The annual Startup Musters statistics released today have revealed a surprise fall in the number of early-stage Australian startups for the first time since the survey began in 2013.
12.5% fewer startups were active in 2018 than in 2017, in a result compiled in collaboration with world-leading data analysis organisation Data61.
“This is an incredibly surprising result after 4 years of positive results, and a sign Australia could now be entering a post – #ideasboom age,” said Startup Muster Chair, Murray Hurps.
“We need a focus on supporting the creation of new startups, the talent pipelines to feed them, and the environment for them to succeed in.”
Hurps said that a burst of enthusiasm from government and support organisations had helped fuel the creation of a significant number of new tech startups, but that support and promotion of the startup ecosystem has waned.
AI overtaking fintech
The report also surprised with the news that that Artificial Intelligence has now become the top industry focus for Australian startups, with fintech dropping to number two.
“The proportion of Australian startups focused on AI has increased from 6% just two years ago, to 21% today. This result points to an increasingly strong argument for entrepreneurship as a way to take advantage of AI, rather than waiting to be displaced by it,” Hurps said.
Hurps said that it was disappointing to see a fall in the number of women founding their own startup businesses with the survey showing the first drop in the number of female founders since 2014.
“After multiple years of growth, the ratio of women founders has dropped from 25% to 22% in 2018. We have a significant cultural challenge in Australia, and we need to figure out ways of inspiring young Australians to be more entrepreneurial – particularly our young women,” Hurps said.