WA tech firms raised $295m

13/09/2018 - 15:54

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Western Australian startups and ‘young’ tech companies raised $295 million last financial year, which was 8.3 per cent of the amount raised nationally, a new report has found.

WA tech firms raised $295m
Peter van Bruchem said the report provides increased transparency. Photo: Gabriel Oliveira

Western Australian startups and ‘young’ tech companies raised $295 million last financial year, which was 8.3 per cent of the amount raised nationally, a new report has found.

Nationally, there were 736 funding events by Australian startups and young tech companies totalling just over $3.5 billion, according to Perth-based Techboard.

Its first annual funding report found the main source of money, both nationally and in WA, was public funding via the stock market.

However, public markets were much more significant in WA, where they accounted for 65 per cent of total fundraising, whereas nationally it was about one third.

The report said this made WA much more susceptible to market fluctuations, which had a lower impact on the deployment of already committed capital by venture capital managers.

Very low levels of private investment were reported in WA, with a total of $46.9 million coming from venture capital, angel investors and accelerators.

The report noted that WA was yet to see any real benefit from record levels of money raised by Australia’s large venture capital funds.

Most of the ‘VC’ funding in WA came from corporates, corporate advisory firms and unidentified individuals, rather than actual VC funds.

WA recorded twice the national average of angel investment as a percentage of funding and 17.4 per cent of recorded angel/seed and accelerator funding.

Techboard assembled the data from multiple sources, including its directory of more than 2,800 startups and young tech companies (younger than 10 years).

The largest funding event in WA was a $35 million placement into ASX-listed FBR (formerly Fastbrick Robotics).

The Techboard report also included a $21.5 milion placement by ASX-listed Brainchip, which originated in Perth, where inventor and founder Peter van der Made was based.

However, all R&D and the bulk of spend for the company now appears to be offshore with no technical staff located in Australia.

Another big contributor to the total was blockchain business Power Ledger, which raised $34 million through an initial coin offering.

The largest IPO was for The Data Exchange Network, which raised $16 million ahead of its ASX listing.

Aside from these larger events, most funding events in WA fell under $10 million with the bulk below $5 million.

When compared to other states, funding in WA was ahead of the national average (on a per capita basis) for Q1 and in Q2 before falling to half the national average in Q3 with a slight comparative recovery in Q4.

The most significant sector in WA by value was fintech/crypto with $51.8 million, or 17 per cent of all funds raised.

A large part of this funding went to Power Ledger ($34 million) and Bitcar ($8.6 million).

Techboard chief executive Peter van Bruchem the visibility and transparency of funding events is important to the growth of Australian startups and tech companies.

"The metric operates as short term indicator of growth potential or success prospects of startups and tech companies and can serve as a barometer of near-term progress of the sector,” he said.

“The Techboard team has been working hard to capture as many funding events as possible. We are very pleased to be getting increased support from the sector which is seeing the visibility and transparency of startup and tech funding and revealing funding events that had not otherwise been publicly disclosed.”


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