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AirMail — August 2019 Edition

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 🔊

🚀 Huge congrats to Employment Hero on raising a $22m Series C — building a better world at work

🚀 Well done to Manish and the Dgraph team for raising a $16.8m Series A — building the world’s first horizontally scalable graph database

🚀 Big shout-out to Flurosat for raising $4.6m — making agriculture more sustainable around the world

🚀 Congrats to the Earth AI team for raising a further $2.5m Series A — making mining less wasteful

🚀 Awesome news that Brighte has secured a further $130m funding facility — helping Aussie families turn their home green

✅ Elicia outlines how important it is to choose the right investor for your business. Make sure you work through this handy checklist before signing a term-sheet!

💃 We’ve had an incredible response to our open office hours for women. We’re booked up until the end of 2019, but if you’d like to register your interest please use the form here — we’d love to find a time to meet you!

💳 CBA invested US$100m into one of the world’s best fintechs — Swedish buy-now-pay-later platform Klarna and CBA will be their exclusive go-to-market partner in ANZ. Incumbent banks investing in fintechs (following Westpac’s investment into Zip in 2017) is a big deal and hopefully a hint at changing mindsets in corporate Australia

📈 Some heated activity on the ASX in the tech/media sectors:

  • Sezzle, a US buy-now-pay-later service, completed a $43.6m IPO — claiming a head-start over Afterpay in the US (their home market) and Canada. Why list on the ASX you may ask… ? 🤔
  • Tyro Payments is set to IPO soon
  • Credible, a student loans company, was acquired by Fox Corp for $585m

💰 IAG acquired a majority stake in digital car subscription and trading platform Carbar for $16.8m

🌎 The Global Talent Scheme pilot which helps companies access more “flexible, future-focused visa arrangements to attract global talent to Australia” is now permanent — here’s a handy guide on how to access

💻 In other political news — Home Affairs has agreed to clarify the controversial “Encryption laws”

♻️ In partnership with INCO (Paris-based accelerator), Mirvac is launching a program focused on environmental and social change — The Impact Accelerator

Topics that caught our eye 👀

Ryan Holiday explains why we should read philosophy — it helps us understand how to live our lives

Complexity science impacts how cities evolve, economies interact and communities form — here’s a great primer

Interesting metrics/observations about ECommerce businesses from someone who has seen $250m+ in ad spend on Facebook

Why digital health companies aren’t like traditional tech companies

Optimism bias makes humanity work

If anyone’s looking for a reading list — Alan Kay prepared this for his students… our next 12 months sorted!

The guy who architected Brexit wrote this in 2017 — his understanding of technology and the exponential implications must be pretty unparalleled in politics

A useful guide to crafting metaphors which might be helpful for your elevator pitch

Reading Ray Dalio’s latest blog on “Paradigm shifts”… clearly the answer is to buy bitcoin

Founders: take your time to choose your VC partner… it’s a long engagement

A whiff of change as AI starts to drive perfume creation and discovery

VCs all be out there looking for the next platform shift. Why not try nuclear fusion?

How we can shine in the next race to the moon

How social change happens and why it’s so difficult to predict

Major funding rounds 💰

Judo, a challenger bank, raised $400m from Bain Capital Credit, Tikehau Capital and existing investor

Lanzatech, a sustainable fuels and chemicals platform, raised US$72m from Novo Holdings

Fluent Commerce, an order management system, raised $33m from Arrowroot Capital

Payright, a buy-now-pay-later startup, raised $27m in debt and equity funding from Henslow and Escala Partners

Employment Hero, a people management platform, raised $22m from Seek, AirTree and OneVentures

Fuel50, a career pathing platform, raised $21m led by PeakSpan Capital

Dgraph, a horizontally scalable graph database, raised $16.8m from Redpoint, AirTree, Grok, Blackbird and Bain Capital Ventures

Sidekicker, a staffing startup, raised $10m from Seek

WithYouWithMe, a startup that offers training and job placements for workers in in-demand areas, raised $5m from Perennial Value and Alium

Flurosat, an analytics engine for agriculture, raised $4.6m from M12, AirTree, Main Sequence, Artesian, GrainInnovate Fund, Costanoa Ventures, muru-D and Space Capital

Fivecast, a start-up that uses AI to trawl the internet to assess potential security threats, raised $4m from Main Sequence

Kepler, a sensor-tech startup, raised $4m from Reinventure

Landchecker, a property startup, raised $3.5m from Ruslan Kogan

Lumachain, a food-tech startup, raised $3.5m from Main Sequence

Matrak, a SaaS tool that tracks the supply chain of construction projects, raised $3m from Hickory Group and Our Innovation Fund

EarthAI, an AI-powered mining exploration platform, raised $2.5m from Gagarin Capital

Pilot, a platform that helps Australian men take command of their physical and mental health, raised $2m from Blackbird

Particular Audience, an AI-powered e-Commerce startup, raised $1.8m from Carthona

DC Power Co, a renewable energy startup, raised $1.6m in its second crowd-funding campaign

Circle In, a parental leave startup, raised $1.5m from Our Innovation Fund

Neighbourlytics, a social analytics platform, raised $1.3m led by Trawalla Group, along with Scale Investors and Artesian

What’s on 📅

21 Aug (Sydney) — Craig is judging the Interdisciplinary Innovation Prize at the University of Sydney’s Innovation Week

23 Aug (Sydney) — Elicia is judging the final pitch competition at the Be Mpowered conference

29 Aug (Auckland) — John is in town for the Annual NZ Angel Investment Showcase

23 Sept (Sydney) — Emily is judging the semi-finals of the Textbook Ventures Startup Festival

23 Sept (Sydney) — Craig is joining a panel at SMH’s Population Summit

24 Sept (Sydney) — James is guest moderator at Innovation Bay’s Community Breakfastwhere he’ll be interviewing Huddle’s Co-Founder, Jason Wilby

Love for the AirTree fam ❤️

John joined Minister Karen Andrews’ first tech industry roundtable — we are continuing to promote the importance of clarifying R&D and immigration policies. If you’d like us to raise other issues with the Government, please let us know

Congrats to Brighte for winning the Best Fintech-Bank Collab and the Best Use of AI in Fintech Awards at the 4th Annual Australian Fintech Awards. Full list of winners here

Daniel talks about the support we need to provide our scale-ups

Big shout-out to the Inventia team for winning the top prize at the Good Design Awards for their 3D bioprinter Rastrum

FluroSat and MicaSense have partnered to help growers optimise plant nutrition management

A bad customer experience led to 1 billion presses on HappyorNot

Elicia shared her experience of returning to work as a new mum — some warming insights for how she navigates work/life balance in a new world.

Bridget from Expert360 was at TedxSydney talking about why the current way we work is not fit for purpose in modern times. Also a big congrats to the E360 team for making the AFR’s list of the Most Innovative Companies in ANZ in 2019

Mel has “Lunch with the AFR” and talks to Michael Bailey about her crazy big goals for Canva

In this ultra-competitive world for top talent, Alex from Employment Hero talks about how important company branding is

Tune into the latest Morgan’s podcast where Chris Titley interviews Ben, the Co-founder and CEO of Employment Hero

Prospa has set up a NZ$45m kiwi fund to lend to NZ SMEs

High profile roles in ANZ 🇦🇺🇳🇿

AirTree is hiring! Looking for a management accounting whizz to join our growing Finance and Ops team.

Brighte is hiring a CMO (Sydney)

Employment Hero is hiring a Chief Revenue Officer (Sydney) is hiring a Senior Frontend Engineer (Melbourne)

🥝 Thematic is hiring a Senior Front-end Software Developer (Auckland)

What we’ve been reading and listening to

🎧 Two Minute Papers — a Youtube channel with two new science videos each week. Some of the latest include “AR presentations are coming” and “How do neural networks memorise text?”

📘 VC: An American History — how the industry arose from the US, and why it has been hard to replicate in other countries



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