From Employment Hero to Canva: A quick look at five Australian unicorns

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 From Employment Hero to Canva: A quick look at five Australian unicorns

Highlights

  • Employment Hero became the latest Australian company to enter the unicorn club that counts unlisted companies with over US$1 billion valuation as its members.
  • Lawyer turned tech entrepreneur Ben Thompson is the co-founder of Employment Hero, which is a human resource, payroll and benefits platform.
  • Australia is also home to many other unicorns. In this article, we will discuss about some of the top Australian unicorns.

Employment Hero became the latest Australian company to enter the unicorn club after it closed an AU$181 million funding round on Thursday at a valuation of around AU$1.25 billion. Lawyer-turned-tech entrepreneur Ben Thompson is the co-founder of Employment Hero, which is a human resource, payroll and benefits platform.

Employment Hero offers a full suite of human resources management tools, including payroll and benefits. Its platform is used by over 80,000 SMEs, benefitting nearly 750,000 employees. The company has a global workforce of more than 500 full-time employees.

The company's last funding round was in July 2021, when it raised AU$140 million from investors led by Insight Partners. At that time, the company was valued at AU$800 million.

For the uninitiated, a unicorn is a word used to describe a privately owned firm with a valuation of more than US$1 billion. A venture capitalist Aileen Lee, who is also a founder of Cowboy Ventures, coined the term unicorn.  

Other than Employment Hero, Australia is also home to many other unicorns. In this article, we will discuss some of the top Australian unicorns.   

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Canva

Canva, an online graphic design start-up firm founded by university sweethearts Cliff Obrecht and Melanie Perkins, was recently valued at US$40 billion. Perkins got the idea for building a graphic design tool while she was still a student at Perth university. The firm was established in 2013 to enable anybody to "design anything and publish anywhere."

Creating one-of-a-kind and compelling content for social media may be time-consuming and exhausting and this is where Canva comes into play. This drag-and-drop tool helps to make graphics for Twitter, newsletters, Facebook and Instagram a breeze. 

Moreover, Canva has a digital partnership with Bukalapak, HubSpot, PandaDoc and Wattpad. 

Airwallex  

Established in 2015 by Max Li and Jack Zhang, Airwallex became Australia's most rapidly grown unicorn in just three years. Valued at over US$5.5 billion, the company allows users to open a bank account in 11 different currencies. It also allows users to transfer money to over 130 countries in more than 31 currencies.

The company developed a global financial infrastructure and apps to aid customers growing in all corners of the globe. Airwallex has helped companies work without borders and restrictions by simplifying the challenges of doing business overseas.

SafetyCulture

SafetyCulture, which is a mobile app development firm, was started by Luke Anear in 2004 from his garage in Townsville. The firm is now valued at more than US$2 billion. The iAuditor app developed by SafetyCulture has become a worldwide sensation.

iAuditor is a mobile-first tool that lets you digitise all aspects of your operations while also cooperating across working teams and leveraging important on-the-job interactions. iAuditor delivers insights and visibility into improving an organisation's quality and safety standards.

Moreover, using its checklist software, the app assists in the collection of consistent data, standardisation of procedures, identifying failed areas, and resolving issues. 

Culture Amp

Culture Amp is an employee engagement startup that was co-founded by Didier Elzinga in 2009.

CultureAmp helps corporates enhance staff engagement with research‑backed surveys crafted by professional experts in the organisation. The firm aids their clients with resources and offers suggestions for improving employee engagement. 

This is used by over 4,000 corporates including global companies such as Airbnb and McDonalds.

Moreover, it also helps to develop unique reports that show where to invest funds and time. It also helps in developing action plans to ensure smooth operation, with the help of industry experts.

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