This Week in Australian Startups - 22nd February, 2023
Good morning! New product annoucnment: this week we’re starting to roll out Meta Verified — a subscription service that lets you verify your account with a government ID, get a blue badge, get extra impersonation protection against accounts claiming to be you, and get direct access to customer support. This new feature is about increasing authenticity and security across our services. Meta Verified starts at $11.99 / month on web or $14.99 / month on iOS. We’ll be rolling out in Australia and New Zealand this week and more countries soon.
Meta isn’t the first social media platform to build a subscription product with YouTube Premium, Twitter Blue, Snapchat+, Discord Nitro, Reddit Premium all coming before in an effort to increase their Average Revenue Per User.
For Meta it’s important timing, with Apple’s ATT roll out responsible for a loss of $10 billion per year in ad revenue. Also to note the price for iOS is factoring the 30% cut Apple takes, directly incentivising customers to buy on the web instead.
The Internet, and social media, has always allowed for anonymity - more recently we’ve seen the darker side of this with fake news and trolls dominating headlines. Verification on social media will be a step to mitigate this, and not allow people to hide behind fake identities.
My personal opinion is that this also needs to be looked in the context of the Google vs Gonzalez case and the protections Section 230 provides technology companies. If you’re not familiar with the case, you can go deeper here, and for Section 230, here and here.
The short of it, if Gonzalez wins it would mean platforms like Twitter, Meta and Google would be liable for the content they recommend. This may extend to digital advertising, pretty much all of Meta’s revenue.
It would almost certainly impact how they promote content algorithmically, and the best way to be more accountable for the content promoted - keep your users accountable too. Here’s where verification comes in. Being able to pin point certain content to a specific person (who has verified it’s their account using a government ID) means the table stakes are higher for sharing and posting content on platforms.
This could also extend to content promoted through digital advertising - what if you bought a product based off of an ad you saw on Instagram and it caused damages. Would you be able to get compensation from Instagram?
Aside from being good business by monetising your most engaged users, it also diversifies social media’s reliance on ad revenue.
TikTok launches a revamped creator fund called the ‘Creativity Program’ in beta, more here
Weel launches new payments tool in response to high rates of employee ‘spending anxiety’, more here
Grocery delivery startup Milkrun trims staffing by 20%, reduces hubs to hit break even, more here
These are the biggest French startups in 2023 according to the French government, more here
The grad app, Hatch, that’s like Tinder for jobs, more here
Here are the 12 startups from Startmate’s Summer23 cohort, more here
Antler Australia ups valuations in early-stage startup by 20% also upping its pre-Seed investment to $225,000, more here
Microsoft and Sony square off in EU showdown over Activision and Call of Duty, more here
Female-led startup The OneTwo launches its tech solution for bad bras, more here
Atlassian and Envoy briefly blame each other for data breach, more here
Tech’s next great mafia? Laid-off talent, more here
Disgraced tech startup GetSwift and its founders just copped a whopping $18 million in fines as ‘the unacceptable face of startup capitalism’, more here
Australia’s billion-dollar heartbreak: The startups that got away, more here
Japan’s central bank to pilot digital currency starting in April, more here
WiseTech acquires another US logistics company, Blume Global, for $602 million. More here
10 years of Ignition: Transforming how professional services do business with clients, more here
Grocery delivery brand Voly just reemerged from the ashes of its collapse, more here
Investment platform Superhero rehires an OG marketer, Rachel Hopping, as its head of strategy, more here
Airwallex builds out its leadership team with Stripe and Morgan Stanley execs, more here
Meta begins selling blue badge on Instagram and Facebook as Zuckerberg borrows Musk playbook, more here
Layoffs spell opportunity for some fintech startups, more here
Australian Funding Rounds
Adelaide agtech Optomni raises $200,000 in Seed round to tackle food waste, more here
Quantum Brilliance raises $25.7M for its mini quantum computers that run on synthetic diamonds, more here
SwarmFarm raises $12M to help bridge the gap between farmers and autonomous technology, more here
Shift Closes $27M Series C Equity Raise Fuelled by Record Growth, more here
Investment insights platform NetworksX lands $610,000 Seed round, more here
Brands collaboration marketplace Partnar banks $200,000 Seed round from Skalata, more here
Quantum Motion Raises £42 Million Investment Round Led By Bosch Ventures, more here
Aspire raises $100m series C, says annual volume has tripled, more here
Autonomous cargo drone airline Dronamics reveals it’s raised $40M, pre-Series A, more here
Gaming fitness startup Quell raises £8m for wearable exercise tech, more here
AeroCloud, a cloud-native airport management platform, raises $12.6M, more here
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