Some Things You May Not Know About Australian Startups

What does the future of Australian business look like?

What business areas do Australian startups need the most help with?

If you’re like me and are keen to know the answer to these and similar questions, you’re in luck.

Over the past 18 months, more than 450 startups have shared detailed, self-categorised information as part of of the PushStart Mentor Connect application process, that I can now share some of with you.

This data shows the markets Aussie startups are looking to disrupt and the areas they want help with.

But wait. “Why have you waited so long to share this, Kim?” I hear you ask.

Well, when we launched Mentor Connect startup profiling we made a conscious decision not to make profile information public. This was primarily because at the time of launch successful Aussie startup founder David Kowalski and the Green Lane Digital team were working hard to create a complete directory of Australian startups through iPitch and we didn’t want to set up a competing system that would potentially fragment the information market.

If you’ve been paying attention of late, however, you’ll have noted that creating databases of Australian startups has become quite a popular endeavour. It only took me a couple of minutes to think of 12 separate attempts to aggregate/map Aussie Startup profiles.

(BONUS PRIZE: A free PushStart t-shirt to the first person who can name them all!)

This is not going to be number 13 though. Instead I’ve anonymised and aggregated a couple of the more interesting  bits of data startups have shared with us through the Mentor Connect application process.

As part of the application process, Teams were asked to:

  • Identify up to 3 markets they were focusing on. These could be vertical (e.g. Health) or horizontal (e.g. Big Data)
  • Identify the 3 areas of their business they needed the most help with.

Below are graphs of their responses:



Highlights for me?

Re: Market Focus it’s great to see:

  • a good mix of markets being targeted – watch out world and watch out any slow moving Aussie company in these industries that think size or corporate walls will protect them from the innovation being developed in the local startup ecosystem (TIP: Now’s your chance to try and work with the community before it’s too late!)
  • that enterprise focused startups are well represented carrying on the strong tradition we have locally in building quality business focused solutions
  • and that big, highly protected and highly regulated industries like Financial Services, Health and Education aren’t being spared.

Re: Areas of Need

  • I was surprised that areas like marketing, sales and partnerships were so highly represented and that technical help was so poorly represented. I’m hoping this is a sign of growing maturity in the local startup space in that most teams realise that market risk is their biggest issue, not technical risk.
  • I’d question funding being the most important thing startups need help with. I suspect startups may think that’s the most important thing but if they considered it more deeply they’d probably realise it isn’t.

In my next post I’ll take you through the opposite side of the Mentor Connect program and share some data on the Mentors – What their markets of experience are and which areas of a business they have skills in.

Oh – and for the more astute amongst you who want to know more about Mentor Connect but have seen that applications are currently closed (we’re porting our website to a new CMS), just sign up for updates on our Contact Page and we’ll let you know as soon as it’s back up and running.



  1. Tony

    Could you expand on your thoughts as to why funding is not as important as people think it is.

    IMO, time is the biggest problem most of us face. I think that a lot of us equate funding to time and hence its top of the list.

  2. kimheras

    Hey Tony – it’s because money won’t solve product/market fit issues for the vast majority of startups and, as such is either a) a distraction or b) an excuse for not executing well in many situations.

    And to be honest, the funding market for startups that are on the right track is actually getting much, much better in AU and will continue to do so into the new year.

  3. Pingback: The Growth in Sydney Startup Activity: 2007-2012 « kimheras' blog

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