Atlassian’s latest stunning success

AUSTRALIAN start-up Atlassian has scaled the business ranks to become one of the nation's biggest companies.

The tech giant has profited from a recent boom on Wall Street, with its market capitalisation surging to $50 billion.

The lofty figure makes Atlassian bigger than iconic telco Telstra, and it is edging closer to one of the country's big four banks, NAB, which is currently worth $77 billion, The Australian reported.

Atlassian co-founders Scott Farquhar and Mike Cannon-Brookes. Source: Supplied
Atlassian co-founders Scott Farquhar and Mike Cannon-Brookes. Source: Supplied

Founded and run by Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar, the company builds computer software for major brands such as ANZ and NASA and has now exceeded Macquarie Group ($44 billion), Woolworths ($43 billion), and mining giant Rio Tinto ($38 billion).

The two were ranked fourth and fifth on The List of Australia's Richest 250 published by The Australian in March, but the current growth of Atlassian means they could soon skip ahead of Anthony Pratt and Gina Rinehart and reach the top.

The surge in the company's share price means Mr Cannon-Brookes and Mr Farquhar would already be worth more than apartment magnate Harry Triguboff, who was ranked third with a fortune of $12.31 billion.

Atlassian is based in Sydney but is listed on New York's Nasdaq exchange, where it has doubled its share price value in the last 12 months to $US138.80 ($A200.15).

If the stock rises just $US4.20 to $US143, the pair, who aren't even 40 years old, will have personal fortunes larger than Mr Pratt's $13.14 billion.

The share price has surged in value on the tech-heavy Nasdaq, rising alongside other giants in the sector including Apple, Microsoft and Google.

The Australian reported Goldman Sachs upgraded the company's price target in May.

"We continue to believe that even after two years of price increases, Atlassian still offers a high value-to-price ratio for its customers," the firm said.

The two could soon be the richest Australians. Source: Atlassian
The two could soon be the richest Australians. Source: Atlassian

The pair's massive wealth and success have provided a platform to share their social and political voices.

Earlier this year, Mr Cannon-Brookes criticised the Coalition government during the election campaign.

At the time, Labor had a policy for a 50 per cent target of electric vehicles in new car sales by 2030 - a proposition slammed by the Scott Morrison Government.

"That particular issue is an incredibly frustrating one," Mr Cannon-Brookes said of the electric vehicle (EV) debate that became a political battleground.

"You can't support something 12 months ago and say it's great technology, it's great for Australia … and then 12 months later say it's total hocus. It's just wrong," he told news.com.au.

"They will be on the wrong side of history, that is for sure."

The outspoken tech billionaire isn't afraid to wade into policy debates, and he has more sway than most. After all, a bet he waged with Tesla founder Elon Musk on Twitter helped spark one of the biggest renewable energy projects in Australia in recent years.

Last month, the Atlassian co-founder was a panellist on the ABC's Q&A during a discussion about new assistance and access laws that could force technology firms to hand over information to the government.

Mr Cannon-Brookes warned the legislation was globally "a little bit of a joke of a piece of legislation" and was making Australian companies less competitive against those overseas.

"It means any consumer around the world that's looking at two pieces of technology, two apps and two choices, will be less likely to choose the Australian one because of the fear someone is looking at their data," he said.

He said a growing number of government departments were starting to request access to Atlassian's information.

"That's the problem when laws are passed and are overly broad," he said.

"Laws with loose definitions are extremely dangerous."


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