The Australian dream run of economic prosperity is at risk unless the nation supports start-ups to drive a new wave of innovation warns Nigel Lake, executive chair of global advisory firm Pottinger
Mr Lake, who will speak at this week’s Myriad start-up festival in Brisbane, said creating new businesses and new jobs was of paramount importance to “the future of everything”. “In Australia, the canary in the employment coal mine is wobbling on her perch,” he said.
“Though unemployment is low, real wage growth is stubbornly slow and is further imperilled by an imminent wave of technology. The threat to the Australian dream is severe. More than 90 per cent of the value of our top 100 companies is in old economy industries, with the top four all banks.
“In the US, the four largest companies are Microsoft, Apple, Google and Amazon. So far this century, Australia has created just two tech start-ups worth more than A$1bn - Atlassian and Canva, collectively valued at about A$20bn. In contrast, the 10 largest US tech companies have created more than A$4 trillion during the same period. Australia doesn’t even feature on some world tech start-up maps.
Australian technology entrepreneur Scott Hicks has saved thousands of dollars a year in power costs at his riverside holiday house by adding solar panels and a Redflow ZCell zinc-bromine flow battery.
Mr Hicks, CEO of private data centre provider YourDC, bought the spacious house at Mannum, a Murray River town 84 kilometres east of Adelaide, as an accessible hideaway from the working week. The 10-year-old holiday house is on the banks of the Murray River, among gum trees and wildlife.
However, during his first year, Mr Hicks discovered this peaceful repose came a price - the high cost of electricity. “During the first year, we found that our power bills were huge,” he said. “Our usage peaked at the most expensive time of day because we had lots of air con running.”
After researching solar panels and energy storage systems, Mr Hicks said Redflow’s ZCell zinc-bromine flow battery stood out. “I decided that Redflow was the far superior option out at Mannum where it’s a couple of degrees warmer than in the Adelaide metro area,” he said.
Australian energy storage company Redflow Limited (ASX: RFX) today announced it will raise $18.1 million in equity capital to scale up battery production and to grow Australian and international sales.
The Brisbane-based company is raising the funds through a combination of a placement to new investors and a fully underwritten rights issue offered to all current shareholders.
Redflow Chairman Brett Johnson said Redflow had made significant progress in the past six months. “We’ve opened our new wholly-owned manufacturing facility in Thailand which is making quality battery stacks,” he said.
Australia’s first chauffeur-driven Tesla service, Evoke, has surpassed more than one million kilometres of zero-emission motoring by transporting passengers in its electric vehicles.
In reaching this milestone, the Sydney-based company, founded by Pia Peterson in 2015, has offset more than 325,000 kilograms of carbon emissions and avoided burning 130,000 litres of petrol.
As well as keeping the air cleaner, Evoke’s achievement enables many of its corporate customers to claim emission reductions delivered by the sustainable transport service as Scope 3 carbon offsets.
Regular Evoke passenger Sam Mostyn, who sits on the boards of Virgin Australia, Transurban Group, Mirvac, Citibank Australia, the Climate Council and ClimateWorks Australia, said she was delighted to support Evoke from its early days. “Pia Peterson and her team combine exceptional customer focus with a commitment to zero-emission transport,” she said.