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Start-up Numbers Take A Surprise Dive: New Report

To the surprise of many, the number of start-ups in Australia appears to be in decline rather than growing.  The annual Startup Muster, put together by University of Technology Sydney (UTS), Atlassian, Google, the federal Department of Industry and MYOB, puts the total number in 2018 at just 1465, down from 1675 in 2017.

The survey defines a start-up as an early-stage business that uses technology to capture a “large addressable market” in a “scalable way”.

The survey notably does not count hundreds of smaller operations – some with distinctly hazy ideas – fumbling their way towards acceptance.

The estimate was made on behalf of StartUp Muster by the CSIRO’s Data61, which is widely seen as a world leader in data science research and engineering, as well as a major adviser on scientific matters to government, business and academia.

Startup Muster adds that it manually reviews each participant in the survey, and only accepts companies addressing “a large market in a scalable way”, which it says “tends to remove a significant proportion of self-identified start-ups.”

The data show new start-up numbers grew from 954 in 2015to 1085 in 2016 and 1675 in 2017 – then have taken a considerable tumble to just 1465 in 2018.

The number of new start-ups launched in each yeardropped from 1291 in 2017-17 to just 712 in 2015.

Some 35.7 percent of start-up founders, interestingly, were born outside Australia – and Startup Muster estimates this will grow to 40 percent in coming years. 

It also estimates that some  22.4pc of start-ups have at least one employee on  a visa

According to StartUp Muster, the most common industries or technologies embraced by current start-ups are AI; fintech; education; IoT, marketing; medi-tech, health tech or bio-tech; content/media; logistics; and social media.

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