Australian tech industry star Atlassian got its start Down Under. More than 10 years on, founder Mike Cannon-Brookes says it’s still a good place to launch a startup.
Atlassian has grown to be worth more than $1 billion and while Cannon-Brookes is tight-lipped on whether an IPO will be launched in the near future he is more open about what he thinks about Australia’s startup ecosystem.
Australia’s tech sector is too “distributed” (spread out across the nation), but that’s not going to change any time soon, Cannon Brookes says.
If he had to pick one place where everyone should be, he’d pick Sydney.
“When I’ve queried people from Brisbane, from Melbourne, they’ve begrudgingly agreed,” he told Business Insider. “I don’t think this is going to happen because clearly all these people aren’t going to move from Brisbane to Sydney.”
Distribution issues aside, Cannon-Brookes still thinks Australia is a solid launching location.
“The US has a lot of advantages – it has a lot of disadvantages too,” he said.
“Competition is much, much stronger there. People don’t realise. People think it’s hard to raise money here, they say ‘oh it’s so hard to raise money here’ – try it overseas.
“I actually think you’re odds of raising money are better here. You’re one in a hundred instead of one in a hundred thousand.”
No matter where you’re raising funds you still need to have a strong and clear idea, but it’s easier to stand out in a smaller Australian pond.
On talent, he said Australia has some strong technical people, but experience is lacking.
“It’s very hard to get that. You have to import that. We don’t have people who have ten years kicking around a startup ecosystem,” he said.
“That sort of experience people have in the Valley – that’s really hard to replicate. We have to import that or realise we don’t have it and work around it.”
However, Cannon-Brookes said with the amount of quality tech companies Australia has developed compared to the population size, he thinks the sector is doing pretty well and that should be acknowledged.