Professional services firm KPMG Australia has signed a deal with Artesian Venture Partners that is set to offer a corporate boost to up to 1,000 local early stage technology entrepreneurs over the next five years.
The collaboration brings together investment manager Artesian Venture Partners, professional services firm KPMG Australia, Australian universities, incubators, accelerators, technology startups, and corporate investors.
"The alliance with KPMG will allow the engagement of corporates in the startup ecosystem as customers, partners, or potential acquirers, and will help startups and technology become a substantial industry as we move away from a reliance on mining and resources," said Artesian partner and COO Tim Heasley.
Heasley said that although the local startup industry already punches above its weight, there is still room for growth, and the new agreement with KPMG would help foster that growth by providing greater access to capital.
"To date, the Australian technology sector has been finding its feet and growing rapidly. Where we are today is a testament to local entrepreneurs and their ability and determination to punch above their weight," he said. "But it's time for the startup industry to mature, to operate with a new level of professionalism without losing its edge. We need to mobilise, professionalise, and build a cohesive structure around the industry to take it to the next level.
"And now, our alliance with KPMG, who was selected as a result of a competitive process, will help us to identify and introduce corporate and other partners to these opportunities," he said.
The alliance represents an important milestone for doing business with the rapidly rising entrepreneur sector, with the potential to contribute upwards of AU$100 billion to the Australian economy within two decades, according to Martin Sheppard, head of Innovation for KPMG Australia.
"Proactively engaging with Australia's startup ecosystem is critical to our innovation strategy," he said. "It will expose us and our clients to new growth opportunities; provide early insights into emerging and disruptive technologies; and help us and our clients stay ahead of the curve."
The companies will jointly commercialise the accumulated data of the venture, expected to encompass up to 1,000 investee companies over the next five years.
"Although there is a lot of buzz around startups, including strong corporate interest, little actual research has been done on the sector. Our data has the potential to play an important role in unlocking entrepreneurial potential in Australia. This alliance is an incredibly exciting opportunity," he said.
The alliance to connect corporate investment with startups comes as cloud accounting provider Xero partners with startup incubator Fishburners to launch its Xero for Startups program, which will see the New Zealand company offer local startups a free six-month subscription to its services.
In addition, Xero has also partnered with a number of other startup organisations dedicated to supporting and promoting entrepreneurial communities in Australia, including the League of Extraordinary Women, Startup Grind, and the Startup Show.
Xero Australia managing director Chris Ridd said that managing finances is an essential part of business for startups.
"We know that for startups, managing cash flow and keeping a close eye on finances is critical for success," said Ridd. "With software like Xero, a small business owner has real-time access to their finances."