Aussie Start-up & Venture Capital Summary | 5th August 2023
Seven large raises across EV, MedTech, Renewables, ResourceTech & HealthTech
G'day and welcome to Overnight Success! Welcome to the 51 new subscribers since last week!
Like the Matildas, let’s get out of the group stage and into the good stuff. ⚽️ 👇️
🌏 1000’s of start-up founders walk into a bar postcode. (CSIRO)
The CSIRO & Tech Council of Australia this week released a report mapping Australia’s emerging Silicon Valley-equivalents, identifying 96 “digital clusters”, including 4 “superclusters”; the Sydney arc, the Melbourne diamond (Silicon Yarra), the Brisbane corridor, and the Canberra triangle, and 36 “regional specialist clusters”, demonstrating that innovation is happening outside of the big cities. The upshot - if you’re seeking faster growth, geography matters.
💰Want to invest in start-ups? These VCs will happily take your money. (AFR)
If you talk to start-up founders right now, they’ll tell you it’s a tougher fundraising environment compared to the tech boom of 2020/2021. Upstream, VCs are also feeling the pinch, with multiple firms competing for commitments from investors to round out their next fund.
The following VCs are all reportedly in the midst of raising rounds: Flying Fox Ventures ($20M), OneVentures ($150M Debt), Side Stage Ventures ($30M), Scale Investors ($10M), Five V Capital ($50M), Tenacious Ventures ($70M), Black Nova ($35M) & Tidal Ventures ($85M).
🎓🦄 The Aussie universities breeding successful start-ups (AFR)
Data uncovered this week by the AFR from Dealroom revealed that the University of Sydney and UNSW are Australia’s most successful start-up factories, having produced 1,800 between them since 1990, including 35 unicorns.
There was food for thought in the final paragraph of the AFR piece - “the number of start-ups at Sydney’s two biggest universities pales in comparison to the US juggernaut Stanford, which since 1990 has produced 6,054 start-ups and 195 unicorns from just 17,000 students a year.” What makes the difference? We’d love to hear your opinion if you have one!
🤔 (Start-up) unicorns exist, but this one was pure fantasy (AFR)
Metigy - an “AI” powered tool that helped identify marketing trends to make better advertising - collapsed last year, and now the crazy details of exactly what happened are coming out.
In short - financial documents were falsified to beef up recurring revenues from tens of thousands to millions (with the help of Adobe suite), investors were kept completely in the dark while the founder bought multi-million dollar luxury properties, and the “AI” was really a rules-based system run by a team in Bangladesh. Don’t try this one at home, kids!
Plotlogic lands a $43M Series B led by international investors to fuel global expansion
Brisbane-based ResourceTech, Plotlogic, has raised a $28M Series B funding round led by Galvanise Climate Solutions and French energy and automation giant Schneider Electric's VC firm, SE Ventures. Main Sequence Ventures' new $450M Fund 3, announced last week, also participated.
Founded in 2018, PlotLogic leverages LiDAR, hyperspectral imaging technology, and AI to scan and analyse mine deposits. The tech can generate accurate ore characterisation predictions, enabling miners to pinpoint their ore extraction. The tech is already used by Australia’s largest miners like BHP, Vale, South32 and Pilbara Minerals.
A nice benefit of using Plotlogic is a reduction in environmental impact. The tech can locate minerals unground more accurately and pinpoint the extraction activities. This helps reduce the disruption of low-yield earth and greenhouse gas emissions in mining. Last year, Plotlogic secured $18M in a Series A round led by Innovation Endeavours and BHP, supported by DCVC, Baidu Ventures, GRIDS Capital, and Bentley iTwin Ventures.
Consumer / HealthTech / eCommerce
Vitable secures $7.5M to secure the personalised Vitamin bag
Sydney-based eCommerce vitamin brand, Vitable, has secured $7.5M, bringing the total amount raised since 2019 to $15M. Investors on the cap table include Global Founders Capital, Rocket Internet, Artesian, Commencer Capital and Brenteca.
The capital raise comes off the back of a $12M annual run rate in June and before a rumoured equity crowdfund on the Equitise platform. Vitable has strong traction with 100,000 customers, a quarter of them from overseas.
Vitable uses an AI-powered algorithm to tailor its offerings to individual customers' nutritional needs, helping streamline the vitamin selection process. Every customer who hits their website is asked to fill in a survey that generates the vitamin cocktail personalised to them. The personalised vitamins are then delivered monthly, with the vitamins held in a personalised sachet for easy consumption.
MGA Thermal charges with $8.25M raise to scale production of renewable storage system
Sydney-based clean energy firm MGA Thermal has secured $8.25M to scale its innovative energy storage solution. The round saw participation from existing investors, including Main Sequence Ventures, Varley Holdings, and Melt Ventures, and attracted new investors Pollination Group and Understorey Ventures.
MGA Thermal's system uses shoebox-sized thermal energy storage blocks designed to absorb and store thermal energy from renewable sources, surplus energy from the grid, or solar farms. With its production line near completion, the firm plans to produce 1,000 blocks daily for 24/7 renewable energy storage. The firm will use the funds to expand its commercial division and invest in engineering and implementation. The funding will also drive growth into 2024 and to commission its on-site production line in Tomago, NSW.
Due Diligence: Business News Australia
Goterra lands $10M bridging round to build out a waste treatment facility
Canberra-based Goterra has raised a $10M bridging round as it aims to upscale its food waste treatment plants in Western Sydney. The firm is developing a $3.5M processing plant at Wetherill Park that uses black soldier fly larvae to transform food waste into protein and fertiliser within 12 days. With a zero food waste target set for 2025, supermarket giant Woolworths has centralised its waste management strategy around Goterra's solution and seeks to expand the project nationwide. The new site will process 100 tonnes every week and will create 100 jobs in Fairfield City Council.
Goterra has developed modular food waste management units built from shipping containers that can be embedded into pre-existing waste infrastructure. Embedded solutions are extra benefits that can cut back on truck trips to landfills and the associated carbon emissions. Established in 2016, Goterra previously secured $8M in funding in mid-2020, with backing from AgTech VC Tenacious Ventures and Grok Ventures. Goterra is planning a Series B round later this year.
Navi raises $2.4M to develop novel devices to help with catheter insertion in critically ill newborns and children
Melbourne-based Navi Medical Technologies has raised $2.4M to further develop Neonav, a device aimed at improving the precision of catheter insertions in critically ill infants and children.
The round included $700k from Breakthrough Victoria and federal grants from the Australian Government. The US Food and Drug Administration designated the system as a breakthrough innovation.
Navi's Neonav system, currently in advanced stages of development, is designed to provide real-time catheter tip location using a proprietary algorithm. Unlike existing technologies for adults, Neonav connects to a standard catheter and captures the patient's heartbeat, mitigating risks of post-procedural complications. The fresh funds will be used to complete product development activities, conduct clinical trials for FDA approval, and establish manufacturing and logistics capabilities for US market entry. The funding brings Navi's total raised to $10M and will be one to watch with FDA approval looming.
Plerion pumps with a $10M Seed round to identify risks in cloud environments
Cybersecurity platform, Plerion, has raised $10M in a Seed funding round led by Prosus Ventures, with participation from Cercano and Atlassian Ventures. The funds will be used to accelerate product development, talent acquisition, and go-to-market strategies.
Plerion's cloud-native platform aids businesses in identifying, prioritising, and mitigating risks within their cloud operating environments. The platform's solutions continuously protect sensitive data, networks, and infrastructures from cyber threats. Plerion is native across AWS, Google Cloud and Azure.
Due Diligence: Technode Global
EV / Transport
microFleet moves with $500K to bring universal charging tech to market for e-bikes and scooters
Melbourne-based EV tech start-up microFleet has secured $500K in funding from iMOVE Cooperative Research Centre to propel its universal charging technology, OneDock, onto the global stage.
Specifically designed for e-bikes, scooters, and other light EVs, OneDock can charge any micro-mobility vehicle retrofitted with a universal connector developed by microFleet. The firm aims to capture 2% of a market projected to be worth $67 billion by 2030, with plans to install 100,000 docking points in Australia and one million worldwide by the same year.
OneDock's safety features also tackle fire incidents caused by low-quality chargers and batteries. MicroFleet is negotiating with New York City to deploy e-micro-mobility charging systems to address the city's problem of battery fires caused by improper charging methods. OneDock could also help universities and hotels manage e-mobility charging. The funds from iMOVE will help launch OneDock early next year.
Due Diligence: iMoveAustralia
If you're a founder or investor who has just closed a round, please reach out to us at [email protected]
LittleOak differentiates itself on the market by being completely palm oil free.
The company that helps Aussies find and compare the best products & services in the market is rumoured to be considering a capital injection which could reveal the strength of its $770M valuation.
Capital Brief is a new “business and politics focused publication” owned by media start-up, Scire, and is set to launch later this year. LOI currently has around 12k subscribers.
Bondi Sands 👙 Has delivered a healthy payday for its founders after it was sold for $450M. (SMH)
The company that has become one of Australia’s best-known tanning and skincare products has clearly been going well for a while, with co-founder Blair James getting married in lavish fashion in Lake Como last year... but he also had his Porsche Cayenne stolen in May so, it's not all sunshine, suntans and rainbows!
🌱 Investment NSW announced the providers of the Social Impact Pre-Accelerator Program.
Startmate will deliver a 10-week program to ambitious founders mentored by Startmate alumni that currently run social impact ventures.
I2N will deliver a 10-week program for 10-15 participants at the I2N Hub at the University of Newcastle. This pre-accelerator aims to boost female-led businesses that create economic and social impact in the regional ecosystem. Applications close Friday, 22th September.
iAccelerate will deliver a 12-week program at the University of Wollongong campus for 10-15 social entrepreneurs addressing the three identified social impact verticals - inclusivity, diversity and female founders.
UNSW Founders will deliver their Impact-X program across 10 weeks for 10 participants at the University of NSW. The program will aim to address an underrepresented healthcare issue. Applications close 25th August.
KaaS (Knowledge as a Service)
Gemma’s Pick 💁♀️ My Fantasy Startup League
Not everyone has the funds, risk appetite or time to actively invest in start-ups, but that shouldn’t stop you from flexing your investing muscles if you so wish. Take it from George Hartley (Co-founder of Bluethumb & SmartrMail) - he invests in real start-ups but has also shared the fascinating fantasy start-up investment tracker he’s been running since 2018.
Last week, in what can only be described as a massive fail, I neglected to include the link to my KaaS pick. So, here it is again - Lessons from growing a 2000+ newsletter subscriber base in 12 months. 🤦♀️
Will’s Pick 💁♂️ Powerful SaaS Pricing Strategy: How to price your SaaS product?
Pricing a new product is always an immense challenge, and this article by Alex from ‘Startup Business Tips’ gives some solid frameworks to think about SaaS pricing.
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‘Til next time,
👋 Will & Gem