AirMail — May 2019 Edition

May 31, 2019 · 5 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…

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The big news 🔊

With it’s global user base of 15 million monthly active users in 190 countries, Canva is empowering the world to design. Since launching in 2013, over 1 billion designs have been created on their platform… and it feels like they’re just getting started! Congratulations to the team on securing a further $100m in funding to further cement Canva as the default tool in every workplace 🚀It’s an honour to be able to continue to support them on their incredible journey. Read more here.

Prospa is set to IPO on the ASX on 11 June

The new Minister for Industry, Science & Technology, Karen Andrews, has pledged to adopt an open-door policy with tech sector leaders. We look forward to working with her to ensure the startup ecosystem is well supported by Government policy in Australia

With UK Government backing, British fintechs are starting to focus on Australia for their next market

Brandon Capital has closed the first tranche of funding for its new $250m biotech fund

Some of Wise Tech’s early investors have started a $50m VC fund — Shearwater Growth Equity

SEEK has invested in two global online education businesses — FutureLearn (50% for $90m) and Coursera (minority interest for $50m). Wisetech Global acquired Xware, a Sweden based messaging integration solutions provider, for $23m in order to cement the quality and scalability of their messaging technology

Main Sequence has entered into a partnership with Hungry Jack’s to establish v2Food, a manufacturer of “sustainable meat alternative” food products

Asia’s fastest growing coworking space (JustCo) is set to open spaces in Sydney and Melbourne

StartupVic and Vic Uni have launched an annual research project (FOUND) to understand what kind of support founders in the state need. Follow this link to have your say.

We get a lot of questions asking how our fundraising process works at AirTree, so Jackie has shared a short overview of how we operate. Hopefully this means we can use the first meeting to really get to know each other!

Topics that caught our eye 👀

Seed is the new A, and A is the new B. This gels with our own experience that seed is a phase, not a funding round.

The emotional rollercoaster of scaling startups

An interesting read about AI in the medical space

How to keep employee engagement and retention high

Machine learning just got faster. Try out a TPU today!

“Yet even with scale effects, our observation is that data is rarely a strong enough moat

A.I. Took a Test to Detect Lung Cancer. It Got an A

Today there are about 30m active crypto users. Facebook has about 2.4bn active users

Eternal sunshine of the spotless mouse — scientists find a volume knob for emotional memories

10 controversial opinions about medical AI

Major funding rounds 💰

MorseMicro, a semiconductor startup developing Wi-Fi chips for the IoT market, raised$24m from Skip, Blackbird, Ray Stata, Main Sequence, Right Click, Uniseed, and the Clean Energy Innovation Fund

Cluey, online tutoring startup, raised $20m from Allectus Capital and Thorney Investment Group

Elenium Automation, a Melbourne based airport automation startup, raised $15m led by Acorn Capital

Invert Robotics, a NZ-based remote, robotic industrial inspection company, raisedUS$8.8m from Finistere Ventures and Yamaha Motor Company

Kasada, a company which stops malicious web traffic, raised $6.5m from Reinventure and Main Sequence

Plexus, a legal tech startup, raised $4.5m from Aconex co-founders and KPMG

Josef, a legal tech startup, raised $1m from Jelix Ventures and Tiger Financial

Clipchamp, a video-editing startup, raised $1m from Steve Baxter

Narrative, a NZ-based startup that creates apps to streamline the workflow of professional photographers, raised $700k from Founders Fund, and Icehouse Ventures

What’s on? 📅

7 June (Sydney): Elicia is joining the investor panel at B2BRocks alongside Carthona Capital, Follow the Seed, and OneVentures

5 June (Sydney): Craig is joining a panel to discuss “VC Trends & Outlook” at the inaugural Morgan Stanley Summit

11 June (Sydney): Adam will be talking to students at UNSW’s StartupLink VC night

20 June (Sydney): Craig is looking forward to judging SBE Australia’s Dolphin Tank

20 June (Sydney): Adam is joining a panel at LegalVision to discuss the “Art of Capital Raising

26 June (Melbourne): John is at the Innovate Health Conference to discuss how digital health companies can access capital in Australia

Love for the AirTree Fam ❤️

The founding teams we partner with have a vision to change the world as we know it. Craig shares his views on some of the commonalities across our most successful companies

For tech leaders, getting the right balance for how to spend your engineering resources is one of the hardest problems to solve. We were lucky enough to have Hugh Williams work through some of these challenges with the AirTree portfolio

Flurosat is reducing input and boosting yield for farmers. Their new partnership with Brazilian based group TerrAvion means they’re well on their way to providing timely stress detection and plant nutrition management recommendations for agronomists and growers

Renting rather than buying clothes from fashion rental companies like GlamCorner is fast becoming Millennial’s best-kept fashion secret 👗♻️

Canva recently acquired Pexels and Pixabay in a move to become the Netflix of stock photography

Jackie loves businesses with community at their core, so has always been attracted to the indie hacker/maker community. Now that new no-code tools are enabling that community to thrive, she decided to write a love letter to the movement

“I’m struggling to come up with a single bit of technology I was more excited about at CES than the Nuraloop”. Nura’s earbuds are up for pre-order! Run, don’t walk!

The boom in the business of pets is great news for PetCircle

Maryam from MetaOptima spoke on the podcast Talking HealthTech about innovation and AI in healthcare

Bridget from Expert360 talks to The Australian about how future workplaces could be dominated by an entirely new category of staff

Pieter from Secure Code Warrior tells us about the major security issues within Huawei’s software engineering processes

High profile roles in #startupaus 🇦🇺

Different is looking for a Chief of Staff in Sydney

Brighte is looking for a Head of People and Culture in Sydney

Flurosat is looking for a Data Scientist in Sydney

Secure Code Warrior is looking for a Talent Acquisition Lead in Sydney

What we’ve been reading and listening to 📘🎧

Deep Medicine: We’re fascinated by the application of AI to medicine and actively looking for investments in this area. Eric Topol’s book is on point.

TBD with Tina Brown — ex Editor-in-chief of The New Yorker interviews her guests with entertaining candour. We enjoyed the interview with Kara Swisher.

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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.

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