(TECH) WIZARDS OF OZ

GQ (Australia) - - INSIDE -

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.

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