Sydney-based coworking community Fishburners last week unveiled the Idea Space, a newly renovated floor in its building dedicated to helping startups brainstorm, collaborate and push their ideas forward at a time when Australia is shifting its focus from the mining boom to the tech boom.
Fishburners was named after one of the ships in the First Fleet and founded by Peter Davidson and Mike Casey in 2011. The building is nestled between ABC, UTS, and TAFE buildings on Harris St in Ultimo, a street populated by more startups than any other around Australia. Fast forward four years and Fishburners is now the biggest coworking space in Australia, housing over 120 startups and more than 200 entrepreneurs. In January alone, the space on-boarded 41 members, and currently has a weekly foot traffic rate of 400.
The new Idea Space was originally a garage and was renovated completely with sponsorship support from Google Australia. AdMuncher founder Murray Hurps who currently oversees Fishburners said the move is reminiscent of Google’s early days, which “started off as two people working out of a garage not unlike the Fishburners garage, and now employs over 900 engineers and others in Sydney, and thousands more worldwide.”
“Google is working with Optus, News Corp, PwC, Xero, Amazon and BigAir to make Australia’s largest startup space possible. We’re honoured and grateful to have their support.”
With all four floors of the building filled with productive startup space, Fishburners is now looking to expand into other areas.
Hurps said the tech startup industry is ‘accelerating in an exciting way’, noting that the ASX only had 14 mining IPOs last year, and is expecting fewer this year.
“This should be truly terrifying, and points to a clear need to develop Australia’s next big export,” said Hurps.
“I grew up with Australia being the clever country. That’s been forgotten for a while, but I’m glad to see it making a resurgence in startup spaces around the country.”
Australia’s tech sector i’s worth over $100 billion and about 5 percent of Australia’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product). There are 41 companies listed on the ASX with a market capitalisation of more than $100 million, and 54 companies exceed $50 million in market capitalisation.
However, there is opportunity to double this number in the next five years, and Idea Space wants to foster this industry growth.