Dec 21, 2018 · 7 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 🔊

13 new family members, 32 candidates in new roles, $1bn into startups in Aus — Craig reflects on the past year at AirTree and the tech sector in Australia.

Including our latest partnerships…

Huddle are bringing trust back to the insurance industry. We’re proud to be backing Jason, Jonathan and the Huddle team on their big mission to build a different type of insurance company. Read more here

Whispli are giving people safe and anonymous channels to speak up to their organisations. We’re thrilled to be partnering with Sylvain, Sacha and the team to make whistleblowing safe and easy. Read more here

Inventia have developed a 3D bioprinting platform that can turbocharge cancer research and potentially lead to further breakthroughs in cancer treatments. We’re very pleased to be supporting Julio and his team on this journey!

Athena are building a home loan company that is very different to anything that exists today. We’re excited to be backing Nathan, Mike and the team in their Series B round!

… and updates from StartupAUS

🏢 Several Government decisions made recently have had huge implications for the tech sector including:

  1. The Government passed anti-encryption laws, requiring telcos, device manufacturers and software developers to help law enforcement agencies crack encryption — “a gut punch” to Australia’s tech sector
  2. The Government has started messing with the R&D incentive tax. Startups are vital to our economy and our future and a more concrete definition that suits software R&D needs to be put in place
  3. The ACCC has plans to create a new government body to scrutinise Google and Facebook’s activity

🚨In response to the direction the Government is taking, Daniel has written a piece on why startups matter for Australia’s economy. It goes to the heart of how we remain globally competitive in the future, and is something for all Australians to consider🚨

🔖A definitive guide to Australia’s tech startup sector — the 2018 Crossroads report — was released. A huge thank you to Alex, AJ, Sarah and the team for going into bat constantly for the ecosystem, and for creating such a helpful annual resource!

It was awesome to see Mel from Canva writing the foreword, and we were honoured to be able to to contribute a section on “Australia’s opportunity to become a genuine player in the next wave of healthcare innovation”

💰CSIRO has allocated $35m in funding for space tech and AI

💰SMEs may soon be able to borrow money at competitive rates, under the Govt’s $2bn plan to boost funds available to smaller lenders

💰HubSpot has launched a $30m VC fund to invest in SaaS companies with the potential to deliver unique value to the HubSpot community

Topics that caught our eye 👀

Watch out Uber. Waymo is launching a driverless car service soon — a surprising part of this pilot has been the number of businesses (Walmart, Avis Budget and AutoNation) who are willing to pay for their customers’ rides

WTF is PMF?? When people talk about finding Product Market Fit they usually use some bullshit phrase like — “you’ll know it when you see it” — but how do you actually measure it?

It turns out some big, deep tech problems really are very hard, even for the best companies in the world

“So Benioff announced he would not hold a meeting unless 30 percent of the participants were women”

Stop tapping your brakes humans! Watch just a few self-driving cars stop traffic jams

Is there a productivity crisis in science?

Elon Musk says 80 hour working weeks are sustainable. Let the debate begin… 😬🙈

The opportunity for regulated services marketplaces

Here comes generation CRISPR

Watch your kids with Alexa. Watch your parents with Nora. Anthropomorphism is all around us

Sci-Fi is again paving the way — this time it’s silent ion-powered engines that power planes with no moving parts (cue Star Trek)

“Often the founders best suited for an endeavor may not be quite as “proven”, but they’re on a very steep slope in their lives, and are great fits for the market and early GTM of the company they are building”

Some interesting stats on burn rates of startups in the US

The State of Technology at the end of 2018

An interesting perspective on why constantly decreasing prices for cloud services are not inevitable

“While we know that not all network effects are created equal, they don’t evolve equally either.”

Who gets there first? The incumbents building software or the software companies building distribution?

Your biometrics aren’t protected by the 3rd amendment. Cue police 3D printing suspects’ heads to unlock their phones

Major funding rounds 💰

Poynt, an operating system for payment terminals, raised $139m from NAB and US bank Elavon

Deputy, a workforce management platform, raised $111m from Institutional Venture Partners (their first investment in an Aus company), Square Peg and Open View

Athena, a home loan company that is different from anything that exists today, raised $25m from Square Peg, AirTree and Hostplus

Huddle, an AI-powered insurance company, raised $24m from AirTree, Hollard and Alium

DataRepublic, a secure data exchange, raised $22m from Innov8, Singapore Airlines, Qualgro, ANZ, Reinventure and Ryder Innovation Fund

RedEye, digital engineering platform for critical infrastructure projects, raised $10.4m from Energy Innovation Capital

Sunfed Foods, a company focused on plant-based meat replacements, raised $10m from Blackbird

Enboarder, an HR platform to create an engaging onboarding experience, raised $4m from Greycroft and Our Innovation Fund

Whispli, a platform to make whistleblowing safe and easy, raised $2.8m from AirTree, Blackbird and one of the eBay founders

Myagi, learning management software that enables brands, retailers and salespeople to collaborate and communicate better, raised US$2m from Serra Ventures and Frontier Ventures

Shoutouts 👏

Better access to health data = better health outcomes❣️We have an opportunity in Australia to create the world’s best diagnostics tools. Daniel talks about why we need to act fast

Jackie Vullinghs joined our growing team as AirTree’s newest investor! 👋

DroneDeploy is on a mission to improve the world from the air, and in Australia that begins with the work they’re doing on the great barrier reef

Nura were included in the Best Headphones of 2018 lists by British GQ and Business Insider

Expert360 has made the leap from being an online marketplace to a Freelancer Management System. A big step forward in helping organisations manage their temporary staffing needs!

Hyper Anna, Employment Hero, and Prospa were listed in Deloitte’s Tech Fast 50 for 2018 (this ranks the fastest-growing public and private tech companies in Australia)

Mel from Canva was named one of the AFR’s Business People of the Year for 2018 — Mel talks about Canva’s big wins for 2018 and her hopes for the future of Australian startups

Congrats to Audrey, Dean and the entire team at GlamCorner for being recognised as one of Australia’s sustainability leaders and innovators 🏆 We’re very proud to be supporters of your mission to curb the ‘fast fashion’ culture and contribution to landfill

What we’ve been reading 📘

The AirTree Summer Reading List

High profile roles in #startupaus 🇦🇺

Secure Code Warrior — Head of Engineering — More Info

Huddle — Head of Growth — More Info

Whispli — Senior Front-End (Vue) — More Info

Brighte — Engineers (PHP) — More Info

We’d love to take this opportunity to wish our AirTree community a very happy Christmas and a relaxing break over the holiday period! 🤶🎄

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For past editions of AirMail in 2018, links here: November, October, September, July and June.


Working for gamechangers. First round. Multiple rounds.


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Working for gamechangers. First round. Multiple rounds.

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