AirMail — September 2019 Edition

Oct 4 · 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 🔊

👏Huge congrats to HappyOrNot for their $25m raise. It’s another step closer to achieving their mission of improving customer satisfaction and creating a global happiness index!

🚀Prospa continues their great work by beating their prospectus results!

💃We have a new addition to the AirTree fam!! A big warm welcome to our new Head of Venture Community Melissa Ran! Get to know Mel and give her some claps here.

Topics That Caught Our Eye 👀

The Aus. government is reviewing skilled occupation list for work visas

MVP grants are back for early-stage companies in NSW. YES! 🙌

Xinja is now the third neobank to obtain a banking license.

Aussie VC cheques are getting bigger as their fund size grows, allowing them to support startups through to later rounds

Aus firm Greenfield MC is cultivating medicinal cannabis for research purposes in NZahead of NZ’s legislative vote — another high point for the company if you ask us 😈

NZ’s ‘Buy-Now-Pay-Later’ startup Laybuy launches in Australia promising to give Afterpay a run for its money

The single mum and Harvard grad who beat Uber in China is coming for Australia

“Startups that aim to create value can’t have a moat when they begin, uncertainty is what protects them from competition until a proper moat can be built. Uncertainty becomes their moat.” Jerry Neumann’s latest post on the Taxonomy of Moats.

When using your touchscreen phones, think of pigeons guiding bombs. The world is a weird and wonderful place. 💁

Major Funding Rounds 💰

CultureAmp, a Melbourne-based HR startup, raised $120m

SpeeDX, a medical diagnostic technology company, raised $22m

Q-CTRL, a quantum computing software firm, raised $22m

Sourced Group, a tech consulting firm, raised $22m

Immutable Games, a game development firm, raised $15m

Practice Ignition, a proposal and payment management platform, raised $15m

RedShield, a cybersecurity startup, raised NZ$14m

Fleet, a startup specialising in low-cost satellite-based systems, raised $11m

Car Next Door, a car-sharing platform, raised $6.2m

AmazingCo, a platform for experiences, raised $5.1m

Love for the AirTree Fam ❤️

Calling Victoria-based computing professionals! Sign up for CS in Schools, a free industry-supported program to help secondary school teachers teach coding in the classroom. This is a wonderful initiative by Hugh Williams who also happens to be a huge supporter of the AirTree fam.

“Australian venture-backed startups have created more than 12.5k jobs-of-the-future in just 5 years. That’s more than 8 Adani coal mines” John makes waves this month with his op-ed in the Australian on changing the innovation narrative to job creation.

Audrey from Glamcorner speaks to the ABC about the B-Corp certification movement, and whether profit and purpose can mix successfully.

Secure Code Warrior’s Fatemah speaks to the ABC about how their ‘infants-at-work’ policy helped her juggle family and meaningful work. Isn’t Noah just the cutest?

Canva continues to be one of the best places to work! We can vouch for the coffee & chef-prepared breakfast.

Whispli won the innovation award at the Australia and New Zealand Leadership Forum. Sylvain talks to the SMH about why Australia needs to do more to ensure citizens feel empowered to speak out.

Brosa opens its first bricks and mortar showroom

Mina from Different was Uber’s first Head of Product — she gives her take on what makes a good product manager. She also talks to CMO Magazine about how Different is combining data points and human insight in the property investor market

Maryam from MetaOptima talks to Cara from SMH about AI in healthcare — the key issues in implementation are ethics, bias and patient choice. Majid won a BC CTO award for ‘Product Breakthrough of the Year’. 💪

Prospa’s research shows that small business is booming in Aus

Bridget at Expert360 talks about why startups shouldn’t necessarily be hiring

A Cloud Guru is the new University

What’s On 📅

3 Oct — Adam and Jackie will be at the Sydney Startmate Demo Day

10 Oct — Elicia is speaking at The Next Seat: Bringing gender diversity to the startup boardroom

10 Oct — James is judging at the RSAC Launch Pad

10 Oct — Elicia is judging at the Textbook Ventures Student Startup Grand Final

15 Oct — 17 Oct — James and Jackie will be weighing in on developments in Fintech at the Intersekt Festival

29 Oct — Our portfolio company Huddle is hosting a ‘Better Business over Breakfast’ event where you can learn all about the B-Corp certification movement and how it can benefit the world and your business

29–31 Oct — Elicia is doing Office Hours at this year’s CEBIT

7 Nov — John & Elicia will be at Antler’s Demo Day. We’re really excited to see what Antler’s inaugural program in Australia has produced! 12 of the 31 teams have already secured funding from Antler and 21% of the cohort founders have previously founded a company generating more than $1m in revenue.

High Profile Roles in ANZ 🇦🇺🇳🇿

AirTree is hiring an Accountant in Sydney. If you love being an accountant and want to work in an exciting environment where you can really make a difference, alongside a bunch of smart people with loveable personalities 😇, then APPLY APPLY!

Secure Code Warrior is hiring a Senior Product Manager in Sydney

DroneDeploy is hiring a Country Manager in Sydney

Athena is hiring a Software Engineering Team Lead in Sydney

What We’ve Been Reading and Watching

📘 Talking to Strangers: what we should know about the people we don’t know.

The highly anticipated new book from Malcolm Gladwell on why it’s so difficult to tell when strangers are lying. It’s a classic Gladwellian intellectual adventure, a challenging and controversial excursion through history, psychology, and scandals taken straight from the news including the deceptions of Bernie Madoff and the trial of Amanda Knox.

👀 American Factory

The critically acclaimed Netflix documentary from the Obamas’ production company. When a Chinese billionaire re-opens a factory and hires two thousand blue-collar Americans, early days of hope and optimism give way to setbacks as high-tech China clashes with working-class America.

[Comment from Mel: As someone intimately familiar with the Chinese culture, I can confirm this doco accurately & fairly portrays the perspectives of all sides. The ending is particularly poignant — I won’t spoil it but it hit me in the guts.]



Written by


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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