Choosing Melbourne over Sydney was an easy decision for this Swiss fintech — and it's calling on other foreign startups to do the same

Michael Dodge/Getty ImagesA Swiss fintech says Melbourne is an easy choice to set up its headquarters.
  • Switzerland-headquartered fintech company Tradeplus24 chose Melbourne over Sydney for its Australian office and says it was an “easy choice”.
  • Tradeplus24’s Australian managing director Adam Lane singled out the Victorian Government’s support of tech initiatives.
  • Lane is calling on other foreign startups to join the estimated 8,000 IT companies calling Melbourne home.

Swiss fintech company Tradeplus24 has chosen Melbourne over Sydney for its Australian base and is calling for other foreign tech startups eyeing the Aussie market to do the same.

Tradeplus24 — a tech-enabled small business lender — said in a statement that Melbourne “should be the clear choice” over Sydney.

The company’s Australian managing director Adam Lane, a former general manager at NAB, said Melbourne was an easy choice for Tradeplus24 due to the Victorian Government’s stronger support of tech initiatives, its larger pool of available venture capital and the city’s recognition as “the tech epicentre of Australia”.

The Victorian Government established the startup agency, LanchVic in 2016 to develop the state’s ecosystem.
In addition, one of the world’s largest startup accelerator programs, 500 Startups, opened in Melbourne in 2017.

When considering the best location for its Aussie base, Lane said Tradeplus24 looked at areas that “provided access to resources, funding, support, partnerships, and where innovation and start-ups were taken seriously”.

“Our research found that Melbourne was on top in almost every aspect, and so it wasn’t hard to make the decision to locate our first Australian operations in its heartland,” he said.

Melbourne is home to more than 8,000 information and communications technology companies, and more than half of Australia’s top 20 technology companies, according to Invest Victoria.

While Sydney may be home to the Aussie operations of Silicon Valley juggernauts like Google, Facebook and Twitter, as well as homegrown tech giants such as Atlassian, Canva and Airtasker – it didn’t make it onto Savills’ list of 30 Tech Cities in Motion while Melbourne did, according to Domain.

Melbourne was ranked 22nd on the list, ahead of Seoul and Shenzhen. Slack, GoPro and payments company Square are among the overseas-headquartered tech companies based in Melbourne, along with Aussie businesses Afterpay and Airwallex.

However, in The Startup Genome Global Startup Ecosystem Report released in May, Melbourne was ranked outside the top 30 best cities for startups. And Sydney slid from 16th to 23rd place in the rankings.

StartupAus CEO Alex McCauley said Sydney’s decline followed the removal of Malcolm Turnbull – who was vocal about government support for innovation – as Australian prime minister in 2018 and the decline of the 2015 National Innovation and Science Agenda.

“It’s obviously disappointing that Sydney has slipped down the rankings, [but] its’ not a surprise, we haven’t had innovation and startups a national focus for several years,” he told Business Insider Australia in May.

In 2018, a report by Startup Genome estimated that Melbourne’s startup ecosystem, then valued at $AU2.14 billion, will at least double in value over the next few years.

While Melbourne did well in terms of the number of startups that sell to global markets compared to Sydney, the report found the city struggled when it came to early stage funding.

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