Throughout our podcast series, we’ve talked to some fantastic people, bringing you expert insights and covering an abundance of relevant topics facing tech pioneers as they forge their ways in new frontiers across the globe. It’s been an eye-opening process for us to speak with insiders at the top of their games and especially hear what is going on in their neck of the woods.
So, we thought it would be great to highlight some of the pros that we have hosted on the podcast this season from four regions that are really making things happen: Australia, Canada, UAE, and Israel—and specifically delve into how these global enclaves are pushing forward in the fields of innovation, VC community growth, and much more.
It’s exciting to see that, although each area is uniquely thriving and growing in different ways, each is clearly forging ahead—something Fast Frontiers always loves to champion and document. And even more thrilling? These stats and insights from our podcast interviews reveal that there are global opportunities past Silicon Valley and that each of these four regions is flourishing in its own frontiers.
From an island nation with not much startup activity within the last decade, Australia has not only begun to hum along in the startup industry, but it is now full-on singing. Statistics show that it is now one of the fastest-growing startup ecosystems in the world. Among the positive indicators that most lend Australia’s climate to foster thriving startups are: its physical infrastructure, its internal market dynamics, and its commercial and legal infrastructure.
When surveyed, it was seen that most Australian startups develop Business/Productivity Software (31.71%). The three highest funded market segments within Australia’s innovation economy include: Payment Software Services ($2.73B raised), Medical Technology Platforms ($825.98M raised), and Digital Transaction Management Software ($690.97M raised).
Much of the growth within Australia can be attributed to the activity within Sydney, but Melbourne has also appeared as a trending hub filled with loads of startup entrepreneurs, ideas, inspiration, and innovation. Some quick stats that reveal just how hot the startup industry is in Australia include the fact that as of June 30, 2019, 2.4 million businesses were active in Australia, with the fiscal year leading up to 2019 seeing a net growth in Australian businesses of 2.7% (62,462).
Now, about the money: Australian startups have already raised an impressive amount, and that is not expected to slow down anytime soon—the median deal size doubled from $1.00M USD in 2019 to $2.16M in 2020, and tripled that in 2021 to $6.22M. Funding rounds have also experienced rapid growth within the past three years. According to PitchBook, the Median Post-Money Valuations for Australian startups increased from $8.59M USD in 2019 to $69.04M USD in 2020, and now $76.64M USD.
Canada has continued to position itself as one of the best countries in the world for entreprenurs through implementing various startup-friendly policies and initiatives, as well as devoting significant investment into world-class educational institutions. In 2018, Canada instituted the Start-Up Visa program to provide immigrant entrepreneurs with permanent residency. Canada also is home to world-renowned universities including the University of Waterloo, the University of Toronto, and McGiill University which each have incubators for producing technical and entrepreneurial talent. Perhaps the biggest success story to come out of Canada is Shopify, an e-commerce giant which IPO’d in 2015 and currently has a market cap of $143.04B USD, and generated revenue of $2.93B USD in 2020.
The most prominent Canadian industries are Software (raised $5.37B USD) and Medical Products (raised $2.12B USD). Regarding how much startups in Canada have successfully raised, the Median Post-Money Valuation for venture-backed startups grew from $5.95M USD in 2019 to $10.00M in 2020. In addition, the Median Deal size grew from $1.35M to $2.00M USD during the same time period.
For the year 2019, the number of venture capital deals by startups in the United Arab Emirates was 223. The total value of venture capital raised in the UAE for this same period was about $4.87B USD. As for 2019, it was a record-breaking year for MENA (Middle East and North Africa) exits, with the country seeing 27 total. In this year, the Median Deal Size was $4.00M USD and the Median Post-Money Valuation was $46.26M USD. Positive stats like these led to the UAE winning the pride and honor of being responsible for 60% of total funding across the Middle East and North Africa regions.
For 2020, more than $1 billion was expected to be invested in startups, yet another year record-breaking exit numbers, specifically Business/Productivity Software ($11.35B USD Total Capital Invested) and Application Software ($9.84B USD Total Capital Invested) sectors. Regarding the VC investors in the region, in particular, 212 institutions invested in MENA-based startups, with institutional investors accounting for one-fourth of that group, and showing that the government is invested in playing an active role in helping the region’s ecosystems grow. As for the top industry represented, fintech (with 201 deals and accounting for 13 percent) and delivery and transport (19 percent) won out in that category.
Last but most definitely not least is the region of Israel. This small Middle Eastern state has sprung to the forefront of the startup industry seemingly overnight, becoming a vital international hub, particularly in the high-tech sector. Thanks to Israel’s government actively investing in its startup endeavors via innovation grants, among other positive factors acting in the nation’s favor, Israel has emerged as a leader, recording some of the greatest numbers of startups per capita of any country in the world.
Innovation is often claimed as the key to Israel’s startup success, with the only country in the region even coming close to comparing is the United Arab Emirates. The industry relies heavily on high-tech, with Tel Aviv being among the world’s leading high-tech startups locations. In fact, it’s earned itself the nickname “Silicon Wadi” (Silicon Valley in Arabic) to prove it. Artificial intelligence technology has also been a huge boon to Israel’s startups, with AI accounting for most of the total majority.
To give you an idea, during the last ten years, startup funding for Israeli entrepreneurs saw a spike of 400%. In 2019, Israel saw a 30% increase in startup funding and a 102% increase in M&A activity; Bay Area investors showed their faith in the region’s promise by investing $1.4 billion in Israeli companies. Tech firms raised a staggering $9.93 billion in 2020 via 578 transactions (a number that was only $230mm at the end of 2018 and just under $200mm in 2019).
The top industries in Israel in 2020? That honor belongs to the niches of cybersecurity, fintech, and the Internet of Things, with food tech emerging as a new hero on the scene. Also hot? AI, accounting for almost 50% of all Israeli startup investments. And where is the place to be in Israel? The trio of hottest tech hubs is said to be Tel Aviv, Herzliya, and Jerusalem.
To learn even more about what’s going on in these areas and what to expect in the days ahead (it’s exciting, that’s all we’ll say), head over to listen to any of the full podcasts from this season so far.