The Gen Z Authors Uncovering Australia's Startup Landscape
November 23, 2022
We’re celebrating the launch of The Rising Tide: Your Guide to Startups & VC in Australia this week!
Our good friends Adam, Sachin and Saurav are the three musketeers behind this e-book. You might know Adam and Sachin from their podcast, aptly named “The Sachin and Adam Show”, and Saurav from his work with student group Textbook ventures.
We chatted to the three of them to find out a bit more about their book and how it came about.
PS: you’ll definitely see a few familiar faces from the Earlywork community in this book.
How did the idea for the Rising Tide come about?
Both of us have podcasts - The Sachin and Adam Show and Launch Codes - where we have interviewed leaders in the startup and investing space such as Tim Fung, Alister Coleman, Moses Lo and Jessy Wu. After these conversations, we came away knowing so much more about the tech landscape in Australia and immensely excited about its future trajectory.
We came together a few months ago to see if we could collaborate on a resource that took our insights on the space and shared them with readers. Five months later, this turned into a 65-page primer on the startup, VC and angel investing landscape in Australia, built from hundreds of hours speaking to leaders in the space.
We worked with the amazing Hannah Ahn and Savina Kuan to design the look and feel of the book, which in our (albeit biased) opinion, looks awesome.
What are you hoping to achieve by sharing this info with the community?
The book’s name reflects our firm belief that there is a rising tide of tech and startups in Australia. Wherever you look, there are unicorns, breakthrough innovations and talented operators choosing to work at Canva over CommBank. We love the community that Earlywork has built, and it is further evidence of the energy and passion in Aussie startups and tech.
But despite the growing excitement, this is still a space where information is sometimes opaque. This is our shot at giving the community the tools to make their mark. It’s everything we wish we had when we started university.
“ The ones who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones that do”
- Steve Jobs
So, what’s happening in the Aussie ecosystem?
Australia is making itself known as a world-class environment for successful startups and tech companies. Our homegrown talent is starting to get noticed on the global stage:
We’ve gone from 1 unicorn in 2019 to over 20 in 2021
Afterpay made Australian history by announcing the largest acquisition we’ve seen - a $39 billion deal with Block (formerly known as Square).
“In the last decade, Australian founders have built some of the most successful businesses in the world. In the next decade, they’ll pave the way for a whole new generation of companies to follow in their footsteps”
- Nick Crocker, Partner at Blackbird
Canva, Atlassian, Afterpay have led the charge with their incredible growth, but now we’re starting to see a surge of Aussie companies that are cracking the $100 million mark too.
This latest report from Airtree Ventures shows that Australia is producing world-class startups faster than ever.
As the saying goes, follow the money
A key driver of the rising tide is the role of investment, more specifically, venture capital. Put simply, venture capital helps build the future; these players invest in the moonshot ideas that traditional investors probably steer away from.
VC is also incredibly risky since we’re dealing with early-stage startups that have a high probability of failure. This, however, has not stopped the growth of venture capital in Australia.
The e-book delves more into the key factors that VCs look for when picking winners, impact vesting, and how young people can make their mark in venture capital.
“We will see cheque sizes continue to grow over time, and deals will be done faster. The sector still has a lot of growth ahead of it...global VCs participate in local rounds as well as more local players rewrite their playbooks to remain competitive”
- Alister Coleman, Managing Partner at Folklore Ventures
What about the lone-ranger, angel investors?
Angel investors also play an important role in the investment of the startup ecosystem. Angels are usually individuals who can write decently-sized cheques and invest them in early-stage startups. They are often mentors for founders but don’t necessarily take a seat on the board (unlike VCs).
Some notable angel investors include:
Tim Ferris - founder of BrainQuicken, author, and podcast host. He’s invested in Uber, Evernote and Spotify.
Naval Ravikant - yep the one and only @naval in the Twittersphere and co-founder of Angel List. He’s invested in Uber, FourSquare, Twitter, Opendoor, Clubhouse, Notion and more.
Much like VC, angel investing can be very risky. However, there’s good news for those who are willing and able to be angel investors. In a lot of cases, you will need to be a sophisticated or accredited investor to participate in syndicates or make individual investments (you’ll need to have a lot of money for this!). For the average joe, there are crowdfunding options such as Republic, Equitise Birchal and Wefunder.
Sachin, Adam and Max recently closed their first angel deal - an investing in Asaak, a fintech business based in Uganda. Check out the e-book for all of the details.
This is only a taste of what’s inside the e-book. Each part is sprinkled with interviews with leaders who are much more qualified than us. Here is a freebie with Elicia McDonald, Partner at Airtree.
You can get your copy of The Rising Tide here. All profits will be going to World Vision Australia.
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We acknowledge the traditional owners of country throughout Australia and recognise their connection to land, waters and culture. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging and commit to building a brighter future together. Our team works on the country of the Gadigal people of the Eora nation in Sydney.