Startup Spotlight: The Melbourne Startup Ecosystem

Melbourne Startup Ecosystem

Startup Spotlight: The Melbourne Startup Ecosystem [5-minute read]

When thinking of Australia, minds usually go straight to the beaches of Sydney, or the trams and coffee of Melbourne. There is fierce rivalry between these two cities, not just in sports, but in the battle of the startup ecosystems. In this post we are going to explore the Melbourne startup ecosystem and everything it has to offer for those looking to relocate to this iconic and most liveable city for a tech job. 

You can also check out our post of the the Sydney Startup ecosytem here 

The battle of the ecosystems has been in full swing over the past 5 years. Currently Melbourne ranks as number #35 best startup city globally, according to a recent Startup Blink Report. The city has many home grown tech giants and serves as home to many international companies looking to have a presence in Asia Pacific.

The city and the state government have also invested significantly into the early stage Melbourne startup ecosystem, with the Lord Mayor Robert Doyle stating, “Our vision is for Melbourne to be recognised as the number one destination for startups and entrepreneurs to ‘start, grow and go global’, across Australia and Asia,”

The state of Victoria has backed up this with the recent launch of the Victorian Innovation hub, which brings together leading startups across a range of sectors including medtech, agtech, fintech and cyber security, to serve as the home of innovation and startups in the state of Victoria.

We have spent a lot of time in Melbourne and have placed many overseas candidates with top Melbourne based tech companies, and we are excited to share our insights into the Melbourne Startup ecosystem.. but first, let us get started with some quick facts about Melbourne.

  • The Population of Melbourne is approximately 5 million.
  • Melbourne was ranked #1 most liveable city for 7 years running (2010 – 2017) by The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Global Liveability Index. In the last 2 years, it has dropped to a modest #2 ranking after being toppled by Austria’s capital, Vienna. 
  • Melbourne is considered Australia’s cultural capital and has been recognised by UNESCO as a City of Literature, and is a hub for street art, music and theatre.
  • Coffee runs in the veins of Melbourne. The city is known as the coffee capital of the world. The coffee culture is considered to be one of the driving forces behind the growth of the Melbourne startup ecosystem.
  • Melbourne is known for having all 4 seasons in a day. Frosty morrnings, hot afternoons, evening showers. You can have a year of variety in just one day!
  • The city was originally named ‘Batmania’ for a brief period between 1835 and 1837. As much as Melbournians love the DC Universe, unfortunately the name has nothing to do with the Dark Knight, but rather John Batman, who owned a large amount of land before the city was offically called ‘Melbourne’. 
  • The iconic savoury spread, Vegemite was invented in Melbourne, and continues to be made there. 
  • Melbourne has the highest number of restaraunts and cafes per capita in the world, so you will never be short of options for your Saturday morning brunch!
Melbourne CBD

Melbourne’s top tech companies

Culture Amp

Culture Amp launched the world’s first on-demand employee feedback platform in 2012. Backed by multiple a-list venture funds including Sapphire Ventures, Sequoia China, and Blackbird Ventures, Culture Amp is now focused on global expansion after securing a recent $82M USD round.


TRIBE is a self-serve marketplace connecting social media influencers with leading brands to create powerful 1:1 campaigns that engage audiences difficult to reach. Since launching in Nov 2015, the award-winning tech platform has experienced phenomenal growth. In just a short time, TRIBE already connects 50,000+ influencers with 3500+ brands and agencies, including Disney, Jeep, AMEX, Subway, Converse, Vodafone, Domino’s Pizza and more. TRIBE recently secured a $7M USD round to fund global expansion and solidify their Australian position.


Known as the coolest company in the most boring part of IT, Papercut develops software that helps companies save paper, reduce their environmental impact, and save money. Originally founded in 1998, Papercut first developed a print quota application to address a need in a local high school. From these small beginnings it’s grown to a full print management package now used in over 180 countries and 60,000 sites across all markets.

Judo Bank

Judo Bank is one of Australia’s fastest growing challenger banks, with a particular focus on small and medium-sized enterprise lending. Judo recently secured a $400M round, the largest funding round in Australian history! They also scooped up #33 place in the KMPG Global Fintech rankings.

Check out our post on 10 Awesome Australian Tech Companies to Work for in 2020

Where to raise money


With over $330m under management, Blackbird Ventures is one of Australia’s largest and most active venture capital funds. Their focus is on Australian companies with big ideas that are aiming to be the best in the world. They invest across the full spectrum from seed stage $250K right up to $25m.

Melbourne Angels

Melbourne Angels is a collective group of active angel investors investing in high growth, entrepreneurial Australian businesses. While based in Melbourne, the group have links to Angel groups across Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada, Asia and Europe.

Brandon Capital Partners 

Brandon Capital Partners manages the MRCF (Medical Research Collaboration Fund), providing seed and venture capital investment to support the development and international growth of Australian and New Zealand life science companies. Collectively, Brandon Capital now has over $500m under management across multiple funds.

Where to connect and collaborate

York Butter Factory 

The York Butter Factory is a coworking space and community for Melbourne’s early-stage technology entrepreneurs.

With an active community of entrepreneurs, mentors, investors, and corporate partners, over 12,000 people in their ecosystem, and over 200 events run per year, they’re the destination point for Australia’s most innovative technology startups.

Blockchain Centre

Blockchain Centre offers a state of the art coworking and shared office space for startups working in blockchain technology.

They are a community and knowledge hub for blockchain startups in Australia, with over 4,000 people in their ecosystem, including entreprenuers, experts, mentors, and investors. 

Hub Melbourne 

Part of the Hub Australia network, Hub Melbourne offers premium coworking and office space across three locations in Melbourne for entrepreneurs, growing business and corporate teams.

Who to follow on Twitter 

Al Jeffrey @aljeffery_

Al Jeffery is an internationally renowned community-designer, entrepreneur, author and leadership expert. As Co-Founder and Director at The Base Between, Al explores the themes of disconnection prevalent today, designs and facilitates spaces for re-connection in communities, leadership and the lives of individuals.

Al has been listed in Australia’s Top 30 Entrepreneurs Under 30 twice in a row and nominated for Young Australian of the Year.

Atlanta Daniel @lants

Atlanta is an entrepreneur and startup industry evangelist based in Melbourne. Her professional experience includes venture capital, founding a startup (Tetris Digital), and technology industry advocacy with StartupAUS. 

Matt Allen @mattallen

Matt is a prominant face in the Melbourne startup ecosystem. He has extensive experience as a software developer, founder, and investor of a multitude of companies. In his past, he has ran a hosting company, co-founded and exited 5 tech startups, acted as President and Treasurer of Ruby Australia, made 6 angel investments, and recently joined the Amazon AWS Startup team in Melbourne. 

Tech events to attend

Startup Grind APAC Conference

Startup Grind is a global startup community designed to educate, inspire, and connect entrepreneurs. They host monthly events in more than 500 cities and 125+ countries featuring successful local founders, innovators, educators and investors who share personal stories and lessons learned on the road to building great companies.

Each year, Startup Grind hosts it’s annual Asia Pacific startup conference in Melbourne. Register for the upcoming 2019 conference December 9-10 here

Pause Fest

Pause Fest is an independent, industry-driven movement with a mission to bring diverse intelligence together to fuel the next generation forward.

Pause Fest is often described as ‘Australia’s SXSW’, and the ‘Woodstock for digital natives’. Check out the 2020 schedule here.

If you’re a talented software engineer and Melbourne sounds like an your next dream home, be sure to check out our current job listings here

We specialise in sourcing and relocating the worlds best tech talent for Asia Pacific’s leading tech companies.  We currently have a number of opportunities available in Melbourne that include full relocation support. You can view the available jobs here, or you can reach out to us directly here.

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