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Judo takes Canva’s crown, as neobanks dominate the LinkedIn Top Startups list

Stephanie Palmer-Derrien /

Top startups

Kate Keenan (second from left) and the Judo Bank leadership team. Source: Supplied.

Small business neobank Judo Bank is the best Aussie startup to work for, according to LinkedIn’s second annual top startups list.

The list uses data from LinkedIn actions to deduce which startups that are attracting, and retaining, the best of the Australian workforce.

Judo Bank topped the ranking, knocking famously culture-focused startup Canva into second place.

In fact, Aussie neobanks have largely fared well in the research. Volt Bank came in third place, while Xinja was fifth.

Fintech startups Athena, Assembly Payments, Moula and Get Capital also made it onto the list.

Judo co-founder and chief marketing officer Kate Keenan tells StartupSmart the team is “thrilled” to be named number one in the rankings.

“This is a wonderful accolade to receive and, as a team, we will be celebrating today,” she says.

“It’s also encouraging to see that six of the top 10 most attractive Australian startups to work for come from the financial services sector,” she adds.

“Competition in the form of disruption is here.”

Last year, unicorn and Aussie startup darling Canva took first place, and while there were a few fintechs in the mix, there was not a neobank in sight in the top 25.

In fact, although only in its second year, the list has seen quite a shakeup, with only six startups making a repeat appearance. These include edtech startup GO1, LegalVision and Assembly Payments, as well as Viridian Advisory, a private wealth company, which leapt from 24th place last year to 8th this year.

Assembly Payments co-founder Darren McMurtrie said making the list for the second time is “a huge honour”.

It’s a recognition of the efforts the fintech has put into staff retention, he said in a statement.

“We’ve hired like crazy and lost only a few over the past year. What’s more, the people we’ve hired contribute greatly to a culture of innovation that has brought the business to where it is today,” he said.

“Sure, we have a fully stocked bar fridge, a ping-pong table, all of your typical perks. But where we go the extra mile is in creating an environment where our team feel they can bring their whole selves to work and truly enjoy being there.”

The big shift in the top 25 perhaps shows the changeable nature of the startup ecosystem. Over the past year, neobanks have certainly been growing in both size and popularity.

Volt received its Authorised Deposit-taking Institution (ADI) licence in January this year, and Judo Bank’s licence followed soon after. While Xinja is still waiting for its full licence, founder Eric Wilson told StartupSmart in June he was “absolutely hopeful it will be well before the end of the year”.

However, it’s worth noting that LinkedIn’s methodologies may also play a role here.

To qualify for the top 25, startups must be seven years old or younger, and have at least 50 employees.

This means a company that was seven years old last year cannot be included again. At the same time, there has been a swathe of newcomers hiring their 50th employee and becoming eligible to take on the competition.

LinkedIn measures four pillars: employment growth, engagement, job interest and the attraction of top talent.

It takes into account the percentage increase in headcount, non-employee views of the company’s LinkedIn page as well as those of its employees, and views of and applications to job ads.

It also measures how many employees a company has recruited from other LinkedIn Top Companies.

LinkedIn Top Startups 2019

  1. Judo Bank
  2. Canva (number 1 last year)
  3. Volt Bank
  4. Mantel Group
  5. Xinja
  6. Athena Home Loans
  7. Shippit
  8. Viridian Advisory (24 last year)
  9. Assembly Payments (9 last year)
  10. Sonder
  11. Flare HR
  12. Alex Solutions
  13. Integrity Life
  14. Moula
  15. Verdia
  16. Versent (7 last year)
  17. GetCapital
  18. RedEye Apps
  19. GO1 (12 last year)
  20. Barhead Solutions
  21. Cover Genius
  22. Enable Professional Services
  23. Clinic to Cloud
  24. HiSmile
  25. LegalVision (19 last year)

NOW READ: Death to the ping pong table: The Aussie startups breaking the mould with employee perks

NOW READ: “People are greater than perks”: Why founders need to make sure their culture evolves as their startup does

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Stephanie Palmer-Derrien

Stephanie Palmer-Derrien is the editor at StartupSmart. You can contact her at [email protected].

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