AirMail — December 2020 Edition

Dec 21, 2020 · 6 min read
AirTree’s monthly update on the Aussie and Kiwi tech startup scene. Subscribe here 💕

A Message From Mel 🙋🏻‍♀️

We made it!! 2020 is almost over!! 🥳🎉🙌

It’s been a devastating year but we’re so proud of the way the startup community has come together to help each other survive and thrive. Last Friday we published our 2020 Year in Review and despite initial fears for what COVID could mean for our sector, we invested a record amount of $87m into 26 Aussie and Kiwi startups — welcoming 35 new founders into the AirTree fam. And as a cohort, our portfolio companies achieved combined revenues of over $1B in 2020! Read more here.

Founders as a group are under constant stress and are notorious workaholics. We strongly encourage everyone in the community to down-tools during the end of year holiday period for some much needed rejuvenation and reflection on the most important things in life: health and family.

From the AirTree fam to your fam: we wish you a safe, relaxing and festive (in a COVID safe way) Christmas and New Year! And, if you’re an avid reader like us, we’ve put together a summer reading list that you can tuck into while relaxing on the beach/porch/couch. 🏖 🛋

See you in 2021!! 💕


The Big News 🗞

💡♻️🙌We’re so proud of Katherine & Team Brighte on the announcement of their series C raise of $100m — a big milestone towards their mission of making it easier and more affordable for Aussie homes to own their own energy generation & storage.

👏 Congratulations to our friends at Square Peg Capital on the announcement of their latest $600m fund. It’s encouraging to see the VC industry continue to grow despite uncertain external conditions.

Topics That Caught Our Eye 👀

🧪 Ways to look after yourself and others in 2021: scientists all over the world tell Nature magazine what they think is most important in the coming year.

🧬 Lately we’ve heard much about Pfizer and Moderna’s mRNA vaccines that will hopefully expedite the world’s return to normal. This is a great primer on what mRNA is and how this once dismissed idea became a leading technology in the COVID vaccine race.

🌟 Have you built a world-class team? Our friends at Nfx have put together a great guide that identifies the 4 things you must get right. They are: planning for the future, becoming an exceptional developer of talent, setting extremely high standards when hiring and onboarding to set up the new hires for success.

✅ How healthy is your brand? Recognised by Forbes as one of the world’s ‘Most Influential CMO’s’, Ana Andjelic has developed a ‘brand health checklist’ that looks at how brands fare across 4 criteria segments: culture, consumer, category and company. In Andjelic’s analysis, most companies perform well in one or two segments, but there’s one surprising (and controversial) brand that features in all 4.

💬 ‘Until recently, it was commonly accepted that ‘social’ was done. The market has been fully saturated by the dominated holy trinity of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Turns out, rumours of social’s demise have been greatly exaggerated’: We loved a16z’s deep dive into the rise of innovative new social networks, from Clubhouse (aka fomo app of the year 🤣) to cloud gaming.

👠 The self-destructive last months of the Zappos visionary: The tech community lost one of its greats with the tragic news of the passing of Tony Hsieh, former Zappos CEO and best-selling author of ‘Delivering Happiness: a Path to Profits, Passions and Purpose’. Unfortunately, while Hsieh ‘directly (by the tens of thousands) and indirectly (by the millions) delivered on making other people smile, [he] was privately coping with issues of mental health and addiction.’ Forbes interviewed more than 20 of Hsieh’s close friends and colleagues in a bid to uncover how this brightest of lights had met such a dark and sudden end.

Major Funding Rounds 💰

Shippit, a logistics tech startup, raised $30m.
Limepay, a white label BNPL fintech startup, raised $21m.
HealthMatch, an Aussie clinical trials platform, raised $18m.
Formus Labs, a Kiwi orthopaedic surgery software startup, raised $7m
Coviu, a telehealth startup, raised $6m.
Immediation, a disputes mediation platform, raised $3.75m
Multitudes, a Kiwi workplace management startup, raised $2.2m

Did we miss your raise? Want your yet-to-be-announced raise featured in next month’s newsletter? Let us know:

Love for the AirTree Fam 💕

💻 As our world at work continues to change, we can expect to see the rise of the hybrid workforce with a remote-first approach to working. If you’re unsure of how to effectively manage your team post-COVID, Employment Hero has developed a Remote First Playbook to provide some guidance for startups & SME’s.

🏆 Kudos to Go1, Edrolo and Inquisitive for being named one of the 50 most innovative EdTech startups across Australia and New Zealand by HolonIQ.

❤️ Shoutout to Linktree for being featured on the Inaugural SmartCompany Resilience Awards shortlist.

🎙Jason from Open and Huddle chatted to Rohit at the Startup Playbook Podcast about his startup journey, including what it’s like working with us as an investor & board member (at 17mins 20 secs) 😇

🙌 Mel from Canva shared insights from her epic startup journey on the ‘Masters of Scale’ podcast with Linkedin Cofounder Reid Hoffman.

Community Bulletin 📌

🚀 Huge congrats to Matta and Aprill Allen on the launch of Tractor Ventures!! We come across many founders who are building great businesses but are not necessarily a fit for VC. This important initiative will provide them with a much-needed additional option.

🤩Award-winning Aussie PR director, contemporary writer, angel investor and creative Joan Westenberg is one of the Explorers in our inaugural 2020 cohort. She shares the story of her journey to becoming the first transgender angel in Australia in this courageous and candid post.

🎓Google for Startups has launched the Startup School program to help founders take their startup to the next level and receive top training. Join for a series of hands-on sessions on getting the most out of @Google tools, like Ads, Analytic and Cloud — the tech essentials needed for all startups to scale. Register here.

🚀 Western Sydney University’s Launch Pad is running a 6-month accelerator program to support tech startups in high-growth industry sectors or using technologies where there is potential to drive international market opportunities, particularly in the US and the APAC region. Apply for the SydWest Global Connections Tech Startup Accelerator Program here, submissions close 26 January 2021.

🌟This year, Startmate celebrated their 10 year anniversary and CEO Michael Batko shared their Masterplan for the next 10 years here.

🏆Congratulations to the 51 women-led startups that secured Boosting Female Founders grants from the government to a total of $12 million. The cohort includes Arula (which 3D prints personalised breast prosthesis), Indigital (an Indigenous-designed digital skills startup), Ovira (a period pain prevention startup) and more.

🙌 Shoutout to Ankita and the team at YumTum who started an initiative to help out-of-work hospitality workers during COVID but is now helping the world’s best tech companies like Atlassian, Canva, Amazon and Google keep their distributed teams happy and engaged. Check out their epic virtual team experiences such as Manga Team Portrait and Cocktail Socials and Masterclasses.

Jobs Jobs Jobs! 🇦🇺🇳🇿

📚 Edrolo, the ed-tech startup helping over 800 Aussie schools with teaching and learning resources, is looking for a Sales Operations Analyst.

👗 GlamCorner, Australia’s no.1 sustainable fashion rental platform, is looking for a People Operations Manager.

🩺 HotDoc, Australia’s largest and most trusted patient engagement platform, is looking for a Customer Success Team Manager.

💻 Please email if you’re interested in a Chief Revenue Officer role.

Is your startup hiring? 🚀 Add your jobs here. Shoutout to new opportunities this month from the community: Microsoft for Startups is looking for an Event Manager.

What We’ve Been Reading 👀

Our 2020 summer reading list of course!

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store