10 superb start-ups from Sydney to watch

28 Mar 20193.69k Views

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Sydney. Image: © Peppygraphics/Stock.adobe.com

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Sydney has a vibrant and diverse start-up ecosystem that is characterised by a focus on solving real-world problems.

Start-ups from Down Under are actually closer to the heart of tech innovation on a global basis than geography would otherwise suggest.

There is a certain clarity to their focus and their respective solutions, and it is unsurprising that Australia has already fielded three tech companies that have achieved unicorn status. These include enterprise software doyen Atlassian, which is currently worth around $25bn, as well as graphics software player Canva and cross-border payments player Airwallex, both valued at more than $1bn.

While start-ups can come from anywhere, in terms of ecosystems the start-up scene in Australia seems to straddle three main cities: Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

Startup Genome’s 2018 report labelled Sydney as the fourth best in the world for local connectedness and commended it as an ecosystem to watch for developing fintech and adtech companies.

And so, here are the start-ups from Sydney to watch in 2019 and beyond.

Airtasker

Airtasker is a mobile marketplace that connects people and businesses with local community members. Founded in 2012 by Jonathan Lui and Tim Fung, Airtasker has raised $26.5m over five rounds, according to Crunchbase. Investors include Black Sheep Capital, IAG Firemark Ventures, Seven West Media and Morning Crest Capital.

Earnd

Earnd is a fintech player focused on the premise of providing firms with financial wellness benefits to help employees avoid debt, late fees and predatory credit. Founded in 2018 by Josh Vernon and Serge Kotlyarov, the company recently raised $2.5m in a funding round including NAB Ventures, Pocketbook founders Alvin Singh and Bosco Tan, and Bpay CEO John Banfield.

FluroSat

FluroSat is an agritech platform for diagnosing crop performance using satellite and drone imagery. Founded in 2016, FluroSat is led by CEO Anastasia Volkova and recently secured an A$3m Cooperative Research Centres Project grant that will enable it to develop a predictive agronomic analytics system. This follows on from it earning funding of A$1.5m in late 2017 from investors including CSIRO Main Sequence Ventures and Airtree Ventures. Crunchbase reports that the company has raised $5.4m in total to date.

Forcite

Forcite is the creator of a smart motorcycle helmet and has developed its own wide-angle HD camera technology. The technology helps motorcyclists to record, navigate, track and share data, and also helps riders to detect hazards before they even see them. Forcite was founded in 2013 by Alfred Boyadgis and Julian Chow, and recently raised almost $1m in a funding round that was led by Uniseed.

Fulcrum3D

Fulcrum3D creates inventive technology and solutions for remote sensing, and dependable data for renewable resources such as solar or wind energy. Founded in 2011 by Dr Martin Poole, Dr Colin Bonner and Andrew Durran, the company recently raised almost $1m in funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency for two projects focused on forecasting for wind and solar farms.

Get

Originally known as Qnect, Get is a hub for student unions and societies to sell membership, merchandise and tickets as well as to manage and contact members. Founded in 2016 at the University of New South Wales, the company is headed by CEO Daniel Liang. In October 2018 it raised $2.5m in a round including Vertex Ventures and Click Ventures.

Huddle Insurance

Huddle Insurance is an AI-powered and community-driven platform for sourcing car, home and travel insurance. Founded in 2016 by Jason Wilby and Jonathan Buck, Huddle has raised almost $24m in capital to date, according to Crunchbase, including $19.25m in a Series A round in November last year.

Hyper Anna

Founded in 2016, Hyper Anna is an AI-powered data analyst that provides insights, data, charts and code. Think of it as a kind of Siri for analytics. Headed by CEO Natalie Nguyen, Crunchbase reports that Hyper Anna has raised A$17.3m in funding from investors that include Sequoia Capital, IAG Firemark Ventures, AirTree Ventures and Reinventure Group.

Oovvuu

Oovuu is an AI platform that uses the IBM Watson engine to power the future of real news and journalism. Its Compass tool matches and places video content from broadcasters such as the BBC and ABC into news articles, so editors don’t have to spend time finding and pairing the content. Founded in 2014 by Ricky Sutton, Greg Moore and Ross McCreath, Oovvuu recently raised $4.8m in investment led by Cygnet Capital and which also included institutional funds manager Regal Funds Management. This follows on from a previous $3.8m investment a year ago.

Rockmelon

Rockmelon is a digital learning platform aimed at children with autism and their carers. It provides curated interactive learning modules in areas such as independent living, behaviour, school readiness, and speech and language. Rockmelon was founded in 2017 by Nicole Rogerson, Stuart Waite and Alex André de la Porte. The company recently raised $3m in funding from an angel investor.

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Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com