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AirMail — February 2020 Edition

AirTree’s monthly update on the Aussie and Kiwi Tech scene. And a few things we find interesting…💕

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Phew, Feb has been an eventful month at AirTree HQ! Besides our usual work of backing founders, we are gearing up to find multiple additions to our happy fam and have been planning a US trip. Elicia, John and Craig will be in San Fran March 8–14, get in touch if you wanna hang out! 😇

The Big News 🔊

👶🏻🎉 Big congrats to Xplor on its acquisition by global payment solutions provider Transaction Services Group. Our investors are delighted with this outcome and it was an honour to be on the first leg of the journey with Mark and the team. We’ll continue cheering from the sidelines as they continue their mission of making early childhood education truly great!

🛣 🚀Go Process Street as they announce a US$12M Series A raise from Accel, Atlassian, Salesforce Ventures and others! We’re super proud of their global successes so far and look forward to cheering Vinay & the team on as they achieve their vision of building the GitHub of no-code and making recurring work fun, fast and faultless for teams everywhere! 💪🏻

🤓🙌Expert360 announced closing their latest $12m round, whoop whoop! We’re super proud to be continuing our support for Bridget and the team as they focus on growing their enterprise offering.

🤩The ASX has launched a tech index! It’s called the ‘All Technology Index’ (ATI) — creative name 😏— aimed at representing Australia’s technology sector. We’re very excited about this because it further validates the growth of our industry and the positive contribution tech makes to the Australian economy. Hopefully it’ll raise more awareness and attract more investment into not only companies already on the index but exceptional up-and-coming startups too. For startups aspiring for an IPO, it’s time to update your #lifegoals 🥅: first IPO, then make it into the ATI! You’ll need a minimum market cap of $120m with a minimum daily traded value of $120K.

📈2019 was a ‘breakout year’ for fintechs. KPMG’s Pulse of Fintech H2 2019 report shows record investment into fintechs in Australia, growing 252% to $2.9 billion. This month new laws finally passed to bring the fintech regulatory sandbox into reality. Fintechs allowed in the sandbox can trial its services for 2 years without needing to obtain a financial services or credit licence from ASIC. We also got more indication of how open banking will work in Australia in the form of privacy safeguide guidelines released by the Office for the Information Commissioner. This increased certainty is super welcome but leading fintech entrepreneurs including Athena’s CEO Nathan Walsh are urging for a gradual transition to the new open system.

💰BetterLabs Ventures has expanded its existing seed fund to $23 million, becoming the largest venture fund based in Perth.

🌽 Woolworths announced ‘W23’, a fund that aims to back ‘innovative early-stage and growth companies in the food and retail sectors, with a focus on ‘disruptive’ consumer products and services and retail technology’. Their first investment was $30m into Marley Spoon. It seems everyone wants to be a VC these days…🤑

🚀🌔 Big month for the space industry. The Australian Space Agency opened its new Adelaide HQ with hopes its activities will triple the size of the industry from $3.9 billion to $12 billion. The NSW government also launched a new Space strategy that includes the commitment to fund a National Space Industry Hub as an anchor tenant in the planned Sydney Technology Precinct south of Sydney CBD. The NSW government is now calling incubators, accelerators and facilitators with deep space experience to submit their Expressions of Interest to run the hub before March 22nd.

Topics That Caught Our Eye 👀

🦠Going viral, going global: Covid-19, the new coronavirus, is causing panic around the world at the moment. For the first time since the outbreak started, there are now more cases of the virus being reported outside of China than within it. The Economist’s latest podcast explores what countries can do to limit the spread of the virus and whether it would become a pandemic.

️⚛️ MIT’s 2020 list of top 10 breakthrough technologies that they believe will truly change how we live and work: Unhackable internet, hyper-personalised medicine, digital money, climate change attribution and more.

🕵🏻‍♀️ This is the intelligence coup of the century: for decades, the CIA and the West German intelligence read the encrypted communications of their allies and adversaries — because they secretly owned Crypto AG, the maker of encryption devices used by more than 120 countries from World War II until well into the 21st century.

📖 We get asked by founders about how to do investor updates all the time. Here’s a great break down by Daniel Gross, founder of and ex Y-combinator Partner.

📱‘We’ve now connected everyone and wonder what’s next, but meanwhile, connecting everyone means we connected all the problems. Tech is becoming a regulated industry’ — Every year, Benedict Evans, former Partner at a16z does a sharp and thoughtful macro presentation that tries to work out what’s going on, and what happens next in tech.

💡A cracker of an infographic titled Mavericks and Heretics: ideas rejected, later proven correct. Giordano Bruno was killed for suggesting that ‘the sun is a star, one of an infinity in the universe’. Having someone doubt your startup idea doesn’t seem so bad now does it?

🦄 ‘Udemy almost died at least 5 times’ — a bare-all twitter thread by Udemy co-founder Gagan Biyani reflecting on their tough road to becoming a ‘unicorn’. It’s a reminder that for most startups, success is very rarely up and to the right. Often surviving and outlasting is all that matters.

💸 ‘Here is a widely believed cause-and-effect relationship I bet you’ve never thought to invert before: because most startups fail, therefore equity is the best way to finance them. Have you ever considered: because equity is how we finance startups, therefore most startups fail? This feels uncomfortable!’ Alex Danco made waves this month exploring how debt is finally coming to startups, and Ali Hamed provides a great follow up analysis predicting that ‘eventually, mature unicorn companies with stable business models will begin to issue bonds. There is a lot of talk about how Direct Listings will replace IPO’s. I think Bond issuances will prelude all of them.’

📈If it feels like the gap between developer salaries for teams in Silicon Valley and for the rest of us is closing, it’s probably because it is. Average engineer salaries grew 13% in London and 7% in Toronto and NY compared to 6% in the San Fran Bay Area.

🧬Become an instant expert on mankind’s quest to live forever with this comprehensive longevity Q&A.

📉1971 was the turning point after which everything went to sh*t. And it’s all Nixon’s fault, apparently.

Major Funding Rounds 💰

PredictHQ, a kiwi demand forecasting startup, raised $22 million

Booktopia, Australia’s largest online book retailer, raised $20m

Outfit, a brand management software startup, raised $19.5m

SocietyOne, Australia’s first consumer marketplace lender, raised $15m

SpeeDx, a molecular diagnostic technology startup, raised $15 million

Clipchamp, a video editing subscription startup, raised $13.2 million

Prospection, healthcare data startup, raises $10m

AustCyber Projects Fund awarded a total of $8.5m to 17 companies

Ezycollect, payment processing fintech, raises $7.1m

Roborigger, a startup that automates lifting, raised $5m

Coassemble, an online training platform, raised $4.4m

Dovetail, a user research and customer feedback start-up, raised $4m

Portt, a procurement software startup, raised $4m

Lawvu, a NZ-based legal tech startup, raised NZ$4m

Loop+, a medtech startup, raised $3m

NurtureCloud, a property industry sales management software startup, raised $3m

Cheq, a pay-on-demand fintech, raised $1.75m

The Seabin Project, a waste reduction tech and education startup, raised $1 million

Love for the AirTree Fam ❤️

🎉 4 AirTree fam companies made it to the biggest raises of 2019 list — Canva, Secure Code Warrior, Athena Home Loans (top 3!) and Brighte. There’s actually a 5th company which would have made the podium if their round size was publicised. Can you guess which…?

👏Well done to team A Cloud Guru for being named as one of Austin’s Top 10 best places to work!

💃🏻Shoutout to Maryam from MetaOptima who has been recognised by the AFR as a notable Australian innovator building a groundbreaking business!

💕Kudos to team Flurosat for announcing an integration partnership with global agricultural insights company Proagrica to boost their distribution!

🧪Daniel from our team shares his thoughts on when to kill an underperforming product

💬10 lessons with a serial entrepreneur: Em from our team chats to Mike Carden, the co-founder and CEO of NZ-based employee engagement software company Joyous about the future of the enterprise software, leadership, founding a business second time round and lots more.

Community Bulletin 📌

👀Antler is recruiting for its third Sydney program, starting June 2020! Maybe there’s a burning idea you’ve been stewing on, or you have identified a widespread industry problem that needs to be solved — this is your chance to build the next wave of tech startups.

🛰Venture Catalyst Space program in Adelaide which supports founders, entrepreneurs and startups to develop and grow innovative ideas in the space sector is open for applications for its 2020 cohort.

Your Next Job 🇦🇺🇳🇿

🌲AirTree’s hiring!! We’re looking for multiple people to join our happy fam, including an Investment Associate, a Portfolio Analyst and a Finance & Operations Officer. If you are passionate about startups, tech and finance, we wanna meet you!! We’ll be announcing more roles in the coming week, so watch this space!👀

👗GlamCorner, the fashion tech company, is hiring a People Operations Lead in Sydney

🏡:Different, the property management platform, is hiring a Chief Operations Officer in Sydney

👩🏻‍⚕️Hotdoc, a digital healthcare booking platform with the mission of improving patient experiences, is hiring a Head of Marketing in Melbourne.

🤓Expert360, one of Australia’s fastest growing startups reinventing the way we work, is hiring a Tech Lead in Sydney

What’s On 📅

3 MarchDaniel is moderating a panel on women in leadership for the Australia British Chamber of Commerce as a part of International Women’s Day celebrations

5 MarchEm and Elicia are doing an Investor AMA lunch and learn at Fishburners

8 MarchElicia, John and Craig will be hosting drinks in San Fran

10–12 MarchElicia, John and Craig will be at SaaStr in San Fran

12 MarchElicia, John and Craig will speak at a panel hosted by the Aussie Founders Network in San Fan

What We’ve Been Reading 👀

She Said by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey

From the Pulitzer Prize-winning reporters who broke the news of Harvey Weinstein’s sexual harassment and abuse for the New York Times, Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, the thrilling untold story of their investigation and its consequences for the #MeToo movement. An important update to this story: Harvey Weinstein was convicted of rape and criminal sexual assault at his New York trial on Feb 25 2020.

The Decision Book: Fifty Models for Strategic Thinking by Mikael Krogerus

A handy collection of 50 tried and true decision-making models that will help you tackle important questions like what do I want? How can I get it? How can I live more happily and work more efficiently?



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