Atlassian Founders Lose $20 Billion As Tech Tumbles Down Australian Rich List

Good news for miners, bad news for dataminers.

Atlassian Founders Lose $20 Billion As Tech Tumbles Down Australian Rich List

Image: Telegraph

This year’s much-anticipated list of Australia’s richest people is out and – as you might have expected after a wild year for the wider industry – tech founders have taken the biggest hits. Having lost staggering amounts of money in the midst of a silicon valley sh*tstorm, tech titans will be licking their wounds this morning as they watch traditional industries surge back to the top spots.

With the recent announcement that one mystery Aussie is sitting on over $544 million in super, you won’t be surprised to hear that our great nation is swelling its ranks of billionaires. What might surprise you, however, is the fact that some of Australia’s brightest and most cutting-edge tech entrepreneurs have actually had a pretty bad go of it this past year.

The Australian’s yearly list of the nation’s wealthiest individuals is out and it couldn’t be clearer that tech billionaires are feeling the squeeze. While old-school magnates continue to prosper, seeing huge boosts in the mining, construction, and manufacturing sectors, tech moguls have faced a significant decrease in their fortunes in 2022.

Atlassian’s Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar – who were both in the top 10 richest Australians last year – have dropped from 4th and 5th place to 6th and 7th in 2023. Their combined personal wealth has plummeted by a staggering $20 billion, due to the declining share prices of their companies and their regular offloading of said company shares.

Smiling through the pain – it’s been a rough year for tech titan Mike Cannon-Brookes. Image: TIME

Canva’s founders, Cliff Obrecht and Melanie Perkins, also saw a significant decrease in their combined wealth, with around $5.8 billion disappearing after the company’s valuation was reduced 36% by its venture capital backers to US$25.6 billion (AU$37 billion).

They dropped from 8th place last year to 10th with a much-reduced but still pretty cozy $10.1 billion in the bank, down from $15.89 billion in 2022. The pair still own 30% of Canva and have pledged to donate the majority of their fortune to charity.

Over in the winner’s paddock, the wealthiest Australian for the umpteenth year running is Australia’s richest woman, Gina Rinehart of Hancock Prospecting. With $37.1 billion to her name, Gina saw a casual increase of $6.5 billion from the previous year. Must be nice.

The ever-enigmatic Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest came in second with a fortune of $35.2 billion, up $4.5 billion from last year.

RELATED: Australian Mining Magnate Andrew Forrest Commits $750 Million To Rebuild Ukraine

Unstoppable: Will Rinehart ever be knocked off the top spot? Image: Getty

The top five also includes boxes baron Anthony Pratt with $27.9 billion, property developer extraordinaire Harry Triguboff with $23.6 billion, and the nation’s leading political advertiser and litigant, Clive Palmer, with $20.4 billion.

The Australian’s John Stensholt, who oversees the creation of The List, was quick to call out tech’s failures in the simplest possible terms: “these are the industries that actually make money – not like these tech guys”. A very boomer take, but it holds up.

There is some good news for up-and-coming tech whizzes though: The List 2023 welcomes the next generation of tech billionaires, including 27-year-old Ed Craven, co-founder of, the online crypto gambling startup.

His fortune of $2 billion has earned him a spot on the list, even though the platform’s gambling license prohibits its sports betting and casino platform from being used by Australian players.

Twiggy’s slow pivot to green business looks to be paying off. Image: FT

Finally, James and Robbie Ferguson, the co-founders of Immutable, have benefited from the lucrative combination of NFTs (non-fungible tokens) and gaming. A $3.5 billion valuation propelled them onto the list with an estimated personal wealth of $750 million, making Robbie the youngest person on the list.

Having said all that, we reckon that the tech founders may be down but they’re definitely not out – the tech industry has experienced a rollercoaster of a year, with Meta’s fortunes taking a turn for the worse, SVB’s recent collapse, and Twitter really being put through the wringer by new owner Elon Musk…

Though its good to see old-school domestic industries enjoying success, we’ve got a pretty good hunch that mining’s days are limited and that – if Elon and Zuck can just settle down for a few months – that the tech titans will be back in force in pretty short order.