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Australian startups see funding rise in 2024, but gender gap persists


Australian startups raised $1.9 billion in the first half of 2024, a 30% increase compared to the same period last year, according to new data. This marks a thaw in the funding winter, though it remains below the highs of 2021 and 2022.

The report by Cut Through Venture found that investors are being more selective, prioritizing startups with substantial recurring revenue before investing heavily, especially at the seed stage.

Artificial intelligence (AI) and big data are emerging as hot sectors, attracting $75 million in funding across 11 deals.

Despite the positive signs, gender diversity in funding continues to be a challenge. All-male founding teams secured 85% of the capital raised in the first half of 2024. Startups with at least one woman founder received 10%, and all-female teams captured only 5%.

Industry initiatives like Startmate’s Ladymates program are working to bridge the gap by supporting women founders throughout their careers.

“Investing in women throughout their careers is crucial to create a sustainable cycle where they can contribute meaningfully to the startup scene,” said Holly Brooks, Startmate’s Chief Storyteller and Ladymates’ Co-lead.

Galileo Ventures, another venture capital firm, is also committed to backing more women founders. Currently, 35% of their portfolio companies have women founders. Their new Jupiter program specifically targets pre-funded women founders building large tech businesses.

“The market conditions are more favorable compared to 2021, with lower deal volumes and more reasonable valuations,” said Matthew Koertge of Titanium Ventures.

Experts also noted a return to traditional investment rounds, replacing bridge rounds, suggesting a more sustainable funding landscape where companies grow into their valuations.

The Australian startup ecosystem shows signs of recovery with a growing focus on gender diversity. This trend bodes well for the future of Australian innovation.

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