Inside Look


Tuesday January 19 2021

8 Australian Startups Tipped for a Massive 2018


Written by Alex Holderness

January 31, 2018

noun: startup
the action or process of setting something in motion.

The term “startup” has been bandied around with increasing frequency over the past few years to describe everything from scrappy garage based ventures and hip social apps to colossal tech companies.

Right here in Australia there are hundreds, if not thousands of startups, be they solo operators in their mum’s lounge or big teams securing large-scale series A funding rounds.  

Understandably not all of these ventures succeed. The very nature of running a start means the odds are against you. In fact, HuffPost recently reported that a staggering 95% of all startups fail..

So how can we help more succeed? Well, giving a shout-out and a pat on the back to those startups who deserve it is as good a place as any to start – show us a small business that wouldn’t benefit from a little bit of exposure! So that’s exactly what we’ve done.

The depth of the Australian tech scene is greater than many might imagine, as demonstrated by our recent article featuring 100 growing tech companies to watch down under.

Today we’re focusing on those firmly in the startup category. We’ve picked eight up-and-comers that have enjoyed a spectacular start to 2018, indicating this could be their biggest year yet, both in terms of growth and business achievements.

Expect to hear a lot more from these companies as they all show signs of being Australia’s next great tech startup story. So, without further ado, let’s knuckle down and get to know them…

Power Ledger

Perth based blockchain company Power Ledger rounded out 2017 in style. They raised $17 million in a pre-sale ICO in September, after 190 million Power Ledger tokens — called POWRs — were snapped up in just 72 hours by buyers on the Ethereum cryptocurrency network.

The Perth-based energy trading startup then followed with an additional $34 million via an initial coin offering (ICO), making it one of the most significant raises by an Australian startup for this alternative mode of financing.

To kick off 2018 Power Ledger were named as one of three finalists in the 2018 Extreme Tech Challenge (XTC), and will appear at Richard Branson’s Necker Island later this year.


Within the first two weeks of the new year, Australia welcomed a new unicorn to the most exclusive club in tech.

Surrey Hills-based design platform Canva are the shining example of the entrepreneur’s dream. Launched in 2012, the startup is already worth no less than $1 billion.

In this post co-founder Mel Perkins said that the company is yet to hit its straps, stating “70% of our product team have been working on a project for over a year that hasn’t yet launched, so we have some very, very large long-term bets in the works.”


It’s been a big first three years in market for Sydney-based Splend. Australia’s largest car rental provider landed a partnership with Uber in early 2017 for ride sharing drivers.

Just last month the company raised $220 million in debt financing from the world’s largest fleet management business, on top of a $7.2 million cash injection.

The business lets anyone generate an income by driving for Uber, even if they don’t own a car. They currently own and manage 1700 vehicles throughout Australian capital cities, Toronto, Mexico City and London and this new funding has been earmarked to help expand the fleet to 15,000. With Uber competitor apps such as Taxify launching in Sydney to grow the ride sharing economy, Splend find themselves perfectly poised to take advantage.  

OVO Mobile

Another Sydney-based startup, OVO Mobile is a virtual mobile provider launched in 2016. They sell mobile services over Optus’ 4G network.

They hit headlines last month for offering a massive 100GB data allowance for $100 in a move motivated by the countless disgruntled users of the NBN.

The company recently saw Southern Cross Austereo (SCA) take a $5m equity stake in both OVO Mobile and its expanding digital broadcasting platform, OVOPlay.

In addition, 7-Eleven and Australia Post will now sell OVO SIM Cards, enabling the launch of a bricks and mortar strategy countrywide.


Melbourne-based startup CanYa is the second blockchain-based company to feature on the list.

CanYa has completed Australia’s second-largest initial coin offering (ICO), raising $12 million on the Ethereum cryptocurrency platform over a 30-day period via a crowdsale of its CAN tokens.

The CanYaCoin ICO is only the beginning for this ambitious Australian technology company. The startup is now well on its way to becoming the first ever decentralised autonomous organisation for peer-to-peer (P2P) services, where consumers can engage directly with providers looking to both make payments and be paid through cryptocurrencies.

“Built for a decentralised future, CanYa seeks to disrupt the $2tn global services economy by creating a peer-to-peer marketplace of services for digital nomads to work in their own time, on their own terms,” said CanYa CEO & co-founder, John-Paul Thorbjornsen.

Hyper Anna

Hyper Anna is your personal AI-powered data analyst founded by Natalie Nguyen and Sam Zheng in Sydney. Hyper Anna helps organisations get closer to their data by serving up curated insights to their employees.

The startup combines artificial intelligence with fintech in its virtual data scientist avatar ‘Anna’, who answers questions about business performance and analyses data. Anna will write the codes, produce the charts, and present you with actionable insights.

The startup recently closed an impressive $16 million Series A funding round led by venture capital giant Sequoia China, with the funding earmarked to fuel the startup’s international expansion.

Hyper Anna already counts Westpac and general insurer IAG as two of its early customers.


Melbourne startup Weploy have been building an on-demand recruitment platform that’s aiming to be the fastest and simplest solution for people to find work. The platform connects businesses looking for temporary office support staff with pre-vetted people looking for great work experience.

Since launching in April 2017 the team already boasts over 30 employees. In addition to that, within the first year in the market the company raised $1 million and have snagged huge hires from companies including LinkedIn and Slack.


Sydney-based Jayride allows you to search and compare thousands of shared shuttle and private transfer companies.

Over the last 12 months pretty much doubled their headcount to over 60 employees. After securing a cool $8 million funding the company started the year with its debut as a public company, listing on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) after an oversubscribed $1.5 million initial public offering (IPO) in December last year.

This follows a series of raises completed by Jayride in 2017, locking in a $1.5 million raise in May and $8 million in funding in September, at which point founder Rod Bishop told StartupSmart that the company was “working fast towards an IPO”.


Written by Alex Holderness

January 31, 2018

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