Muster highlights startup realities

James Riley
Editorial Director

The 2015 Startup Muster Report launched today highlights a healthy and booming ecosystem in Australia and is both surprising and clarifying in its findings.

More than 1000 Australian startup companies took part in the comprehensive survey which looks at everything from who owns startups and what age bracket they fall into, to when and where the company was started and what industry and themes of service each startup falls into.

Startup Muster chief executive Monica Wulff said she was happily surprised with the key outcomes of the data.

Healthier and wealthier: The startup sector is on a roll according to Startup Muster CEO Monica Wulff

“It’s good to see just how healthy we really are in terms of average revenue, average funding, and how much people are engaging with funding, and investment via government options also,” Ms Wulff told

“It’s really quite impressive compared to what we would have seen five years ago. More specifically what happily surprised me was the finding that 50 per cent of outsourced work* is still happening in Australia.

“Commonly people think outsourced work means going overseas, but what our data is showing is that there is a lot work being outsourced by startups that remains with other companies in Australia.”

Furthermore, a healthy 61 per cent of those surveyed said they plan to continue to operate in Australia beyond 2015, with only one per cent saying they have plans to go overseas after this year.

Interesting to note however, was that the largest age bracket of startup owners was the 30 – 35 group, where 23.8 per cent of the data sits, followed closely at 18 percent, by the 35-40 group.

“I think this really speaks to the fact that, also featured in the report, the top ranked reason for pursuing a startup is dissatisfaction in a previous job,” Ms Wulff continued.

“So it strikes me as saying that we have a considerable amount of startups that are being founded by people with professional experience rather than having a multitude of technology education.

“I think [seeing younger entrepreneurs starting companies] is going to come in time. The developments that we are seeing in education will lead to more startups featuring the tech talent of the younger generation. Acquiring tech talent was high up there when people were asked about the biggest external and internall challenges in a startup, so that’s no surprise really.”

Startup Muster is the brainchild of Ms Wulff and Fishburners CEO Murray Hurps who has so far completely self-funded the annual survey, now in its second year.

With the announcement of Ms Wulff as CEO at the report launch, the entity has plans to expand into a bigger offer in 2016, especially since they are now supported by Google.

“2016 is going to be really interesting. We have over 1000 startups in Australia who have provided their data to us. We want to utilise this network we have created to give back to the ecosystem.

“So next year will see us expand and helping to accelerate the eco-system – giving back to these people who have given their information, time and support to us.”

Top facts from the Startup Muster Report 2015:

  • There are 24 per cent of female startup founders compared to 76 per cent male but this figure increased five percent from the previous year.
  • 50 per cent of those surveyed had no startup experience before their current company
  • The majority of founders surveyed previously worked in technology but that representative percentage is just 27 per cent. Finance, education and government were the next top cited previous employment areas.
  • There was a 21 per cent increase in the number of startups founded in 2014 from 2013, to 48 per cent
  • 38 per cent of startups with revenue had export revenue
  • The strongest skillset present in each startup is business, closely followed by technical experience
  • 60 per cent of those surveyed raised funding through private Australian capital in 2015 but 66.8 percent need funding still to survive the next year
  • Customer acquisition is the biggest internal challenge and availability of technical talent the biggest external challenge

*The original version of this article stated that 69 per cent of outsourced work is happening in Australia. The corrected version now states that 50 per cent of outsourced work is taking place in Australia, while 69 per cent of startups outsource work overall.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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