“Fuelled by a combination of supportive policies, strategic partnerships, and access to top-tier research institutions, Adelaide’s ecosystem draws international attention and investment. Moreover, its support networks make it a fantastic place to be a founder.”
South Australia’s capital city Adelaide is a tourist drawcard, boasting a vibrant events calendar, food and small bar scene, and proximity to world-class wine regions and beaches. However, it’s increasingly the business community that’s making headlines. Tech giants including Amazon (AWS) and Microsoft Azure have established offices in Adelaide and a growing number of South Australian startups are finding global success. These include SWEAT, a global fitness software company founded in Adelaide, and Life Whisperer, which uses AI to improve IVF outcomes.
Adelaide knows how to play to its strengths, translating findings from world-class research institutes into innovative products and services. Agriculture, health, defense, and Spacetech are all thriving here. The ecosystem is also a global leader in renewable energy, with South Australia having transformed its energy system from 1% to over 70% from renewables since 2006. More broadly, South Australia boasts significant energy, sustainability, and Climatetech activity. Local Climatetech startups include ValAi — a data-driven platform helping customers track, certify, and reduce emissions — and XDI, which allows users to predict and mitigate the impact of climate change on their businesses and infrastructure. Both have showcased their innovations at United Nations Climate Change Conferences in recent years.
A network of innovation districts provides dedicated physical, digital, and social infrastructure to accelerate new ideas into widespread economic outcomes. The South Australian Government’s Department for Industry, Innovation and Science provides advice and support to founders, including administering competitive Seed-Start grants of between AU$50,000–$500,000 ($33,800–$338,000) to high growth potential businesses.
Ecosystem by the Numbers
Adelaide is home to several leading medical research institutes, including the SA Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI). A fast-growing ecosystem of startups is translating findings into products. Personify Care, Splose, and Lumary develop software to help medical professionals and customers navigate complex systems. Add-Life Technologies, Tobruk Engineering, and TekCyte design innovative medical and assistive devices. Ferronova, BiomeBank, and Aucentra Therapeutics are working on improved medical treatments for cancers and other debilitating diseases. BiomeBank raised AU$10.7 million ($7.2 million) in a December 2022 round.
Australia’s space capital, Adelaide is home to the Australian Space Agency and the nation’s first dedicated space manufacturing hub, Australian Space Park. Fleet Space Technologies is an Australian Space Park industry partner and leader in space technology excellence. The nanosatellite communications company has raised more than $70 million over five rounds including a May 2023 AU$50 million ($33.8 million) Series C round to globalize its critical minerals exploration technology and is now valued at more than $350 million.
AI, Big Data & Analytics
The Australian Institute for Machine Learning (AIML), affiliated with the University of Adelaide and based at Lot Fourteen, conducts globally competitive R&D in AI, machine learning, computer vision, and deep learning. This expertise has attracted global tech giants — AWS credits local AI capability as a key reason for establishing an Adelaide office — and has spurred startup activity. Big Data Analytics startup Fivecast closed a AU$30 million ($20.3 million) Series A round in April 2023 to fund the expansion of its AI-enabled platform.
Reasons to Move Your Startup to Adelaide
Network of Innovation Districts
Adelaide’s innovation districts, which include Lot Fourteen, Tonsley Innovation District, and Adelaide BioMed City, are carefully curated to increase productivity and skilled jobs, support the development of new-to-world products and services, solve complex industrial problems, deliver better healthcare, and strive for enhanced environmental outcomes.
The advantages of working in a smaller city are evident in Adelaide, where you’re never more than one connection away from the right research partner, investor, mentor, or customer. This hyperconnectivity has served local startup founders well, many of whom have used Adelaide as a friendly testbed for their global products and services.
Quality of Life
A family-friendly city that is consistently ranked among the world’s most liveable, Adelaide offers business founders the opportunity to thrive both professionally and personally. Life-work balance is a draw, with Adelaide residents able to spend less time in traffic than in larger cities, and more time enjoying the region’s top-tier wineries, restaurants, beaches, and cultural events.
Selected Startup Organizations
Startup Genome Members
The Department for Industry, Innovation and Science (DIIS)
Adelaide Economic Development Agency (AEDA)
Key Ecosystem Players
Flinders New Venture Institute (Flinders NVI)
Innovation and Collaboration Centre (ICC)
News from the Ecosystem
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