The unicorn and the cockroach: start-up business In Australia

Published February 27, 2017

Earlier this month I gave a talk at the PauseFest conference about Australian start-ups and how they differ from their US counterparts. The talk was based on a piece I wrote for The Australian newspaper last year.

I explain how many of the major technology start-up success stories here in Australia were cockroaches; lean, self-funded and bootstrapped businesses that grew for years without outside investment. Examples include Retailmenot, 99designs, Atlassian and CultureAmp. I describe the funding and M&A conditions in Australia that have lead local cockroach businesses to thrive. Finally, I highlight a new breed of Aussie start-ups that have accessed local capital, such as Canva, GreenSync, YourGrocer, LIFX, SafetyCulture and Rome2rio. I explain how this new wave of businesses will have a major impact on the Australian start-ups ecosystem for the better.

It was a successful event and we received some good audience engagement. You can watch the talk here:

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Co-founder & CEO
Rome2rio, based in Melbourne, Australia, is organising the world’s transport information. We offer a multi-modal, door-to-door travel search engine that returns itineraries for air, train, coach, ferry, mass transit and driving options to and from any location. Discover the possibilities at