Aus startup funding up to $10B, WA only $50M

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WA private funding
WA is responsible for only 1% of total startup private funding in Australia. Image - Canva

Total startup funding in Australia grew to more than $10B for the first time last financial year, up 64% on the previous year, according to Techboard’s latest annual funding report.

The FY21 result shows VC and private investment in early stage tech companies was $4.2B (+26.6%), but only $50M of this was to WA-based companies, or just over 1% of the total across the country.

Debt finance was the fastest growing – and is now an emerging – funding source with $1.1B in the land, up 149% on the FY20 year.

Public funding (raising money on the ASX) grew to $2.6B, up from $1.6B. Grants, awards and equity crowd-funding also saw strong growth in FY21.

Most states recorded increases in funding, with NSW taking the lion’s share of the funding pie at $4.7B (437 funding events, average size $10M per raise). Victoria was second with $3.8B across 264 events (average $14M), meaning the two largest states took 85% of all funding for early-stage businesses in the country. By population, NSW and Vic are 56% of the country.

Funding into early-stage companies, FY21, by State

Source: Techboard

WA – if you count all public ASX funding, which takes the vast majority (83%) – saw its funding rise to $429M (166 events, average $2.5M).

CEO of Techboard, Peter van Bruchem, commented that although there was more funding to early-stage tech in WA, relative to other states there was “little to celebrate”, with WA’s proportion of total funding on the decline.

Peter van Bruchem, Techboard

“A large proportion of the ASX funding went to canntech company Little Green Pharma which raised almost $50m over the year. Other companies with substantial raises include Familyzone $43m, Recce Pharmaceuticals $28m, FBR $16m, MGC Pharmaceuticals $12M, Nuheara $11.5m, Painchek $10m and others… of the 26 investments of $5m or over, only 2 were for private investments Artrya $15m and Vitruvian $7.75m.

“On its face, the increases in funding WA look very positive. A doubling of overall funding and also of private or VC investment is of course good news. But there is little to celebrate when WA’s proportion of national startup funding has in fact been dropping.

We recently analysed our data over last four years for the recent Female Founder Funding Report and comparing that to the latest results we can see that WA’s proportion of overall funding fell from a low 4.8% to 4.2 % and our proportion of VC funding dropped from 1.66% to 1.2%.

Serious action is required to avoid WA being left behind and our kids missing out on the opportunities available elsewhere in Australia.

Peter van Bruchem

Funding Distribution in WA, %, FY21 – ASX dominates

Source: Techboard

Gender

Techboard now report on ‘sole female founded’ and ‘females among the founders’ companies. Only 3.9% of funding (down from 6.2% the year before) across the country went to sole female founders, and 29% of funded teams had at least one female (which was down from 44% in FY20).

So female founders have a tougher job getting funded, and in the last year, it got worse.

One WA team was among the top 10 funded seed rounds in FY21: Vitruvian, who raised $7.75M, which was the 6th largest seed round. All 10 had all male founders bar one, Carted, who had a mixed team.

Biotech business Artyra raised $15M and made it into the top 10 largest Series A rounds, in 10th place. All 10 had all male founders.

No WA companies were in the top Series B rounds.

The most active investors, by deal value, in the country were: Insight Partners ($381M, 3 deals), Airtree Ventures ($337M, 16 deals) and Blackbird VC ($292M, 12 deals).

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For more on this and to read the reports, visit Techboard.