The Growth of Perth’s Startup Scene
Nestled on the sunny coast of Western Australia, Perth has been ranked as one of the most liveable cities in the world since 2004. While Western Australia’s history sees it as one of the most ancient lands on the planet, Perth is the fastest growing capital city in Australia. With an average of 3,000 hours of sunshine per year and 19 beaches, Perth is within 30 minutes of an ocean sunset and is situated on the Swan River. Perth itself is a living, breathing postcard, with views from Kings Park and the Botanic Gardens – one of the biggest inner-city parks in the world.
The Startup Scene
Startups are starting to make their mark in Perth – it is a thriving scene set amongst a picturesque, natural landscape. Leading the charge is Perth’s first and largest coworking space, the appropriately named Spacecubed. Set across two floors in the Central Business District, its 600-person community members include entrepreneurs, coders, startups, innovation teams and founders.
Other coworking spaces include – Sync Labs, tech specific and located in the cafe precinct of Leederville, Atomic Sky on Money Street in Northbridge, arts space Paper Mountain in Northbridge, Newton Labs is a mining example and a growing number of niche spaces in Fremantle and the Central Business District. Recently, a free, full serviced co-working space launched by St George Bank that is available to anyone, not just the bank’s customers.
Blended learning and startup events are full throttle in Perth. The concept of rapid prototyping through a weekend of pitching, hacking, hustling and validating are key focuses for events like StartUp Weekend Perth. Tertiary providers like Curtin University’s Ignition program support innovation through entrepreneurship programs.
Australia, in particular western Australia, is very reliant on natural resources. Coupled with the government’s support for diminishing-returns industries – automotive and mining – there is a significant push for funds to be redirected to high-growth tech companies, and this is a major focus for startup spaces.
It’s a challenge to get funding in Perth, as “almost all the startups in the community are ‘bootstrapping’ – surviving on minimal income while they attempt to build customer revenue. If you’re expecting to meet an investor who will invest in your idea after a 10-minute pitch then you’re about to be disappointed. Plan for an average of two years of hard graft with no cash before seeing some returns” wrote Marcus Holmes, founder at Startup News (startupnews.com.au).
Startups in Australia
- Canva: Easy to use online graphic design platform with Guy Kawasaki as Chief Evangelist. (canva.com)
- Textie: Crowdsource replies to tricky text messages. (textie.co)
- Boodle: An app that notifies you when products you want are stocked at a store close by. (booodl.com)
- RipeNearMe an app that finds local, and homegrown food for selling and swapping. (ripenear.me)
- Jellybeanstreet enables parents to create large scale replicas of their baby’s finger paintings to help support children’s charities. (jellybeanstreet.com)
Wearable Technology Made in Australia
Self-Navigating Jacket. Wearable Experiments has redefined the experience of getting from A to B. Their location-enabled jacket leads the wearer through the streets of cities using subtle vibrations signaling turns. (wearableexperiments.com)
Life Saving Wristbands: Safe Mate wristbands quickly connect emergency response teams to your vital personal and medical information. (safemate-australia.com.au)
World’s First Un-losable Sunglasses: Tzukuri is starting a fight against 26 kilotonnes of plastic waste from lost sunglasses each year. Powered by solar energy, these glasses will alert your phone if left behind. (tzukuri.com)
Future-Forward Nail Art: Metaverse Nails are the world’s first product that interacts with an app that triggers a range of futuristic, interactive holograms, which can be shared in real time on social networks (www.metaversenails.com)
December 2015 updates
- According to West Australia Startup Ecosystem Report 2015 "By 2025, disruptive digital and internet technology could be worth over $76billion to the WA economy by 2025." For the complete report, click here.
- Western Australian property group Hawaiian and entrepreneurial hub Spacecubed have joined forces to create the largest co-working office space in Perth: FLUX. Hawaiian will work with Spacecubed to redefine the office market, redeveloping three floors to become co-working office space in Parmelia House – one of the property group’s St Georges Terrace buildings. FLUX will open in March 2016.
Leona Devaz is a freelance journalist, communications strategist, author, radio producer and coworking community host & program coordinator. She can be reached at spacecubed.com.