Advocates of Australia’s tech start-up sector have called on governments to do more to support the fledging industry.
A report from industry group StartupAUS warns Australia significantly lags behind other developed economies in investment in the sector.
Australia invested just $4.50 per capita in venture capital for start-ups in 2013, compared to $120 in Israel, $85 in the US, $20 in South Korea and $15 in the UK.
“Over the last two decades many countries have recognised that high-growth, technology-based businesses are important drivers of economic growth and a growing number of governments have responded by launching programs to systematically invest in the creation and support of high-growth companies,” the report says.
“Australia has not kept pace and has under-invested in catalysing and supporting its high-tech industries.”
StartupAUS’ report points to research commissioned by Google Australia which found the tech start-up sector could be worth more than $100 billion to the Australian economy, and make up four per cent of gross domestic product within 20 years.
StartupAUS is calling on governments to help create a suitable economic climate to foster growth in the sector, by increasing subsidies and reducing regulatory barriers.
It argues that while Australia has produced a string of highly successful tech start-up companies, including Freelancer and Atlassian in recent years, many entrepreneurs and businesses had to leave the country in search of success.
“We have witnessed a concerning trend for fast-growing Australian technology companies to leave Australia in search of talent, capital and more favourable regulatory environments.”
The report also argues a stronger tech sector would help diversify the Australia economy, relieving some of its reliance on the mining sector.