AirMail — October 2019 Edition

Oct 31 · 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…

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The Big News 🔊

Phew, what an eventful month October has been! 🍻🎃

📣🥳We are super excited to announce our 3rd fund: $275m to continue backing game-changing Aussie and Kiwi founders first round, multiple rounds! Hooray!!
We wanna say a huge thank you to everyone in the community for supporting us over the years, especially to the founders we’ve worked closely with for choosing us and believing in us. 🙏🏻This latest milestone is a clear reflection of the phenomenal companies you’ve built, we couldn’t have done it without you! 🥰
👉Read more about the announcement here.
👉Founders we haven’t met yet: get in touch with us early here.

👏Huge congratulations to Elicia on her promotion to Principal! YAASS!! Such a well deserved promotion after 3 goal-kicking years with AirTree. Find out more about Elicia and what this promotion means here.

🏠Athena announced their latest $70m funding round, as the largest locally-led round ever and with direct participation from multiple super funds. This is further validation for the growth and impact of the startup sector and fintechs in particular. Ultimately, it’s great news for Aussie homeowners who will get to own their homes faster! Woohoo! 🥳

💡Brighte announced their latest $15.5m round and the launch of a new product for the home improvement market. Katherine and her team are masters at execution and we can’t wait to see the next stage of growth for the business! 🚀

📈Canva announced the launch of their enterprise product and another funding round (in which we were delighted to take part). We continue to watch in awe as Mel, Cliff and Cam build a truly iconic technology company which just happens to be based in Sydney.

🏡:Different announced their latest round of $3.5m in funding to support their impressive growth, including an expansion into Queensland. Big kudos to Mina, Ruwin and the team!

Major Funding Rounds 💰

Zoox, an autonomous taxi startup, raises US$200m

CloudConformity, an infrastructure security, compliance and optimisation startup, was bought by Tokyo Stock Exchange listed Trend Micro for $100m

Crimson, a NZ based university admissions education startup, raised US$20m

Investible, a member-based angel investor group, raises a $22m new fund

Valiant Finance, a small business lending platform, raises $12.5m

July, a luggage startup, raises $10.5m

ActivePipe, a real estate email marketing startups, raises $6m for US growth

Replica Studios, a voice AI startup, raises $3.7m

First AML, a NZ based anti-money launching software, raises NZ$2.5m

DiviPay, an expense admin software startup, raises $2.3m

Muso, an online marketplace app for emerging musicians, raises $1.5m

FileInvite, a NZ based mortgage documentation management startup, raises NZ$1m

Growave, an herbicide free weed management startup, raises $900K

Bring me home, a food waste reduction platform, raises $400K via Birchal, an Equity Crowdfunding platform

Topics That Caught Our Eye 👀

🧬“We have rewritten our human history.”
Australian scientist Professor Vanessa Hayes has just reported research featured on the homepage of Nature that identifies the birthplace of homosapiens as Africa’s former Lake Makgadikgadi, now a barren region which covers parts of Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe

🖥You only need a few lines of code to change the world. Here are 33 snippets of code that have had some of the biggest impact on the world — from Apollo 11 to Google page rank.

😱The era of Negative Interest Rates is upon us. Howard Marks from Oaktree Capital takes on this topic in his latest memo discussing why it’s uncharted territory that no one can predict, the potential consequences, and what to invest in during uncertain times.

😳WeWork has been great fodder for water cooler conversation lately. Its implosion has been attributed to poor corporate governance, struggling finances, other bad behaviour and distracting business priorities. Its founder and ex-CEO Adam Neumann is now dubbed ‘the most hated man in America’. The whole debacle highlights some important issues in tech investment today, one of which includes the risk of high valuations set by existing investors as explored by the Wall Street Journal here. The article delves into the pros and cons of internal rounds and why LP’s should be skeptical of internal markups. At the same time, cases such as WeWork are outliers that shouldn’t make investors paint the entire tech sector with the same brush.

👚The latest in cutting edge facial recognition thwarting clothing has arrived. Some of this gear looks like it belongs on a runway as much as it belongs on the streets of Hong Kong.

🐠Tracking the abundance of underwater species is crucial for understanding the effects of climate change on marine ecosystems. This paper by machine learning researchers explores how AI could be used to determine fish varieties, with the potential to expand the idea to detect more species of interest to sustainable fisheries.

📈StartDaily rounds up 6 charts that show startup investment is booming in Australia

Love for the AirTree Fam ❤️

💼The idea of a business or executive coach can bring negative associations as there are a lot of snake-oil salesmen types with similar titles. But the right executive coach can make a huge difference to the success of a startup as founders go through the steep learning curve of transitioning from savvy implementers to people managers. Jackie from our team has collected a list of reputable coaches that come highly recommended by startups we work with 👍, along with an exploration of the benefits of working with exec coaches.

👏Congratulations to the team at A Cloud Guru for reaching the huge milestone of teaching 1 million people to cloud since their founding in 2015!! We are so proud of the team for improving access to quality education and for empowering people all over the world to learn the latest technologies.

🏅Dr Luke Campbell from Nura headphones is the recipient of the 2019 Prize for New Innovators.

👼Our friends at UNSW has launched a new Angel Investing Course which will help grow the angel investment pool & knowledge base for our industry. They’ve kindly offered our community a 30% discount with the promo code: AIRTREE. Enrol here.

What’s On 📅

4 Nov — Jackie is mentoring at Startmate’s Office Hours

7 Nov — John & Elicia are attending Antler’s Demo Day

6 Nov — Elicia is speaking at the Innovation Bay Brisbane VC Panel

20 Nov — Elicia is speaking at LegalVision’s Sydney Startup Founders Panel and Manual Launch

22 Nov — Craig is doing a fireside chat and John and Emily are judging the pitch competition at StartCon 2019.

19–21 Nov — John and Jackie are speaking and judging at Southstart — Adelaide’s startup week festivities

27 Nov — Mel is going to the SheStarts Investor Showcase

High Profile Roles in ANZ 🇦🇺🇳🇿

🌲Great news! It’s not too late to apply for the Accountant role at AirTree. Join an exciting and fast-paced team with a mission to help the next generation of game-changing Aussie and Kiwi entrepreneurs achieve their vision. If you know a passionate accountant in startups or who wants to get into the startup sector, be a good friend and spread the word. 📣

💡Brighte, Australia’s leading point of sale finance platform for solar, batteries & home improvements, is hiring a CTO in Sydney.

🏡:Different, the property management platform, is hiring a Senior Software Engineer, Javascript (Node) in Sydney

🚀Spaceship, the super fund investing where the world is going, is hiring a Frontend Engineer (React) in Sydney

👂Whispli, the whistleblower platform, is hiring a Regional Sales Lead, APAC in Sydney

What We’ve Been Listening to👂

The Knowledge Project Podcast

Pure gold from Jim Collins. He delves into all the concepts from his books Built to Last, Good to Great and Turning the Flywheel, exploring topics like how to build enduring companies with flywheels that enhance their competitive advantage over time and concepts like the 20 mile march, bullets vs cannonballs, return on luck and leadership. It’s one of those ‘podcasts with the author’ where you buy all the books after. 👍

TED Radio Hour — What is Original

When is copying flattery, when is it thievery, and when is it sheer genius? In this hour, TED speakers explore how sampling, borrowing, and riffing make all of us innovators. From music and fashion to Apple and Tesla, creatives shouldn’t be completely derivative but it’s impossible to be wholly original.


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


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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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