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Atlassian's Scott Farquhar Led A $2 Million Investment In A Safety Startup -- And Has Been Turning Up To Work There

Atlassian co-founder Scott Farquhar. Image: Supplied.

Atlassian co-founder Scott Farquhar has led a $2 million investment round into Queensland-based app developer SafetyCulture.

It is understood Farquhar has chipped in $750,000 in the latest round which valued the company at $17 million.

Farquhar, who along his Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes tops the BRW Young Rich List with a combined fortune estimated at just over $2 billion, is now working directly with the SafetyCulture occasionally on some of their key challenges.

SafetyCulture CEO Luke Anear launched the startup after witnessing the impact of workplace accidents. The company provides workplace safety documentation and systems that staff are likely to use, as well as safety auditing tools.

“Scott has been an advisor for about a year, he normally invests through Blackbird Ventures but through that relationship he got to the point where he wanted to invest directly with us,” Anear told Business Insider.

Anear said Farquhar makes himself available every couple of weeks to help solve SafetyCulture’s engineering and scaling challenges. Over the weekend Farquhar flew up to Townsville to work with the startup’s team .

“He’s helping us every couple of weeks,” Anear said, adding “Sometimes we’ll go back and forth a few days in a row – he’s there as needed.”

“Where you get funding from is sometimes more important than the funding.

“He’s pretty passionate about the Australian startup scene. He flew up to Townsville on Sunday and [it was] not just chatting, he rolled his sleeves up.”

The safety audit app iAuditor will use the funds to open a Sydney engineering office in December and has appointed Anton Mazkovoi as its VP of engineering.

Mazkovoi was Atlassian’s fourth employee and went to uni with the company’s co-founders Mike Cannon-Brookes and Farquhar.

“As a result of our relationship with Scott, we have employed several ex-Atlassian employees, and our biggest appointment to date is Anton Mazkovoi as VP of Engineering,” Anear said.

It’s a fascinating tie-up. Atlassian’s core product is Jira, which has become a global standard for large-scale IT project management. In many ways, Atlassian is about business process improvement, which is what SafetyCulture does too.

Farquhar said the company’s vision and traction reminded him of what it was like during Atlassian’s early days.

“From the moment I met Luke I was impressed with his vision and experience in both the safety industry and building apps” Farquhar said.

“I was incredibly impressed with their word of mouth traction and it reminded me of Atlassian in the early days and makes me incredibly excited to be part of the next Australian success story.”

By focusing on the underserviced but important workplace safety market, SafetyCulture was able to gain early traction from the first week iAuditor was released. It’s had no sales people, nor done any marketing to date. Growth has been viral.

“We never expected to see 47,000 inspections forms being shared in our public library, just as we didn’t expect to see 10 million audits completed so soon. In the past ten months our team
has significantly grown and we are now starting to see the results of our increased productivity,” Anear said.

Last year Commercialisation Australia and Blackbird Ventures invested $4 million into the company.

Anear said Farquhar was happy to invest more and has hinted that he would like to be a board member but for the moment he would hold an advisory position at the company.

SafetyCulture is recruiting engineers, designers and product managers in Sydney and Townsville.

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