- From Little Things is a publication that attempts to illuminate the science behind startups and tells the ‘real’ startup stories and not just the success stories.
News (Technology Specific)
- ZDNet focuses on technology news with specific sections on the increasingly prevalent areas of ‘big data’, ‘data centers’ and ‘BYOD’.
- Delimiter’s central focus on Australian tech. Blog-like news articles that target IT professionals and early technology adopters.
- Anthill is an Australian community for entrepreneurs, business builders and innovators.
Small Business Specific
- Flying Solo is a micro business community.
- Shoestring has articles that range from technology, social enterprise and coding/design. The site is structured like a guide that leads entrepreneurs to ‘start something’.
- InnovationAus has news and commentaries on public policy issues relating to Australia’s ICT sector.
- StartupSmart provides small business advice, mentors and news to help you start up the smart way.
What events can I attend to learn more about the Sydney startup scene?
- Events all over Australia including Pollenizer’s XO, a community of entrepreneurs, business leaders, government change agents and scientists with a passionate interest in building the future. Regular events are held focusing on key areas of deep tech innovation and provides the XO community with unprecedented access to ideas and networks that accelerate innovation.
- Spark Festival connects people, ideas and resources across the entire innovation and startup ecosystem. It invites a diverse lists of startups, small businesses, corporates, government, universities, students and investors.
- Digital Sydney aims to provide comprehensive information about digital startups in Sydney. In particular, they collates startup events into maps and timelines for easy access. These include meetups, seminars, etc.
- Angelhack is a global organisation that hosts Hackathons in a variety of cities around the world.
- Firehose is an upcoming Hackathon hosted by Pollenizer and Coca-Cola Accelerator Sydney, Coca-Cola Amatil. This particular hackathon focuses on the use of ‘big data’ as a foundation for a startup.
- TiE is a non-profit, global community gathering entrepreneurs from all over the world.
Where can I raise money in Sydney?
Any particular programs that incubators and accelerators offer. Many incubators and accelerators have programs that startups pitch to to raise capital. I’ve listed several of these firms and their basic programs below. Note that this isn’t exhaustive and there other options from the likes of angel investors, etc.
- 5 month program with $50,000 investment for 7.5% of startup’s equity.
- Includes a two month trip to Silicon Valley.
- Ends with a presentation to early stage investors.
- Mentor-driven seed fund – 25 successful founders.
- Ultimately, this is for firms who are getting started or who have raised very little (or no) outside capital.
- New accelerator backed by Telstra.
- $40.000 investment (for 6% equity).
- Access to experts in the Telstra family with help with legals, finance, human resources and other issues.
- There is also working space for participants.
- Specialise in health and medical technology.
- $25,000 Investment in return for 7.5% equity.
- Successful applicants are enrolled in a 3+3 month development program. Upon culmination, applicants will pitch in an investor roadshow where there is both Australian and international opportunity.
- BlueChilli equity stake varies according to the founders and the opportunity but averages around 20%.
- Complete the BlueChilli incubation process and the fund will match the third-party investment you’re able to raise for your seed round and help take you to Series A.
- Early stage funding that are usually beyond idea stage and pre-traction.
- They also provide ‘Mentor Connect’ which provides post-idea tech startups an easier way to obtain support and help from experienced people from the startup community.
- $100,000 to $1,000,000 funding to startups that can demonstrate a well-defined value proposition and genuine scalability.
- They are willing to incubate startups, accelerate growth of early-stage and collaborate with VC funding for international expansion.
- Supports later stage internet businesses that have been around for at least one year and at least $1 million in revenue (and based in Asia-Pacific).
- They also manage the Sydney Founder Institute.
- Focus on seed and series A investment (and occasionally in series B and C investment).
- Seed: $500,000-$1 million; the startup already has a product that people are actually using. There are actionable metrics – from which seed funding can help with proving the product market fit. (Blackbird usually invests half the seed amount and sources investors from other networks.) However, they will not back ideas and business plans.
- Series A: Startup shows considerable traction and should have some decent revenue. At this stage, startups usually raise $3-5 million and Blackbird will contribute $1-1.5 million of this.
- Partner with tech-based companies to achieve success.
- They help a startup raise capital from various sources and their networks.
- They also attempt to access government grants for startups.
- Early-stage investment – often first round of funding post seed funding.
- Ranges from $100,000 to $3 million (Typically 3-5 investments a year).
- Expect to participate in follow-on investments at later stages.
- Member of Innovation Bay and Sydney Angels.
- Early-stage startups.
- Invest across various sectors: web, mobile, life science and engineering.
- Typical investment: $300,000.
- Emphasis on TIME (telecommunications, IT&T, new media and entertainment), life sciences and cleantech sectors.
- Startups with domestic revenue base but has global opportunity and exit potential are favoured.
- Their fund has a $20 million bump from the Commonwealth government.
- Invest in ‘traction’ stage – where the product has shown traction with customers and is moving towards product market fit. Typically $250,000+.
- Provide funding, co-working space, networks and mentors.
- Various sectors: renewable energy. technology, software systems & services, internet applications, big data, and many others.
- They attempt to partner with entrepreneurs to support success and a global outlook.
- VC in Sydney.
- Early-stage investment fund – $100,000 per company.
- The startup is less than 18 months old and is at least at prototype or near completion stage, up to pre-launch or market testing.
- They have a particular focus in startups with global potential.
- Provides seed capital, a 12 week mentor-driven program and support.
- Opportunity for second-round investment from Slingshot Venture Fund.
- They have co-working space, event participation, PR, marketing support, legal and financial advice.
- Early-stage investment fund – $20,000 to the top 20% of graduating startups who qualify.
- Offers 1 year or 10 months program to fast-track your business
- Extensive legal and accounting, administrative and graphic designers and marketing support.
- Best graduates of program gets opportunity to embark on an all expenses paid trip to Silicon Valley and San Francisco to pitch your startup business to venture capitalists and private equity globally.
For more on capital sources, see Funding options for startups in Australia.
- Not for profit networking group that brings together innovators, entrepreneurs and technology gurus.
- Help entrepreneurs raise capital in seed investments.
- Membership by invitation only.
- Support women-owned businesses by providing access to mentors, advisors, assistance in strategy and operations and exposure to potential customers in their network.
- Browse through numerous events that shares the same interests as you near your local community.
- Existing meetup events such as Sydney Tech Startup, The Business Empowerment Forum, Sydney Business Angels, North Shore Startups, The Pulse and Sydney Online Business Owners.
- Register your event or browse existing events on the world’s largest self-service ticketing platform.
- Independent industry group consisting of experienced and proven entrepreneurs who contributes to improving the tech ecosystems.
- Startup hub consisting of partnerships of tech startups, digital, creative, cultural, corporate, government and education organisations.
I’ve listed below some of the co-working spaces in Sydney. However, it might be significant to note that we are lacking that massive building with floors of startups and entrepreneurs.
- The Hub
- Tank Stream Labs
- Engine Room
- Protein Studio
- Desk x Space
- The Workbench
- Stone and Chalk
- Work Club Sydney
Where to hire developers?
Undoubtedly, there is intense competition for developers in the local community. One area that always has potential are university students who are keen for internships or work experience. Recent graduates from particular degrees such as software engineering and IT will definitely be job hunting.
- Sydney Dev Camp provides an education program that runs for 10 weeks – teaching students in a practical way about Ruby on Rails.
- Employers have the opportunity hire coders and developers by partnering with these guys and gain access to their network of students and graduates.
Websites that offer job boards like LinkedIn and 99Interns in general.
Startup Jobs in Sydney
Job board that posts FT, PT and internship opportunities for developers, business guys.
Lists some of the startups who are hiring.
Meetup groups is also a network that connects entrepreneurs with local tech talent.
- Find and connect with engaged potential employee talent through the curation of Live Talent Communities.
The startup scene in Sydney is definitely growing but there is still a need for more government funding and education and capital investment. The general population are starting to look towards innovation and entrepreneurship as there is a stronger belief towards these areas being key drivers of the economy in the near future.
Perhaps there should be a focus on trying to keep some startups within Australia as many startups seek international funding, especially in the US – Australian capital investment is therefore needed. Especially when startups are reaching the $1million+ raising rounds, there really isn’t much in Australia except for Blackbird Capital and Square Peg Capital.
However, when compared to the giant of Silicon Valley, Australia’s funding opportunities are quite lacklustre. For a more extensive comparison, check out this Silicon Valley vs Sydney article. To be fair however, Australia’s population is relatively miniscule so this could be a reason why access to capital is rather limited here.
Regardless, from my perspective, there is a lot of potential in the startup scene in Sydney as more and more people are jumping on board in regards to both investors and entrepreneurs.