The “sleeping giant” that is Brisbane’s start-up scene is set to awaken.
Fishburners, a Sydney start-up space operator, has signed a deal to open a $5 million innovation hub in Brisbane called The Capital.
While the exact location of the new hub is yet to be finalised, Fishburners and Brisbane-based co-working space Little Tokyo Two have signed on as anchor tenants.
Fishburners currently houses 177 start-ups in its Sydney Ultimo building and most recently hosted a National Australia Bank fintech hackathon.
“Space has been a limiting factor in Sydney, so we’re planning for growth in Brisbane from the start to avoid the same problem,” Fishburners’ general manager Murray Hurps said.
“There’s a stereotype of Facebook-like uni dropouts [as] the main start-up founders, but we are seeing mostly people who’ve had previous careers [before] starting a business,” Mr Hurps added. “The average age of an Australian start-up founder, by our numbers, is 37.”
Brisbane’s proximity to Asia, its affordable cost of living and lower competition for talent are cited as attractive factors for Fishburners’ new venture.
“I can see many property-owning entrepreneurs being tempted to sell their house before moving to a more affordable one in Brisbane, then using the leftover cash as seed funding for their business,” Mr Hurps said.
Little Tokyo Two has established co-working spaces in Spring Hill and Paddington and founder Jock Fairweather hopes to target businesses using the shared office experience – rather than just start-ups.
“The Capital will provide an opportunity for Sydney and Melbourne businesses to position themselves in the Brisbane market now before things really take off,” Mr Fairweather said.
Brisbane has known some start-up success, particularly Kelvin Grove-based gaming company Halfbrick Studios, which developed fruit-slashing app Fruit Ninja. Fruit Ninja is currently battling Candy Crush Saga for best mobile game at People’s Choice Awards 2016.
Brisbane City Council launched a 2022 New World City Action Plan last May, where nurturing Brisbane’s start-up ecosystem was one of seven key economic priorities.
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