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20 Aussie Startups to Keep an Eye on in 2016

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20 Aussie Startups to Keep an Eye on in 2016

The year 2016 is well underway, and Australian startups are making headlines and ripples in the industry.

Listing all of the successful or up-and-coming Aussie startups would make for a long, long article, but we’ve pulled together a few that could be making waves in the near future.

Whether you’re interested for investment purposes, looking for the product that will change your life or business, or simply looking to cheer on your compatriots as they take on the world, there is plenty to be excited about.



Advertising is big money, and in the digital age, companies are still scrambling to find platforms that will rival TV and radio advertising, billboards, and newspaper ads.

Vamp – short for Visual Amplifiers – is taking the industry in a new direction by hooking big brands up with Instagram “influencers”, kind of like online celebrities, who promote their messages. It also provides services to manage campaigns and communicate with the influencers.

What makes Vamp worth watching this year is that it just announced it wants to go public next month. The company is aiming to list on the Australian Stock Exchange to raise funds for expansion into South East Asia. http://visualamplifiers.com/

2. Unlockd

Another big advertising-based question is: “How do you get users to look at ads?”

This company’s answer is: “Reduce their phone bill if they watch ads.”

Customers can get the app, and then every time they unlock their phone or tablet, they will see an ad. In return, they get a reduced bill from their mobile carrier.

They are now live in the US with Sprint Mobile and will launch in the UK in June. http://www.unlockd.com

3. Connexion

It seems like every day the Internet of Things (IoT) appears in more articles and pitches. It is becoming reality with increasing speed as more and more everyday items are connected to the internet.

Connexion, a Melbourne ASX-listed startup connects cars to the IoT. This allows businesses to keep track of their fleets with cloud data services, and Connexion also develops in-car apps such as global internet radio.

What’s really exciting is that the company has made a deal with American auto giant General Motors (GM) – that’s the parent company behind Holden, HSV, Chevrolet, Cadillac, Vauxhall, Opel, and plenty more.

The idea is to make it really easy for small American businesses with GM cars to get into fleet management without installing expensive aftermarket technology or management systems.

This type of internet-connected technology in cars is likely to be standard very soon, thanks to the likes of Elon Musk making it a core feature of his Tesla cars. It’s great that Connexion are getting in with the big fish of the industry early on. https://connexionltd.com/

4. Flirtey

Remember when Amazon said they were going to get drones delivering packages directly to homes? Well, Aussie startup Flirtey is the company that could make that happen.

Using 3D printed, fully-automated drones, Flirtey is looking to partner up with delivery companies (they are already working with Fastway Couriers in New Zealand) to get those urgent deliveries to the door, regardless of traffic conditions.

The company recently performed the first-ever FAA-approved, fully-automated drone delivery in the United States. This is big news for the little company, because other aviation authorities around the world tend to follow suit on what the FAA does. http://flirtey.com/

5. Shippit

Shippit is also in the delivery industry, but putting a modern spin on the more traditional delivery method.

When you order a parcel to be delivered by Shippit, you can choose roughly what time of day it will arrive, and track its progress on the app. That means you don’t have to worry about parcels being delivered while you’re out, or collecting them from the courier company when they inevitably drop a note in your letterbox in the middle of the work day.

The exciting part is that Shippit has signed deals with several courier companies including TNT and Australia Post, so it won’t require a separate courier company – it just means the existing courier companies will get better. http://www.shippit.com/

6. Mecco

Here’s another company that has recently secured funding, though this one was through private investors rather than a public listing.

Meeco occupies itself with personal privacy, something that the public is becoming increasingly hungry for. Think of the recent battle between Apple and the FBI over allowing access to personal information on iPhones.

With its funding, the Sydney-Adelaide company will open a new office in Europe, along with a joint European and Australian R&D team. https://meeco.me

7. BugCrowd

Online security is also a big deal for businesses, but most can’t afford to get the security testing they need to be really safe from hackers and bugs.

Bugcrowd is not only trying to make cybersecurity affordable, but also better. The company does this by crowdsourcing security tests – that is, getting thousands of security researchers to test your security over a set period of time.

Just Googling the name of this startup will show up scores of news results about high-profile companies it is working with.  Things are looking good. https://bugcrowd.com/

8. Canva

Canva’s name is popping up all over the place. It’s a graphic design startup, and its mission is to make great looking design easy, without having to navigate the likes of CorelDraw or similar programs.

This startup is already doing well, raking in all kinds of global lists for graphic design engines. In the past year it has secured a lot more funding, which begs the question: what are they going to do with it?  https://www.canva.com/

9. Bomb’d

A secretive Melbourne startup with $1.5 million in seed funding and a pre-launch valuation of more than $10 million is growing at a quicker rate than Snapchat after securing over 11,000 users in its first week. Melbourne startup Bomb’d is taking on Snapchat. They’ve got a different model where, when you send someone a bomb (read: picture message), they only have seven seconds to respond after they open it. The idea is that it actually encourages conversation between people, rather than just sending out snaps to a bunch of people with varying degrees of interest in your life.

This year the company – which is already up and running in Aus – will launch its platform in the US to take on the big guns. http://bombdapp.com/

10. Envato

This Melbourne startup is already running a successful online marketplace for digital assets. This can range from WordPress themes to software plugins, video footage, and snippets of programming code. Co-founder Cyan Ta’eed spoke at SydStart last year on how they grew the global company to 6 million members without any funding.

The company has been in the press a lot for its efforts to improve gender diversity, so there is obviously a forward-thinking team behind the company. Keep an eye out to see what’s coming next. https://envato.com

11. DesignCrowd

This is another design marketplace that’s going global. It’s different from Envato in that it’s a custom design market. The idea is that a customer posts a design competition, which any number of designers from around the world can enter. The customer ends up with the best design for a good price, and the best designer gets paid.

This startup is going global fast, with more than half of its market being based in the US. It’s been raising money for further expansion and hopefully the design industry will be seeing a lot more of DesignCrowd around the world. http://www.designcrowd.com.au/

12. Expert360

This is a marketplace of a different kind. A startup addressing the problems that startups face.

Expert360 puts businesses in touch with the professional guidance they often desperately need. It counts among its competitors all of the giant global financial consulting firms – guys whose bills start at triple-figures per hour.

Realising that a lot of its market is in the US, Expert360 is opening an office in the financial capital of the world, New York. https://expert360.com/

13. Data Republic

Information is a global commodity, right? Well Data Republic is a bank for information.

Companies exchange data in the same way they used to exchange goods, services, and money. There is often a mutual benefit to two companies sharing data, but sometimes trust is an issue. That means contracts and legal agreements, which absorb time and money.

Data Republic is a secure platform for exchanging data – simplistically speaking, it’s like escrow for data. It also takes care of a lot of ethical and legal issues, for example making sure there is no personal data available on the platform.

This Aussie company recently signed on a new employee that promises an exciting future. His name is Ryan Peterson, until recently chief solutions strategist at EMC – the information company recently bought by computer giant Dell as part of its big data strategy. https://www.datarepublic.com.au/

14. Eora 3D

We’ve been hearing for years that 3D printing is the future for everyday people, but to date it remains in the domain of specialised companies that can afford the technology.

Even if you get your hands on a 3D printer, you’re limited in what you can print. It’s either got to be be a design downloaded from one a of a few online communities, or something specially designed with complicated professional 3D design software. Unless you have a 3D scanner, but these are prohibitively expensive and require special software.

Eora 3D is designing a device that will connect to your smartphone and allow you to scan everyday objects for 3D printing. All for under $300 US.

These devices will be shipping in June this year, so it will be interesting to see what uses the market has for them. https://eora3d.com/

15. Simpla

Any layperson who has tried to manage their own website will know the headache of dealing with a content management system (CMS) – uploading and inserting assets, back-end logins, and the constant worry that tweaking something small will break a whole page.

Simpla is a system where anyone can easily adjust the elements on their website without worrying about all the technical jazz of a CMS.

The company is still in the very early stages, and has seen some issues with the system, but it’s developing fast and will hopefully release a beta to the public in the not-too-distant future. https://www.simpla.io/

16. LawPath

Lawyer fees are high. Very high. This is especially frustrating when you just need a standard legal document, but you have to pay a three-figure minimum fee just to get your lawyer to tell you which form you need and print it off.

Lawpath is giving cheap access to standard legal documents, and providing other standard services for companies – registering a company, applying for a patent, etc. – at reasonable fixed prices. The company manages this uses a network of hundreds of lawyers.

Last year the startup raised $1.3 million, which will be invested in expanding the platform to a bigger audience, and hopefully with more services. https://lawpath.com.au/

17. Cohort Solutions

Speaking of expensive services, Cohort Solutions is providing financial services and insurance for overseas students studying in Australia and New Zealand. These students provide a big chunk of income for educational institutions, and their numbers are increasing every year.

Cohort’s flagship service is international money transfers, but it also has international calling plans for mobile phones, airport pick-up services, and will even help you find a health insurance plan.

The Brisbane startup pulled in about $6.5 million in revenue last year, and has some steep growth curves. http://cohortsolutions.com/

18. Pocketbook

Pocketbook organises your personal finance. But it isn’t just a fancy calculator or interactive spreadsheet: Pocketbook is connected to all of Australia’s major banks, allowing you to manage your budgets, balances and transactions in real-time. You can even use it to do your tax returns.

The Sydney startup has been around a couple of years now, but every year its user base and revenue just keeps rising. On top of that, the company is working on an app for the Apple Watch that might give a new twist to mobile personal finance.https://getpocketbook.com/ 

19. MoneyPlace

This fintech startup is a peer-to-peer (P2P) money lending network. While this isn’t exactly a new idea, these guys are clearly doing a great job. At the end of last year, the Melbourne company secured a $60 million investment from Auswide Bank in exchange for 20% equity. https://moneyplace.com.au/

20. Townske

The days of walking around a new city with a brick-sized Lonely Planet in hand are gone, but we’re still looking for an equivalent digital replacement. Townske is not only filing that void, but also getting people off the beaten track into the lesser-known, but great, venues.

This startup has been around less than a year and has already appeared as a featured app in the Apple App Store. http://townske.com/