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How Australia’s top internet companies compete globally

Tuesday, 1 July 2014 | By Bronwen Clune

With much news around about the lack of support for Australian startups, a new global survey sheds light on how globally competitive Australian startups can be.


According to the recent World Startup Report on the “internet hall of fame”, Australia’s top three internet companies by valuation are REA at $6.6 billion, followed by SEEK at $5.3 billion and Atlassian at $3.3 billion.


This puts Australia at eighth place in the valuation of its top companies, across 50 countries, behind the US, China, South Africa, Korea, Japan, Russia and Israel.


Only 29 countries have “billion dollar” companies, and Google’s valuation alone is higher than the combined valuation of the remaining 49 countries (outside of the US).




Internationally, eight of the top 10 companies are public, along with Alibaba, which has filed for an IPO. Both Seek and REA are public, with Atlassian rumoured to be considering IPO sometime this year.


Looking at all the data from 150 companies used in the survey, public companies are on average six times larger than private companies and over 60 times larger than the average acquisition value.


Globally, e-commerce and search (of which REA and SEEK are categorised) are the most popular industries across the top three companies from all countries, but companies in the communication field are by far the most highly valued. B2B companies (of which Atlassian is categorised) appear to be the fastest path to getting rich.


Authors of the report say there are three takeaways for internet companies:


  1. Be realistic – only in a very few cases will you be able to outperform the ecosystem’s biggest companies. If you want to build a $100 billion company, you have to go to the US or China.
  2. Be patient – building a successful startup takes time. On average, it will take seven to 10 years to build a company worth over $1 billion.
  3. Solve “old” problems – opportunities could be closer than you think. Search and e-commerce might not be that “innovative”, but they are building blocks for every ecosystem.


Full data used in the report can be found here.