What will startup entrepreneurship in Aus look like in 2020?
It’s an exciting time to be a startup. There are more incubators, accelerators, mentors and capital available in Australia, perhaps than ever before. So what will startup entrepreneurship look like in the 2020’s?
Well first, what is a startup? It’s been 2 years since I bootstrapped and founded Resolution123 as a law-tech firm, but are we “still” a startup? Thanks to the 2020 StartupAUS Crossroads Report, we have a working definition of what is a startup based on 5 key criteria:
It’s high growth
It uses technology
It addresses a large market.
What does all of that mean? Let’s use Resolution123 as a case study. We are about to turn two and are looking to grow rather than consolidate. We are a small team of five including three lawyers, an operations manager and a full stack developer, but we are continuing to create new jobs. We want to scale rapidly and have demonstrated a capacity to do this in our recent awards including Innovator Law Firm of the Year and Fastest Growing UTS Startup. We use technology to achieve scale as it is central to our business model and we are addressing a large, global problem: access to justice.
So what will startup entrepreneurship look like in the 2020’s? I think it’ll be a dazzle of zebras, if we have our way. Not unicorns I hear you say! No, not unicorns. Why? Because they don’t exist, but zebras do and they represent a new kind of startup founder focused on solving real world problems at sustainable scale and growth levels. Does this sound boring? It shouldn’t. The current burn and churn of fundraises, enormous scale, failed IPO (think Uber) and well... WeWork is not sustainable.
Startups drive massive job creation all over the world, in fact, they are responsible for 47% of job creation.
And while we love funding for its large-scale job creation, that large-scale growth should be headed by responsible leaders, interested in sustaining those jobs and not just quick exists and cash, otherwise those same jobs that were created will be lost just as quickly.
In the legal tech sector, startups present an incredible opportunity to utilise the growing number of law graduates that can’t find traditional legal jobs and for the first time are being trained in legal technologies. Our intern partnership with UTS Faculty of Law and Business is helping those students gain subject credit for work experience within Resolution123, and in turn this inspires the entrepreneurship spirit amongst students and helps to capture the best talent.
Maybe if we change the conversation and measure of success from billion dollar valuations and million dollar capital raises to social impact, responsible leadership, job creation, problem solving and demonstrable pathways to profit, we will see more engagement from government on the reforms StartupAUS have identified and those in the community that might otherwise be deterred by the measures of success previously attributed to young white me from affluent backgrounds wearing hoodies.
The future of startup entrepreneurship is diverse, bright, it has a social purpose, it creates and sustains jobs and it embraces risk taking. I’m glad we are a part of it.