Talent Unleashed Startup City #2 - Sydney

In the second of our features on Talent Unleashed Start-Up Cities we look at Sydney where the Talent Unleashed Awards were initially launched with Sir Richard Branson back in 2013. I had the pleasure to recently spend a few days in our Asia Pacific HQ before returning to the U.S.

Will Sydney become Australia’s Startup Mecca?

Although Sydney has slid down one spot in the Global Startup Ecosystem Report to #17 worldwide, it ranks number one in terms of growth in the value of exits achieved by its startups and 10th in terms of angel funding and venture capital available to startups.

These rankings alone prove that Sydney has what it takes to compete with the top 10 cities; which include Silicon Valley, Boston, New York and Berlin, among others.

However, in addition to our statistical rankings, NSW Premier, Gladys Berejiklian has explained Sydney claims to have 40% of Australia’s activity and investment; a very justified statement when you look at how many venture capital funds are focused on Sydney – such as AirTree which raised an impressive A$250 million last year to fund emerging technology companies and was part of the $13 million capital raise for Expert360, a startup that connects consultants with clients.

However, many have stated that, although Sydney attracts all the right elements, the city’s ecosystem is lacking a central space that allows startups, venture capitalists, successful businesses and individuals acting as mentors or angel investors to come together, connect and exchange wisdom and expertise.

Mark Nielsen, Bradley Delamare (Head of Tankstream Labs) and Richard Earl at the Sydney Start-up Hub launch

Upon hearing this feedback, the NSW Government began working on an initiative which launched last week: The Sydney Startup Hub, a $35 million NSW government initiative established in cooperation with Sydney co-working spaces Fishburners, Tank Stream Labs, The Studio and Stone & Chalk.

This new co-working space, set to open by early 2018, will provide up to 2500 enterprises with a work desk, at a subsidised price, from where disruptive and creative ideas can be developed into successful businesses. The Sydney Startup Hub will support local Sydney enterprises and include a ‘Regional Landing’ facility to cater for entrepreneurs from more distant areas.

Murray Hurps (CEO of Fishburners), Richard Earl (Talent Founder and Executive Chair), Gladys Berejiklian (NSW Premier), Mark Nielsen (Talent APAC CEO), John Barilaro and Matthew Kean (left to right) among others, listening to one of the many interesting business pitches at Sydney Startup Hub launch

Its design is based on successful hubs from overseas, such as Station F in Paris and the Cambridge Innovation Centre, and is created with the aim of generating up to 6500 new jobs across regional and metropolitan NSW.

According to David Thodey, Jobs for NSW chairman and former chief of Telstra, the Sydney Startup Hub will be the largest of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere.

There are certainly a wide and varied number of start-up hubs, incubators, and accelerators around the city in addition to Tank Stream Labs, Fishburners, Stone & Chalk, The Studio. These include Telstra’s Muru D, Blue Chilli, Sydney Uni’s Incubate, 25fifteen, ATP Innovations, Slingshot, and Springboard which specialises in female entrepreneurs.

A number of VC funds actively support Sydney including Telstra Ventures, Artesian, Square Peg, One Ventures, Airtree and Blackbird which is partly backed by Atlassian founders Scott Farquhar and Mike Cannon-Brookes.

At Talent we’re delighted to be making a contribution through our involvement with Tank Stream Labs, where we have an on-site facility supporting many of their start-ups from an HR and recruitment perspective through the Talent First Fund.

Talent Unleashed Awards APAC judge, Chris Gilbert, from Equitise and Richard Earl at the Talent Unleashed Awards Launch at Tank Stream Labs

Facts about Sydney’s startup sector & some quick facts about the city

  • Out of the 233 designs submitted for the Opera House, Jørn Utzon from Denmark won the international design competition in 1957, receiving £5000, not much compared to its final cost of $102 million 16 years later. Due to a dispute Utzon never got to see his finished masterpiece.

  • Have you ever wondered why the Sydney Harbour Bridge original colour was grey? Grey was the only colour available in a large enough quantity to paint the bridge, it took 272 000 litres of paint to cover the bridge, why was only for its first coat.

  • The official opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge on March 19, 1932 was hijacked by a man with a sword mounted on a galloping horse, the right wing New Guard member, Captain Francis de Groot slashed the ceremonial ribbon before the premier could do so.

  • The Rum Rebellionof 1808 was the only successful armed takeover of government in Australian history when the Governor of New South WalesWilliam Bligh, was deposed by the New South Wales Corps often known as the Rum Corps since rum was the unofficial currency of the fledgling colony.

  • Sunny days in Sydney are a high roller, when the temperature hits the 35 degrees Celsius plus mark, make sure to find a shady spot on one of the 100 (or more) beaches in the Sydney area

  • Sydney is one of the most multicultural cities in the world, approximately 31.7 per cent of its population is born overseas.

  • Besides English; Arabic, Cantonese, Mandarin, Greek and Vietnamese are the main languages spoken.