From Canva to Culture Amp, these are the most talked about Aussie startups in 2021

From Canva to Culture Amp, these are the most talked about Aussie startups in 2021
Canva Co-founders Melanie Perkins, Cliff Obrecht, Cameron Adams

Canva, Linktree, investing platform Sharesies, EV technology company Tritium, and employee survey upstart Culture Amp emerged as the top newsmakers of 2021, according to a new report analysing Australian startups.

The Hottest Startups of 2021 Report by media intelligence company Wizikey analysed media coverage of startups in Australia that garnered attention online this year.

Based on news score rankings of each brand, the report analysed the volume and reach of news produced about each company. 

Canva ranked number one on its list for the explosion of interest around the tech unicorn’s announcement in August of a radical flexible work policy that would mandate employees come into the office only eight times a year. 

Sparked by the pandemic, the Australian design company spent the year evangelising its “long term approach to the future of work,” with a focus on flexibility and a reduction in formal rules around office attendance. 

“We believe traditional workplaces will become the exception when it comes to the future of work,” Canva said at the time, adding that the pandemic has “disproved the notion of collaboration being best in one way or in one place.” 

Following this was Sharesies, the women-led New Zealand-based subscription investment platform, which raised $50 million to fund expansion in New Zealand, Australia and beyond in October this year. 

The startup also garnered interest for nabbing the top spot on New Zealand’s ‘Kantar Customer Leadership Index’, a ranking of the best brands for customer experience. 

In a year in which Australia’s failure to keep up with global EV adoption dominated headlines, Queensland-based Tritium, which creates charging equipment, made news for a new EV charger testing facility in Brisbane, along with a deal for 158 new charging stations around the country

Other startups among the top 10 included employee experience platform Culture Amp; ‘link-in-bio’ social platform Linktree; and Employment Hero, which provides payroll and HR services to small to medium businesses. 

Each recorded significant capital raising, boosted by trends accelerated by the pandemic. 2021 increased demand for activity — from entertainment to people management — to be conducted on digital platforms. 

Interest and scrutiny around Australia’s burgeoning Fintech sector surged in equal measure this year.

Australian fintech investment hit US $890m in the first half of 2021, with the $39 billion purchase of Afterpay by Block (formerly Square) this year one of the largest local fintech sales of all time.

Fintech Australia estimates that the industry has grown from a $250 million industry in 2015 to a $4 billion sector this year. 

Therefore it’s not surprising that business banking providers Airwallex and Zeller, and personal loan platform MoneyMe rounded out the ranking of startups that reached the most eyeballs. 

Melbourne unicorn Airwallex made news after it doubled its valuation in six months in September after finalising a $US 200 million funding round.

The global payments company was valued at $US4 billion (AU $5.51 billion) at the years’ end. 

Melbourne-based fintech Zeller, founded by former Square executives to serve small- to mid-sized businesses, raised AU $50 million (about $37.5 million USD) in June as business banking continues to diversify in the country. 

And Employment Hero raised AU $45 million for global expansion in March. 

Anshul Sushil, chief executive of Wizikey, said the report was a reflection of the uptick in growth for Australian startups. 

“This report is a reflection of the year that went by and also a way to celebrate the most popular and influential startups of the year,” Sushil said. 

Wizikey, an Asia-based media monitoring and news intelligence company, uses AI, predictive analytics, and machine learning to analyse millions of news articles to produce its insights.