What Melbourne Startups Have Going for Them


I’m down under experiencing a very warm December in Melbourne, Australia immersed in the startup ecosystem with LaunchVic.

The first month has flown by and I’m thankful for all the opportunities I’ve had. I’ve spoken at 18 conferences and met almost 150 founders from all over Victoria. There really is something special going on here and I get a nice reminder everyday.

Here are the four big things Startups in Melbourne have going for them:

  1. Community
    I’ve been to 20 events in 30 days with a ton of enthusiastic entrepreneurs. I think the ‘brain drain’ was huge 10 years ago, real 5 years ago, and not a huge part of the community today. There is a thriving scene and if you are looking to join one, check out Melbourne.
  2. Capital
    Let’s just talk about LaunchVic here: $60M in funding over 3 years for community events and promoting innovation in Victoria (here are a few recipients). Can you name a government so supportive of creating an ecosystem by actually pulling out a checkbook? There’s that funding, plus some returning entrepreneurs looking to give back and start Angel Investing. The AUS $ is forecasted to take a dip, which will really hurt but also attract foreign startups to move here. Runway is a phenomenal Accelerator as well as Regional Accelerator Program and StartupBootCamp.
  3. Envy
    People who have been here love it and people who look at it from afar see the style as something they look up to. Australia, and especially Melbourne, have the work quality done remarkably well. I say Melbourne a lot, but neighboring communities are really benefiting from the regional growth as well. Geelong Startups for instance really shows off the phenomenal community, just a $10 train ride away.
  4. Working On What is Next (industry agnostic)
    I’ve seen so many startups working on the things that push the envelope of what we have done and what we are doing in this world. For startups, Baja Board comes to mind, and for spaces, the Dream Factory is something any community would envy. JobHack is a solo founder company that I love. I’ve met with founders in Oil and Gas, Cannabis, Transportation, Open Government, and even Community Building. There are just too many to list. They have all been exposed to what world class is and want to build it here. Some communities focus on one industry and it feels kinda stale as far as finding a business model and failing to be curious. I find that a curiosity is the model here, and that is refreshing.

If I were to start a company anywhere in the world I’d choose Melbourne.

There. I said it.

The funniest part about being here, and seeing so much beauty, is that I get an odd look sometimes. Really? Here? Yes. Yes here, and yes because of that reaction. The narrative around startups here is changing and changing quick and I’m having a wonderful time watching that happen.





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