AirMail–October 2021 Edition
A message from Mel 🙋🏻♀️
This month we welcomed 4 new startups into the AirTree fam: FrankieOne, Rejig, Perx Health & Cipherstash; we’re so excited to be partnering with you all (more details in the next section).
This week, we kicked off the first session for our 2021 Explorer Angel investing program. We received hundreds of amazing, high-quality applications and welcomed 80 Explorers into 2 cohorts. We can’t wait to open source some of the program content with the community and for those keen to apply for next year, please submit an EOI for our next cohort here.
Last night we also chatted about scaling a business internationally with Kim Teo, CEO & cofounder of Mr Yum. We’ll be sharing the recording soon, register here if you’d like it sent to you.
Finally, we’re so humbled and proud to see our Cofounder & Partner Craig recognised by the AFR alongside other technology leaders who have contributed so much to the vibrant tech and startup community we have today. It’s a testament to the ambitious and unrelenting founders whose journeys we are privileged to be a part of, and we know things are only just getting started! 🚀
The big news🗞️
🆔 We’re thrilled to lead FrankieOne’s $20m Series A and have Simon, Aaron and the team join the AirTree fam. Our Partner John wrote about why they have all the makings to be the world-leading unified identity verification platform.
🤩 Congrats to Siobhan, Mike, Shujia and the Reejig team on their $6m Series A. We’re big believers in their mission to create a world with zero wasted potential. Our Partner Elicia shared what got us excited about Reejig.
⚕Scott, Hugo and the Perx Health team are solving one of the most challenging problems in healthcare — maintaining patient engagement — and we’re excited to lead their $3m seed round. Our Partner Jackie explains why there are endless opportunities for Perx to impact millions of lives in coming years.
🔒 We’ve welcomed Dan and the Cipherstash team to the AirTree fam after leading their $3.3m seed round. They’ve assembled an incredible lineup of world-leading encryption experts to rewrite the rule book so that companies don’t have to choose between protecting their data and making it useful.
🥳 Huge congratulations to Natalie and the Hyper Anna team on their acquisition by Alteryx! There’s a genuine alignment in the two company’s visions, and we’re excited to see where Nat and the team take things from here.
👏 Mike, Philip and the Joyous team raised a $15m Series A! We’re proud to be on the journey with them as they double down on their machine learning offering.
🛣️ The Tech Council of Australia shared their roadmap to deliver 1 million tech jobs by 2025. Along with other members, we’re committed to putting our full support behind initiatives that help the tech sector reach its full potential.
🏖️ Byron Bay is set to become the Aussie home of bitcoin mining. The mine, operated by local digital infrastructure company Mawson Infrastructure Group, will be 100% powered by renewable energy.
Topics that caught our eye 👀
📈 From Series A to C — 3 key insights to scaling. 16% of companies that raise a seed round go on to raise a Series B, but only 7% of those raise a Series C. To make sure your startup is in that 7%, you need to: 1. Build a strong support network of colleagues, advisors and operators who are 12–24 months ahead of you, 2. Hire a Head of Scaling (reporting to the COO) who focuses on preparing the company for the next 6–12 months instead of managing the current operations, 3. Build a scaling roadmap that identifies what departments you’re preparing to scale, their maturity level and the drivers for each maturity stage and the actions they need to take.
🦄 Prediction: Global unicorn club will break 1,000 by early 2022 and companies will reach this milestone at breakneck speed. Check out the CB Insights map of the world’s 842 unicorn companies.
🤔 When you become a leader, not everyone is going to like you. If you’re avoiding a difficult conversation, use these five lenses to remind yourself to get over your fears and get on with it. 1. You have a duty of care to your team, 2. You can’t get results from a subpar team, 3. Everyone deserves the opportunity to improve, 4. Everyone knows the strong and weak performers, 5. Be confident you’ve done everything within your power to help someone before you decide to let them go.
👀 Blind patients can now see with the help of a new brain implant! We’ve made startling progress towards seamless bionic eyes! Scientists in Spain used an “artificial retina” attached to a pair of glasses to process light into electrical signals. These are then sent to a series of micro-electrodes implanted in the user’s brain, allowing them to “see” light picked up by the glasses.
👾 What’s the future of NFTs? We’re witnessing the creation of new IP empires. And niche crypto artwork is headed for the mainstream — CryptoPunks have a representation deal with a talent agency and Bored Apes are working with Madonna’s agent. But one of the challenges with NFTs is that their IP is “thin”; the projects have no lore or character depth to draw from compared to traditional characters, like James Bond. We may soon see NFT creators give their characters more complexity through identities full of motivations, conflicts and secrets.
🕵️ Don’t call yourself “product-led” until you read this. If your product plays an important role in your revenue generation, you should expect that spend on R&D is higher than on Sales and Marketing. The ratio of R&D:S&M indicates how much of a company’s future depends on its ability to build great product experiences vs scaling up sales and marketing activities. Look to Atlassian’s R&D:S&M ratio as a benchmark — 2.9:1
📛 How do you choose a name for your company or product? It’s no simple task. To get started, unify your team by defining their roles and undergoing a brand sprint. Bring ideas to the fore by doing a brain dump or putting forward the worst idea possible. Benchmark and assess potential names by the “universal naming objectives”: memorable, engaging and easy to find. Pressure test potential names before making a final call — whether that’s through a democratic vote or the CEO decides.
Latest funding rounds 💰
Academy Xi, an online learning startup, raised $14m
Amplified Intelligence, an attention measurement advertising platform, raised $3m
Aspiring Materials, a carbon capture startup, raised $1m
Bloom, a climate impact investing fintech, raised $675k
BuildAI, a predictive management tech startup, raised $1.9m
BuildPass, a construction tech startup, raised $1m
Cover Genius, an insurtech startup, raised $100m
CrowdProperty, a proptech lending marketplace, raised $1.5m
EncompaaS, an enterprise compliance saas startup, raised $14m
EngageRM, a CRM tech company, raised $2.3m
Enosi, an energy traceability startup, raised $1.5m
Farmbot, an agtech startup, raised $2.7m
Flux, a financial literacy app, raised $800k
GoGenerosity, a pay-it-forward startup, raised NZ$1.3m
GovConnex, a government relations data startup, raised $1m
GreaseBoss, an industrial maintenance startup, raised $2.5m
Greener, a carbon offset consumer app, raised $1m
Hemideina, a hearing technology startup, raised $10m
Inspace, a virtual property inspection platform, raised $4m
Junofem, a healthtech startup, raised NZ$1m
Kester Black, a consumer beauty brand startup, raised $2.1m
Lawpath, a legal tech platform, raised $7.5m
mDetect, a mining tech startup, raised $1.5m
Muso, a live entertainment startup, raised $2m
Mobi, a digital restaurant platform, raised $10m
Novalith, a climate tech company, raised $2.5m
Packform, a packaging marketplace startup, raised $25m
Parpera, a money management fintech, raised $1.3m
Partly, a car parts startup, raised NZ$3.7m
Pathzero, an envirotech startup, raised US$5m
Persuit, a legal tech firm, raised $27.4m
ProcurePro, a proptech startup, raised $2.6m
Psylo, a psychedelics biotech, raised $1.1m
PUSHAS, a sneaker reselling marketplace, raised $1.2m
QuintessenceLabs, a quantum cyber startup, raised $25m
RedEarth, an energy storage startup, raised $12m
ResVu, a proptech startup, raised $1.5m
SafeStack Academy, an online security training platform, raised $2.2m
Safewill, an end-of-life digital platform, raised $3m
Sharesies, an online investment platform, raised $50m
Superhero, an online share trading startup, raised $15m
Sobah, an alcohol-free beer company, raised $1m
Smokeball, a lawtech firm, raised $30m
Till Payments, a payments fintech, raised $110m
Travlr, a white-label travel booking platform, raised $6.7m
Zero Co, an eco-startup, raised $11m
Did we miss your raise? Want your yet-to-be-announced raise featured in next month’s newsletter? Let us know: firstname.lastname@example.org
Love for the AirTree Fam 💕
🏆 Brighte, FrankieOne, Athena Home Loans and Prospa all scooped up awards at the 2021 Finnies. Well done everyone!
🏠 Our favourite home loan wreckers — Nathan, Michael and the Athena Home Loans team — were crowned the overall winner of the 2021 AFR BOSS Most Innovative Companies award. Their secret to innovation? Focus.
🥕Mr Yum founder, Kim Teo, wrote about why early-stage founders should invest in defining their company values and mantras, based on her lessons from creating a company culture while scaling a fast-growing startup.
📊 Spaceship’s Chris Dowsett shares his go-to framework for building a nimble and effective data function: Microservices. Anyone managing a complex data project or building a data team should check out this tactical, step-by-step approach.
Community bulletin 📌
👩💻 Professional women looking to pivot into the tech sector — we’ve got just the thing for you. SheDares is a free online, interactive learning experience where you’ll discover how you can use your unique skill set in the world of tech.
⬆️ Applications for the 2022 Upside Founders Program are now open! This is a unique opportunity to learn from people who know the founder journey, in a cohort of peers at the same Series A and Series B growth stage as you.
🧐 FinTech CEOs, CTOs and COOs: How do you optimise for good, minimise harm and design with intention? Join this session led by Dr Jenny Davis on Affordance Thinking and how you can apply this design method to your products.
❓ What investment route is right for you? As part of Sydney Startup Hub’s Power Pitch Series, this workshop will explore the various pathways available to assist you in growing your business.
🏢Tired of working from home? We’ve teamed up with WeWork to help you find a workspace designed for productivity. Under their newly launched Growth Campus scheme, WeWork offers up to 50% discount on selected spaces for our community.
🎧Nura is offering the AirTree community 30% off the incredible NURATRUE when you use the code ATNURA30 at the checkout. Techradar rated NURATRUE 5-stars and described them as “a fantastic pair of wireless earbuds, with the level of customisation on offer unrivalled.”
Jobs Jobs Jobs! 🇦🇺🇳🇿
⭐ Check out our new jobs board where you’ll find every open role in our portfolio ⭐
Chat to Andrew (email@example.com) if any of these roles sound like your dream job:
🦸 Employment Hero has created a smarter way to manage HR, people, payroll and productivity. They’re looking for a Chief of Staff.
🧩Reejig are hiring a Head of Product to help transform workforces by empowering organisations to find, move and upskill talent with ease.
🧑⚕️ Arli is looking for Head of Product to join them on a mission to change the way people access and experience support for addiction.
🌲 We’re hiring a Portfolio Success Manager to design and deliver scalable support offerings to empower our portfolio companies to achieve their goals.
Is your startup hiring? 🚀 Add your jobs here.
What we’re reading & listening to 🤓
🏞️Under a White Sky by Elizabeth Kolbert
Are you ready to take a hard look at the new world we’re creating? Kolbert examines the measures climatologists and researchers have already taken (like electrifying the waters of the Chicago River so invasive Asian Carp can’t make their way to other tributaries) and are considering (filling the atmosphere with light-reflecting particles to form a sun shield) to reverse-engineer the ecological mess humanity has gotten itself into.
👌The Academy of Imperfection with Ben Crowe
Meet Ash Barty’s mindset coach — Ben Crowe. Ben has also worked closely with everyone from Andre Agassi to Cathy Freeman. He joins hosts Hugh van Cuylenburg and Ryan Shelton to explore different areas of imperfection and the importance of self-compassion, connection and purpose. It will help you embrace your weirdness for a few days!