Aussie Start-up & Venture Capital Summary | 16th September 2023
You won't find all the latest startup raises & news from the last week anywhere else.
G'day and welcome to Overnight Success, your weekly wrap on all things Aussie start-ups!
Our exciting milestone this week was the release of our first article written as part of our soon-to-be-launched Guest Writer Program (more details on this to come very soon…!). Lea Rausch interviewed the incredible founders of Paperform - check it out! 👇️
We’d also like to say a huge thank you to everyone who took the time to complete our first subscriber survey. If you provided your email as part of your response, we’ll be picking our stubby cooler winners this week, so keep an eye on your inbox! 🍺
Housekeeping: Does your OS newsletter get cut-off by Gmail’s pesky mobile app? You can read the full version without interruption here.
👀 The NSW start-up ecosystem will be watching next week’s budget closely
As reported by Startup Daily, a media release from the state government this week warned that they’re needing to make some tough decisions in light of a large “budget blackhole” left behind by the former government.
This could mean cuts to NSW-based start-up programs and facilities (e.g. Sydney Startup Hub), while states such as Victoria and Queensland are largely maintaining their support for the sector.
💰VentureCrowd and Pitch VC partner to make starting a start-up investment fund easier (Business News Australia)
The partnership is working together to publicly launch the ‘Emerging Fund Manager’ platform, which is already in use internally at VentureCrowd, in a bid to “democratise the funds management sector”.
It will offer a white-label product that will manage the establishment, compliance and administration of new funds so that fund managers can focus on finding and investing in start-ups (the fun bits!).
🎓 Coassemble is preparing for acquisition
According to AFR Street Talk, the company is running a process to be acquired at a ~$4M run rate with valuations under $50M.
The platform helps create beautiful learning experiences and has served more than 2M users with 70,000 active monthly.
👂🏻A key investment fund gatekeeper held its annual conference this week and gave a 👍🏻 to pre-IPO investments (AFR)
The asset consultants you’ve probably never heard of (but probably should have), Frontier Advisors, attracted 125 fund managers to its ‘Managers’ Dialogue’ conference this week where it essentially provides a low-down on what’s hot and what’s not when it comes to Australia’s biggest bankrollers.
The TLDR; climate-aligned opportunities (including impact investing) and pre-IPO investments are of particular interest to their clients (aka big super, insurers, endowments and more), so we read this as good news for start-ups!
EngageRM scores $6M to help sports & entertainment brands engage fans
Founded in 2008, EngageRM is a CRM, marketing automation and data analytics platform built on Microsoft Dynamics, designed to remove data silos in sports and entertainment business. These businesses often need to manage complex data across their membership bases, ticketing platforms, fan communities, merchandise purchases, sponsorship partners, venue hire management and more, so a custom solution for the industry makes sense.
The funding round was led by Five V Capital, with investor (and founder of Cut Through Venture) Chris Gillings set to join the board. The company last raised a round worth $2.3M in October 2021, the majority of these funds coming from family office Gandel Invest.
The company already counts an impressive lineup of sports brands as customers, including the AFL teams Collingwood, Carlton and Adelaide, NRL clubs the Rabbitohs and Bulldogs as well as various US NBA and NFL teams.
Due Diligence: AFR
Tikpay lands pre-Seed funding to modernise mobility & transport ticketing
Melbourne-based tikpay has landed pre-Seed funding to disrupt public transport ticketing. It’s only natural the start-up was founded in Melbourne, with ongoing criticism of Victoria’s $1.7B Myki system.
The funding was co-led by AfterWork Ventures and Black Nova Ventures, with participation from Investible, Func Ventures, Metagrove Ventures and strategic angels.
Tikpay offers flexible payment options for both consumers and operators. For consumers, tikpay will offer an account-based platform with frictionless payments across multiple operators, enabling one-ticket multi-modal travel. Your commute, which may involve a few types of transport, can be handled by one payment. The tikpay account will also know your concession information and auto apply the appropriate discounting and can offer flexible payments. Since tikpay is also verticalising the platform they are building, transport operators can expect up to 40% savings.
The tikpay founder, Michael Walters, founded Littlepay in 2017 which also innovated around backend ticketing.
Due Diligence: AfterWork Ventures Investment Notes
AMP secures $28.5M Series A to provide an all-in-one eCommerce solution
eCommerce platform AMP has raised a $28.5M Series A led by Singapore-based venture firms Jungle Ventures and Open Space Ventures. AMP aims to simplify the eCommerce landscape by offering an all-in-one sales, shipping, and analytics solution. The start-up has already made three acquisitions - AppHQ, Addition, and Lifetimely —to enhance its suite of tools.
The platform was founded by successful founder duo Cameron Priest and Patrick Barnes (Aussie founder), who previously exited TradeGecko and Advocately. TradeGecko was acquired by Intuit for $US80M in 2020.
AMP is headquartered in Singapore, with a presence in Australia and the US. The strong growth to date has included a customer base of 20,000 in just 18 months since its launch. The success is testament to the cumbersome reality that SME retailers often face with the use of up to 25+ apps daily to run their operations. The AMP platform focuses on interconnection and integration, saving time, money and pain.
Flagship secures $2M Seed round to maximise in-store shopping merch appeal
Sydney-based merchandise data startup Flagship, has secured $2M in Seed funding to empower retailers with data-driven decisions for in-store product placement. The round was led by Tidal Ventures and had backing from Afterpay’s co-founder Nick Molnar. Flagship was founded by Simon Molnar (Nick’s brother).
The Flagship product is an AI-driven platform that helps optimise in-store product arrangements, including window displays to interiors, in real time. The tool brings eCommerce-style data analytics to physical retail. Additionally, the tool can help create visual merchandising guides across multiple stores to create a consistent look and feel.
Brands like Venroy, LSKD and Aje Athletica already use Flagship. The funds will be utilised for market expansion into the US and beyond as well as team growth.
Due Diligence: Tidal Ventures Investment Notes
Tapestry.ai secures pre-Seed funding from Co Ventures
Tapestry.ai is a Melbourne-based data infrastructure tech platform aiming to revolutionise how commerce businesses handle all their data. Designed by industry leaders Christopher Bartlett, Dr. Jon Stanger, and Regan Lawton, the start-up offers real-time, uniform data processing from diverse sources. The platform will sync with retailers, suppliers, retail collectives and more to maximise efficiency and profit.
The platform allows data sharing between stakeholders without compromising integrity. For example, a supplier can see how their product is performing in a retail store. It can also integrate seamlessly with legacy and cloud systems, thus eliminating the need for costly overhauls.
There is also a win for the planet embedded into the Tapestry.ai platform. As retailers of all kinds become more efficient, there is the potential for a drastic reduction in product wastage.
Due Diligence: Maxine Minter (Co Ventures GP) LinkedIn Post
humii is a retail customer experience dashboard platform that uses a combination of human analytics, secret shoppers and AI to create smart reports and dashboards for retailers.
The platform is already used by New Balance, Rebel, Oroton and Asics.
Founded in 2021, Torqn describes itself as “the global knowledge network for industrial plant & equipment”. Think of it like a cross between a Facebook group, community forum (like Reddit or Quora) and a review site, connecting people based on the equipment they use to ask questions and share solutions.
In addition to expanding to industries outside of mining, like construction, agriculture and aviation, the company is looking to develop a white-labelled version of the product for larger companies who want to interact within a closed community, as well as to launch an equipment marketplace and job ad pages.
Waddle co-founder Leigh Dunsford is behind the fintech app which aims to be a one-stop-shop for Gen Zs and Millennials to manage their money and build wealth. It’s not a bank, but a money management platform.
Dunsford sold Waddle to Xero in 2020 and just last week it was announced the company has since been bought by CommBank’s x15 Ventures.
Startmate brings home the (returns) bacon 🥓 🤑 (AFR)
Founded in 2011, Startmate, which runs its own accelerator program and various Fellowship programs, has revealed that it has returned funds from 2011-2016 in cash at 2.69x the $2.18M that investors contributed. The paper returns are closer to 10.29x that original contribution.
Since inception, Startmate has backed 230 companies with 63% remaining active. Their current investment mandate for accelerator participants is $120K for 8%.
They’ve also just announced their Winter 23 Accelerator cohort - check them out here.
🐟 Taryn Williams and Samantha Martin-Williams join the Fishburners board (Startup Daily)
Taryn Williams is the founder & CEO of theright.fit and WINK models, while Samantha Martin-Williams is a seasoned board member with a slew of exec experience.
Climate tech accelerator EnergyLab announces new cohort 🌱
13 emerging start-ups will kick-off the new ‘Climate Tech Charge’ 12 month program which provides support to early-stage founders of companies contributing to decarbonisation.
The program is unique in that it’s ‘always-on’; applications are open year-round and new founders can join each month. The program also aims to connect participants with EnergyLab’s 160-strong network of angel investors.
The not-for-profit charges $1,200 to join for the first 12 months, with a $99/month membership fee after that. Learn more here.
Climasens has snagged $5M from Google.org’s Impact Challenge on Climate Innovation 🌳 (Smart Company)
The Melbourne-based climate intelligence start-up will be using the funds to fuel a partnership with New York’s Urban Systems Lab to build an AI-powered climate risk evaluation tool called ‘ClimateIQ’ which will produce real-time and high-resolution climate risk information across the world. The tech aims to help cities, regions, and nations better understand, prepare for, and mitigate various climate-related risks.
The funding will go towards Scriibed’s not-for-profit arm, Banksia Academy, which will provide ~150 women rebuilding their lives following domestic violence with digital skills training, mentoring and trauma-informed support over the next four years, leading them to employment with Scriibed.
📆 Overnight Success now co-hosts the Aussie & NZ Startup Events calendar, created by Startmate and supported by The Community Collective.
If you’ve got an event coming up - add it to this awesome crowd-sourced resource. It could end up on our Noticeboard!
KaaS (Knowledge as a Service)
Gemma’s Pick 💁♀️ Visible Founders Documentary Series
This new home-grown documentary series features the largely untold, but incredibly important stories of four migrant founders and is screening in Melbourne and Sydney in the coming weeks. This is not only going to be a great opportunity to get an insight into the migrant-founder experience, but also a chance to connect IRL with others in the ecosystem passionate about this topic. You can get tickets to see it here.
Will’s Pick 💁♂️ The New New Moats: Why Systems of Intelligence are still the next defensible business model by Jerry Chen, Greymatter/Greylock
This long-form article provides a thought-provoking look at how investors and founders should look MOATs within the context of the rise of AI. TL:DR - the new moats are the old moats.
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‘Til next time,
👋 Will & Gem