Atlassian: Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar : How I Built This with Guy Raz In 2001, Mike Cannon-Brookes sent an email to his college classmates in Sydney, asking if anyone was interested in helping him launch a tech startup after graduation. Back then, entrepreneurship wasn't a popular career path in Australia; and Mike's only taker was Scott Farquhar, a fellow student who shared Mike's passion for computers and his frustration for the corporate grind. Together they launched Atlassian, a two-man tech support service that they managed from their bedrooms at all hours of the night. Unable to make money, Scott and Mike decided to pivot and sell some of the software they'd developed for themselves. Out of that grew Jira, a project-management tool that's used in all sorts of endeavors, from pizza delivery to the exploration of Mars. Today, Atlassian is valued at over $50 billion and Scott and Mike are Australia's first startup-to-IPO tech billionaires.

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Atlassian: Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar

Atlassian: Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar

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Kristen Uroda for NPR
Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar are co-founders/CEO of Atlassian
Kristen Uroda for NPR

In 2001, Mike Cannon-Brookes sent an email to his college classmates in Sydney, asking if anyone was interested in helping him launch a tech startup after graduation.

Back then, entrepreneurship wasn't a popular career path in Australia; and Mike's only taker was Scott Farquhar, a fellow student who shared Mike's passion for computers and his frustration for the corporate grind. Together they launched Atlassian, a two-man tech support service that they managed from their bedrooms at all hours of the night. Unable to make money, Scott and Mike decided to pivot and sell some of the software they'd developed for themselves.

Out of that grew Jira, a project-management tool that's used in all sorts of endeavors, from pizza delivery to the exploration of Mars. Today, Atlassian is valued at over $50 billion and Scott and Mike are Australia's first startup-to-IPO tech billionaires.