💌 Aussie Start-up & Venture Capital Summary | 18th June 2023
OS hits 2k subscribers on its one year anniversary. Renewables raise big capital and Sam Altman causes a stir in Melbourne.
G'day and welcome to Overnight Success! A big shout-out to the 52 new subscribers who’ve joined since the last edition. You’ve joined in the week we officially hit 2,000 subscribers! 🥳 ️
To our regular readers, we have to apologise for the lateness of this edition, coming to you on a Sunday instead of the regular Saturday morning time - we were a little busy this week preparing for and hosting a couple of exciting events…! (Will was a little hungover).
We celebrated our 1st birthday on Friday with in-person drinks & networking events in Melbourne and Adelaide, hosting over ~120 people across both locations. We achieved unprecedented technological heights by successfully live-streaming footage of the events into one another…see if you can spot Gemma waving to Will at the Melbourne event in the pics below! Thanks so much to everyone who came along - we’re looking at making our way to Sydney for our next event, so watch this space!
Party-goers at Stone & Chalk in Melbourne (Credit: Pete Chappell)
Will pointing out an overly-excited Gemma (in the pink shirt) on screen at the Adelaide event. (Credit: Pete Chappell)
Gemma saying a few words of thanks to attendees at Stone & Chalk in Adelaide. (Credit: Kyahm Ross)
A packed house in Adelaide, with pride of place for ping pong #startuplyf (Credit: Kyahm Ross)
🎨 Canva empowers developers with new $73M fund & app platform (Business News Australia)
Canva made the announcements on Thursday at their first developer conference - Canva Extend - in San Francisco. The fund will invest in app developers, particularly those from underrepresented groups, in the form of monetary grants and expert guidance.
The “Canva Developers Platform” will give developers access to a range of APIs and tools and allow them to put their tech in the hands of the company’s 135+ million monthly active users.
🚀 Aussie & NZ early-stage start-ups saw the fastest funding growth in the world in 2018 - 2022
The data comes from Startup Genome's Global Startup Ecosystem Report 2023 (GSER) which was released this week and claims to be “powered by the world’s most comprehensive dataset on start-up ecosystems.”
The report covers global start-up ecosystem rankings and provides insight into the impact of inflation, AI regulation, talent attraction, trends in global VC funding, and sub-sector analysis.
⏰ Aussie VCs look to ride out the market downturn with pay-out deadline extensions (AFR)
Leading Aussie VC firms, including Airtree and Blackbird, are soon to reach the deadline for their 10-year funds, however, due to the current market downturn are seeking (or at least considering) extensions to try and time exits to maximise returns.
Sound like a bunch of technical VC mumbo jumbo? Read this explainer.
Start-up Retro: Australia's start-up raises with a smidge of context.
Vibe Check: Water-cooler-worthy happenings you might have missed.
Wins: Highlighting wins, big and small.
Notice Board: Signposting key events and opportunities.
(KaaS) Knowledge as a Service: Resources that make you smarter. Or for you to share with co-workers to make them think you’re smart.
BioTech / AgriTech
Number 8 Bio lands a $1.8M pre-Seed to lower livestock methane production
Sydney-based Number 8 Bio has raised $1.8M in pre-Seed funding for its proprietary yeast-based feed, which aims to mitigate methane emissions in cows and other livestock. The round includes CSIRO's Main Sequence, Possible Ventures, UNSW Founders, and Bioplatforms Australia. The capital will be invested in R&D and broadening their lab capabilities.
The feed additive comprises engineered microorganisms that can be grown anywhere in the world. When added to livestock feed, these yeasts can reportedly reduce methane emissions by over 90%. Another benefit to these bioengineered feed products is increased potential yield from the animal. Number 8 Bio is hoping to increase the wool on sheep plus meat and milk production.
Number 8 Bio is well placed as farmers look to increase yields on tight budgets while adhering to climate-friendly standards. Australia's market, which is moving towards sustainable farming practices, is ideal for Number 8 Bio to launch from. The start-up is already looking to expand aboard with a subsidiary set up in California.
Due Diligence: Smart Company
E-sport / Soccer
One Future Football (1FF) lands $3M in pre-Seed funding to build a digital football league
Melbourne's One Future Football (1FF), the "world's first global soccer league", has landed $3M in pre-Seed funding led by Blackbird Ventures. The round also included a slew of star athletes like Naomi Osaka, Chris Smalling, Kamaru Usman (UFC), and Nick Kyrgios. The league features 250 diverse, CGI-generated players playing in 12 global teams. The players all have deep backstories, so all fans can relate to the players. For example, there are players with diabetes or others with autism. The league will play 12 weekly matches broadcast across the world. The monetisation will come from similar methods as regular soccer leagues with kit sales, partnerships, advertising and player cards. The league kicks off on the 23rd of June. Go Bondi Football Club!
Due Diligence: TechCrunch
Sicona raises $22M Series A to increase battery capacity
Sicona Battery Technologies, a next-generation battery materials technology play, has raised $22M in a Series A round. The funding was led by India's Himadri Speciality Chemical Ltd, Australian VC Artesian, and Electrification & Decarbonization AIE LP, a fund managed by Waratah Capital, alongside Riverstone Ventures, Chaos Ventures and the Investible Climate Tech Fund.
Founded in 2019, Sicona aims to develop advanced battery technology for lithium-ion batteries used in electric vehicles and renewable storage. Its original tech is built from research from the University of Wollongong's Australian Institute for Innovative Materials.
Its core product, a silicon-composite anode technology, offers 50-100% higher capacity than traditional graphite anodes. Sicona plans to use the new funds to build a silicon-carbon production plant in the southeastern United States.
DeepTech / Energy
Aquila sparks with a $3M Seed to build wireless power transmission
Aquila has secured a $3M Seed funding round led by Blackbird Ventures with assistance from Icehouse Ventures and Possible Ventures. Aquila aims to develop an 'internet of energy' based on wireless energy transmission. The technology will be crucial for renewable energy solutions to reach their full potential as the world continues to increase its power demand. Overnight Success wrote a deep dive on Aquila last November.
The fresh funds will allow the company to continue the development of its technology in order to demonstrate that optical energy can work at scale. The next challenge is continuously supplying power to drones while in flight. The end goal, however, is to spread energy across the globe using satellites.
Pets / D2C
Lyka lands $25M follow on to its Series B to disrupt the pet food industry
Sydney-based Lyka, a pet wellness and food D2C brand offering fresh and nutritious dog food, has secured $25M in follow-on funding, bringing its Series B round to $55M. Lyka raised the first $30M ~6 months ago. The investment will allow Lyka to expand operations across Australia, including building a new kitchen in Melbourne. Currently, the business employs over 200 people in Australia.
StepStone Group led the round with participation from Shearwater, Point King Capital and AfterWork. Lyka has demonstrated remarkable growth, with almost 20 million bowls of pet food served, up from 1 million two years ago. The modern pet food owner is now looking for better options for their beloved pets. Lyka focuses on super high-quality pet food with human-grade food facilities used to create its products. The capital will help with an expansion of products and pet animal species.
Broadband / Analytics
Canopus Networks adds $4.5M to its Series A help lag-free internet
Canopus Networks, an Australian start-up specialising in broadband network analytics for low-latency gaming, has secured an additional $3M in its Series A, making the round's total value $10.6M. The funding, led by US gaming-focused VC Konvoy Ventures, will be used for market expansion and the development of other gaming-centric products. Canopus offers a cost-effective AI-driven network visibility management solution that originated from the University of New South Wales research. The software is sold to telecom providers for complete visibility into gaming, streaming, and conferencing application usage, enhancing user experiences and improving infrastructure investment efficiency. Its AI-based network traffic analytics software can measure application stream quality in real-time, regardless of data encryption. Canopus' technology is currently operational across several networks in the Asia-Pacific, the Americas, and the UK.
Due Diligence: Finsmes
Broadband / Analytics
HydGene Renewables raises a $6M Seed round to generate hydrogen from biomass waste
HydGene Renewables has secured $6M in a Seed round led by Agronomics and supported by Clean Energy Finance Corp, Understorey Ventures, and NOAB Ventures. HydGene harnesses its biocatalyst technology to create carbon-negative hydrogen from biomass waste. This means a low-cost, green alternative to traditional methods. The funding will be used to increase production for pilot testing, expand the team, and further R&D efforts to reduce the unit cost of its green hydrogen. Additionally, a portion of the funds will advance the creation of a new biocatalyst for ammonia-based fertiliser production.
Due Diligence: Hydrogen Central
Software Development / EdTech
JDoodle raises a $3.2M Seed fund for global expansion & AI boom
Sydney-based JDoodle, a software development platform used by over 800,000 users and supporting 3,000 educational institutions, has raised $3.2M in a Seed round led by Main Sequence.
The funds will expand JDoodle's Australian team and grow its user base to eight million over the next year. The platform, founded last year by ex-KPMG Australia associate director Gokul Chandrasekaran, aims to democratise programming resources and streamline developers' learning, development, and recruitment process. Main Sequence partner Mike Nicholls praised JDoodle's ability to provide tools necessary for the next-generation developers democratically. The platform has been bootstrapped until now. The investment comes amidst growing demand for AI-powered development tools and an anticipated surge in developers from 27 million to 45 million by 2030.
Wevolt charges with $2M pre-Seed to expand shared EV charging service from WA
Perth-based software start-up Wevolt, which aims to democratise electric vehicle (EV) charging via a sharing economy model, has secured $2M in pre-Seed funding.
Wevolt's product is a user-friendly payment system for residential and commercial charging points. Currently, in the final stages of beta testing, it is already generating transaction fees from chargers in Perth. The funding will fuel Wevolt's ambition to enhance Australia's EV charging network’s accessibility through community-shared AC and DC charging ports. Leveraging digital mapping, the platform provides detailed charging information for EV drivers while enabling charger owners to manage usage and receive real-time payments. The start-up aims to create an extensive people-powered charging network to propel the EV industry forward.
Due Diligence: Business News Australia
If you're a founder or investor who has just closed a round, please reach out to us at [email protected]
Aussies take on London Tech Week
A fairly large delegation (official & unofficial) of Aussie start-up folk traveled to London for the annual event to press the flesh and no doubt drink a lot of tea (literal and metaphorical).
Rishi Sunak opened the event, mentioning in his speech that the UK is the “best place in Europe to raise capital with more invested in tech here than in France and Germany combined.”
The recent Startup Genome report shows why London is an essential market to explore for Aussie start-up founders, currently ranking #2 amongst global start-up ecosystems.
Everyone went ape-sh*t for Altman
ICYMI (which you probably didn’t…), Open AI CEO Sam Altman was in town this week to cap off his ‘world tour’. He graced the stage of the Melbourne Convention Centre on Friday afternoon to a packed out crowd, hosted by The Startup Network (fka Startup Victoria). Socials were subsequently awash with blurred, somewhat awkward selfies with the Silicon Valley juggernaut. #picsoritdidnthappen
Brisbane MedTech Accelerator 🔬 Has announced its new cohort of 11 start-ups for its 2023 program. The accelerator will culminate with the opportunity to pitch to international investors during JP Morgan Health Week in San Francisco in January 2024. (Business News Australia)
InstantScripts 💊 Announced this week it will be acquired by Wesfarmers for $135M. Conversations were likely already in the works when the Medical Board of Australia announced a few weeks ago that it would release new rules limiting the ability for scripts to be issued to patients online without a face-to-face doctor’s consult. (Smart Company)
Espresso Displays & POP 🤑 The portable computer monitor company and Insurtech business were featured in the AFR this week for defying the market slow-down, both posting solid sales growth against the odds. (AFR)
Rezdy ✈️ The tourism booking software company founded in 2011 has been sold to an undisclosed US private equity firm for ~$100M. Founder Simon Lenoir is a French expat who got his first fundraising cheque via the Sydney Angels network. He plans to stay in Australia and launch at least one more start-up - watch this space! (Travel Weekly)
Splend 🚗 The Australian car hire platform and largest provider of vehicles to the national rideshare industry, announced it has secured $20M from the Clean Energy Financing Corporation to help reach 1000 EVs in its fleet by the end of this year. (Business News Australia)
Sunrise Aotearoa 2023 by Blackbird - Auckland 📍 20th Sept
Tickets are now on sale and available at early bird prices for this landmark ecosystem event. Secure your tickets here.
EXCLUSIVE NEWS from the team at Blackbird: “Sunrise 2023 will only be in NZ and we're focusing our efforts to make it bigger and better than ever. Attending Sunrise NZ 2023 is essentially akin to being one of the early-stage Sunrise participants in AU so it’s going to be one you don't want to miss.”
GC Start-up Ecosystem Drinks - Surfers Paradise📍 6th July
Cohort Innovation Space and LX Health are hosting a visiting Skalata Ventures team in sunny QLD for an evening of drinks and networking. Get your tickets here.
Have something to put on the Notice Board? We're always looking for upcoming events & opportunities across the Aussie start-up ecosystem. Reach out to [email protected] to add yours!
KaaS (Knowledge as a Service)
Gemma’s Pick 💁♀️ Measuring Marketing Performance, by Jackie Vullinghs
When money is tight, one of the first things founders look to cut are marketing budgets. Smart ones will do it by prioritising investing in what’s “working”, but spend attribution has become increasingly difficult in recent years thanks to Apple’s privacy updates and its only set to get harder as Google plans to phase out third-party cookies. Jax (Partner, Airtree) spoke to a few “marketing masterminds” of the Aussie start-up ecosystem to pull together this 101 on the state of marketing attribution and ways forward for confused founders wondering where to put their dollars.
As our 1st Birthday was right after Sam Altmans fireside chat, I was unable to attend. But the super simple key takeaway post above has helped me fill in the blanks! Minimal FOMO!
Have we missed something? Got some feedback? We love emails, so send one over!
‘Til next time,
👋 Will & Gem