Editor's Note: This post was written by Ross Dawson, CEO of Advanced Human Technologies and Chairman of Future Exploration Network. Ross is holding a Web 2.0 event in Sydney, Australia on June 6, which I will be a speaker at. In preparation for the conference, Ross has produced this amazing list of Top Aussie Web Apps. Almost as amazingly, I personally know people from all of the top 9 companies in this list, mainly because they all seem to be in Silicon Valley at the same time as me ;-) Which is to say, hanging out at Web 2.0 conferences and infiltrating Mike Arrington's house. Australians are a resourceful lot! Indeed, note that Ross almost tries to claim a New Zealand company below (Eurekster), but he admitted it was kiwi in the end... well the technology anyway! Remember Split Enz? :-) Kiwi band claimed by Australians as their own. Anyway, I digress. Here is Ross' excellent post -- enjoy!
Future Exploration Network's Web 2.0 in Australia event on June 6, we are including a showcase of the top five examples of Web 2.0 coming out of this glorious country. Identifying who we wanted to invite to the showcase proved a marvelous opportunity to take a good look at what's out there in the world of Web 2.0. The result is the following list of Australia's Top 60 Web 2.0 applications.At
At the Web 2.0 in Australia event we are showcasing five companies (written up in more detail here) - Atlassian, Gnoos, Omnidrive, Scouta, and Tangler. These fascinating and innovative companies have been chosen for our showcase because they are particularly effective in showing the diversity of the field to our senior executive audience, which gave slightly different results to the Top 60 list.
You'll find our Top 60 below. The sites are ranked in approximate order of how prominent they are (or should be), based on four criteria:
- Web 2.0 characteristics
- Coolness/ Innovation
- Commercial success/ number of users
The first comment to make is that coolness and maturity are often inversely correlated. What used to be hot is now ho-hum, while the more innovative applications just out the door haven't had the time to become mature or gain commercial success. That means some extremely cool and promising applications such as Outback Online, Particls, Vquence, or even SmoothBudget (ranked 59) are outside the top tier on the list, not because they aren't very interesting and exciting, but because they are in alpha or beta, and so don't yet score well on the maturity and commercial success factors. Hopefully that will rapidly change. In other words, you can still find some very interesting early stage applications further down on this list, so please don't just look at the top.
Omnidrive garners the top ranking on the list by being both extremely cool (particularly in how it is shifting to become a highly diverse, deeply integrated online utility), while also being a real success story in its profile and user base.
Another issue is what makes an application qualify as Australian. In almost all cases the technology or key executives behind the listed applications have emerged from Australia, though in some cases the companies have since migrated overseas. There are some top-notch companies such as Eurekster that have some Australian capital behind them. However in this case the original technology came out of New Zealand, and it is now largely a US company, so it doesn't feature on the list.
An interesting feature of the list is that few Australian Web 2.0 companies have been acquired over the last years, making it a considerably less dynamic space than in some other countries. Exceptions include Where 2 Technologies being bought by Google in October 2004, Massive by Microsoft one year ago, and Zookoda by Payperpost a month ago. The acquisition landscape seems likely to change, with most of the major Australian-based media and technology companies currently sniffing around for interesting online ventures, however Australian-based companies find it harder to get the visibility for international trade buyers. As far as I'm aware fewer than 20 per cent of the companies on the list have significant presence or deep connections into the US or other major overseas markets.
Many of the applications on the list are at a fairly early stage in their development, indicating that the field is rapidly heating up and there is substantial development and innovation going on. However, even though many newcomers look like solid and interesting applications, they are entering a crowded marketplace. Some of the applications are clearly being created in developers' spare time, with the absence of any names indicating they don't want their day-job employers knowing they are up to other things on the side. A number of services that were available a year ago have now disappeared.
Of course many will disagree on the highly subjective rankings. I encourage your comments on the companies, rankings, and any companies not included. There were many more applications we're aware of that didn't make the list. Some are very early-stage or have little uptake. Others are interesting applications that do not qualify as Web 2.0. Most simple search, sales, and B2B or B2C intermediaries don't make the cut. No doubt we've missed companies that should be on the list - so please let us know!
Click here to view the Top 60 List (Ed: unfortunately the table killed my stylesheet)