The 5 global tech firms that have invested in Australia since the start of 2019

Photo: Getty Images.

We’re less than three months into 2019 and the money is already pouring into the Australian tech sector.

At least five international tech firms have announced plans to expand their businesses in the country, which has traditionally been reliant on mining.

Major US corporations like Cisco and Salesforce are investing in the region, but less well-known companies are also getting in on the action as they look to scale up Down Under.

For example, German chauffeur service Blacklane, Indian enterprise software firm Zoho, and US ticketing platform TodayTix are all investing millions of dollars into the country.

They’ve all got their own reasons for coming to Australia but one thing’s for sure: they see opportunities here.

Here’s a closer look at the companies:

1. Blacklane: VIP ride app opens new Brisbane office

Brisbane CBD. Photo by Glenn Hunt/Getty Images

Born in Berlin, Blacklane has an app and a website that allows people to book a chauffeured ride in advance. Think of it as a fancy Uber that’ll get you from A to B with a degree of luxury.

Depending on where they are in the world, Blacklane’s “business class” customers can expect to get picked up in something like a Mercedes-Benz E-Class, a BMW 5 Series, a Cadillac XTS, while “first class” customers get Mercedes-Benz S-Class, BMW 7 Series, Audi A8, or similar.

Blacklane has just opened a new office in Brisbane that’s set to grow to around 30 staff over the coming months. They’re going to be tasked with persuading more corporates to sign up as customers.

Blacklane also hopes to convince more airlines to offer its premium passengers complimentary Blacklane rides. It’s already signed up Emirates and China’s Hainan Airlines but it could also look to get the likes of Qantas and Air New Zealand on board.

The Brisbane office is the company’s fourth worldwide, with the others in Berlin, Singapore, and Dubai.

2. TodayTix: Ticketing service launched in Melbourne

Photo by Don Arnold/WireImage

New York’s TodayTix launched its last-minute ticketing service Melbourne earlier this year.

The company claims that users save up to 75% on box office ticket prices when they use its app.

Founded in 2013 by Broadway producers Brian Fenty and Merritt Baer, TodayTix claims to have almost 5 million users that have spent more than $250 million on tickets.

It’s aiming to differentiate itself from the like of Ticketmaster and Viagogo by refusing to resell tickets or being part of the secondary ticket market. Instead, it partners directly with performing arts institutions.

Australia is the company’s third market outside the US. It has already signed partnerships with in-demand shows such as Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in Melbourne.

3. Microsoft rival Zoho is building two data centres and a Byron Bay office

Photo by Rio Helmi/LightRocket via Getty Images.

Founded in California, Zoho is an enterprise software firm that’s aiming to take on Microsoft and Google with its suite of cloud-based productivity apps.

It boasts 45 million users across 180 countries, so it’s a fairly major enterprise.

The Indian company, which already counts companies like Qantas and BHP among its customers, announced this week that it is investing upwards of $40 million in two data centres and its first regional office in Australia.

Interestingly, the office will be located in Byron Bay as opposed to one of the major cities. It will be able to accommodate up to 20 people.

Zoho also said building is underway on two new data centres in Tullamarine and Albury.

4. US Data centre provider Equinix invests $225 million in Sydney data centre

Photo: Equinix.

In February, Equinix announced that it was planning to build its largest data centre in Sydney as part of an effort to win over the increasing number of businesses turning to cloud computing in Australia.

Set for completion by the end of 2019, the data centre will be called SY5 IBX and will be built in Alexandria, roughly four kilometres from Sydney’s CBD.

Managing director of Equinix Australia Jeremy Deutsch told The Australian Financial Review: “From our perspective we continue to see the demand. The demand and the focus area for the key growth is in the enterprises across Australia looking to digitally transform with hybrid multi-cloud architecture.”

Equinix says it has invested $800 million in the last three years building out its facilities across Asia Pacific, and the company spent $1 billion acquiring Australian data centre provider Metronode at the end of 2017.

5. Networking giant Cisco is investing $61 million into government, startups, and infrastructure

Photo: Getty Images.

Also in February, Cisco announced that it plans to invest $61 million into Australian digitisation.

The money will be invested over a three year period under its Country Digital Acceleration program.

Cisco said there will be a focus on inclusive growth, skills development, and innovation in industries where Australia is placed to be a global leader in the digital economy.

Vice President of Cisco Australia and New Zealand, Ken Boal said, “Technology has played a key role in boosting socio-economic growth across the world, however, more needs to be done in Australia to keep at the pace of other leading innovative nations. If we don’t invest equally, Australia will run the risk of losing its position near the top of international league tables. Cisco is ready and willing to help Australia keep its place at that top table.”

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