AirMail — April 2019 Edition

Apr 30 · 5 min read

Our update of what we’ve seen in tech across Australia and New Zealand this month. And a few things we find interesting…

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The big news 🔊

A Cloud Guru Founders — Sam and Ryan

We’re absolutely thrilled to announce that we’ve partnered with A Cloud Guru, alongside Summit Partners and Elephant VC, in their Series B round. As technology and automation disrupt nearly every industry, Australians and people all over the world are recognising the need to upgrade their skills and sometimes even change careers entirely.

A Cloud Guru offers a way to do exactly that. It’s already helped hundreds of thousands of people from around the world to reskill for the digital age.

Read more here.

🗞️ The tech sector in Australia has suffered a string of incredibly disappointing policy defeats (including further R&D cuts) — Paul Smith from the AFR and John McDuling from the SMH share their views on why this is, and what needs to happen going forward. Alex McCauley, CEO of StartupAUS, also penned a great piece about what the political landscape currently looks like for Australia’s emerging tech sector

🎧 Daniel sat down with InnovationAus for their “Election Podcast” — he shares his views on the government’s plans for innovation and his wishlist for a more well-constructed debate around the future of tech in Australia

💰 OneVentures has reached the first close on its venture credit fund totaling $45m — they’re looking to invest in companies with $3–20m of recurring revenue

📈 SF-based location-based tracking app Life360 is due to list on the ASX 10th May — apparently US companies see the ASX as having “lower valuation requirements, but plenty of appetite for tech stocks” 🤔. Bailador-backed Stackla (a user-generated content marketing platform) has also announced its planning to IPO later this year

🏦 Judo has been granted a banking licence making it the second fintech to be granted an unrestricted licence in 2019

🏢 Harbour City Labs, the sister of River City Labs in Brisbane, has opened to support startups and scale-ups in Sydney

🥘 Deliveroo launched a subscription-based delivery service in Australia

📷 Envato acquired Twenty20, a US-based stock photo subscription service

🇨🇳 Monash University has signed a $100m, 10-year deal with Chinese investors to fund research and bring new products (mainly pharma and medical devices) to Chinese consumers

Topics that caught our eye 👀

Zoom = $400m revs, 108% yoy growth, 9 month paybacks — wow!

On the topic of growth: 1) Lightspeed Ventures — growth constraints for B2B startups, 2) McKinsey — a framework for large companies shows not all growth is equal

A great resource for those getting started in product management

Advertisers aren’t human. So why should influencers have to be?

All things DTC ecommerce

How to see the unseeable? A black hole picture captured for the first time in space ‘breakthrough’

‘Blown away’: rooftop solar PV installations surge by almost half

Instead of “follow your passion”, the better advice is

Major funding rounds 💰

Airwallex, a cross-border payments startup, raised $100m led by DST Global

Skedulo, a mobile workforce management platform, raised $28m led by M12 (Microsoft’s venture arm, it’s the second investment M12 have made in Australia this year)

AskNicely, a real-time customer satisfaction survey platform, raised NZ$15m from Nexus Venture Partners and existing investors Blackbird and K1W1

Liven, an aussie crypto loyalty startup, raised $14m in a private token sale

Tribe, an online marketplace to link brands with social media influencers and content marketing specialists, raised $11m led by Exto Partners

Agerris, a smart farming robot, raised $6.5m from Uniseed, Carthona Capital and Bridge Lane Group

Presagen, an AI medical imaging company, raised $4.5m from Australian and US private investors, and the South Australian Government

Shebah, a women-only ride-sharing service, broke Xinja’s crowd-funding record and raised$3m

CareMonkey, an online system which helps schools streamline their paper workflow processes, raised $1.5m from Peter Bencivenga, New Ground Ventures and Rethink Education

Goterra, a food and organics waste management business, raised $1.2m from Grok Ventures, Rampersand, Giant Leap and Cages Foundation

IncoDocs, a company helping small businesses better export and import goods, raised$1.2m from Maersk, Transition Level and Blackbird

What’s on? 📅

2 May (Brisbane): John is joining Ian and the team at Innovation Bay for a breakfast event at River City Labs to talk about what’s been happening so far in VC in 2019

15 May (Melbourne): John is speaking at the Future of Work Summit — he’s excited to take the stage with the team at Expert360 to talk more about the “freelance economy”, and Joyous to discuss why “it’s now about people, not jobs”!

21 May (Sydney): Jackie is presenting at General Assembly about “Raising your first round”. As part of this session, Jackie will be interviewing Audrey, one of the founders of GlamCorner, to get an entrepreneurs perspective first-hand!

22 May (Auckland): John is over in NZ for Tech Week and joining a panel discussion about “Series A Success — Making the Leap from Angel to VC”. Any kiwi companies that would like to catch up… Get in touch! 👋

Love for the AirTree Fam ❤️

Pricing is something loads of companies get wrong. Most massively under-price their product, but there are all kinds of nuances. Check out Adam’s latest post. Lots of helpful tips in here.

Daniel shared his reading recommendations in the AFR

James talks to Joan Westenberg about what businesses we’re excited about at AirTree, and what PMF looks like in Australia

If you’re thinking about raising capital, and want to make sure you have all the basics right… watch this StartCon session with our very own Jackie Vullinghs and Jill McKnight from LegalVision

A new licensing agreement between FluroSat and CSIRO means Australian farmers will be able to access some of the latest knowledge on cotton nutrition next season

Prospa funded $10m in loans to New Zealand SMEs only a few weeks after launch!!

We’re seeing $50m+ rounds led by local VCs, and $100m+ rounds led by local VCs along with our superannuation partners. As our tech funding system matures and scales, this is great news for founders who can be supported from seed to series C/D and beyond 🚀

Spaceship won the Software Innovator of the Year award at the Fintech Business Awards

Athena is making it possible for your next mortgage to be from a super fund

High profile roles in #startupaus 🇦🇺

SpaceshipCOO (Sydney)
Expert360Frontend Chapter Lead (Sydney)
HotDocCX Lead (Melbourne)
HuddleUX Designer (Sydney)

What we’ve been reading and listening to 📘🎧

📚 Boy Swallows Universe: Outstanding Australian fiction (yes it does exist!) with great references from the 80s including the original Dunlop KT26 and Kepler Wessels!

🤔 EconTalk — a weekly economics podcast hosted by Russ Roberts, a research fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution

Feedback always welcome via @airtreevc or

Past editions of AirMail: 2019 — March, February, and 2018 — December, November, October, September, July and June



Written by


AirTree is a venture capital fund that supports the most ambitious Australian and Kiwi tech founders. First round, multiple rounds.



A venture capital fund in Aus and NZ. Working for game-changers. First round. Multiple rounds.

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