Top 5 Tech Hubs to Watch in 2016

TechExec. takes a look at Australia's top 5 tech startup hubs to keep an eye on in 2016.


Believe it or not, Australia has over 50 active startup hubs. With this meteoric rise comes large expectations for these spaces to start fostering the enterprises of the future.

With more and more funds being invested in these hubs by the wider business community. OmniChannel Media takes a look at the top 5 tech startup hubs to keep an eye on in 2016.

Stone & Chalk, Sydney

Backed by some of Australia’s biggest players in the Financial Services industry, Stone & Chalk is Sydney’s first hub for FinTech startups. It officially opened its doors in August, and with over 60 startups already plying their trade in the space, it does not show any signs of slowing down.

Workstation, Home Office, Computer, Coffee Mug, CupDesigned to support Australia’s FinTech ecosystem by providing the tools to develop in a collaborative space, the not-for-profit hub claims to have enough seats for 150 and as such will be looking to grow rapidly in 2016.

The spaces’ CEO Alex Scandurra was previously in charge of strategic partnership and accelerator programs at Barclays Bank, leading the charge for innovation.

Scandurra said earlier this year that the hub’s “mission is to help foster the FinTech startup community, to help teams of entrepreneurs accelerate growth and ultimately to help Aussie FinTech startups go global.”

Stone & Chalk is backed by some of Australia’s most renowned financial services institutions motivated by a need to maintain relevance through being at the forefront of industry disruption. Supporters include: IBM, Woolworths, ANZ, Macquarie, Optus, AMP, Thomas Reuters, Westpac, Oracle, and Suncorp Bank.

2016 looks to be a promising year for the growing hub. But, its success will depend on the ability to generate success and innovation for financial services customers.

York Butter Factory, Melbourne

In the heart of Melbourne and working from one of the oldest buildings in the city, the York Butter Factory first opened its 1850s heritage-listed doors in 2011.

Created by Stuart Richardson, founder of Adventure Capital, the hub is ideal for startups with expertise in FinTech, HealthTech, Big Data, IoT, and Cloud products.

Source: York Butter Factory
Source: York Butter Factory

With multiple events structured to build the community spirit and knowledge share business strategies. The old-fashioned structure does not dampen the energetic atmosphere that spreads throughout the area.

Richardson believes that coworking spaces have transformed the idea of the startup, from growing in home offices where “ideas never got the oxygen they needed to become a true business concept.”

“Now people are becoming more comfortable in coming into an environment such as the York Butter Factory where they can start to explore their entrepreneurial curiosity,” he said.

“Ideas are [fashioned] into a proper market fit and escalate into a result.”

The hub is supported by some of the biggest names in tech including: ANZ, Salesforce, and IBM, as well as ecosystem partners like Amazon Web Services, DropBox, and Microsoft BizSpark.

Combine this with success stories like the ‘SnappyCam’ app, ‘Omny’, and ‘Equiem’, and York Butter Factory has proven it can provide a great support network for upcoming tech entrepreneurs to churn out innovation.

River City Labs, Brisbane

HNCK3988Brisbane’s first startup hub River City Labs is already overflowing with Queensland’s brightest entrepreneurs.

With predictions to double in size, the hub has already organised to relocate to a bigger space, taking a page out of the York Butter Factory book and moving into the heritage-listed TCB Building.

Established in 2012, the non-profit hub currently has over 100 members, ranging from early startups to established entrepreneurs. With an interest in working with the mobile, internet, telecoms, and the technology sector, there has been a constant stream of startups attracted to the space and through moving the lab, they can provide room for the growing community of startups in Brisbane.

Well-known companies that have worked from the River City Lab include the likes of Technology One, Orange Digital, Uber, Black Sheep Capital, Tanda, Defiant Games, and Cohort Solutions.

With their corporate members EY and HopgoodGanim Lawyers, as well as partnerships with Amazon Web Services, Microsoft BizSpark, the group is capturing Queensland’s burgeoning startup market.

With the killer combination of growing numbers, strong corporate members, and the first home of well-established companies, River City Labs has formed the base for Brisbane’s tech entrepreneur ecosystem and will play a significant part in the growth of the startup community.

Tank Stream Labs, Sydney

Working out of Bridge Street in Sydney and made up of 252 members, 59 startups and fuelled by 106,408 cups of coffee is Tank Stream Labs. Recently expanded due to high demand and the success of their current inhabitants, the hub now spreads over 1650sqm.
The most impressive element to this hub is the number of well-established companies that reside. Launched in 2012, it is home to the likes of SurveyMonkey, BuzzFeed, and GoCatch.

Speaking about his space’s role in incubating startups and innovation, Balder Tol, General Manager, Tank Stream Labs said:

“Startups have graduated from the garage or spare bedroom and are increasingly seeking a professional environment with all the necessary support services nearby.”

CBD based, the group appears to be attracting some top talent from a variety of industries. Keep an eye out on their development and progression in 2016.

Fishburners, Sydney

The biggest hub in Australia has quickly outgrown its space and is frantically looking for another one. Packed with 176 companies and 264 members, Fishburners has claimed its territory in the up-and-coming tech scene in Sydney’s Ultimo area.

The brainchild of Silicon Valley resident Peter Davison and Sydney based ‘startup dude’ Mike Casey. Fishburners is driven by the burning desire to gather Australia’s best startups and foster innovation in Sydney’s tech space.

This not-for-profit space has gained the attention of the biggest names in the innovation scene. One of their biggest supporters being one of Australia’s biggest banks, NAB.

“It is important for NAB to partner with companies that we can learn from, to help us meet evolving business and technology trends,” said Jon Davey, the Executive General Manager of NAB Labs said on the space.

Through their support and involvement, the bank has embedded themselves into the collaborative culture of Fishburners in the hopes that its high energy approach is infectious.

Other big name supporters include: Google, NewsCorp, Optus, PwC, Dropbox, Amazon, Xerox, Cisco, and BigAir.

By catering exclusively to early stage startups that aim to leverage off technology, they have created a great base for tech entrepreneurs. On top of this, the support from some of the most renowned companies shows that if Fishburners can graduate into a bigger pond, the future looks promising.