AirMail — March 2019 Edition

Mar 21 · 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…

Subscribe to AirMail

The big news 🔊

Tim Norton — Founder and CEO of 90 Seconds

Proud to be backing Tim and the fantastic team at 90 Seconds again. Video is becoming the dominant medium for the web, and with 90 Seconds it has never been easier to create and manage grade A video content. A big welcome to our friends at SIG, Qualgro & Right Click Capital who joined AirTree and Sequoia in this round

The women we work for at AirTree

🎉We’re very proud of the founders we work for at AirTree, and given it was International Women’s Day on Friday 8 March, we thought it was a great opportunity to share some tips and advice from the phenomenal women leading technology companies in our portfolio

🚀 Antler, a global startup generator and early stage venture capital firm, has launched in Australia. Entrepreneurs that enter the program have two months to start a new company, and work towards getting $100k in seed investment. Antler backs “individuals before they have a a team or business idea”. Antler plans to create 50 businesses by the end of the year in Australia! A great opportunity for those who want to stop dreaming and start building — application link here

💰 Artesian and Grains Research and Development Corporation are launching a $50m fund aimed at agtech startups

🏢 In huge news for Sydney, Atlassian has reached an agreement in principle to become the anchor tenant at the Sydney Innovation and Technology precinct at Eveleigh. This has the potential to become the epicentre of tech in Australia. They also announced a remote working program to find talent right across Australia, not just in Sydney

💰 Salesforce has created a $50m VC fund to back Aussie startups — it’s great to have them in town

🏢 WeWork has expanded into Brisbane with an office space for 1,400 tenants. Once Lime Scooters have finally launched in Sydney we’ll consider this a fair trade!

💰 King River launched a new fund to invest in late Series A to Series B startups. They’re looking to invest in 15–20 companies over the next 3–4 years, with an average cheque size of $10m.

💌 Perkbox, a UK employee engagement platform, is opening an office in Australia

🥡WiseTech acquired Containerchain, a leading container optimisation solutions provider, for $92m. Atlassian acquired AgileCraft, a service that aims to help enterprises plan their strategic projects and workstreams, for $166m. Great to see Aussie companies becoming acquirers on the global stage

💰 NSW Government has announced support for a new Quantum Academy in Sydney with $15.4m in funding bringing together 4 universities. CSIRO’s Data61 has invested $3m+ to open a new purpose-built robotics and autonomous system research facility in Brisbane

Topics that caught our eye 👀

McKinsey: Australia’s automation opportunity — “AI presents an enormous opportunity for national and personal income growth”. Daniel was thrilled to have been part of this report’s advisory committee alongside Alison Deans, Catherine Livingstone, Daniel Mulino, and Amit Singh

How will EdTech overcome the credentialing issue?

We suspect this is only going to get worse — new malware targeting last line of defense systems in industrial plants

A good overview of the specific problems faced by AI-first startups and how to address them from our friend Matt Turck at First Mark. If you find yourself in NYC, make sure to get along to his Data Driven NYC event — it’s a must

Mark Suster explains why seed investing (# and $) is down and what this means for the venture market

The founder of the web wants a Contract For The Web. But isn’t the magic of the web the fact that you can do whatever you want?

A quantum primer — one of the most helpful 101s out there.

The new bible on social network effects — worth a read for anyone building social network effects into their product.

Computational biology in drug discovery — an excellent plain English guide on “when DNA Meets AI”

“Bitcoin is a fraud” was a direct quote from from Jamie Dimon in 2017. Now he’s just announced J.P. Morgan’s own blockchain-based currency, JPM Coin

What happens when you spend less time on social media

The number of subscribers content creators would need to sign up to recover lost cable earnings

Major funding rounds 💰

GO1, an online marketplace for corporate training, raised $30m from Microsoft’s global venture capital arm M12

Shortlyster, an intelligent hiring platform, raised $5m from Deepridge Capital, Andrew Banks and Tink Taylor

Waddle, a small business lender, raised $4m from Allectus Capital

Ooovuu, a company that uses AI to match articles published with video content from broadcasters, raised $4.8m from Cygnet Capital and Regal Funds Management

Rockmelon, an education platform to help autistic children and their parents, raised $3m from angel investors

Xinja, a digital neobank, broke the Australian crowdfunding record and raised $2.6m

Earnd, which helps people access their income as they earn it, raised $2.5m from NAB Ventures

Socialsuite, a social impact measurement startup, raised $1.9m from AddVenture and Salesforce Ventures

Ambit AI, custom chatbot creator, raised NZ$1.75m from Lewis Holdings and K1W1

Gofar, a connected driver application, raised $1.3m from Right Click Capital

Shebah, the women-only ride-sharing startup, raised $1m in a crowdfunding campaign

What’s on? 🗓️

27 Mar (Sydney): John is judging the pitchfest at Australian Healthcare Week — if you’re at the event, come up and say hi!

27 March (Sydney): James is heading down to the Safe Encryption Australia Forum — we want to throw as much support behind the industry associations, individuals and organisations seeking key amendments to the new encryption laws as we can!

10 April (Sydney): James is mentoring the current teams on the Founder 10x program at UNSW. Looking forward to seeing them on stage at demo day on the 10th!

16 Apr (Sydney): Jackie is heading down to the Incubate Demo Day to hear from class 13!

15 May (Melbourne): John is speaking at the Future of Work Summit — he’s excited to take the stage with the team at Expert360 to talk more about the “freelance economy”, and Joyous to discuss why “it’s now about people, not jobs”!

Love for the AirTree Fam ❤️

Athena has launched their new home loan product with $250 million in home loan applications within 3 days of launch! #thehomeloanwrecker

The Nuraphone has won the music and audio category at SXSW’s Interactive Innovation Awards 2019

Flurosat was awarded $3m of government funding to help bring together the mountains of disparate data across farms and turn agri-businesses into data-driven machines (also, some tips from Anastasia on how to secure grant funding)

Hyper Anna have announced two new product features: ‘What Caused This’ and ‘Drill Down’ — check this video out to see how they help you gain deeper insights into your business

🍾A big congrats to the team at Pet Circle for winning the “Fast Movers” category’ at the All Star Bash 2019 (that celebrates the achievements in Australian retail over the past 12 months)

dGraph, alongside the likes of Facebook, Intuit and PayPal, have joined the GraphQL Foundation to help build the next generation of apps on graphs. Last month, Hacker News shared dGraph’s update on why Google needed to build a graph serving system

🍾GlamCorner team named in the list of the top 50 People in E-Commerce in 2019! And Vogue talks about why you should consider renting your clothes — naming GlamCorner as the market leader in Aus 👗

An exponential number of businesses going through large-scale digital transformation programs means there has been a 498% increase in demand for IT project managers on Expert360

Ben from Employment Hero was named in Dynamic Business’s top 10 entrepreneurs list

We loved reading about what’s influenced these inspiring entrepreneurs in their life, and how they balance it all 👏 Mel from Canva and Nat from Hyper Anna

James went into bat for startups and explained why we need the Government to start conversations now with the ecosystem about R&D tax. Uncertainty is the worst

John spoke with the team at SouthStart about the risks of “smarter” AI, when to introduce your kids to technology, whether the Government should be in charge of your data, and a range of other data-related topics

High profile roles in #startupaus 🇦🇺

BrosaChief Operating Officer in Melbourne
DifferentMarketing Leader in Sydney
SpaceshipChief Operating Officer in Sydney
WhispliHead of Sales in Sydney

What we’ve been reading and listening to

📚 Factfulness: 10 reasons why we’re wrong about the world — and why things are better than you think!

🤔 The Partially Examined Life — a podcast from people who thought about “doing philosophy” for a living, but then thought better of it

Feedback always welcome via @airtreevc or


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