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16 Australian tech companies that spend more on staff than their revenue

9 Spokes staff. (Source: 9 Spokes)

Many companies like to use the cliché that their most important asset is their people. But there are 16 publicly listed tech companies that are really putting their money where their mouth is, according to new research.

New Zealand investment analyst firm Clare Capital has calculated how much all the tech companies on the ASX are spending on staff, as a percentage of their annual revenue.

Understandably, those that top the league ladder are companies with smaller revenues trying to grow to scale. But some of the numbers are eye-watering, with 16 companies found to spend more on staff than their entire annual revenue.

New Zealand data dashboard and cloud integrator startup 9 Spokes, which is listed on the ASX, tops the table with a spend of 818% of their revenue on employees. The company raised $25 million through its IPO in the middle of last year.

Queensland entrepreneur Bevan Slattery’s Megaport comes in second with 401% of revenue spent on staff. The “dark fibre” international network capacity provider has interests in Singapore and the USA but made a $13.8 million loss in the half-year to December 31, off revenue of $4.5 million.

“There is a lot of variation in staff costs for smaller companies (revenue between $1-5 million). However, once a company reaches a certain scale (revenue greater than $20 million) then staff costs remain around 35-45% of revenue,” said Clare Capital senior analyst Rhys Whiting.

Human resources tech company Xref comes in at 11th with 146% of revenue spent on staff, but did raise $7.5 million last week to top up its coffers after the below statistics were compiled.

At the other end of the list, Kogan proved to spend the least on staff among all the public tech companies – only needing to devote 4% of their revenue on human resources.

Whiting said that only staff costs that have been expensed (on the profit & loss statement) have been included for the table. Employee costs that are counted as capitalised development costs on the cash flow statement are not counted.

“Some tech companies capitalise the salaries of developers working on the product/platform (i.e. research & development). This will not be included in the staff costs below and will undervalue the ‘actual’ staff costs as a % of revenue,” he said.

Here is the full table:

Rank Name Ticker Currency Revenue
(millions)
% of Salary Costs
1 9 Spokes 9SP AUD 1 818%
2 Megaport MP1 AUD 3 401%
3 Decimal Software DSX AUD 1 376%
4 Newzulu NWZ AUD 3 278%
5 Volpara VHT AUD 2 227%
6 Mint Payments MNW AUD 3 193%
7 Otherlevels OLV AUD 3 187%
8 YPB Group YPB AUD 3 174%
9 MedAdvisor MDR AUD 1 162%
10 Velpic VPC AUD 1 157%
11 Xref XF1 AUD 1 146%
12 1st Available 1ST AUD 2 143%
13 iCar Asia ICQ AUD 7 142%
14 Urbanise.com UBN AUD 8 123%
15 Bigtincan BTH AUD 7 114%
16 SkyFii SKF AUD 2 104%
17 Alcidion ALC AUD 3 95%
18 Dropsuite DSE AUD 1 94%
19 Tomizone TOM AUD 3 91%
20 Adslot ADJ AUD 8 90%
21 Afterpay AFY AUD 1 89%
22 FirstWave Cloud FCT AUD 6 87%
23 eServGlobal ESV AUD 22 87%
24 AHAlife AHL AUD 7 85%
25 SMS Management SMX AUD 329 83%
26 DWS DWS AUD 144 79%
27 RXP Services RXP AUD 127 79%
28 RungePincockMinarco RUL AUD 57 76%
29 8Common 8CO AUD 4 74%
30 ComOps COM AUD 9 71%
31 Praemium PPS AUD 28 71%
32 Wisetech Global WTC AUD 103 69%
33 Objective Corp. OCL AUD 50 68%
34 Catapult Group CAT AUD 17 65%
35 Bravura Solutions BVS AUD 185 65%
36 Corum Group COO AUD 16 63%
37 Jayex Healthcare JHL AUD 9 62%
38 Global Health GLH AUD 6 61%
39 Vault Intelligence VLT AUD 3 59%
40 Aconex ACX AUD 123 55%
41 Integrated Research IRI AUD 85 55%
42 IRESS IRE AUD 390 52%
43 GBST GBT AUD 108 52%
44 Adacel ADA AUD 48 51%
45 Technology One TNE AUD 246 50%
46 Hansen Tech. HSN AUD 149 50%
47 Altium ALU AUD 129 48%
48 Infomedia IFM AUD 68 48%
49 3P Learning 3PL AUD 49 48%
50 migme MIG AUD 21 48%
51 Prophecy Intl. PRO AUD 15 48%
52 Enzumo ENZ AUD 6 47%
53 Link Admin LNK AUD 776 46%
54 Smart Parking SPZ AUD 32 45%
55 Class CL1 AUD 23 43%
56 BPS Tech. BPS AUD 50 42%
57 Freelancer FLN AUD 53 41%
58 Computershare CPU AUD 2,690 41%
59 iSentia Group ISD AUD 156 40%
60 Energy One EOL AUD 5 39%
61 iSelect ISU AUD 172 38%
62 Seek SEK AUD 950 37%
63 Reckon RKN AUD 98 36%
64 Grays eCommerce GEG AUD 155 36%
65 Pureprofile PPL AUD 27 35%
66 MYOB MYO AUD 370 34%
67 Bulletproof BPF AUD 47 33%
68 Melbourne IT MLB AUD 168 32%
69 Gruden GGL AUD 1 31%
70 Pro Medicus PME AUD 28 31%
71 Mitula Group MUA AUD 28 29%
72 Webjet WEB AUD 152 27%
73 Nextdc NXT AUD 89 26%
74 iCollege ICT AUD 3 24%
75 Touchcorp TCH AUD 37 23%
76 Carsales.com CAR AUD 344 22%
77 REA Group REA AUD 630 22%
78 RedBubble RBL AUD 115 22%
79 Appen APX AUD 111 20%
80 Byte Power BPG AUD 3 20%
81 Mobile Embrace MBE AUD 61 20%
82 Empired EPD AUD 160 17%
83 Crowd Mobile CM8 AUD 37 16%
84 SmartTrans SMA AUD 12 16%
85 Harris Tech. HT8 AUD 18 14%
86 MOQ MOQ AUD 34 13%
87 Rhipe RHP AUD 143 13%
88 Tech Mpire TMP AUD 32 12%
89 CPT Global CGO AUD 29 11%
90 Data#3 DTL AUD 981 11%
91 Kogan.com KGN AUD 211 4%

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