The Startup Muster Annual Report 2018 provides very useful market research to guide founders and their collaborators. This year’s is the best yet by Startup Muster with plenty of data to tweak start-up priorities, including start-up legals.

Startup Muster defines a startup as “an early stage business that has a large addressable market that utilises technology to capture that market quickly.” (Page 4). Well OK, I can work with that, but I’ll persist with a hyphen in the word start-up.

          1. The Startup Muster’s data is drawn from 777 verified start-up founders – page 4.

            Australian start-up trends and preferences

            Start-up commercialisation #chutzpah | In 1975, 46 years ago childhood friends Bill Gates and Paul Allen saw this January 1975 magazine at Harvard Square, tweets Tren Griffin today. Inspired, Micro-Soft was born on 4 April 1975, with its first product, Altair BASIC that started its BASIC product range.
            That first product was: (a) written with computer time from a timesharing service in Boston; (b) following an Altair guide and with no Altair available for testing; and (c) was offered for distribution to Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems (MITS) in March 1975 (based in Albuquerque, New Mexico) with no working or tested software yet done. It was finished by Allen on arrival at Albuquerque airport.

          2. There’s about 1,465 start-ups operating in Australia in 2018 – page 5.
          3. Of the 777 verified founders 17.5% are over 50 years of age – page 6.
          4. Founders report they have strong skills in general business operations (whopping 55.8%), project management (surprising 44.7%), strategy (can you believe it, 40.6%) software development (only a mere 23.7%), law (7.2%, that’s high!), content creation (only 5.9%), and HR (9.5%) – page 7.
          5. Founders benefit from many types of assistance, the top three are: mentorship (58.5%), coworking (50.2%), and legal assistance (40.6%) – page 12.
          6. Equity granted to employees is reported to exist in 2018 in 74% of start-ups – page 15.
          7. The most outsourced services are accounting (52.6%), followed by law (44.3%) – page 16.
          8. 85.2% of start-ups are in Eastern Standard Time regions of Queensland (20.8%), NSW (44%), ACT (4.2%), Victoria (14.4%) and Tasmania (1.8%) – page 17.
          9. The top revenue model relied on by start-ups is subscriptions (35%), followed by purchases from our website (10.2%) and then services billed by the hour (9.4%).
          10. In both 2018 and 2017 the market focus of start-ups was on mainly businesses (B2B) with 71.3%, software as a service (SaaS) with 45%, and mainly consumers with 33.3% – page 20.
          11. As to funds raised, leaving aside personal savings, family and friends top sources of funds include private equity in Australia (29%), R&D tax offset (27.6%) and accelerator or incubator investment (15.9%) – page 21. A surprising high percentage of 36.8% of start-ups report having received government grants – page 23.
          12. Despite the advantage of being media users, a remarkable number of start-ups say they need marketing-related support in the next six months. That’s the case whether you call it, as the report does, media exposure, social media exposure, web development – page 24. Looking in hindsight start-ups report the same, ie a screaming need for marketing – page 27.
          13. The most common recommendation by founders to new founders? Validate! – page 29.
          14. The number one online resource used and recommended by founders? YouTube – page 31.


Australia is swamped by US news sources due to its lack of a cultural and language filters, and the size of the US population and digital media and markets relative to Australia’s. It’s critical to have local perspectives as provided by a credible data source such as the Startup Muster.

I co-authored one of those local market overview reports back in 1995 for the Australian Film Commission as it was then known. The title was Multimedia Developments in Australia. Digital start-ups were then known to be in an Australian interactive multimedia industry. Terminology and technology times have changed, however as confirmed by the Startup Muster report most of the needs and issues remain constant.

Go download and study the full Startup Muster PDF. It has beautifully clear graphics. I can assure you it will help whatever your position in business may be.

Image credit: A visualisation (creator not known) inspired by a 2005 talk by Paul Graham, see How to Start a Startup

Contact us with any questions or requests.

Noric Dilanchian