Australia

Sydney #24

MEMBERS:
Investment NSW

Sydney has the best of both worlds – world-leading economic strength and lifestyle, making it the best place in the world to grow a startup.

Amy Brown
Chief Executive Officer, Investment NSW
#1 Oceania Ecosystem: Talent & Experience
#1 Oceania Ecosystem: Funding
Top 30 Global Ecosystem: Performance

Highlights

Anchored by business software leader Atlassian, and local unicorns Canva and Zip Co, Sydney’s startup ecosystem is growing fast. While entrepreneurs benefit from the city’s dynamic, educated workforce, what truly sets Sydney apart is its tight-knit tech community centered around a handful of innovation centers and accelerators. The Sydney Startup Hub opened in 2017 and generated more than $280 million in investment and over 1000 jobs in its first 2 years in operation. The innovation hub functions as the nerve center of the ecosystem, so far hosting more than 1,500 events. Sydney, with its 6 local universities, is home to a cluster of quantum research groups. Since December 2020 Sydney Quantum Academy has been working to build on that strength by supporting established companies, startups like Q-CTRL, and government-backed enterprises like Silicon Quantum Computing. Significant recent activity in the ecosystem includes an announcement in July 2021 that payments company Airwallex will locate its second Australian engineering hub in Sydney. In March 2021 online HR services startup Employment Hero raised A$45 million ($35 million) in Series D funding, and in May 2020 ELMO Cloud HR & Payroll raised A$70 million /~$48.3 million. In February 2021 SIGGRAPH Asia announced that Sydney would host its 2023 conference.

Ecosystem by the numbers

TOTAL EARLY STAGE FUNDING
$922 m
GLOBAL AVG.
$431 m
ECOSYSTEM VALUE
$17.4 bn
GLOBAL AVG.
$10.5 bn
MEDIAN SEED ROUND
$525 k
GLOBAL AVG.
$494 k
MEDIAN SERIES A ROUND
$4 m
GLOBAL AVG.
$2.7 m
SOFT. ENGINEER SALARY
$71 k
GLOBAL AVG.
$42.1 k

Sub-sector Strengths

Fintech

Australia is ranked equal first in the world for technological readiness, and more than 60% of Australia’s fintech companies are headquartered in Sydney. Success stories emerging from the ecosystem include Athena Home Loans, which raised A$90 million/~$69.3 Series D in May 2021, and buy-now-pay-later company Zip Co, which has raised more than $800 million to fund its international expansion.

Digital & Creative Industries

Home to 39% of the nation’s creative businesses, 42% of creative industry jobs, and 70% of the industry exports, New South Wales (NSW) has the largest creative sector in Australia. NSW’s creative industries, including digital technologies, add significant value to other sectors, like health, tourism, retail and education. Sydney and NSW also have a strong film industry with some big movies developed in Sydney. Canva, a digital platform helping users create with custom templates and design, raised a $71 million venture round in April 2021.

Reasons to move your startup to Sydney

Supportive Business Environment

NSW’s long-term infrastructure investment will maximise benefits for businesses looking to launch in the state, providing $48 million for startups and scaleups through the Tech Central initiative, and a $20 billion commitment to the new Western Sydney Airport and nearby Aerotropolis. NSW prides itself as a cultural hub with over 200 languages spoken, rich cultures, and education and viewpoints rarely seen in one place.

Educated Workforce

Sydney is home to more of Australia’s leading universities, research institutes, and technical colleges than any other Australian city. The city’s six universities include Australia’s oldest university, the University of Sydney. This means Sydney boasts a young, diverse, highly educated workforce for companies seeking talent.

Get connected

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