WA maps innovation ecosystem with startup database

Brandon How

Western Australia’s Minister for Innovation and ICT Stephen Dawson has launched an online platform documenting the state’s early-stage innovation ecosystem, although there are still gaps in the data.

At the time of writing, the database catalogues more than 190 different funding rounds dating back to 2006 and around 460 businesses founded since 2000. This includes information on staffing numbers and the amount of capital raised.

Metrics on the number of founders and startups produced from the state’s tertiary education sector are also listed alongside information on top investors in the state’s ecosystem.

The Western Australian government is the fourth state to deploy the Dealroom platform, following Victoria, Queensland, and New South Wales.

LaunchVic was the first to deploy the platform — which was founded in the Netherlands — in the southern hemisphere in September 2020. A spokesperson said that the Western Australian Department of Jobs, Technology, Science, and Innovation (JTSI) received positive feedback from counterparts in the state governments that have already deployed Dealroom.

Western Australian Minister for Innovation and ICT Stephen Dawson launching Dealroom WA

The data gathering is supported by Techboard, a Perth-based firm that has produced the Techboard Directory of Australian startups and young tech companies. Its directory currently includes around 2800 companies across Australia.

A US$30,000 (AU$44,400) annual subscription to Dealroom is funded through the state’s $16.7 million New Industries Fund, which was announced in the state’s 2021-22 budget.

Minister Dawson said the state government remains committed to supporting local innovators and described Dealroom WA as “an insightful tool for making better informed decisions”.

“This innovative, data-driven platform will be the first time the entire innovation ecosystem has been mapped for public view in Western Australia,” he said.

“Through the platform, we can showcase the scale and expertise present across the State’s innovation sector, which supports our local startups to engage investors, service providers and policy makers.”

Before being updated, data will be moderated by JTSI and Dealroom. The database has been compiled from publicly available information and direct verification from startups and other partners in the innovation ecosystem.

Chair of advocacy body StartupWA Jason Balchand welcomed the launch of the platform and said it would be an important tool in proving the economic benefit to the state.

“The stronger the data and the more accurate that data is, the more of a business case we have… to advocate for the government to put more money into the sector. Without that data showing the profit impact of startups, it’s hard to build a business case,” Mr Balchand said.

Mr Balchand also noted that there are still large gaps in the data. For example, it was his understanding that 2019 was a strong year for capital raising yet the platform reports that only $27.4 million was raised in that year. This is less than the $68.1 million reportedly raised during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.

“Over the next few months we’re going to see a lot of changes in the data that’s on there and it’s going to start to paint a more accurate picture with every month that goes by,” Mr Balchand added.

In an interview earlier this year, Mr Balchand called for the recording of more granular data from the state’s innovation ecosystem. A similar sentiment around data collection was expressed by Minister Dawson with regards to tracking expenditure on research and development within government organisations.

“I’m very keen to understand what is being spent [on research and development] and I’m not sure that as a government we really have a good handle on what is being spent. So certainly, I want to know what is being spent so that we can continue to spend more and to focus on the areas that are most important,” Mr Dawson said.

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1 Comment
  1. Digital Koolaid 2 years ago

    WA is paying wage$$$ to public servants to look out the back window of the EV with a telescope, all the way back to 2000, and put ancient history in a database? “Over the next few months we’re going to see a lot of changes in the data that’s on there and it’s going to start to paint a more accurate picture with every month that goes by”. So – in the future there will be a better picture of the past? More retrospective leadership ??? Could Mr Balchand please show us the “profit impact of startups”. There’s a startup that made a profit ??? I’d like to see that ….

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