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AirMail — February 2021 Edition

AirTree’s monthly update on the Aussie and Kiwi tech startup scene. Subscribe here 💕

A Message From Mel 🙋🏻‍♀️

🤩 Wowser, what a month February has been! The year has truly kicked into gear with lots of exciting news from the AirTree fam — more in the ‘Big News’ section. 🚀

Our Open Source VC meetups are back for 2021! Yesterday our Principal Jax chatted to Patrick Campbell from ProfitWell, one of the most influential thinkers globally on startup pricing and GTM strategy. They covered topics like ‘how do startups decide on pricing in the early days with no data?’ and ‘free trial vs freemium model, which is better?’ Watch the replay here. Register for future meetups here.

We’ve also started running a regular ‘Aussie & Kiwi Startup Happy Hour’ to dissect top of mind issues for founders and teams on Clubhouse and Zoom. The next one is coming up later today at 4pm AEDT | 6pm NZDT where we tackle the thorny topic of Founder Personal Financesgetting a mortgage 🤯, structuring the company, diversification, tax and more.

Finally, we’re pumped to celebrate International Women’s Day by holding at our shiny new digs a ‘women founders & funders’ in-person networking party in Sydney. Big thanks to the F factor & AWS for co-hosting with us. 🥳

The Big News 🗞

🇦🇺Australia made global headlines this month after Facebook took the nuclear option of banning news in our feeds over media code negotiations with the government. Oh the shock, the indignation! Facebook has since reversed it but the story is still unfolding. Many innocent small businesses were caught in the crossfire and the tech startup community have exploded with debate: passionately pro Facebook, passionately against Facebook, and everywhere in between! What does the AirTree team think? You’ll have to ask us at one of our Startup Happy Hours. 😉

🍾Chris, Matt & the team at Elevio announced their $US15m acquisition by European software company Dixa. Huge congratulations to the team and best of luck for the new stage of your journey!! As our Partner John says: wins like this see more dollars and experience invested into the next generation of Australia startups, which is a great thing for everyone.

🌱Anastasia and her team at Flurosat announced their acquisition of US soil health startup Dagan to form a new brand ‘Regrow’. Regrow is the first single platform for systemising and scaling agriculture practices, as well as measuring and verifying soil health and carbon outcomes. We can’t wait to continue supporting the combined team as they make an even bigger impact on sustainable agriculture.

🔨We’re so proud to continue backing Mike & the team at DroneDeploy in their latest $US50m round. We’re even prouder that the drone technology developed by the team has been instrumental in providing safe and accurate ways of conducting inspections in the construction and other industries during COVID.

📈Exciting times for Alec & the DesignCrowd team as they raise $10m to support the growth of BrandCrowd and prepare for an IPO on the ASX.

💰Kudos to our friends at Our Innovation Fund on the announcement of their new $80m fund! More funding for startups, hooray!! 🥳

⚖️We’re encouraged by developments over the proposed changes to Australia’s insider trading rules so that founders can sell shares easier. Our friend at TDM Growth Partners Tom Cowan had this to say: “In order for Australians to keep building competitive, global and durable companies, we need to ensure the incentives are there for founders to take the risk.” We couldn’t agree more!

Topics That Caught Our Eye 👀

🛰“Touchdown confirmed. Perseverance safely on the surface of Mars” What a triumph for space exploration, what a time to be alive! The primary objective of this latest Mars rover is to search for signs of ancient microbial life which will pave the way for ‘human exploration of the Red Planet’. Experts believe it’s likely we’ll get to Mars by the 2040’s which means the astronauts making such history are alive today.

🩺Turning to more earthly matters, the Gates Foundation released their 2021 Annual Letter: just as World War II led to greater cooperation between countries to protect the peace and prioritize the common good, we think that the world has an important opportunity to turn the hard-won lessons of this pandemic into a healthier, more equal future for all. In this letter, we write about two areas we see as essential to building that better future: prioritizing equity and getting ready for the next pandemic.

💉Encouraging news on the fight against cancer: we’ve made great strides towards bringing to market technology that can detect many types of cancer from a single blood draw: ‘Early detection of cancer can undoubtedly save lives…if everyone received an annual Multicancer Early Detection blood test in addition to current screening tests, we could potentially increase the cancer detection rate to 50%.’

🗞 Startups should ditch inbound marketing?: Patrick Campbell shares the framework he used to transform ProfitWell, a pricing intelligent software company, into a ‘media company’ and explains why B2B businesses should abandon their traditional inbound marketing strategy and move to media.

💰Offering recurring liquidity to startup employees: how can startups attract and retain the best talent when going up against the lavish perks of Google & Facebook? The folks at Sacra has developed a calculator to help founders design a program that allows employees to regularly realise the value of some portion of their vested equity so that their startup’s liquid compensation is competitive with the typical compensation of a Facebook E4.

🧮The algebra of wealth, or how to get ‘rich’ according to Prof. Scott Galloway: a no-nonsense and thoughtful exploration of how young people can reach economic security against increasing odds by considering the 4 ‘factors of wealth’: focus, stoicism, time and diversification.

📈Shopify’s 2020 results came out earlier this month: consumers spent $120bn on its platform, roughly 40% of Amazon’s Marketplace business GMV in 2020. Benedict Evans breaks down the not-so-obvious competitive nuances between Shopify and Amazon and the growing DTC trend: Google doesn’t think about Bing nearly as much as it thinks about Amazon and Facebook, and Amazon thinks about Shopify, because they change what the businesses might be, and offer your customers a different way to solve their problem

🚽Perhaps slightly less consequential than multicancer early detection technology, we’re nonetheless eagerly anticipating Toto’s planned offering: The Wellness Toilet that ‘will scrutinise people’s daily waste output to look for various disease markers’. Yes, it’s a toilet that automatically monitors and analyses your urine and stool samples to alert you of any health concerns. And yes, you can count on AirTree to bring you news of the latest innovations, from the boardroom to the bathroom!

Major Funding Rounds 💰

Micro-X, an x-ray product startup, raised $30m
CampaignAgent, a BNPL startup for marketing property sales, raised $13.3m
Butn, a fintech funding startup, raised $12.5m
Tribe, a micro-influencer startup, raised $5.5m
6clicks, a regulation technology startup, raised $5m
Ordermentum, a hospitality tech startup, raised $5m
Thrive, a fintech startup, raised $3m
Bricklet, a fractional property investment platform, raises $3m
Coassemble, an online learning design startup, raised $1.5m
Effi, a mortgage broker fintech, raised $1.2m
GGWP, an esports branding education and marketplace startup, raised $425,000

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 💕

🌟 Woot! Way to go team Abyss for being recognised by the NSW government in their promotion of innovative and consequential tech developed in our region!

🎓 Employment Hero’s Co-founder & CEO Ben Thompson is running a ‘How to Operate for Growth’ workshop for the City of Sydney’s ‘Reboot’ series.

🏆 Linktree’s Head of Growth Jessica Box won the Mentor Category in the Women Leading Tech award — check out her interview here.

🙌 A Cloud Guru just dropped a bunch of new courses, including highly requested VMware courses, more info here.

🥳 Happy birthday to the team at Secure Code Warrior as they celebrated their 6th birthday at their brand new office!

Community Bulletin 📌

🚀 York Butter Factory is running the Victorian Tech Startup Week from 16–19 March. The event will include open coworking in a collaborative tech environment, workshops, office hours with industry experts, panel talks and a pitch night. Rich from our Investment team is running a workshop. Apply here.

💻 Check out the Backing Black Business Report created by Generation One and PWC’s Indigenous Consulting arm. The report highlights ‘the barriers faced by Indigenous businesses and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander entrepreneurs in accessing financial products and services’ and proposes 7 recommendations of how positive change could be made.

📝 KPMG released their Venture Pulse Q4 2020 report on venture capital trends: globally, in Q4 2020, VC backed companies raised a combined $80.8B across 5418 deals,

📚 Servcorp has put together a collection of the ‘Best Tools and Resources for Startups and Entrepreneurs’.

🏆 Don’t forget! ‘Entries for Fintech Australia’s Finnies awards are now open’.

Jobs Jobs Jobs! 🇦🇺🇳🇿

🛌 Brosa, an online retailer bringing furniture from global craftsmen to Australian homes, is looking for an Engineering Manager.

🏠 Different, a property management platform, is looking for a Lead Product Manager.

🩺 HotDoc, a medtech startup helping GPs deliver better outcomes to patients, is looking for an Enterprise Sales Lead.

📧There are also VP of Engineering and Chief Finance Officer roles up for grabs. Please email for more info.

Is your startup hiring? Add your jobs here.

Say Hi to Team AirTree! 👋

5 MarchJackie is presenting at Startup Vic’s event on getting your first cheque.

11 March — We’re hosting an International Women’s Day ‘Women Founders & Funders’ event at our HQ in Surry Hills, in collab with AWS and The F Factor. Registration link and further details here.

18 March Rich is giving a workshop at the Victorian Tech Startup Week, brought to you by York Butter Factory. The workshop will run from 11–12pm and office hours will run from 1–2pm. Register here.

22 MarchJohn will be chatting to Ian on Innovation Bay’s OTPBD Podcast

Throughout March — We’re also hosting regular Aussie & Kiwi Startup Happy Hour to dissect top of mind issues for founders & teams on Clubhouse & Zoom. Follow @airtreevc on Clubhouse to be notified when they get scheduled.

What We’ve Been Listening to 👂

🎙 Boss Talk #1

How do you know when to fire or when to promote someone? Should you micromanage new execs in the first 6 months? How should world-class CEO’s organise their time every week? A16z Cofounder Ben Horowitz chats to Ali Ghodsi, the Founder/CEO of Databricks, about ‘CEO stuff, leadership stuff, management stuff…boss stuff.’

🌟 Whitney Wolfe Herd: Small Changes For Big Impact

This month, Bumble’s IPO made Cofounder and CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd the youngest woman in history to take a tech unicorn public. This came just months after the app gained from unexpected COVID headwinds. Whitney details her journey in Reid Hoffman’s Masters of Scale podcast where she shares the importance of becoming ‘a master of understanding what users want, and then making the small changes that help them achieve their goals.’



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