Growth

After “conquering the world” Australian startup success story Culture Amp is returning home

Denham Sadler /

Globally successful Australian startup Culture Amp has announced a big expansion in Melbourne and the relocation of its headquarters back to its hometown to anchor its international expansion.

The workplace analytics platform recently closed a $US10 million Series B round, has established its offices in the US and is on the verge of breaking into the European market, but the new location in Melbourne will serve as the company’s global headquarters and Asia-Pacific engineering hub.

The Victorian government has provided an undisclosed amount of funding to the tech company to assist with the move, and minister for innovation Philip Dalidakis says the support is a “strategic move” for the local ecosystem.

“We’ve been speaking to them for some time,” Dalidakis tells StartupSmart.

“They went overseas and they’ve done an amazing job but they can see what’s happening in Victoria and they want to be a part of it.

“This once again reinforces and demonstrates to everyone that we’re getting the policy right.”

Returning home

Victorian premier Daniel Andrews, who met with Culture Amp co-founder Jon Williams in San Francisco on Friday to make the announcement, says it’s important to keep these homegrown success stories local.

“Culture Amp is a great local success story, proving that with the right support, hard work and an innovative approach, a small idea can become a global commercial reality,” Andrews says.

“With more and more tech giants choosing Melbourne as their Australian home, we are truly cementing our reputation as the place to do business in the Asia-Pacific.”

Dalidakis says it’s not about trying to stop local companies expanding overseas, but making it easy for them to maintain a base in Australia and return when they’re ready.

“We never want to stop companies going overseas if that’s what they want to do or need to do to accelerate their options,” he says.

“What we’re trying to do in Victoria is to build an infrastructure that supports these companies that want to be at home and want to return home.”

A company of Culture Amp’s size returning its base to Melbourne is a big vote of confidence for the Victorian ecosystem and should inspire other local entrepreneurs, he says.

“It shows them that they can go overseas, they can conquer the world, they can beat the world at their own game and then they can come back and support other companies and people in the sector to go on and do the same,” Dalidakis says.

“It’s a tremendous example for other startups and entrepreneurs at the beginning of their journey. It helps to demonstrate what can be done.”

Government action

Culture Amp offers a platform giving data-driven insights into employee management and culture for other companies, and currently has over 1000 clients including Airbnb, Slack, GoPro, Envato and five AFL clubs.

It was founded by four Australian entrepreneurs and secured an $US8 million Series A round early last year. The startup now has a team of 64 across Melbourne and San Francisco, and with the new office in Melbourne and expansion into Europe, this number is set to rapidly increase.

The Victorian government has made a big push over the last year to encourage global startups to establish Asia-Pacific headquarters in Melbourne and ensure local startups maintain a presence in the city.

In March digital marketing agency WME announced it would be opening a large new office in Melbourne that will serve as its global HQ, while Appster last year expanded its Victorian operations, creating 100 new tech jobs.

Internationally-renown tech companies including Slack, Zendesk, GoPro and Square have also recently made the move to Melbourne to create regional offices.

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Denham Sadler

Denham Sadler is a former editor of StartupSmart. He was previously a journalist at the publication and has worked as a freelancer for the Guardian, the Saturday Paper and the ABC. In his spare time he likes puns and jaffles.

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