Comms, cyber and AI startups soar in Deloitte's Tech Fast 50

Comms, cyber and AI startups soar in Deloitte's Tech Fast 50

Photo: NASA, via Unsplash.

Medicinal cannabis digital appointments and delivery company Montu has made history by becoming the first business to win Deloitte’s Technology Fast 50 awards two years in a row, while startups from the communications and services sector rose from just a 4 per cent showing last year to make up almost a quarter of the list.

With a growth rate of 9,616 per cent, Montu was one of two medicinal cannabis companies - both from Melbourne - in the Top 20; the other being Cannatrek in 11th place with growth of 895 per cent.

In the report, Deloitte's media and telecommunications industry partner lead Bec McConnochie describes healthtech as a "standout" this year, not by the percentage of companies making the list as that figure fell from 14 per cent to 6 per cent, but in terms of where they were positioned.

"Accelerated during the pandemic, tech-enabled platforms continue to play a crucial role in supporting the country’s health and wellbeing needs and challenges with innovative solutions," McConnochie says.

"The top two Rising Star winners are also within the healthtech space; Updoc, which provides a digital platform for consultations, achieved 15,924 per cent and Midnight Health, which uses technology to provide mental health support, achieved 8,376 per cent."

Midnight Health is one of several companies featured whose founders have been finalists in the Australian Young Entrepreneur Awards initiative. Nic Blair and Matt Anderson won the Health & Medicine category at the 2023 Brisbane Young Entrepreneur Awards.

At that same event in Brisbane, Alex Ewart, co-founder of digital freight forwarder Explorate which came 29th on Deloitte's list, took home two awards for Trailblazer and Digital Disruptor.

Meanwhile, in 23rd position was Acusensus Australia (ASX: ACE), an AI-enabled phone usage detection company whose passionate co-founder Alexander Jannink aims to turn the tide on rising road fatalities figures. Jannink won both Technology and Trailblazer accolades at the recent 2023 Melbourne Young Entrepreneur Awards.

LoanOptions.ai, founded by Julian Fayad who was a finalist in the 2023 Sydney Young Entrepreneur Awards, came in 47th. Other companies featured whose founders have won Young Entrepreneur Awards either at national or city-based levels include Mad Paws (ASX: MPW) (16th), Camplify (ASX: CHL) (35th), and Virtual IT Group (46th).

From a trend perspective, what could not be ignored was the rapid rise of communications and services companies which accounted for 24 per cent of the list.

"This highlights how technology and cloud are driving change and the transformational power of data, automation and customer-centric approaches with IT services that support technological infrastructure and digital enablement," says McConnochie.

"These services include areas such as cybersecurity, artificial intelligence and the development of new enterprise-grade platforms that facilitate business growth and scalability.

"A prime example of the opportunities arising from this tech and AI boom is a surge in spending on data centres. This presents a significant growth opportunity for organisations like NextDC (ASX: NXT), a previous Tech Fast 50 winner.

"The jump in growth in this sector can also be attributed to the rapidly evolving media landscape. How consumers spend their time across different content types and platforms is changing and there are a number of forward-thinking companies on this year’s list that are obviously in tune with the way Australians want to consume data and media."

The awards, also sponsored by ASX, Atlassian, DLA Piper, Morgans and Workday, recognise and profile Australian technology companies – public or private – that have achieved the fastest rates of annual revenue growth over the past three years. Runners up were business payments and rewards platform pay.com.au (5,063 per cent) and automation software solutions company Activeport (4,572 per cent).

"Now in its 23rd year, our Tech Fast 50 program continues to unearth the gems of the Australian tech ecosystem, following in the footsteps of past winners and finalists NextDC and Atlassian," says Technology Fast 50 leader, Deloitte partner Josh Tanchel.

"This year’s winners showcase the way that technology companies are stepping up to help solve current societal issues. In response to ongoing cost-of-living and financial pressures, flexible payment option companies including Beforepay, pay.com.au, MoneyMe and MyMoneyMarket have seen impressive growth.

"And following COVID-19 and a healthcare system that was stalling for progress, telehealth and tech-enabled health and wellbeing solutions such as Updoc, Midnight Health, and Montu have taken the lead."

Tanchel highlights that 10 companies in the top 50 have achieved more than 1,000 per cent growth, and 11 companies have more than $50 million in revenue.

Geographically, NSW was home to 56 per cent of the 50, followed by Victoria (28 per cent), Queensland (6 per cent), South Australia (4 per cent), Western Australia (4 per cent) and the ACT (2 per cent).

McConnochie says that Australia continues to punch above its weight in the global tech stakes, contributing 2.3 per cent of the world's unicorns compared to 1.6 per cent of global GDP.

"Technology is now our third-largest sector behind financial services and mining. As a nation, we have the potential to grow into an innovation and technology hub, with a world-leading digital economy that will drive jobs and financial growth," she says.

"This year we saw the AI boom which is driving a once in a lifetime disruption to the way we will fundamentally work in the future.

"We are also seeing a number of tech start-ups emerge with a focus on generative AI and climate and sustainability. However, as these businesses are in their infancy and capital raising stages, we expect to see them come through the program in the coming years."

She adds that despite a steady rise in companies that are either founded or led by women, "the reality is, we are not seeing female founder-lead startups continuing to grow". There are seven female founders or co-founders in the Top 50.

"As we develop our fast-paced and rapidly evolving future it is important that we design for diversity by being intentional in including different perspectives and lived experiences to reach our full potential."

The Top 50 fastest-growing tech companies in Australia are:

  1. Montu (+9,616%)
  2. pay.com.au (+5,063%)
  3. ActivePort (+4,572%)
  4. Ofload (+3,777%)
  5. Inspiring Vacations (+2,877%)
  6. Centelon (+2,338%)
  7. July (+2,119%)
  8. Astralas (+2,106%)
  9. Espresso Displays (+1,529%)
  10. Wireline Services Group (+1,223%)
  11. Cannatrek (+895%)
  12. Expert360 (891%)
  13. iPartners (882%)
  14. Gratifii (872%)
  15. 6clicks (807%)
  16. Mad Paws (+761%)
  17. Applied EV (+734%)
  18. Euka (+727%)
  19. iCandy Interactive (+711%)
  20. Dashdot (+695%)
  21. Beforepay (+582%)
  22. Driva (+573%)
  23. Acusensus (+570.2%)
  24. Jayride (+569.7%)
  25. MF & Associates (+567%)
  26. Mint (+541%)
  27. OurMoneyMarket (+517%)
  28. Claxon (+474%)
  29. Explorate (+461%)
  30. EVSE (+404%)
  31. me&u (+390%)
  32. vNEXT (+388%)
  33. J4RVIS (+367%)
  34. Employment Hero (+362%)
  35. Camplify (+351.6%)
  36. Sonar Consulting (+351.5%)
  37. Cettire (+350%)
  38. Referoo (+349%)
  39. Fivecast (+338%)
  40. Prezzee (+334%)
  41. Tape Ark (+327%)
  42. MoneyMe (+314%)
  43. PlayHQ (+312%)
  44. Baidam Solutions (+310.4%)
  45. Arinco (+309.6%)
  46. Virtual IT Group (+294.4%)
  47. LoanOptions (+293.5%)
  48. Vitable (+282%)
  49. MyPass (+270%)
  50. NEXION Group (+264%)

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