Some of the best-known startups and small businesses originate from Australia. The country has a reputation for its unique startup ecosystem.

It doesn’t come as a surprise that it has produced the leading tech unicorns in the last 5 years. As we speak, Australia hosts even 832 private startup firms, many of which worth more than $1 billion.

Let’s check out the impressive Australian unicorns.

Canva

The first of these Australian unicorns is Canva. The company has been around since 2012, and it took it only a couple of years to be classified as a unicorn. We’ve all used it at some point, but not that many people know it is located in Sydney Surrey Hills. 

The original idea belongs to Melanie Perkins, who was only 19 at the time. She was studying at Perth but also teaching design programs to other students to ensure extra cash. She founded the company with her partner Cliff Obrecht. A few years later, ownership was also shared with co-founder Tasmanian software expert Cameron Adams. How inspirational for all training providers!

Not that many successful startups specialize in design. Canva is unique, as it offers both free and paid templates and plenty of great functionalities. Australia can be proud of the online design tool. It is not that often that a private company grows as fast as Canva did.

The value jumped in 2021. The online design tool got to a $40 billion valuation from only $6 billion. However, nonofficial information reports that the value has declined to $26 billion in 2022.

Airwallex

Airwallex is another master of the digital revolution. It is the tool that brings businesses to the online world and expands their reach globally. 

The purpose of this enterprise software is simple. It lets businesses operate wherever and whenever they want, without restrictions. In such a manner, it propels the growth of the global economy. Not every private company can brag about something like that!

No wonder small business customers turned to it so quickly! The global trade finance platform has multiple useful functionalities. It supports an international payment network. Also, it enables a financial ecosystem for asset and digital currency trading. It is an all-in-one solution to receive money internationally.

The initial idea belongs to Jack Zhang and Max Li. The couple was trying to start their own business with a coffee shop but soon realized this was not easy. They were burdened with administration and high exchange rates and wanted to solve this problem for everyone else.

The Melbourne-based business has a net worth of US $100 million and grows at a stable pace. And yet, the instability of private equity valuations affected many successful startups. This Fintech, for instance, didn’t report any growth since November 2021.

What the company managed well is to expand internationally. It created dozens of offices worldwide and operates in China, Europe, and North America. It is amazing how well-accepted it was in the leading e-commerce markets: USA and UK.

If we add the valuations of all offices (including Headquarters Hong Kong), the international payments network is worth $5.5 billion.

SafetyCulture

SafetyCulture also belongs to unicorn companies dealing with technology. It is an employee analytics platform worshiped by leaders and their teams. It enables observation at scale – leaders know what is happening, and employees get a say in how something is done. It improves the safety and efficiency of the working place, and teams love using it. 

SafetyCulture was developed in a garage in Townsville when a couple of students decided to start their own business. The idea was to focus on safety, and they would never have guessed how successful it will be. The platform was even promoted on reality TV The Block! 

So far, over 100 million inspections were conducted with this app. With full access, you can use it to collect data, draft reports, streamline operations, and more.

Culture Amp

While on it, here comes another extremely successful employee analytics platform. Unlike SafetyCulture, Culture Amp focuses on analytics and staff statistics. It was founded in 2011 in Richmond, and it is currently worth over $2 billion. Seems like the COVID-19 pandemic only enhanced its growth – the numbers are raising as we speak. 

As an employer, you can use Culture Amp to conduct surveys among employees, and use data to improve working culture. It is a great tool for human resources, and performance management, and it is recommended by many leading companies. For instance, the tool is being used by Mcdonald’s and Airbnb.

Linktree

Linktree was founded by brothers Anthony and Alex Zaccaria in 2016. Later on, co-founder Nich Humphreys joined the team. The idea was inspired by the administrative hurdle of running a digital agency.

The team wanted to improve access for their clients and manage better their social media. Regardless of how bio updates sounded in the past, Linktree used this simple idea to make billions of dollars. At the moment, they are the leading social media startup in Australia worth $1.7 billion. The biggest support came from the Aussie social media group which invested $150 million in this idea.

Thanks to Linktree, thousands of brands, agencies, and publishers stay in control of their online presence. They have almost 25 million users around the world.

Pet Circle

Sometimes, it takes an idea way simpler than a dynamic content-driven platform to conquer the market. Pet Circle played with emotions and reached out to pet owners all over Australia. Would you also like the best products for your pets at a lower price? Pet Circle can make this true!

Unicorn companies Pet Circle specialize in all sorts of pet products. They offer food, toys, treats, and medication. They operate entirely online, and with customers who have a subscription. 

Their breakthrough happened almost overnight. In only 2 years, the boosted puppy and kitten food sales for entire 50%. On average, an Australian pet owner spends $1,000 per year on their products.

To make matters even better, platform experts offer tips for pet care to their loyal customers.

Immutable

This NFT startup followed the trend of the best unicorn companies and got a valuation of $2.5 billion in only a couple of years. The latest funding it received was the largest one – an incredible $200 million! 

Immutable offers global blockchain technology and leverages the capacity of immutable NFTs. It takes both commerce and ownership straight to the digital world. The group consists of Immutable Games Studio and Etherium-scaling Layer 2 platform Immutable X. 

The leading titles of the platforms are Guild of Guardians and Guild Unchained.

Several names signed on this idea: Robbie Ferguson, James Ferguson, and Alex Connolly. They created the unicorn companies in 2018 in Sydney.

The young startup now employs 165 people, which makes it the fastest-growing unicorn in Australia. As they report, they are planning to hire 200 additional employees in 2023, mostly for their sales and marketing department. Funds should be repurposed to expand the platform into innovative verticals and to obtain new partnerships.

GO1

GO1 is also specialized in human resources. It helps leaders optimize the potential of their team, conduct on demand training, and improve content.

This enterprise software also came to be in a garage. Its original purpose was web development, but as it turned out, it was capable of much more. In 2015, it was even accepted by the prominent Y-Combinator accelerator and opened offices around the globe. The dynamic content-driven platform is now present in South Africa, USA, UK; Malaysia, and Vietnam.

The platform has a strong focus on corporate training and demand training. In a similar fashion to other unicorn companies, it covers a wide range of regions and industries. So far, thousands of companies have used its potential to inspire and reinvent learning.

Judo Bank

Judo Bank (or Judo Capital) gathered some of the top investments in Australia. In 2018, it got $140 million from both international and Australian investors, which raised its value to $1.9 billion. As Ironbridge Capital reports, the company increased by almost 60% during the Covid pandemic.

Rather than an international payments network, Judo Bank is an Aussie challenger bank, and it is unique of its kind. There is no local bank account, and everything happens digitally. Distance and location are completely irrelevant.

The venture capital arm belongs to the well-known family Myer. It was created by NAB banker Joseph Healy and co-founder David Hornery. Both founders have created dozens of successful projects.

Zip Co

Zip was founded in 2013 by Diamond and co-founder Peter Gray. Nowadays, it has 1.3 million customers, and it can brag with over 14,000 major merchant retailers. The list even includes Chemist Warehouse and Bunnings. 

This Fintech is Australia’s finest. It is a global leader in public limited financial technology. It lets you buy immediately but pay later, in the form of a seamless solution. Companies use it to simplify their payment procedures and attract more customers in such a way.

Conclusion

According to 2022 reports, Canva is the most successful Australian unicorn so far. Australia has 10 private companies valued at over $1 billion (unicorns), which makes it one of the leaders worldwide.

If you liked this article about Australian unicorns, you should check out this one with Canadian unicorns.

Author

I'm the manager behind the Upcut Studio team. I've been involved in content marketing for quite a few years helping startups grow.