AirMail — April 2020 Edition
Message From Mel 🙋🏻♀️
As we settle into the routine of being in lockdown and the ongoing impact of COVID-19 sinks in, it’s so important to find virtual ways of maintaining social rituals and connecting with each other regularly. The highlight for all of us at AirTree since the lockdown began has been the opportunity to check in with hundreds of founders every week at our virtual meetups. It’s such a treat to feel so close to the Aussie and Kiwi startup community, thank you so much to everyone who participated and contributed! 🙌
We’ve covered topics including how startups can slingshot out of a crisis, how will COVID-19 likely end and how to maintain mental health and wellbeing in these stressful times. Future sessions will delve into what the ‘new normal’ of living with COVID-19 looks like for tech startups and a deep dive into business forecasting and scenario analysis.
If you’d like to join us for future sessions, register here. See you next week! 👀
COVID-19 Updates 📣
For companies in NZ, NZTE has launched a COVID-19 resources portal for New Zealand exporters to better inform management teams and investors on new information as it becomes available in both New Zealand and international markets. Also, Snowball Effect (the private investment marketplace in NZ) has launched Snowball Debt which offers a range of bespoke debt solutions to help Kiwi businesses through the crisis.
The Australian Department of Health launched COVIDSafe — the people tracing app designed to help us identify and contain community spread of the disease. Our Partner James took a balanced look at the pros and cons of the app here. It’s great to read that 2 million people have downloaded the app in the first 24 hours — we have and hope you do too!
Some Good News 🗞
🤩We’re super excited to announce our investment in Archistar! It’s an honour to partner with an incredibly experienced team led by Dr. Benjamin Coorey that is revolutionising the design and planning process for architects, developers, real estate agents and planners. Welcome to the AirTree Fam!
🦄Introducing the latest Aussie unicorn — SafetyCulture! “We’re not going to IPO any time soon, so it was important to me after eight years to reward our people for their hard work and loyalty.” Kudos to Luke and team SafetyCulture on their latest round $60.5m round led by our friends at TDM Growth Partners.
Topics That Caught Our Eye 👀
📊Mary Meeker’s coronavirus trends report is a weekend must read
🍼Leading Chinese social e-commerce platform Pinduoduo announced that condoms and birth control are among the most popular items for sale on its platform right now. 🙊 “What is clear is that while people may be having more sex than they were previous to the outbreak, what they evidently are not doing is procreating. People are unsure of how long this virus is going to last and are delaying having children for now. For an economy that relies on growth in population, this will have massive effects.” For more China online retail trends, see here.
💬“For many of you, this is the last time I will get to speak to you in a company-wide all-hands. I’ve thought a lot about what I want my last words to be.” For founders facing the difficult decision of laying off staff, this speech from Henry Ward, founder and CEO of Carta announcing 161 layoffs provides a thoughtful and humbling example.
📈Startup growth vs profitability: “Not long ago, the consensus was that growth was paramount — the single most important metric for a company. Profitability was a much smaller consideration. This era was characterized by books like Reid Hoffman’s Blitzscaling and Elad Gil’s High Growth Handbook. But the pendulum has swung decidedly the other way.” Pete Flint, Managing Partner at NFX, pens a guide to help founders build iconic businesses during this challenging time and navigate the new rules of growth vs. profitability.
🌓Bitcoin is halving in 12 days, where the bitcoin block reward for bitcoin miners will decrease from 12.5 to 6.25 coins. Previous halvings (in 2012 and 2016) were each followed by a significant price growth of bitcoin, what will happen this time given the unprecedented macro situation?
Other Funding Rounds 💰
Bugcrowd, a bug bounty and vulnerability disclosure platform, raised $30m
Atomo Diagnostics, a medtech startup, raised $30m as a part of its ASX IPO
Myriota, a satellite communications startup, raised $28m
Vamp, an influencer and content platform, raised $8.5m
Revolution Fibre, a Kiwi nanotech startup, raised NZ$6m
alooba, a recruitment startup, raised $1.1m
Ambit, a Kiwi AI conversation platform startup, raised $700K
Lumin Sports, a sports and wellbeing data startup, raised $650K
Did we miss your raise? Want your yet-to-be-announced raise featured in next month’s newsletter? Let us know: community[at]airtree[dot]vc 💬
Love For The AirTree Fam 💕
🙌We’re so proud of Dr. Ben Hurst and the team at HotDoc for their contribution to Australia’s national response to COVID-19. HotDoc has helped to screen 2 million patients , secure telehealth appointments for 1 million patients and most recently, have been chosen by the Australian Department of Health to provide the booking technology for the pop-up COVID-19 respiratory clinics being set up across the country.
👏Big congratulations to Katherine and team Brighte for winning 2 Finder Green Awards for Green Lender of the year (for the team) and Green Leader of the year (for Katherine). Thank you for continuing to build a more sustainable future for all of us! ♻️
💪How should startups prioritise resources in a crisis? Our Partner John shares his advice for founders: “We provide early-stage startups with long runways precisely so they can invest in R&D and product development. Naturally, sales and marketing will be challenged over the next few months, meaning now is as good a time as ever to be laser-focused on product. Our general advice is to trim unnecessary fat. But product is muscle, not fat.”
Community Bulletin 📌
Startups Still Hiring! 🇦🇺🇳🇿
🐶 Pet Circle, Australia’s largest online pet shop, is hiring a Product Director in Sydney.
For startups still hiring at this time 👍, add your jobs here. 👈
Say Hi To Team AirTree 📅
6, 13, 20, 27 May — AirTree’s Weekly Managing COVID-19 Founder Meetup every Wednesday 1pm
7 May — Elicia is speaking at ACS labs’ ‘Capital Raising in 2020 and Beyond’ investor panel
26 May — Elicia is speaking at The Startup Playbook Podcast live webinar
11 June — Elicia is speaking at SaaStock Remote
Throughout May — Mel is offering up mentoring sessions as a part of Sydney Startup Hub’s Virtual EiR program
What We’ve Been Watching And Listening To 👀
Planet Money: Making it Work
In a break away from Planet Money’s usual macroeconomic discussions, this latest episode highlights inspiring stories of little businesses that are finding creative ways to get through this crisis. Starting with: an animal sanctuary previously hosting corporate farm experiences now offering ‘goat-to-meeting’ for all your video conferencing animal cameo needs.
Lions. Tigers. Murder. A jaw-dropping true tale of con artists, polygamy, rivalry and revenge.The wildest story you’ll never believe. This is trashy lockdown entertainment at its best, half the AirTree team is watching it.