Why Brisbane is Australia’s Best City for Startups

Alex Ghiculescu

14 January 2015    |   

Since we’ve started flogging time and attendance software at Tanda, our team has bought over 40 airline tickets across Australia. We’ve been to every capital city and done business at hundreds of locations all around Australia. One thing really hit home: Brisbane is the best place to be a startup. Here are five reasons why: 1. Cost of living This is by far the biggest benefit of being in Brisbane; housing and office space are so much more within the price range of a business that’s just starting. This has allowed us to bootstrap to a considerable size without using external funding. 2. Transport This may sound like a small thing. The best advice we got when we were starting our business was “it takes a lot of shoe leather”, meaning we’d spend a lot of time on our feet talking to anyone who’ll meet with us. Driving around Brisbane is so much better than other capital cities. It’s affordable enough, and nothing is too far away. Despite what philosopher Alain de Botton might say about the Riverside Expressway, it’s one of my favourite features of the city. Because Brisbane’s not that big, we can justify having an office outside of the inner city where rent is a bit cheaper, without feeling like we are out of the loop. 3. BCC Brisbane City Council is making a very concerted effort for the future of the city to be digital. I was lucky enough to receive the Lord Mayor’s budding entrepreneur grant and have heard Cr Quirk talk about the city’s plan for the future and I’m excited about growing a business here. 4. Business community There are a number of great communities around start-ups really getting some traction in Brisbane such as River City Labs and iLab. But the other great thing about the city is how many innovative business people are willing to talk to you and lend a hand – which is particularly good for a B2B business! 5. Talent Brisbane has two great technology courses at QUT and UQ, which makes it much easier to attract and retain young talent to help build and grow our business. It’s a much tougher market for employers in other capital cities, especially those with only one technology-focused university. I’d recommend Brisbane as a great place to start a business for anyone considering starting out. The team at Brisbane Marketing & Digital Brisbane have a lot of support available to you on top of the many other benefits.

Since we’ve started flogging time and attendance software at Tanda, our team has bought over 40 airline tickets across Australia.

We’ve been to every capital city and done business at hundreds of locations all around Australia. One thing really hit home: Brisbane is the best place to be a startup. Here are five reasons why:

1. Cost of living

This is by far the biggest benefit of being in Brisbane; housing and office space are so much more within the price range of a business that’s just starting. This has allowed us to bootstrap to a considerable size without using external funding.

2. Transport

This may sound like a small thing. The best advice we got when we were starting our business was “it takes a lot of shoe leather”, meaning we’d spend a lot of time on our feet talking to anyone who’ll meet with us.

Driving around Brisbane is so much better than other capital cities. It’s affordable enough, and nothing is too far away. Despite what philosopher Alain de Botton might say about the Riverside Expressway, it’s one of my favourite features of the city. Because Brisbane’s not that big, we can justify having an office outside of the inner city where rent is a bit cheaper, without feeling like we are out of the loop.

3. BCC

Brisbane City Council is making a very concerted effort for the future of the city to be digital. I was lucky enough to receive the Lord Mayor’s budding entrepreneur grant and have heard Cr Quirk talk about the city’s plan for the future and I’m excited about growing a business here.

4. Business community

There are a number of great communities around start-ups really getting some traction in Brisbane such as River City Labs and iLab. But the other great thing about the city is how many innovative business people are willing to talk to you and lend a hand – which is particularly good for a B2B business!

5. Talent

Brisbane has two great technology courses at QUT and UQ, which makes it much easier to attract and retain young talent to help build and grow our business. It’s a much tougher market for employers in other capital cities, especially those with only one technology-focused university.

I’d recommend Brisbane as a great place to start a business for anyone considering starting out. The team at Brisbane Marketing & Digital Brisbane have a lot of support available to you on top of the many other benefits.

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Close Encounters of the Client Kind

In early May, the team from Tanda were cordially invited to the recurring BiBs event – Brisbane Interactive Beers. BiBs exists for the start up and digital community in Brisbane to stay in the know and meet the right people. Each time a BiBs event happens, industry leaders and interesting people get to share some words of wisdom and celebrate all things digital. The pop up events get people out at some of the best hotspots of Brisbane’s entertainment precinct, and this means a great time for TandaHQ. At this particular BiBs night the topics focused on responsive design in the industry, how to raise venture capital and where the digital scene is headed for us. That last one is particularly interesting to Tanda, being a successful cloud-based software heavily reliant on the growing digital industry. So naturally, Team Tanda made their way to Up on Constance where the event was hosted this time around to hear from some great guest speakers. Matthew Fairhurst discussed VCs and the do’s and don’t’s in particular detail. Reflecting on his own experiences with his start up company and the successful business app Skedulo. He started by saying “You have to really, really get in the mode of selling yourself, selling your team and selling your vision of where you want to get to after that raise. That’s a really big mind shift for a co-founder who’s really technical or a designer etc. to get out of the head space and really dedicate yourself to that vision, to define the vision.” On a  positive note Fairhurst highlighted that now more than ever “more options are available to you particularly now where it’s a great climate to raise money.” For start-up companies on the lookout for VC opportunities this is good news. Who doesn’t want to hear the forecast of profit is looking sunny for their market? But what about people, like Tanda, who have been running smoothly with a #fundfromcustomers mentality? Kris Croucher, commercial director of digital agency Reading Room, had some interesting comments and perhaps answers to this very question. He prefaced by saying “People that will succeed in the digital agency of the future are people that are the Creative Technologist. People highly creative in their outlook, their business and their work  understand the role of technology in how businesses work; organisations, charities, not-for-profits, you name it. We’re currently in the biggest levelling of technology in the world right now so its changing everything. People who understand technology and behave in a creative way are the ones who will succeed the most.” He went on to explain “I actually think physical offices are really important. There’s a lot of talk of people working virtually at a distance. Fundamentally, human beings are still social animals. They work best in small groups.” The start ups that are local to their clients, know their client’s business well and collaborate with the client, and work together in a very agile business oriented fashion are the ones who produce really great quality work. So as much as you can talk about virtualisation and teams working – it’s bullshit. Small teams that sit together, that are multi-skilled and work together are the ones producing quality work really fast. His passionate, insightful comments were a great booster for Tanda, who prides the close encounters with the client kind mentality we’ve been practising. In fact, the entire BiBs event was a great booster, to see the Brisbane community thriving and ideas still being shared. Tanda eagerly awaits to find new friends and little gems of information at the next event.

Industry Insights    |   

Why graduates should consider startups for a career

Today’s corporate society is changing as businesses begin to measure their success by culture and impact rather than head count. While this attitude change may be slow coming for some, for graduates it represents unlimited career opportunities. The world of today’s graduates differs greatly from that of generations before. It is shaped by agile roles, quick moving careers and constantly evolving industries. Companies like Tanda are proving to graduates that successful and rewarding careers can start with local companies right here in Brisbane. The growing success of startups and tech companies in Australia is changing the graduate career space, showing that you can still acquire the knowledge and skills without being just another number on the long list of graduate recruits. Tanda recently hosted its inaugural Tanda Careers Info Night for final year Brisbane graduates, providing an exclusive insight into life at Tanda, and what a career with a growing Tech company could be like. Hearing from a few members of the Tanda team about their experience and career decisions highlighted how the graduate career space is changing. Fellow team member Renee and I both turned down graduate roles at international organisations to work for Tanda, because we were looking for a workplace where we could make a difference in a company free of unnecessary bureaucracy and complex decision-making processes. Meanwhile one of our newest team members Liam, explained that he joined the Tanda team because he was looking for an opportunity where he could fast-track his career in a rapidly expanding and diverse industry. As society changes, so do the requirements for skills and knowledge. No longer are cookie-cutter roles the only option for graduates, as more businesses are looking for graduates who can adapt and apply their skills and expertise to roles outside of their degree. Take the Tanda team for example, with backgrounds in Law, Finance, Engineering, HR and Psychology, it goes to show that you don’t need an IT or Mathematics degree to work at a software company. These days many final year students are faced with the pressure to enter top tier graduate programs to secure jobs after university. While this can provide a great career foundation for many, it isn’t the only option available for graduates fresh out of university in today’s society. By looking for companies that specialise in niche markets, graduates are able to explore the professional world in new ways. The rapid expansion of many emerging industries like SaaS, means that graduates are often thrown into roles where they can be directly involved in the direction of the business. Whether this is through hands-on access and responsibilities or inspiring mentors and opportunities. Graduates are now able to quickly and easily acquire the core skills and knowledge to fast track their career, without the bureaucratic restrictions typical of top tier companies. Australia’s tech and startup scene has challenged the conversation around what determines the success of a company. No longer are graduates solely looking at which multi-national will set them up for future job prospects, but they’re also considering the culture, values and professional atmosphere of the company as well. Because at the end of the day, company success is not longer solely dictated by the number of employees they have, but also by the impact that they have on their employees and the community. Are you a Brisbane graduate and interested in joining the team at Tanda? Check out Tanda Careers for more information.

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About the author

Alex Ghiculescu

Alex is Chief Technical Officer and co-founder at Tanda. He leads the Product Team in delivering groundbreaking workforce software to thousands of businesses across the world.

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Close Encounters of the Client Kind

In early May, the team from Tanda were cordially invited to the recurring BiBs event – Brisbane Interactive Beers. BiBs exists for the start up and digital community in Brisbane to stay in the know and meet the right people. Each time a BiBs event happens, industry leaders and interesting people get to share some […]

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Why graduates should consider startups for a career

Today’s corporate society is changing as businesses begin to measure their success by culture and impact rather than head count. While this attitude change may be slow coming for some, for graduates it represents unlimited career opportunities. The world of today’s graduates differs greatly from that of generations before. It is shaped by agile roles, […]

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