AirMail — July 2019 Edition

Jul 3 · 6 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…

❤️Subscribe to AirMail❤️

The big news 🔊

👏 A huge congrats to Team Prospa on their IPO.

Prospa has lent more than $1bn to small businesses across Australia and New Zealand, giving them critical access to financing, and fuelling the most important sector in our economy.

When we first invested, Greg, Beau and a small handful of team-mates were sitting elbow-to-elbow in Kent St writing their first few loans. We’re beyond proud to have now backed the team over 6 rounds — making it our largest single investment to date.

💰In very exciting news for startups — Square Peg has raised a $340m fund. Congratulations to the whole team — looking forward to working more together!

🔊In other major fundraising announcements — King River has raised $60m to fund Aussie startups at Series A stage, NAB is targeting tech companies with a whopping $2bn set aside for funding emerging technology-based businesses, Leap Capital has launched a $50m fund to offer early-stage VC loans (reposting this helpful primer on venture debt in case you want to figure out what this could mean for you), and the CIA’s investment fund is apparently ‘stalking’ Australian tech startups

💰The barbarians are at the gate! Lots of action on the corporate M&A front this month. Woolworths acquired 9% in Marley Spoon the home meal kit company. Wesfarmers acquired Catch, the eCommerce business, for $230m. H&R Block acquired Wave for $583m (big props to the NAB Ventures team on their first exit!)

📝In co-working space news — YBF is acquiring Tyro Fintech Hub (making its first move into the Sydney market), and WeWork has launched a new equity-free Labs program in Sydney targeting “pre-accelerator” startups

🌎The Global Talent scheme “Startup visa” is continuing past it’s pilot date. If you’re weighing up your options for attracting talent — this guide gives a bit more colour on who should apply and how

🇦🇺CSIRO released their Australian National Outlook 2019 report — taking a look at what Australia could be like economically, socially and environmentally in 2060

🦌Antler launched their first Sydney cohort with 70+ founders. Really looking forward to seeing what these founders get up to over the next few months!

💰AIC’s annual report shows FUM in the Aussie PE and VC sector is at an all time high at $30bn. While PE currently makes up the majority of this chunk, we’re hoping that’s not always the case 😉

⭐️ We’re hiring a Head of Venture Community at Airtree. If you’d like to support the entrepreneurs shaping our future, and play a part in serving the startup community in Australia and NZ… come work with us! ⭐️

Topics that caught our eye 👀

Salesforce bought Tableau for $15.7bn (Tableau revenue was $1.1bn growing 29%, multiple 11x LTM revenue). This followed hot off the heels of Google acquiring Looker for $2.6bn. It’s a good time to be a scaled data viz company

A great dive into the outperformance of growth over value stocks and what happens if the cost of capital never increases

DaaS. The ugly child of SaaS and compute

The Zuckbucks have arrived. The best explainer we’ve come across so far

Simply astonishing that YouTube’s “watch next” algorithm drives 70% of total watch time. As we move to pure content on demand, recommendation engines will have a profound impact on our views, beliefs and understanding of the world

There’s such a big disconnect between what we think will kill us and what will wind up killing us

The Zeitgeist narrative doesn’t match the data. “The lesson of the past half-millennium is that technological change complements jobs rather than destroys them.”

Deepfakes are the bitcoin of 2019. Lots of hype and speculation, minimal usage.

Would you trade genetic protection from HIV for 1.9 years of your life…?

If US dogs and cats were a country, where would they rank in global meat consumption?

It’s unlikely you’ve missed this, but Mary Meeker’s latest Internet Trends report for 2019 is a must read (obvs) — shout-out to Canva for their big debut!

Major funding rounds 💰

Judo, a challenger bank, raised $340m

Agersens, a virtual fencing system for cattle, raised $14.8m from Gallagher Group

Enboarder, an HR startup, raised $11.6m from Greycroft

Verrency, a payment startup, raised $10m from Alium and others

Microba, a gut health biotech, raised $10m from Thorney Investments, Perennial Value and Alium

Hometime, an AirBnb property management startup, raised $6m from OneVentures

Cashrewards, an online shopping rewards site, raised $5.3m from Alium

Parcelpoint, a delivery startup, raised $4.5m from existing shareholders

Fresho, a food-tech startup, raised $3m from the Aconex founders

Notiv, an AI-enabled meeting assistant, raised $1.4m from Transition Level, Full Circle and Black Sheep Capital

Love for the AirTree Fam ❤️

MetaOptima was featured in a Lancet Oncology journal article comparing the performance of AI algorithms to dermatologists. The article focused on the diagnostic accuracy for skin lesions. This is one of the top oncology journals in the world — so incredible recognition for Majid, Maryam and the team

What separates a good business from a great business? Jackie has shared a few ways to build an unfair advantage into your startup’s business model from the very beginning… 💪

Mel sat down with Jason Calacanis to talk about growing Canva to 15M monthly active users, securing their latest investment from Mary Meeker, and doing the most good one can do ✨

Congrats to Secure Code Warrior for winning the Best Professional Training or Certification Programme at the SC Awards in Europe 🍾 the Athena team for winning the Emerging Fintech of the Year at the Finnies 🍾 and Process St for winning the Most likely to be a unicorn prize at the startup pitch competition at SaaStr Europa 🍾

1 billion presses on HappyOrNot — whoop whoop 😃

“There is a line between super-confidence and arrogance, the difference is respect” — Emily shared some insights from our portfolio breakfast with the legendary ex-Wallabies captain John Eales

Ben from HotDoc chats with Pete from MetaOptima on “Talking Health” about the adoption of technology in general practices, emerging healthtech, and the importance of trust between clinicians and vendors. We ❤️ seeing AirTree teams hanging out with other AirTree teams!

To help relieve a little bit of fundraising stress, James shared an overview of what typically happens in a legal DD process (h/t to Legal Vision for working with us on this doc 🤓)

Craig spoke with Paul Smith at the AFR about the incredible stories of new industries being formed and the jobs of tomorrow being created by the tech sector in Aus

High profile roles in ANZ 🇦🇺🇳🇿

AirTree is hiring a Head of Venture Community in Sydney

Brighte is hiring a Head of People & Culture in Sydney

Athena is hiring a Finance Director / Head of Finance in Sydney

Hyper Anna is hiring a Senior DevOps Engineer in Sydney

Huddle is hiring a UI/UX Designer in Sydney

Vend is looking for a Digital Marketing Director in Auckland 🥝 and Melbourne

What we’ve been reading and listening to 📘🎧

Mythos — Stephen Fry retells history as the Ancient Greeks knew it. They’re called “classics” for a reason

Invisibilia — a podcast about the unseeable forces that control human behaviour. We found this episode about empathy particularly thought-provoking 🤔

For more updates like this in your inbox — link here.


A venture capital fund in Aus and NZ. Working for game-changers. First round. Multiple rounds.


Written by


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



A venture capital fund in Aus and NZ. Working for game-changers. First round. Multiple rounds.

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade