Cybersecurity is high on the list of many executive boards, according to CSIRO and JobsNSW chair David Thodey, who believes a key solution to combating the problem is for startups and enterprises to collaborate. "Enterprises are struggling to keep up with this topic. We're all in the same boat, and so we don't have an option but to collaborate," he said. Speaking at the National Fintech Cyber Security Summit in Sydney on Tuesday, Thodey said cybersecurity is a whole-of-industry problem that needs to be solved; otherwise, the price companies will have to pay may be detrimental. Look at what happens when a network goes down: You could lose everything good you've done, and if you're a small startup your reputation is just as important as a big corporation, so this is really important," he said.
AustCyber, the organisation charged with growing a local cybersecurity ecosystem, will be merging with innovation hub Stone and Chalk, with the two non-profits hoping to boost Australia's domestic industrial capability in critical and emerging technologies. The plan is to provide startups and scale-ups with "enhanced access to domestic and international customers, talent, and expertise together with the right sources of capital". The organisations said this will accelerate the growth and maturity of the companies involved, while also creating new and highly-skilled jobs for Australians. AustCyber, headed by Michelle Price, will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Stone & Chalk, but it will retain its standalone brand, staffing structure, and national network of Cyber Security Innovation Nodes. AustCyber will also continue to operate as one of the Australian government's Industry Growth Centres.
It's no secret that Australia is behind the pace in regard to startups. We're only eighth in the world when it comes to startups focused on cybersecurity. That might not sound too bad, given that Australia's population of 24 million is significantly less than most other high-tech nations, and we're only the 15th largest economy in the world. And there's another big gap between Israel and what can at best be called "the rest". As Richard Stiennon, chief research analyst with IT-Harvest, reportedly said in Sydney on Tuesday, Australia has fewer cybersecurity vendors than his home state of Michigan.
The Victorian government's LaunchVic has chipped in AU$1.16 million to help four new angel groups establish their operations. The state government touted the support would help the angel groups -- Working Theory Angels, Angle Partners, Innovation Bay Angel Network, and Archangel Ventures -- assist over more than 40 early-stage startups secure seed investment. "This funding provides a genuine opportunity for startups at a time when obtaining seed investment is even more challenging," Minister for Jobs, Innovation and Trade Martin Pakula said. "We want to support startups that have high-growth potential, so they can scale and become the next Airwallex, Culture Amp or Judo Bank." The angel groups were chosen through a LaunchVic expression of interest process seeking Victorian-based angel network proposals.
Imagine a sunny beach full of fintech entrepreneurs and bitcoin enthusiasts. Visiting colleagues from Singapore, India and China sit sprawled across the soft sand, commenting on how this coastal city became one of the world's leading startup hubs. According to the KPMG report Scaling the Fintech Opportunity: For Sydney and Australia, there are now at least 579 fintech companies based in Australia. Most are in Sydney, where financial services pull in a larger percentage of the country's GDP than finance in Hong Kong or Singapore. Investors poured $675 million into Australian fintech in 2016, even though global fintech investment was down.