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AirMail — September 2018 Edition

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 🔊

😄 In major news for the ecosystem, the NSW Govt announced it will establish a new tech industry hub in Eveleigh in partnership with Scott Farquhar, Mike Cannon-Brookes and the team at Atlassian. The plan is for the hub to be Australia’s version of Silicon Valley”. Exciting times for the country’s next gen of startups!

💕 KPMG released the results of their research into the wellbeing of 70 venture-backed founders. This is an incredibly important issue and one that doesn’t get talked about enough. We hope stuff like this helps to open up the dialogue and makes founders feel more comfortable talking about their mental health

🇸🇬Qualgro announced the 1st close of its second $100m fund focusing on investing in Series B companies in Australia and SEA. Looking forward to working more with Peter and the team!

💰One Ventures is set to launch a $100m venture debt fund, expecting to be writing loans to scale-ups before end of 2018. Adventure Capital also announced it’s about to launch a $50m venture debt fund (Omega). These funds should help shake up an otherwise pretty sleepy market for venture debt in Australia. For a primer on how venture debt can work for startups, check out this link

🥘 Foodora, German-based food delivery company, quits Australia after citing a shift of focus towards other higher growth markets (though the employment watchdog was investigating the company for alleged sham contracts for delivery drivers)

🔐Israeli supply chain integrity and anti-counterfeit tech firm Security Matters is looking to raise up to $6.5m on an IPO on the ASX (currently pre-rev). This would be the latest in a string of micro-cap ASX listings for early stage Israeli companies, despite the fact that Israel has the highest venture dollars spent globally per capita. Only time will tell how this plays out…🤔

🏣 UK fintech Ebury (payments, import lending, currency exchange) has set-up shop in Australia seeing it as a gateway country to their Asia-Pac growth

🛒 Why the launch of Amazon Prime in Australia poses a serious threat to the domestic retail landscape

🎙Aussie Founders Network launched their first podcast series — Aussie Startup Advice: USA — covering 8 founder topics to get you ahead of the game before you even land in the US

Topics that caught our eye 👀

Will there be a winter before a summer in quantum computing?

Turns out AI thinks our middle finger is useless… the latest research from OpenAI

A novel deep learning architecture can now identify 50 blinding eye conditions at expert human level performance

A handy guide on to how the world will change forever, and the stories that have dominated tech in 2018

How hard is it to build a gender-equal engineering team? Insights from Stack Overflow’s 2018 survey of 100,000 developers

We now have robots in the kitchen

The future is market networks

Major funding rounds 💰

Flare, an HR and payroll tech company, raised $21m from US-based Point72 Ventures

Instaclustr, a tech platform that hosts and supports apps on open-source technologies, raised $20m led by US-based Level Equity

Nura, a next-gen headphones company that adjusts to the user’s hearing, raised $15m led by Blackbird alongside Strangeloop Ventures, SOS Ventures and Qualgro

Agriwebb, a farm and livestock management solution, raised $14m from UK-based Wheatsheaf Group

Go1, an online platform for individuals and organisations to find or create courses, raised $10m led by Seek alongside Our Innovation Fund

Roller, an all-in-one management system for leisure and entertainment venues, raised $7m from US-based Acadian Software alongside other Australian private investors

Travello, a social networking app for travellers, raised $5m from a consortium of private investors

Encapto, a way for managed service providers to implement Wi-Fi and network products at scale, raised $3m from Cygnet Capital

What’s on? 📅

5 Sept Sydney: UNSW Founders 10x Accelerator Demo Day — James (our resident UNSW grad) will be attending from our team.. looking forward to seeing what’s in store from this cohort

12 Sept Sydney: Sunrise conference is a wonderland for the ambitious. Click here for a special 20% discount. John from our team will be floating around the mentoring area, come say hi!

18 Sept Sydney: We’re judging a student startup pitch comp “Pitch please” alongside our pals at Main Sequence and Textbook. The winner will receive 1:1 coaching from John and Mike — submit your idea here!

18 Sept Sydney: SparkLabs Cultiv8 Demo Day — Adam is looking forward to seeing some game-changing food and ag tech innovation on display

20 Sept Sydney: StartCon special night with Marc Randolph. Don’t forget to sign up for updates on early bird deals for StartCon’s flagship conference in Sydney (30 Nov-1 Dec)

Don’t miss Early Birds for: SaaStock (6 Dec, Sydney) — 1st time in Oceania. An opportunity to join 200 attendees and connect with other SaaS founders to help accelerate your revenue growth

Shoutouts 👏

Canva was named the #1 best place to work by Great Place to Work Australia for companies with 100–999 employees.

MetaOptima won the International Society for Digital Imaging of the Skin’s global challenge to find the most accurate lesion diagnosis tool — an incredible result for the team!

Mina in the news talking about her mission at Different and some of the hard truths startup founders must accept

The New York Times profiles DroneDeploy and how drones are bringing much-needed efficiencies and improved safety to construction sites

Dean explains how GlamCorner’s digital marketing strategy has been key to their success

Expert360 was named in the AFR’s list of the Most Innovative Companies in 2018

Brighte won the Innovation in Lending award at the Third Annual Fintech Awards, and CEO and Founder Katherine McConnell also won the Fintech Leader award (going to need a bigger trophy cabinet!)

DesignCrowd released their new product BrandCrowd, designing logos in just a few minutes!

AirTree fam in the news 🗞️

We need longer-term thinking when it comes to tech and innovation and active Govt champions — Craig on Turnbull’s exit and what it means for #startupaus and learnings from Europe’s startup scene

As part of a recent Airtree Speaker Series event Richard Socher (Chief Scientist at Salesforce) presented on his most recent research and sat down with John to talk about where he’s investing and what’s hype vs reality in the AI landscape — full video here

Daniel talks about how applying AI and machine learning to health data could deliver a step change in population health in the very short term.. but access to health data is crucial

Anil Sabharwal, VP of Google Photos & Comms and AirTree Venture Partner, tackles some hard-hitting questions about leadership, running a global business and the difference between the US/AUS tech scenes

Exciting times for the Australian startup scene as we are seeing interest ramping up from offshore investors and several portfolio companies showing signs of becoming world-class businesses

What we’ve been reading and listening to 📘🎧

How to Fix the Future (ANDREW KEEN) — Andrew Keen writes about the dangers that the Internet poses to our culture and society and unearths approaches and measures we can take to surviving our digital future

Between Worlds (MICK WALSH) — Mike Walsh goes straight to the heart… personal conversations with some of the world’s most interesting people

Please share by forwarding on or retweeting. More subscribers means better feedback and better quality! Feedback always welcome via @airtreevc or Links for July and June editions of AirMail.



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