Investors have Invested More than $1.2 billion in Australian Student-founded Enterprises

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Student-founded firms have raised more than $1.2 billion since 2012, indicating a rising interest in entrepreneurship among university students.

The introduction of Australia’s first student-run venture capital fund is expected to significantly boost investment.
NextGen Ventures, which opens this week, has dug deep into the data on VC and student founders, tracking their success and the increase of entrepreneurialism in the tertiary sector.

According to the NextGen Ventures report, there has been a three-fold increase in university students wishing to become founders over the past decade.

At the University of Technology Sydney, where Murray Hurps oversees UTS Startups, with its headquarters on one of the city’s busiest avenues, an incredible 57% of entering students declare they want to be entrepreneurs.

Since 2013, 65 student-founded firms have received funding totaling $1.2 billion, according to a research. They include Atlassian, which is now worth more than $50 billion, Immutable, a more recent tech unicorn, and medtechs and HealthMatch.

Mitchell Hughes, cofounder of NextGen Ventures, stated that they needed evidence of the value of student entrepreneurs in educating Australia’s startup ecosystem about their potential and starting a discourse about how the sector can better support them.

“The next unicorn is being born somewhere on campus as we speak, and I couldn’t be more excited for NextGen Ventures to find it before anyone else, and give it the support it truly needs,” he told the crowd.

According to Chris Gillings of Cut Through Venture, which produces the yearly report on VC investment in Australia, student founders have a proven track record of success.

“These youthful founders tend to question established systems, challenge the norm, and adopt new technologies, leading to innovative perspectives that often elude their more experienced peers,” he said.

While there has been an increased emphasis on commercializing university research in recent years, it is not just about PhDs converting decades of research into deep tech firms. Undergraduates account for 84% of student founders, outnumbering the approximately 65% share of university enrollments.

According to the NextGen Ventures analysis, the University of New South Wales, home of the famed UNSW Founders, has produced 24% of venture-backed student founders (21 in total), with 19 men and two women. The only other universities to have more than ten student founders were Melbourne and Sydney, with 16 and 13 respectively.

The most funded firms were in climate technology, with eight raising a total of $32 million.Immutable’s successful fundraising led to blockchain and Web3 receiving the highest funding of $387 million.

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