“It is exciting to see Melbourne’s early-stage startup ecosystem grow by 43% in a year. As Victoria’s startup agency, LaunchVic has focused on addressing the funding gap for early-stage startups and these latest results reinforce that we are on the right path."
Despite a global slowdown, Melbourne’s startup ecosystem is thriving, with startup growth outpacing most leading ecosystems. The State of Victoria’s startup agency, LaunchVic, actively supports Victoria’s entire startup ecosystem, which now has an enterprise value of AU$91 billion. LaunchVic’s support includes the Alice Anderson Fund, a $10 million sidecar investment fund to ensure female startup founders have equal access to early-stage funding. It has so far unlocked $33 million in co-investments from private investors of an expected AU$40 million ($26.6 million) for female founders by 2024. Additionally, LaunchVic’s 30X30 is an executive education program for scaleups with a goal to accelerate the number of unicorns in Victoria by 2030.
More broadly, the Victorian government’s AU$2 billion ($1.3 billion) Breakthrough Victoria fund aims to stimulate commercialization activity. In June 2022, Breakthrough Victoria unveiled its AU$100 million ($70 million) University Innovation Platform, which will form pre-seed funds with universities. The same month, the University of Melbourne announced the Tin Alley Ventures Fund, an AU$100 million ($66.6 million) fund in partnership with Tanarra Capital, to support the commercialization of research. University RMIT was ranked #2 globally for Blockchain by CoinDesk, and its RMIT Blockchain Innovation Hub is the world’s first research center dedicated to the social science of Blockchain. In August 2022, UST launched its first Innovation Lab in Australia at Melbourne Connect.
Melbourne will also host the Global Entrepreneurship Congress 2023 in September. Linktree has raised $165.7 million over three rounds, including a March 2022 Series C round of $110 million.
Ecosystem by the Numbers
Life Sciences startups have raised the most rounds in Victoria since 2017. The Melbourne Biomedical Precinct (MBP) is among the top 10 medical hubs in the world. Moderna is building Australia’s first large-scale mRNA vaccine manufacturing facility in Melbourne, and the state of Victoria and BioNTech are collaborating on potential mRNA-based therapies and an innovation center. Aikenhead Centre for Medical Discovery, Australia’s first hospital-based biomedical engineering research center, will be completed by 2024.
Fintech is the top funded sub-sector in Victoria with AU$3.2 billion ($2.1 billion) raised since 2017, and Melbourne is home to almost 500 Fintech startups. Payment solutions provider Worldline chose Melbourne for its Australian headquarters. Payments platform Airwallex raised a $100 million Series E in October 2022 and was named Fintech Organisation of the Year at the 2022 Asia FinTech Awards. Financial services solution Zeller raised an AU$100 million ($67.1 million) Series B in March 2022.
AI, Big Data & Analytics
Melbourne is home to over 20% of Australia’s AI startups and scaleups. In January 2023, Deep Tech company Seventh Sense announced it will establish an AI R&D hub in Melbourne. Amazon Web Services announced the AWS Asia Pacific (Melbourne) Region as its second AWS infrastructure region in Australia. Israeli firm Data Science Group is partnering with the Victorian Government to launch its first AI Center of Excellence in Australia.
Reasons to Move Your Startup to Melbourne
Quality of Life
Melbourne was named Australia’s most liveable city and the tenth most liveable city in the world in the Global Liveability Index 2022. Melbourne scored 100 out of 100 for education. It is projected that Melbourne will overtake Sydney to become Australia’s largest city in 2031–32, with a population of just over 6 million people.
Victoria is Australia’s most highly skilled state, and its universities produce a deep pool of work-ready graduates. The Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2023 placed the University of Melbourne as the highest ranked university in Australia and #34 worldwide. The University of Melbourne, Monash University, and RMIT all ranked in the global Top 100 for employability outcomes.
Through LaunchVic and Breakthrough Victoria, the Victorian Government is heavily investing in the startup ecosystem. In addition, the Victorian Business Growth Fund and the Venture Growth Fund provide support. The Equity Investment Attraction Fund aims to attract innovative companies to the state. The Venture Growth Fund provides financing and the R&D Cash Flow Loans initiative supports SMEs to invest in R&D activity with low-interest loans.
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