A widespread talent crunch, global component shortages and rapidly changing marketing channels are forcing start-ups to spend their venture capital in unexpected ways, a survey of a range of Australian tech ventures has found.

Unexpected expenses are chewing up their fresh capital, forcing them to adapt, even while the global digitisation trend has prompted waves of investment to pour into start-ups, local tech founders say.

The Australian Financial Review polled tech start-ups in various stages of development, some having just raised pre-seed finance and some more established with $30 million in the bank.

The poll showed that although start-ups spend their capital in a variety of ways, they all have one thing in common: COVID-19 has had a dramatic effect on where their money goes. Sudden shortages of staff and electronics, and new ways to market brought on by the pandemic, have shifted the ground under their feet.

“The market is changing all the time, and the race to build defensible, valuable tech businesses is very competitive,” said Tim Doyle, the founder and CEO of health platform Eucalyptus.

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