Aussie Start-up & Venture Capital Summary | 4th November 2023
G'day and welcome to Overnight Success, your weekly wrap on all things Aussie startups! 🇦🇺
Housekeeping: Does your OS newsletter get cut off by Gmail’s pesky mobile app? You can read the full version without interruption here.
Check out guest writer Georgina Healy’s synopsis of the 2023 Peter Farrell Cup run by UNSW.
🏛️ Albo looks to Biden’s government for reference for artificial intelligence reforms (The Australian).
Minister for Industry and Science Ed Husic said the government was intent on promoting the safe and responsible use of AI. Check out VOX’s review of the Biden executive order here.
Immediation has raised $19M since 2017, officially launching in 2019 with the aim of taking commercial disputes out of the courts and minimising court fees.
The business has mediated over 10,000 cases and was utilised by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) during lockdowns.
💻 Atlassian’s share price dropped 10% following a slowdown in customer growth (AFR).
🦃 Blackbird snagged 20% of Leonardo.ai, the image-generation tool focused on creative assets, fine-tuned models and 3D animation.
According to the AFR, Leonardo has 3.6M users and generated 435M images in the last 8 months.
Blackbird’s equity in the startup has grown over multiple capital rounds, with Niki Scevak (founding partner) now taking a board seat.
PLUS: Six funding announcements, three massive grants and a synopsis of the inaugural Burning Hero Awards, and Bronte McHenry returns (again!) to the newsletter and drops some KaaS. Read on! 👇️
Marketing-intelligence platform Mutinex lands $9.5M to fuel US growth.
Mutinex, a marketing investment analytics platform, has raised $9.5M and hit a $75M valuation. The round was led by EVP, the B2B SaaS-focused VC, which has now invested $12M into the business across two rounds. Who can blame them, given Mutinex has reportedly tripled annual recurring revenue since the last round?
Mutinex aims to democratise quality, user-friendly marketing-data analysis for all marketers. With a customer base already featuring Asahi and Samsung and partnerships with top agencies, the company has established a significant SaaS foundation. Co-founder Matt Farrugia will continue driving APAC growth while new boots in the US (including CEO Henry Innis) grow that pie. The MarTech now boasts over 50 employees and is poised to scale its business model, aiming to become the preeminent name in marketing measurement and ROI.
The company was valued at $37M in February 2023 following a seed extension round of $5M.
Due Diligence: Adnews.com,
Database / B2B Sales Tools
Firmable finds $9M Seed round from AirTree as it launches beta B2B database business.
Melbourne-based B2B database platform Firmable has emerged from stealth with a $9M investment led by AirTree.
The platform already has data from 1 million companies and 10 million employees. It focuses on actionable data tailored to Australian markets. Firmable targets use cases like sales, marketing, recruitment and market intelligence with its beta product. For example, the recruitment platform competes with LinkedIn's expensive recruitment tools, while the business database is a fairly unique offering in the Australian market.
The business was in stealth for a while and has emerged with a polished offering. The platform already integrates with the likes of Salesforce, Hubspot and Zapier. Firmable has a strong founding team, including the Aconex founders Leigh Jasper, Paul Perrett, and Karthik Venkatasubramanian. Aconex sold to Oracle for $1.6B in 2017.
Due Diligence: AFR
Analog Quantum Circuits (AQC) lands $3M to build components for the growing quantum computing market.
Brisbane-based startup Analog Quantum Circuits (AQC) has landed $3M of investment from Uniseed. AQC wants to sell the ‘picks and shovels’ of the quantum computing revolution. More specifically, AQC develops core microwave technologies for superconducting quantum computers. The startup builds research funded by the Australian Research Council (ARC), through EQUS and Future Fellowships held by the founders Professors Tom Stace and Arkady Fedorov.
The investment from Uniseed aims to propel AQC's technology into the commercialisation phase. The microwave circulators in development are 1000 times smaller than those currently on the market. The development of these circulators is crucial to the future of quantum computing as superconducting circuits operate at microwave frequencies between 1 and 10 GHz. The history of quantum computing components is deep in Australia, with the miniaturisation of the microwave circulator invented in 2017 in Sydney. To learn more about the research behind AQC, head here.
Coach Welly pumps up valuation to $4.25M following pre-seed funding.
Coach Welly, a Queensland-based AI wellness platform, has closed its pre-seed funding round, valuing the company at $4.25M. The round was led by Australia's largest angel investor syndicate Angel Loop, with contributions from Brisbane Angels and strategic investors across Australia, Singapore, and the USA.
Coach Welly aims to disrupt the gym fitness industry with its AI-driven health and wellness personalisation platform. Using AI smarts, the platform engages, motivates and rewards members to return to the gym more often. The application also syncs up with a slew of health data wearables and other fitness applications like Strava and Garmin. Other potential customers include large corporations looking to reward their workforce for being active and insurance companies seeking healthier clientele.
Despite not launching yet, Coach Welly has already landed contracts with an extensive global gym brand with a presence in Australia. The funds will be invested in the platform's development ahead of its Q1 2024 launch.
Due Diligence: Direct from Founder
Happly handed $1.75M Seed round to create a seamless moving experience.
Sydney-based Happly has boxed up a $1.75M Seed round, drawing in notable and strategic angel investors, including property developer Danny Hanna and ex-ASX executive Max Cunningham.
Happly was founded by Andrew Weinman and TAXIBOX's Jeremy Rosen. It’s positioning itself as the platform for stress-free relocations, providing a centralised service for booking movers, cleaners, packers, instant quotes, furniture donations and other moving necessities.
The platform promises a seamless moving experience, streamlining the traditionally arduous process into a quick, organised checklist that also addresses other moving-related tasks like updating licenses and postal addresses. Furthermore, it offers an eco-friendly twist by facilitating the donation or recycling of unwanted items. According to research, moving is often regarded as one of life's worst experiences.
Happly is operational in Sydney and aims to expand to Melbourne and Brisbane within 18 months.
FinTech / Memberships
Litecard lands $1.2M pre-Seed to bring digital card services to more use cases.
Melbourne's Litecard has secured a $1.2M pre-Seed investment led by Func Ventures alongside Cut Through Angels, Coin Capital Ventures, and Blossom Capital Partners.
Litecard innovates in the digital wallet space and facilitates organisations in issuing digital cards directly to smartphones. While this problem may feel solved by tech giants like Apple and Google, Litecard is chasing the long tail of businesses that want to use these services. The digital wallet app allows membership organisations with no in-house development team to create digital membership cards and licenses. Current use cases include fishing licenses, sporting memberships and personal insurance cards.
The platform has solid growth, with 1.4M digital cards created to date. While being convenient for the end user, the platform also speaks to a sustainability angle, with fewer physical plastic cards being created. Furthermore, Litecard can help organisations organisations increase their membership engagement and renewals through data capture.
Due Diligence: AFR
☀️ SunDrive, the solar innovator that utilises copper in the manufacturing of solar panels, has received an $11M grant from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, funded by Federal Labor, to upscale its solar cell production.
SunDrive’s tech could reduce solar installation costs by up to 30%. The grant will expand production from 1.5MW to over 100MW annually, allowing for 15,000 home systems and increasing staff to about 100 by year's end.
SunDrive will target both residential and utility markets with their panels.
SunDrive already has Mike Cannon-Brookes, Blackbird Ventures, Virescent Ventures and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation on their cap table.
🥛 Western Australia's Good Earth Dairy, the producer of Camel Milk, has been granted $4.4M by the WA state government for a new $20M camel milk powder facility. The new factory will create 90 new jobs once they get over the hump of construction (foodmag).
The company was founded in 2016 by Stephen Geppert and Marcel Steingiesser are is planning to expand after an equity crowdfunding campaign. The company now has 160 camels on an 800-hectare farm.
Good Earth Dairy distributes across WA and is targeting a public listing in Q2 2024.
New Fund, Who’s This?
🏆️ The inaugural Burning Heroes of Australia awards were a tremendous success. Burning Heroes is founded on the fact that diverse businesses generate 12% more revenue and burn 33% less capital than companies founded solely by men.
Here is a super quick synopsis of the results…
🌍️ Global reach Winner: Humanico, helping companies understand, visualise and optimise their greatest asset: their people.
🧑🤝🧑 Social impact Winner: Alt.Leather, is Australia's first 100% bio-based leather alternative.
🦘 Aussie market mover Winner: The Separation Guide, Australia's only holistic guide to divorce and separation.
👩🔬 Equity in innovation Winner: DEIR: Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Retention, the number-one recruit-tech platform to find women in STEM.
⚡️ Speedy start-up Winner: SeenCulture, shining a light on untapped potential to create a world where everyone feels seen.
🖼️ Tech in the arts Winner: QreativeAI, where technology intersects with art to revolutionise the way you connect with your audience.
📆 Overnight Success now co-hosts the Aussie & NZ Startup Events calendar, created by Startmate and supported by The Community Collective.
mum: why do you have so many stickers on your laptop? it looks so ugly
me: these are cool startup stickers
mum: why don't you have one type? like why don't you have just Pokemon stickers instead of those startup things
— Albert Patajo 🍬 (@intothemetabert)
Nov 3, 2023
KaaS (Knowledge as a Service)
Bronte’s Pick 💁♀️ is Unexplainable by Vox
This was a habit I had at an old role that I’ve just stopped in my new one. It wasn’t until this article resurfaced that I remembered writing a weekly summary email is as beneficial to your recipient as it is to you. The email keeps you honest about reflection and gives you a great place to start on Monday.
Hot tip: Once I receive the summary email in my inbox (CC yourself), I’ll snooze it until Monday morning. Solo founder and need someone to send your weekly summary email to? Shoot them my way. I love emails.
Have we missed something? Got some feedback? We love emails, so send one over!
‘Til next time,
👋 Will & Bronte