Google, Atlassian, Afterpay among founders of Tech Council Australia

A formidable alliance of tech industry heavyweights including Google, Atlassian and Afterpay has joined forces to help position Australia as the startup capital of the world within 10 years.

The Tech Council of Australia has been formed by 24 leading companies with the goal of making it irresistible for tech startups to form and launch from Down Under.

That is one of three scalps the council is desperate to take in the next decade, while it also aims to employ one million people by 2025 and to grow the value of the tech industry to $250 billion by 2031.

While that may seem ambitious, the consortium of startup gurus involved in the council has all pulled off inconceivable feats in the industry.

The council’s board includes Atlassian co-founder Scott Farquhar, and Mina Radhakrishnan, who launched property management company :Different from her apartment in Darlinghurst five years ago.

:Different now employs 90 people and has eight offices around Australia.

Ms Radhakrishnan, a former employee in the US at Google and Uber, said Australia had unique potential as a startup hub.

“The Australian tech industry is nascent; it has incredible potential,” she told NCA NewsWire.

“Having worked in San Francisco and New York, I moved to Sydney in 2016 and we (co-founder Ruwin Perera) basically started :Different from the second bedroom in our apartment in Darlinghurst.

“We now employ 50 people full-time and 40 people part-time, globally. Our company is a full-service property management group that was inspired by my father-in-law.

“He had investment properties but was always paying massive agent fees and having property managers change on him regularly, sometimes with no notice.”

Mr Farquhar is an Australian billionaire who co-founded software company Atlassian with fellow Australian Mike Cannon-Brookes.

The council’s board also includes Anthony Eisen, co-founder of Australian buy now, pay later juggernaut Afterpay – which recently sold for a rumoured $A39 billion.

“In order to grow the sector, we need government, industry and its people swimming in the same direction,” Mr Farquhar said.

“I’m proud to be one of the first board members.”

In order to deliver on its promises, the Tech Council vows to support growth of, and investment in, Australia’s tech sector, generate more jobs, help develop regulation for new and emerging technologies and take on the responsibilities of not-for-profit organisation StartupAUS.

In addition to Google Australia, Afterpay and Atlassian, founding companies of the council include Microsoft Australia, Tyro, Airtasker and graphic design company Canva.

The council also released a report from Accenture on the Australian tech economy that found:

  • The Australian technology industry generates $167 billion annually and employs 861,000 Australians.
  • The tech sector generated 65,000 jobs during the pandemic, second only to retail.
  • 1 in 16 working Australians in the tech sector.
  • Australia’s technology sector has a diversity of company sizes, including 35,200 sole traders, 26,100 businesses with fewer than 20 employees, and just 100 large firms of 200+ employees.

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