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WA punches above its weight in Startup Muster Report

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Startup Muster 2023
// // After a 5-year break, the annual Startup Muster survey roared back into life offering insights, and not a little controversy...

Having been founded in 2013, the Startup Muster Report was (until 2018) an annual Australia-wide survey (1100+ startup founders, investors, advisers and ecosystem builders) that highlighted the challenges, trends and opportunities that lay within the startup sector.

After a five year break, the latest report was published last week, and not without some controversy, which we will come to later. Given its been five years, there were some major trends to showcase, that have occurred since the last report was published in 2018. The survey was completed by 1,106 people in July-August 2023: 585 of whom were founders, and 322 were ‘supporters’.

Main Takeaways

  • Advanced Manufacturing has risen from 4% of the sector (2018) to 12% (in 2023)
  • Greentech has grown from 5% to 14%
  • 56% of startups use AI
  • 24% of incubators are run by universities
  • 21% of founders say their decisions are driven by impact, 56% say from profit and impact equally
  • The average founder age is 46 (up from 41 in 2018)
  • Female founders represent 27% (up from 16% in 2014)
  • Diversity: 13% of founders come from low-SES background, 11% are persons of colour, 10% have a disability (either invisible or visible), 9% are neurodiverse and 5% LGBTQI+
  • 46% of founders have prior startup experience
  • 41% work a job outside the startup
  • 46% of founders’ “last startup” was still running, while 21% sold it “for an amount I’m happy with
  • 10% were in WA, while 55% were in NSW
  • 68% work from a home office (up from 55%), and 32% from co-working (down from 52%)
  • Subscriptions (SaaS) revenue was the largest revenue source (33%), with billable hours (12%) and e-commerce (8%) next
  • After Australia (80%), the next largest market was USA (12%), with USA leading the pack in terms of next market for expansion (60%)
  • Average size of the founding team was 2.2 (27% female), with 7.7 average number of employees (37% female)
  • AI performed tasks mostly in: content creation (36%), marketing (25%) and software development (24%)
WA punches above its weight in Startup Muster Report
Challenges: no surprise, ‘fundraising’ is the perpetual challenge for most. Image – Startup Muster 2023.

Western Australian orgs and people identified

The most recommended co-working spaces: 1st was Fishburners, however Spacecubed came in 5th, despite mainly operating in WA, albeit having opened their first space in western Sydney last year.

Most recommended mentors identified 18 individuals, with 3 from WA: Kylie Gerrard, Charlie Gunningham and Ian Brown. A controversy erupted on the first publication of the list, as it only contained men. Within 24 hours, a wider group was published, including a 50:50 mix of men and women.

When it came to most supportive politicians, our very own WA Innovation Minister Stephen Dawson came in 3rd, behind the federal minister Ed Husic and NSW Minister Victor Dominello. Remember, this was a national poll, which means a lot of WA startups cited our Minister as being particularly supportive.

West Tech Fest also got a mention in the most recommended events/festivals section, coming in 5th, with SouthStart taking out the top mention.

Considering WA only represented a tenth of the survey, these are encouraging results for WA. Are we being recognised on a national stage… finally?


You can download the Startup Muster report on their website.


Disclosure: Spacecubed is a sponsor of Startup News.

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Startup News has been the home of West Australian startup news and events since 2013. We publish several news stories, interviews, tips and events relating to WA startups every week, with over 1,900 articles in our archives. We also produce the 'Startup West' podcast, and host the 'Hubs (Ecosystem)' database of WA startup programs, places and events.
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