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AirMail–November 2021 Edition

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A message from Mel 🙋🏻‍♀️

The highlight of this month at AirTree is our first in-person gathering since the lockdown lifted for those of us in NSW. We finally met some of our 2nd cohort of Explorers face to face. Woohoo!

Meet some of them here. It’s been an absolute pleasure hosting the program and getting to know everyone so far. For those who missed out this time, we’re opening applications again next year. Sign up to get notified here.

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The big news 📰

🚲 Congrats to Mina, Michael and team Zoomo on their $60m Series B. We’re excited to continue backing the team as they go from startup to scaleup; greening deliveries and transforming logistics on a global scale.

🎉 A massive milestone for team Linktree — 1 billion monthly global views. Couple that with partnering with Shopify to allow users to add storefronts, and there’s no doubt their meteoric growth won’t slow down anytime soon!

🎮 Aussie startups are making waves in the booming world of gaming NFTs. For local startups with global ambitions, the blockchain space has some inherent benefits. “You can start a company based in Australia that starts with an Australian market, and then goes global, or you can tap into the world of blockchain and immediately access the global stage from right here,” says James Ferguson, cofounder of Immutable.

💸 Google announced a $1 billion investment in Australia. Kate Pounder from the Tech Council of Australia said this activity speaks to Australia’s success as a growing tech centre for the APAC region. And there will be positive flow-on effects: the creation of more than 6,500 new jobs directly and 28,000 indirectly, making the total economic impact $6.7b.

😲 The tech workforce is 260,000 people short of what’s needed by 2025 — and everyone’s feeling the talent pinch. Across Employment Hero’s 6,000 clients, the company saw 10,000 people starting new jobs each month and a 91% increase in recruitment activity in their applicant-tracking system since the end of June.

💰 There’s been an overhaul of the employee share scheme: Employees will no longer be taxed when they leave the business! This is great news for the startup ecosystem, as many early startup employees go on to build their own startups or become angel investors (without the huge tax bill!).

🌤️ Fantastic news for climate tech innovators: ReGen Ventures has raised its first $50m fund, with the vision to put $1b into regenerative technologies this decade.

Topics that caught our eye 👀

🪨 NASA launched a multi-million dollar spacecraft on a one-way mission to crash into an asteroid this week. No, this wasn’t a catastrophic error — they were testing how to protect Earth from killer asteroids. The odds of needing to do this are pretty slim in our lifetime, but as planetary scientist Andy Rivkin says, “Sometimes your number comes up when you don’t expect it, and it’s good to have an insurance policy.” A very down-to-earth piece of wisdom for us all.

🥧 ATTN: Founders who want to keep their slice of the pie. Here are the equity terms that matter and how they work for founders, investors and employees. From acceleration to liquidation preferences and your employee option pool, understanding these terms will help you to understand how equity works so that you can maximise your return at an exit, better negotiate with investors, and attract and hire talented employees.

👟 Pop on your crypto kicks in the metaverse — Nike has taken note of social media users proudly showcasing their NFT as their preferred identity. The company has filed over half a dozen trademarks, including those for its swoosh logo and slogan “Just Do It”, which reveals plans of making and selling virtual footwear and apparel. Nike’s not just ensuring control over its digital brand as Web3 spaces proliferate; it’s also creating entirely new revenue and marketing streams. And where Nike goes, others follow…

🖥️ Here are the 5 pitch deck slides most founder gets wrong: Go-to-market, Usecase/audience, TAM, Possible outcomes and Team. What’s the common thread as to why these slides don’t work? The founders haven’t solved for that aspect of their business, or they’re not sure what the slide needs to answer for the investor. Fear not, Jose Cayasso, cofounder and CEO of Slidebean, has you covered with practical tips to improve your pitch.

What happens in an internet minute in 2021? Simple answer: a lot. Slack users send 148,000 messages, TikTok users watch 167 million videos and Amazon customers spend $283,000. What’s more, in the long term, there is still a massive opportunity with the right infrastructure in place to experience buoyant growth as the next billion internet users come online from countries such as India, China, Pakistan and Nigeria.

👓 The reason your startup is underperforming? A lack of clarity. Clarity, a precursor to productive collaboration, is in short supply and high demand today: 20–35% of value-added collaborations come from only 3–5% of your employees. As a leader, clarity should be your North Star metric, and you need to understand and measure these fundamental drivers of clarity: connectivity, visibility and efficiency.

Latest funding rounds 💰

Airwallex, an online payments company, raised $137.5m
Asendium, a SaaS for financial planners, raised $1.1m
Assignar, a construction ops platform, raised US$16.5m
AuMake, a daigou social commerce business, raised $2.2m
Bardee, an agtech startup, raised $5m
ClearCalcs, an engineering startup, raised $1.65m
[cu]health, a healthcare-at-work startup, raised $3m
Edstart, an education payment provider, raised $10m
Fleet Space, a nano-satellite startup, raised $36.3m
FoodByUs, a hospitality food and booze marketplace, raised $10m
Hindsite, an edtech platform, raised $3.25m
Kynd, a disability support service platform, raised $2m
Loam Bio, an agritech startup, raised $40m
Lyre’s, a non-alcoholic spirit brand, raised $37m, a user-generated gaming content platform, raised $34m
Montu, a medicinal cannabis startup, raised $3.5m
Padua, a financial advice fintech, raised $9.8m
Payable, a payment startup, raised $700k
Practice Ignition, a client engagement and commerce platform, raised US$50m
preezie, a retail experience platform, raised $5.5m
Renewtrak, a digital payment renewals business, raised $3m
Riparide, an accommodation booking platform, raised $4m
Splash, a music tech startup, raised $27m
Supie, an online supermarket startup, raised $2.5m
Till Payments, a fintech startup, raised $15m
Tinybeans, a family photo sharing app, raised $7.5m
Vertus Energy, a climate tech startup, raised $1.2m, a compliance management platform for health, raised $6m

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 💕

🎙️FrankieOne founder Simon spoke on the Futurepreneur podcast about the difficulties of finding a niche in the market and how to navigate hiring, firing and team culture when creating a business.

🔦 Eucalyptus founder Tim also joined the Futurepreneur podcast to discuss his two principles when marketing a startup: focusing on your point of differentiation rather than the overall vision, and find ways to stand out.

🏘️ Athena Home Loans founders, Nathan and Michael, sat down with the Scaling Up podcast to chat about scaling rapidly in a highly regulated environment and “eating the bank’s lunch”.

🔍 Our Partner, John, shared his journey to VC, investment biases, how he first got into crypto and what he’s most excited about in that space with Nawaz Ahmed on The Inquisitive VC podcast.

Community bulletin 📌

🌅Our friends at Earlywork recently went public with their ‘Earlywork 2.0’ launch, creating the global home for young people challenging the careers of today and creating the careers of tomorrow. If you’re looking to find the next generation of talent, make sure you post your role on their jobs board.

🙌 If your startup is committed to unleashing human potential and positively impacting the lives of people with a disability, check out Remarkable’s 2022 Disability Tech Accelerator program — applications are open now!

💡 Looking to transform your company through product-led growth? Over two evenings, Unlocking Growth will hear from an elite panel of CPOs and CEOs from :Different, Zoomo, Zip, Stan and Deputy about their experiences of bringing PLG into their organisations. Check out the CPO Panel and CEO Panel.

🫂 Every founder knows that running a startup can a lonely journey. Sydney Startup Hub and Foundwell are teaming up for a special in-person event on Wednesday 8th December, to explore the importance of founder wellbeing and its impact on your business, plus tools and resources to help you out.

⚖️ Curious about the role of in-house legal teams in high-growth companies? LawVu is hosting an online discussion on the 16th December at 10am AEST, with experienced legal leaders from Linktree, Who Gives a Crap and Xero. Check it out here.

Jobs Jobs Jobs! 🇦🇺🇳🇿

🧩 Reejig, are looking for a Head of Engineering to help build a world with zero wasted potential.

🌱 Regrow are after a Head of Engineering to work on transforming our food system to combat climate change.

🥷 Look at us being all mysterious…We have two very exciting opportunities — Chief People Officer at one of our fastest scaling startups, and Chief Operations Officer at a startup that will become a household name.

📧 Reach out to Andrew if you’re interested in any of these roles.

🌲 We also have an exciting opportunity for a Marketing Intern to join the AirTree in 2022.

Is your startup hiring? 🚀 Add your jobs here.

What we’re reading & listening to 🤓

🧬 The Genetic Lottery: Why DNA Matters for Social Equality by Kathryn Paige Harden
Can genetics help eliminate inequality? Harden has spent much of her career documenting significant genetic components of human behaviour and sets out to dismantle dangerous ideas about racial superiority and what equality really means in a world where people are born different. While the book doesn’t quite get there in terms of a solution to overcoming genetic unfairness, it shines a light on how our refusal to recognise the power of DNA perpetuates the myth of meritocracy.

🌙 Invest Like the Best: Moonshots and Marketing with Rory Sutherland
Rory Sutherland is one of the OGs of marketing (he’s currently Vice Chairman of Ogilvy & Mather Group) and an astute observer of human psychology. This episode explores many of his counterintuitive ideas about business, from why spreadsheets and logic kill magic to how the opposite of a good idea can sometimes be a good idea.



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