Australia may be known for its laid-back outlook on life, but that hasn't dampened the country's entrepreneurial aptitude, creating exciting opportunities for workers looking to take the plunge into the start-up world.
Industries from finance to recruitment and food are all prime for disruption by young upstarts, according to a new list from LinkedIn, which has ranked the country's most appealing start-ups of 2018. But, it's graphic design innovation that has proved the most successful this year, bumping Sydney-based Canva to the top of the list after six years of rapid growth.
To be considered for this year's list, companies needed to be privately held, seven years old or younger and have 50 or more employees. LinkedIn then looked at the activity of its more than 500 million users to factor in employee growth, job seeker interest and engagement with the company on the platform, as well as how well the upstarts were able to attract talent away from the established players on LinkedIn's Top Companies list.
Read on for the full list of the 25 most attractive start-ups in Australia.
25. Employment Hero
Global headcount: 115
Sydney-based start-up Employment Hero launched in 2012 to help small and medium-sized businesses manage their HR, payroll and benefits packages through its free, cloud-based platform. Now, the young business is increasingly focusing on employees and helping them make the most of their work life.
Global headcount: 60
Three-year-old Viridian Advisory is an investment management company headquartered in Melbourne. According to its LinkedIn page, the business is built on the principles of "accountability, results, risk management and cash flow."
Global headcount: 90
Lexvoco is a legal services firm that helps in-house lawyers and their legal teams improve their operations and technology capabilities — for instance, by assisting with app development and arranging secondment placements. The young company has sought to turn a famously traditional industry on its head by cutting dress codes, set office hours and billable hour targets.
Global headcount: 65
Melbourne-headquartered Sidekicker is an on-demand temporary staffing platform. Each month, 11,000 "sidekicks" complete 10,000 jobs across Australia and New Zealand for companies such as Uber, News Corp and Rydges. The company also has offices in Brisbane, Perth, Sydney and Auckland, New Zealand.
21. KBSS Engineering
Global headcount: 70
Based in the small city of Karratha, construction company KBSS Engineering was started in 2012 by its then-24-year-old founder to provide engineering services in the mining, oil, gas and marine sectors across Western Australia. It has since worked on projects as far afield as Vietnam and Venezuela and is involved in employment schemes with local indigenous communities in Australia.
Global headcount: 362
Six-year-old online loan broker Lendi has experienced a recent surge in employment, employing 287 of its 362 staff in the last 12 months. To ensure staff feel at home when they join the fast-growing business, the company provides them with a questionnaire in advance and greets them on their first day to their favorite drink and treat and a gift voucher relating to their preferred hobby.
Global headcount: 105
Virtual law firm LegalVision Australia was founded in 2012 to shake up the traditional legal services industry. In an effort to make legal advice more accessible, the company requires each staff member to spend one day a month producing advice, tips and insights for its website.
18. e&e Solutions
Global headcount: 85
Advisory firm e&e Solutions works on a variety of business and technology projects, from overhauling an airline's group bookings system, to setting up a 4G system of sensors on a $25 billion gas project. Based in Brisbane, the young business also has offices in Melbourne and Sydney.
Global headcount: 120
Six-year-old online workforce platform Tanda helps companies integrate rostering, timesheets and payroll systems. The business was inspired by a trip by the companies' founders to an on-campus bar, where they attempted to come up with a better system for the pub's timesheets.
Global headcount: 136
Adelaide-headquartered PrimeQ is a consultancy business specializing in Oracle computing systems across Australia and New Zealand. Having grown steadily since launch in 2015, the company hopes to get to 200 staff by the year end.
Global headcount: 135
Online gambling platform Neds has grown rapidly since its launch last year. It is the latest pet project from serial entrepreneur and ex-Ladbrokes Australia CEO Dean Shannon.
14. Mad Paws
Global headcount: 33
Sydney-based Mad Paws is looking out for Australia's furry friends by linking up pet owners with more than 15,000 vetted, active pet sitters.The company recently received a cash injection from Qantas, with the airline believing the alliance could benefit travelers who have to leave their pets at home.
Global headcount: 150
Formerly known as Ridley, this young architecture firm has built a niche out of designing digital buildings. Their projects have included transforming heritage buildings to creating sensor systems to make buildings function better. The business is a big fan of self-improvement, and supplies each new starter with a book the management believes echoes or has influenced the company.
Global headcount: 179
First launched in a garage in Brisbane, e-learning business GO1 has come a long way in the three years since it was founded by a former United Nations youth representative and a medical student. The platform's courses focus on equal opportunity, diversity, privacy and social media training.
Global headcount: 55
Melbourne-headquartered design company Today has undertaken major projects like the domestic installation of Australia's national broadband network. The business puts a heavy emphasis on charitable projects, having donated 5 percent of revenue to charity in its first five years.
Global headcount: 60
Programmatic marketing platform Bench uses data and AI to plan and execute campaigns for global companies such as Marriott, UTS and 20th Century Fox.
Global headcount: 130
Launched in 2014 as PromisePay, the company started by facilitating payments for online marketplaces. Four years later, it has transformed itself into a payment platform for banks and more than doubled its headcount.
Global headcount: 501
Meal kit delivery service Youfoodz says it saves the average customer 15 hours a week in shopping, cooking and cleaning. The brand gained extra prominence this year after partnering with Australian reality TV show "The Block," whose contestants used the kits for their meals.
Global headcount: 221
Founded by National Austalia Bank executives, the cloud consultancy firm has attracted talent from top firms including Optus, Australia Post, KPMG and Sydney Water. The business's more than 200 employees are split between its two offices in Sydney and Melbourne.
Global headcount: 120
Online lender Prospa specializes in fast loans for small businesses. It has so far delivered more than $500 million to around 12,000 small businesses. The award-winning seven-year-old firm has 120 employees based in its Sydney headquarters.
Global headcount: 100
Outsourcing specialist Airtasker has connected painters, cleaners and gardeners with 1.6 million customers since the company's founding in 2012. The most popular task ever offered was from mattress company Koala, which sought — for research purposes — someone for a $1,000 sleeping gig.
Global headcount: 84
Founded by a pair of childhood friends, online bedding retailer Koala aims to help its customers sleep easy with its high-quality, environmentally responsible mattresses. The young start-up has partnered with charities to provide a donation for every mattress sold.
Global headcount: 78
Two-year-old Escient aims to make the management consultancy industry more forward-thinking, encouraging more two-way discussion between clients and advisors. It reflects that partnership philosophy in its company structure, allowing all staff access to an employee share plan where they can become a part owner in the company.
Global headcount: 68
Online freelance marketplace Expert360 has a database of more than 19,000 workers and more than 400 firms, ranging from boutique small businesses to corporate heavyweights like Testra and Woolworths. Expert360's international outlook means that more than a quarter of its staff are from outside Australia.
Global headcount: 300
Graphic design platform Canva has had a stellar 2018 so far, achieving unicorn status in January — a title given to start-ups valued over $1 billion — and then ranking as the Australia's top young business. In its six years since launch, the Sydney-based tech company has amassed a global following and now churns out 13 designs per second, produced by 10 million users in 190 countries and 100 languages.
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