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Here are 19 Australian startups that had an amazing 2015

The founders of Canva. (L) Cameron Adams, (C) Cliff Obrecht and (R) Melanie Perkins. Photo: Canva.

Startups and entrepreneurs had a lot to be proud of in 2015.

Last year Atlassian, the software company behind Jira and HipChat products, made headlines as the biggest success story in Australia after its $8 billion float on the Nasdaq in December. It was a long-awaited tech IPO with the Sydney-based collaboration software group, headed by duo Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar, trading at $27 per share and beating its listing price by an incredible 30%.

But in between, Australia’s startup scene was littered with other companies kicking major goals.

We compiled a list of the startups that have had an incredible run in 2015, hitting huge milestones and making remarkable progress in their field.

Here’s a look at what they accomplished.


Photo: Supplied.

CliniCloud is an Australian health technology startup founded by physicians Hon Weng Chong and Andrew Lin which makes connected home medical kits to allow users to manage and monitor their health from home.

This year, the company raised $5 million after closing a seed round led by Chinese internet company Tencent.

The funding was used to accelerate the roll-out of the kits which include a wireless thermometer and digital stethoscope and are connected to an app -- bringing people in touch with a network of medical professionals.

On top of that, the startup managed to get US retail giant, Best Buy, on board who began stocking the connected medical kit in both the US and Canada.

Divvy Parking

Photo: Supplied.

Online parking platform, Divvy Parking, is a startup that's disrupting commercial parking by making use of under-utilised parking spaces in CBDs.

In 2015, the Sydney-based digital company closed a $2.5 million Series A funding round.

Founded by Nick Austin, the startup has been likened to the Airbnb for parking, giving commuters access to short and long term parking via their smartphones for up to 50% less than traditional parking options.

Last year, the business made a huge move from the peer-to-peer space to the commercial property sector and has continued to work with property groups such as DEXUS, GPT Group and Knight Frank, the courier industry and the government to help solve and manage congestion in the CBD.


Co-founders Sam Salter and Jason Wyatt. Photo: Supplied.

Technology marketplace platform, Marketplacer, had an incredibly successful run in 2015 after securing a $10 million Series A investment led by private investors David Paradice and Gerry Ryan.

The Aussie startup allows people to build large scale online marketplaces by providing consumers with access to content marketing services, web store platforms, SEO optimisation as well as CRM and KPI reports.

The company is currently valued at $70 million with offices in Australia, New Zealand, USA and Germany with plans to launch its 'plug and play' marketplace platform in the the UK later this year.

Founded by Jason Wyatt and Sam Salter, the startup also operates four global marketplaces: BikeExchange, TiniTrader, House of Home and Outdoria.


The founders of Canva. (L) Cameron Adams, (C) Cliff Obrecht and (R) Melanie Perkins.

Design platform, Canva, reached incredible milestones in 2015 after raising $21 million in series A funding and taking their total raised funds to $27.6 million.

The online graphic design startup, founded by Melanie Perkins, Cliff Obrecht and Cameron Adams in 2012, offers design tools to users to create everything from presentations, graphics and posters through to menus and album covers.

In 2015, Canva's userbase grew from 1.8 million to 7 million. It also finished the year with Blackbird Ventures and AirTree Ventures and even Hollywood actors Owen Wilson and Woody Harrelson among its list of big name investors.

Since its launch, over 52 million designs have been created on the platform with users hailing from 179 countries around the world.


Photo: Supplied.

Australian delivery startup, Sendle, made waves in 2015 after closing a $1.8 million funding deal in April 2015 led by NRMA who invested $1 million so that the service could be extended to its members.

The 100% carbon neutral door-to-door parcel delivery service teamed up with courier partners Fastway, Couriers Please as well as logistics giant, Toll, last year with the aim of making parcel delivery easier and quicker with a flat pricing model.

Sendle delivers parcels to 17,000 suburbs and towns across Australia with over 3000 vehicles that deliver more than 70 million packages a year.

The company's revenues are now in the millions with its active customer numbers having grown 100 fold and volumes grown at an average of 60% month-on-month.


Photo: Supplied.

Australian crowdsourcing marketplace, DesignCrowd, had an incredibly successful 2015 after raising $6 million in series B funding from AirTree Ventures and Starfish Ventures (taking its total funding to over $12 million).

The company also took huge steps in its global growth strategy -- with the US now making up 50 per cent of its business -- after launching a translation tool to help designers from non-English speaking countries to better understand briefs.

In 2015, DesignCrowd hit over $30 million in payments with plans to reach 500,000 designers on the platform and $20 million in annual revenue.

It was named in Deloitte's fast 50 in 2015, for the second year in a row.


Photo: Supplied.

Online legal services business, Lawpath, raised $1.3 million in funding in 2015 with Macdoch Ventures and Adcock Group among its investors.

Co-founded by Damien Andreason and Paul Lupson, the startup aims to modernise the legal industry by removing traditional cost barriers and making the process simpler for small to medium business owners.

The startup provides legal documents such as non-disclosure, intellectual property and shareholders agreements, allows people to apply for a trademark as well as bringing people in contact with a network of more than 650 lawyers.

The company also experienced an 800% increase in revenue and grew its user base by 400% in the space of one year. Since launching in 2013, LawPath has helped 13,000 Aussie SMEs save a combined $5 million in legal fees.


Photo: Supplied.

Designer dress and accessory rental service, GlamCorner, has been making huge progress since founders, Dean Jones and his wife, Audrey Khaing-Jones, turned their passion project into a business in 2012.

Last year, the pair closed a $500,000 round of seed funding with AirTree Ventures in April, making it the third startup to receive investment from AirTree, after design crowdsourcing platform DesignCrowd and pet-sitting service, Pawshake.

The startup made its way into Australia's $6 billion a year fashion industry following the success of overseas designer rental services such as Rent the Runway which allows clients to try out new brands and styles by renting a dress online for any occasion.

GlamCorner currently has more than 800 designer dresses for rent from brands such as Bottega Veneta, Alice and Olivia, Zimmermann, Ellery and Manning Cartell.


Photo: Supplied.

Biteable is an Australian video startup established in 2014 which gives businesses the opportunity to create professional videos online in minutes.

In 2015, the Hobart-based company secured a $1.1 million seed investment to further develop itself as the 'world's simplest video maker', drawing strong interest and demand from freelancers, SMEs and large enterprises.

'Businesses large and small want to take advantage of the power of video to showcase their own products and services, but without incurring the high costs traditionally charged by digital agencies,' said MacGregor.

Since its launch, Biteable has attracted more than 90,000 people to use its innovative tool with over 100,000 videos created.


Photo: Supplied.

Nitro is an Australian founded software company who launched in 2005 to streamline the use of PDF documents on both desktop and the cloud.

In 2015, the startup which makes it easy for people to 'create, edit, share, sign and and collaborate—online or offline' acquired DoxIQ to enhance its document analytics technology.

Founded by Sam Chandler who was the Ernst and Young Australian Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year in 2014, the startup currently attracts more than 575,000 businesses as well as more than half of the Fortune 500 companies.

It has since opened offices in Melbourne, Dublin, Nitra and St. Petersburg with the company now based in San Francisco.


Photo: Supplied.

Invoice2go is an Australian-designed mobile invoicing app founded in 2002 allowing contractors, tradespeople and other business owners to send out invoices on the go.

Last year, Invoice2go raised $15 million in Series C funding -- making the total capital raised a massive $50 million -- with much of the investment dedicated towards expanding their presence in the fintech sector and developing mobile payment capabilities to be launched this year.

In 2015, it was also one of the first Australians apps and only one of a handful worldwide to launch its app with the Apple Watch in March.

In addition to hitting these incredible milestones, the startup currently attracts more than 200,000 customers worldwide with over $1 billion worth of invoices processed every month.


Photo: Supplied.

Digital marketing agency WME has come a long way since it was founded in the bedroom of Nick Bell in 2007.

The startup, which is responsible for providing clients with web design and development services, SEO and SEM strategy as well as social media support, achieved record revenue in 2015 with $22 million in Australia and $46 million globally.

The startup which is self-funded and was named in Deloitte's 2015 Technology Fast 50, currently has 440 employees across eight countries and recently launched a new office in Bangkok, Thailand in October.

It is now Australia's biggest digital marketing agency turning over $45 million with its offices based in Melbourne.


Photo: Supplied.

Melbourne tech startup, Unlockd, was one of Australia's hottest startups in 2015 after launching in Australia with Lebara Mobile in October.

The media and telecommunications business came up with an innovative solution to paying phone bills by letting smartphone users watch ads and view content when they unlock their phone in return for credit or data.

Unlockd gives telcos a chance to tap into the phone ad market -- set to hit $100 billion in the next two years -- and has already attracted high profile investors such as Lachlan Murdoch and the Catch of the Day founders, Hezi and Gabby Leibovich.

The company is expected to launch in the US and UK in the first quarter of this year with two top tier telcos, which combined have a total of 60 million plus customers.

Milan Direct

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Online furniture store, Milan Direct, rounded off an incredibly successful 2015 after being acquired by members only shopping club, Temple & Webster, for $20 million in cash and shares.

Founded by Dean Ramler, the startup has grown to be Australia's largest online furniture retailer attracting more than 300,000 customers and having sold over 1,000,000 products nationwide.

Last year, it was ranked by IBIS World as the #1 Retailer in the Online Furniture Space and has even supplied furniture to the 2012 London Olympics as well as the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in 2014.

Milan Direct now sells to over 40 countries with operations in Australia, UK and Europe.


Photo: Supplied.

Founded by Philip Weinman, Locomote is a travel and expenses technology platform which simplifies the booking and approval process for business travellers.

The travel management service allows users to manage bookings and approvals, capture expenses as well as discuss and collaborate travel plans, all on the one platform.

In 2015, the startup enjoyed significant growth after signing major global customers such as ANZ, Medibank, Allen & Overy and World Vision and managed corporate trips for more than 200,000 travellers.

Last year, the travel platform also announced its partnership with international workspace company, Regus, as well as a deal with Japan Airlines subdisiary AXESS which was a huge step for the company's plans of global expansion.

Vocus Communications

Photo: Supplied.

2015 was a huge year for business services provider, Vocus Communications, founded by James Spenceley.

The company merged with Amcom, creating a ASX200 company worth $1.7 billion.

In November last year, the global telecoms network got the approval of the ACCC to go ahead with their $3.8 million merger with M2 group -- which would make it Australia’s fourth largest telecommunications provider.

In 2015, revenue for the company was up 62 per cent to almost $150 million. It now has 3,400 buildings nationally, with a fibre network extending over 1,600 kilometres in Australia and 4,300 kilometres in New Zealand.


Photo: Supplied

Founded by Matt Bullock, eWay is an online payments provider that was launched in 1998 to simplify payment processes.

Based in Canberra, the startup was the first payment provider to offer Apple Pay in Australia and processed close to $6 billion in payments this year which was a record for the company.

Last year, eWay was also seen as the preferred method for online payments by Australians and was responsible for 1 in 4 of all of Australia’s online transactions.

Since its launch 18 years ago, the company has experienced considerable growth and now has operations in eight countries across the world.

WINK Models

Photo: Supplied.

WINK Models is one of Australia's leading commercial modelling agencies founded by former model turned agent, Taryn Williams, in 2007.

The company hit huge milestones last year after experiencing a 25% growth in the number of models (clients) represented, a 20% growth in billings as well as reporting an annual revenue of $4 million.

Through its success, the company opened up a new Brisbane office in addition to its Sydney and Melbourne offices as part of its national expansion.

Since starting out as a boutique, WINK Models has grown considerably and now represents over 600 models nationwide.


Photo: Supplied.

Home services marketplace, hipages, has seen incredible success since it was founded by David Vitek and Roby Sharon-Zipser in a garage in 2004.

The startup, focused on shaking up the directory concept, makes it easier to connect homeowners to local tradespeopes such as plumbers, electricians, painters and builders with over 60,000 licensed and verified Australian trade businesses on its platform.

Last year alone, the building and renovation site posted a record $1.35 billion worth of jobs on the marketplace which saw a 44% year on year growth. Prior to this, the company had raised $6 million from investors Ellerston Capital, Right Click Capital, Australian Ethical Investments and Kestrel Capital.

Over 80,000 jobs are now posted on the platform each month an hipages with consumers being connected to a tradie every 37 seconds.

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