Local Tech Series: Sydney, Australia
Tech hubs can be like gardens — sometimes they explode into jungles all on their own and sometimes they need someone to create the ideal environment in which to take root. In 2015, New South Wales Premier, Mike Baird, announced that Australia’s Industrial Bays Precinct was next in line to become one such environment — turning a formerly disused area into an established support base for tech startups, incubators and accelerators. With Sydney-based Atlassian already a major player in the industry, it was probably never too farfetched to imagine the area turning into a globally recognized tech hub, and it only took a couple of years for the Industrial Bays Precinct to earn it’s Silicon wings.
Docking in Silicon Harbor
…or maybe oars is more appropriate.
Silicon Harbor is Sydney’s response to the ever-growing network of Silicon tech hubs and, by carefully observing its predecessors, puts a lot of emphasis on collaboration. So much so that Piivot, a creative hub within the larger Sydney tech hub, focuses on just that — providing visibility to the proverbial ships in the proverbial harbor. Sydney-based companies span everything from online retail to graphic design, and while I can’t dive into every company in the harbor, here are just a handful to get you started.
Via Atlassian Facebook page
What: Software development and collaboration
How: Atlassian is the poster child for Sydney Success Stories and is often one of the first names to come up when talking about Australian tech companies. The software development company found its start 15 years ago and now offers a wide of array of well-known platforms (JIRA anyone?), and while Atlassian’s focus is definitely centered on creating useful, quality products, that’s not all they bring to the table. The company is also an incredible knowledge source when it comes to working as a team and as a company, and even offers The Atlassian Team Playbook as a ‘no bullshit guide to unleashing your team’s potential’.
Something Cool: The idea of ‘limits’ seems completely lost on Atlassian. To date, Atlassian software has helped to create two different robots and is present on two different planets, making it a universally adopted platform. Literally.
Via Siteminder Facebook page
What: Hospitality management
How: You probably don’t know this, but I have a bit of a soft spot when it comes to hospitality management. Although to be honest, ‘hospitality management’ is a bit of an understatement when it comes to describing SiteMinder. This platform works as full-service hospitality system, starting from the very beginning of the process by helping companies attract the right audience, all the way to the end — converting that audience into paying guests.
Something Cool: SiteMinder started out as a two-person operation working out of a rental home. Nine years later, they became the first Australian tech company to be backed by Technology Crossover Ventures, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm. So not only are they turning the startup dream into a reality, but they’re setting records too.
Via Canva Facebook page
What: Graphic design
How: Stimulating, visually pleasing graphics go a lot farther than most people think. Oftentimes, customers associate a quality website with a quality product, the instinct being that the talent and skill present in one area translates to others. Luckily, the tools for creating great graphics are a lot closer than you may think — enter Canva. Canva is a virtual toolbox of graphic design tools, and works at getting you past all those technical roadblocks in order to turn ideas into realities. They even provide access to design articles and interactive tutorials through their Design School.
Something Cool: While you can definitely use Canva for all sorts of purposes, the company gives special attention to using the platform for business. They’ve even incorporated a brand kit functionality, a tool that lets you upload any company assets and define stylistic elements like fonts and colors, making it easier than ever to create consistently on-brand graphics.
Via REFFIND Facebook page
What: Employee engagement
How: Every company starts with an idea, but every successful company recognizes that it takes more than an idea to be successful. REFFIND works to support one of the most important aspects of every organization — its employee base. Engaged employees tend to be happier, work harder and contribute more towards the overall growth of their company, so it’s easy to see why employee appreciation and open channels of communication should always be a priority.
Something Cool: Gamification. REFFIND’s WooBoard is an interactive employee recognition and award tool designed to not only encourage employees to deliver outstanding work, but to recognize when their team members are outstanding as well. While there is a points system involved, and prizes to be won, the basis of the tool is to award points through recognition, achievement and team support, improving employee relationships with not just upper management, but with each other as well.
A Sea of Opportunity
Silicon Harbor may be one of the newer tech hubs in the industry, but with 64% of Australia’s startups headquartered in Sydney, the hub shows no signs of slowing down. Not only is Sydney hailed as a great place to live, but the city also happens to share time zones with the west coast US states as well as Asia, a helpful aspect when conducting business with overseas companies.
Who else deserves some Silicon Harbor recognition? Let us know!
Photo courtesy of Flikr user Steve Arnold