Market Update | June 2020

Our take on the what going on in the market, useful resources for founders we've built, and roles we're working on.
Anthony Sochan
,
June 25, 2020

The past few months has taken us all for a ride we were definitely not expecting. We've written an update based on what trends we've been seeing in the Australian market. All things considered, it's pretty surprising!

👔 The Job Market

Surprisingly, we're not seeing the uptick in the number of people in the market like many people would have assumed. In an economic downturn, you would expect that it would be an employers market, not an employee's market. We think what's really interesting about the technology sector is that there's been such a lack of talent for so long. When COVID-related redundancies did occur and good talent was let go, they generally found it fairly easy to secure interviews and line up work for themselves.

We feel that the problem has been compounded a little bit by the fact that we're finding it very difficult to get people to shift from their current roles. So, we find that people are being a lot more risk-averse. Choosing to stay where they are, not necessarily because that business is a lower or higher risk kind of venture than what we might be talking to them about. But really, because just a feeling of moving at the moment and being on probation is not one that they're wanting to entertain due to feeling that the future is  uncertain regarding what the job market is like.

The reports that we're hearing from businesses we’re working with is that productivity has shot up, which is definitely a vote of confidence for working remotely, especially when you consider the cost reductions. Businesses have been pleasantly surprised by the shift that's occurred in employee engagement and productivity. A recent survey of more than 1,000 workers, half of whom had incorporated some degree of remote working into their routines before COVID-19, showed that most would be happier to be in the office for only two or three days of a five-day working week.

It feels as though many businesses are entering a new norm where the majority of work will be done from home and not in the office. The office is there for collaboration, important meetings and things with deep meaning like strategy whiteboard sessions.

The whole office space itself is being repurposed in a different way so we think this will have a bit of a knock-on effect for quite a few years.

💸 Funding

We're certainly not investors, per se, but based on our exposure to the market, we haven't noticed a slowdown in funding availability. That being said, the feedback, questions, and advice a lot of founders have been receiving from their investors are things like: what's your cash, what's your burn, make it last. We're not sure if you've raised money now. We're not sure how the next raise might go, so make it last.

Top 10 Funding Events in May

Source

🏡Working from home

The reports that we're hearing from businesses we’re working with is that productivity has shot up, which is definitely a vote of confidence for working remotely, especially when you consider the cost reductions. Businesses have been pleasantly surprised by the shift that's occurred in employee engagement and productivity. A recent survey of more than 1,000 workers, half of whom had incorporated some degree of remote working into their routines before COVID-19, showed that most would be happier to be in the office for only two or three days of a five-day working week.

It feels as though many businesses are entering a new norm where the majority of work will be done from home and not in the office. The office is there for collaboration, important meetings and things with deep meaning like strategy whiteboard sessions.

The whole office space itself is being repurposed in a different way so we think this will have a bit of a knock-on effect for quite a few years.

🔎 Australian Ecosystem Projects we're working on (current roles)

  • Director of Services
  • E-commerce development team lead
  • Blockchain Team Lead
  • Head of Growth
  • Head of Digital Solutions
  • E-commerce Operations Manager
  • Vice President of Product
  • Vice President of Data Engineering
  • Head of Sales (Country Manager)

💼 How has this affected recruiting?

Obviously, more and more interviews are being done online. The trend was already heading that way anyway, COVID has just accelerated it. We're finding that nearly the entire interview process is now being conducted online. However, we do find that people do enjoy a final coffee or face to face meeting to put a name to a face. But that's often not part of the decision making process per se. It's really sealing the deal, signing things off in a more kind of friendly and social way. It feels like the face to face contact stuff is still important to people, but not as a means of helping to qualify the candidate and their overall fit for the organization.

🖥 What about full remote employment?

We haven't yet found that it's taken off as much in Australia. Our time zone and geographic location in the world disadvantages us in that regard. We will probably want to see more Australian companies open up multiple offices either in one city or across multiple cities in Australia, before they go and tackle the remote worker kind of setup. Again, not to say that there aren't parts of businesses that are utilizing remote workers, We think that's always happening for a long time, but that we're not seeing members of the same team across different time zones and locations. This will definitely change in the future. But it doesn't seem to be a high topic of discussion at the moment.

💰 Fintech in the UK

Our UK office has continued to see the fintech market flourish, with many of them looking to expand to the US and Australia.

We know of 20 companies that are all looking to expand into Australian market to catch the open banking wave. COVID has thrown a spanner in the works, so, depending on how things progress, we could expect more UK businesses on these shores in Q3 or Q4 of this year.

👩💼 Boards and Non-Executive Directors

We have built our non-executive director (NED) and Board practice in support of founders looking for hands-on operational NED and full-time Board members to support the next wave of technology businesses to flourish through and beyond COVID. If you are considering a new board seat, a change in board members now is a great time for a review and a new seat allocation. There’s been a huge migration of amazing Australians returning home due to COVID, many of which would be ideal on a startup board.

Reach out if you want to learn more about what we're seeing in the Australian startup scene. Follow us on Instagram and LinkedIn for more insights.

All the best,

Ant, JJ, and the Think&Grow team.

Anthony Sochan

Co-Founder
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Anthony

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