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BRW Rich 200 – Tech

BRW Rich 200 – Tech

Technology has become prominent as the new force for wealth creation in Australia. The BRW Young Rich List, filled with technology savvy entrepreneurs aged 40 and under are now becoming the new faces of BRW Rich 200 List, which requires a wealth of at least $250million. Matt Barrie (Freelancer), Ruslan Kogan (Kogan) and Owen Kerr all made their fortunes through technology, with Atlassian co-founders Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar becoming billionaires.

Recently chief executive Matt Barrie wrote to Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull, “We are at the start of the biggest technology boom in the history of mankind – Australia is completely missing the boat.”

Mr Barrie says Australia is the second most expensive country for start-ups because of high wages and rent. Entrepreneurs also argue the policies hold them back and there are concerns due to the decline of students studying Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) with a fall of 60 per cent in enrolments in computer science over the past decade.

On top of this, the start-up community is frustrated the May budget did not fix the restrictions on employee share option schemes, which makes it twice as difficult for entrepreneurs to recruit for their companies, therefore many outsource to Asia or hire foreign staff on 457 visas.

Australian start-ups struggle to find local funding once they reach a certain size, with most of the big capital raisings in the technology sector coming from outside Australia. Mr Barrie described the venture capital sector as “stillborn”. There is a growing pool of money for early-stage companies with many successful entrepreneurs investing into start-ups such as Seek founders Andrew and Paul Bassat through Oxygen Ventures and Markus Kahlbetzer (son of BRW Rich List veteran John Kahlbetzer who set up Tank Stream Ventures.

A spokesman for Mr Turnbull said he had received Mr Barrie’s email and the government would release its innovation policy later this year.

For tech startup funding go to