(TECH) WIZARDS OF OZ
Our most successful companies right now.
ONCE UPON A TIME, THE TOUCHSTONE OF AUSTRALIAN TECH INNOVATION WAS THE HILLS HOIST. GQ INC CHATS TO SOME OF AUSTRALIA’S MOST SUCCESSFUL START-UP LEADERS TO LEARN HOW FAR WE’VE COME.
As the focal point of the global tech industry, Silicon Valley needs no introduction. Less familiar is its Australian counterpart, Silicon Beach. No, it’s not a sleazy reality show (yet), but the local tech industry’s nickname, and alter ego, for Sydney – the central hub of Australia’s burgeoning startup sector. ‘Australia’ and ‘tech innovation’ mightn’t be exactly synonymous. But with an estimated 1200 start-ups around the nation (two thirds in Sydney alone) there’s already a thriving digital ecosystem. Niki Scevak is the co-founder of Blackbird Ventures, Australia’s most respected venture capital fund that specialises in tech startups. He argues that while there was once a great disadvantage to being outside the US, that’s largely disappeared. “Start-ups are the sum of great people, and in my opinion, Australia is home to a wonderful amount of really talented technology people,” he says. “Atlassian is worth more than Qantas.” Atlassian may be the giant of the local tech scene, after its $8bn listing on the NASDAQ in late 2015. But it’s not alone. Some of the same investors who took early stakes in Atlassian have been buying into other Australian businesses in the expectation they’ll follow the same trajectory. Here, GQ’S list of the tech start-ups to watch.