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The latest Startup Muster survey shows the opportunities, progress and challenges in Australia’s startup ecosystem


Startup Muster, the largest survey of Australian startups, completed their third annual survey was completed in 2016, and expanded so that not just startup founders could take part, but also people considering launching a startup, and businesses that support startups including accelerators, incubators, investors, mentors, educators, service providers and government.

2,711 responses were received the survey, and after extensive verification 685 scalable startups were left in the dataset, 239 future founders and 474 organisations that support startups, which have now been compiled into a free report at www.startupmuster.com.

“No person is an island, and startup founders are no different. The Startup Muster 2016 report provides the first comparisons between Australian founders and future Australian founders, as well as the people around them helping them succeed on their journeys,” said Monica Wulff, new CEO of Startup Muster.

“The Government is committed to helping our startups and small businesses continue to grow. As our economy transitions we need more jobs, opportunities to trade, and investment. The startup community is an essential tool to help us achieve that. While other sectors go through significant change, it’s our small businesses and startups that are hiring. That’s why it’s so important we continue to focus on innovation and understand how we can do better at turning our ideas into a reality.” – Hon. Arthur Sinodinos MP, Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science

What did this Startup Muster survey find out?

Some surprises this year include:

  • The most common hindrance to people launching startups is life circumstances requiring a stable income.
  • 47% of startups were started by people working part time, with 24.9% of founders currently holding a job outside their startup.
  • 3% of startups are using coworking.
  • 7% of startups have benefitted from corporate customers.
  • 1% of startups are based outside the largest city in each state, and 20.6% of supporters.
  • For the first time, fintech is the most common industry for startups, followed by retail, content, internet of things, education and marketing.
  • Of the 43% of startup supporters targeting specific criteria, 82.6% of them report a focus on B2B startups, but 58.1% of startups were B2B.
  • 5% of founders reported having one or more employee with equity or options for equity in our 2015 survey, while 80% reported having one or more in 2016, potentially a sign that government changes to employee option and share plans have made an impact.
  • 16% of founders reported having one or more employees on visas, half of which are on the 457 temporary skilled work visa.
  • 8% of startups outsourced work in the last year, with Australia being the primary country for this outsourced work for 70.2% of these startups.
  • The most common piece of advice founders have for future founders is to validate their idea before pursuing.