Australia’s Startup Scene
Sydney is Australia’s startup capital, but as Anthill Magazine reminds us, “its start-up density is only 18 per cent of that found in Silicon Valley.”
That’s why news that the government’s plan to “establish a new supersized startup hub in Sydney” is so exciting. It means more jobs in New South Wales and across Australia.
StartupAUS CEO Alex McCauley explains: “Startups are powering jobs growth here and overseas, and it’s great to see the NSW Government getting behind the development of a high-growth tech ecosystem.
“Last year the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science released figures showing net job creation comes from early-stage and startup businesses — with young companies creating nearly all of the 1.6 million net new jobs in Australia from 2003 to 2014.”
If you are planning on starting a business Down Under, read our guide to setting up a business in Australia.
Sydney startups to watch
We’ve compiled a list of 14 startups in Sydney that you should know about. From helping people socialise and make money to keeping them safe and even feeling cared for, they’re a great cross-section of how startups meet all sorts of needs.
Like TaskRabbit and Fiverr, Airtasker is a task outsourcing site where you can hire help or offer your services. Founded in 2012 by Tim Fung and Jonathan Lui, the Sydney-based company is available Australia-wide, covering categories from handyman services and house cleaning to computer and IT support and wedding planning.
Zoom2u is an on-demand courier service founded in 2014 by Steve Orenstein. Designed for business or personal use, it integrates with ecommerce sites that allow users to shop online and receive deliveries within hours. Zoom2u delivers just about anything (as long as it weighs less than 30 kg) and offers its services in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide.
Entrepreneur Oli Russell-Cowan founded Rad Season so users could find and book adventure vacations and sports events all on one site. Instead of having to use multiple sites to research a trip; plan an itinerary; and then book travel, event tickets and accommodation, this startup offers a one-stop service.
When we asked this Sydney-based startup if they met their January 2017 launch date, they replied: “We’ve just finished running a beta test. Looking to make improvements and onboard more businesses in the coming weeks. Cheers!”
Founded by Ben Lindsay and Mitchell Donaldson, GoRepp is a referral app. Users earn cash by referring startups and small to medium businesses over social media. It targets SMBs, giving the typically cash-strapped businesses an affordable alternative to traditional advertising.
If you’ve had too much to drink in Sydney, you can download the new PickMyRide app and get a designated driver to take you — and your car — safely home. Founded by Sachin Chahal and Karan Solanki, PickMyRide (smartly launched over Christmas and New Year’s, with more than 500 users) is Uber-like in that you’re connected to a driver in the area, but instead of giving you a ride in their car, the driver will drive you and your car home.
The fare varies, depending on mileage, of course, but the site claims that in most cases it’s cheaper than return taxi fare and parking costs. Sachin tells us that the service is currently available in Sydney only, but will roll out Australia-wide in the next few months.
CommPow is a fundraising platform that helps retailers partner with schools. From there, retailers can offer products, anything from groceries to electronics, at a discount to users. Then, those savings are passed back to schools. The founders say the donated funds are used for essentials like air-conditioning and educational resources.
A social mobile dating app, Winkd helps people at the same venue or location connect. Partnering with event organisers and venues (no party will be missed), the inclusive matching app prompts you to check in at the location and anonymously wink at people you’d like to approach there. If they wink back, you chat via text, possibly meet in person and exchange details so you can reconnect once you’ve left the venue.
The Gift Concierge Co.
Rose Gallo and Marcia Cipri launched their personal shopping business last year, just in time for Christmas. The shopping service is a new way to buy presents: Tell The Gift Concierge about the recipient and your budget, and it will send you three ideas. You choose the one you like best and pay for it. They deliver it, beautifully wrapped and with a personal message from you.
Georgia Harley launched this online care package boutique in 2015 after seeing how friends and family struggled to find appropriate gifts for her family during her father’s terminal illness. Caring Canary offers unique “care packages,” which can be customised online and given in times of need as well as celebration.
Startcon’s 2016 Best Fintech Startup of the Year, Brickx is a property investment platform. As CEO Anthony Millet recently explained to The Urban Developer, his company buys properties, then divides each property into 10,000 units (known as Bricks), which investors can buy. Brickx allows all Australians to invest in residential property, with some Bricks available for less than 100 AUD.
Founded in August 2015, CancerAid is a go-to resource for cancer patients and their carers. Co-founders Dr. Nikhil Pooviah and Dr. Raghav Murali-Ganesh developed the app, working with other cancer specialists and business experts to address the needs of those in any way affected by cancer.
These issues often include feelings of anxiety, isolation and disorganisation, and patients may have also have limited access to care. The app allows all personal diagnostic information to be stored in one convenient place with accurate treatment information available and a journal where symptoms, medications and their effectiveness can be charted.
This startup is making professional interior design services affordable. Called Milray Park and founded by Sally Bevan, the company launched in 2016 with 25 designers, and Bevan is already considering adding landscaping services and expanding from residential to commercial and retail, as well as event styling. Packages start from 299 AUD, and all interaction with the designer, including concept boards, takes place on the site’s eDecorating platform.
Secure Code Warrior
One of the winners in Harvard Business School’s European New Ventures competition, Secure Code Warrior teaches (and tests) cybersecurity programmers through gaming. The interactive site offers developers learning methods that include software design and code analysis and code modification, with scorecards to show areas of key strengths and weaknesses.
Like many startups, Presumi was created to answer a personal need. In this case, as Hayden Bleasel explains to Startup Daily, he couldn’t manage all the resumes he was sending out, so he built a tool:
“The initial product, Bleasel said, was a simple job application management tool, a sort of CMS for jobs built to help keep people up to date with what companies they were applying to, application deadlines, interviews, and contacts. From there, Presumi started focusing on resume tracking, the tool Bleasel said saw the most interest from job seekers.”