This Week in Australian Startups #54, 11th February 2024
The most interesting thing in Australian startups this week was by far the release of The State of Australian Startup Funding 2023 report.
There’s been some great analysis done already that I’ve linked down below, so I whilst I initially did plan to do my own, I didn’t feel it would add any additional value beyond the detailed analysis already provided.
The highlights as summarised by the team at Cut Through Venture and Folklore Ventures below:
For my thoughts on the report there’s two pieces I’ve already written.
Firstly, some thoughts on a new section in this years report on Accelerators. You can read it on LinkedIn.
Secondly, my contribution in this years report on one of the hot topics globally right now on liquidity of funds and what success looks like for Australia's class of 2010s - the very first major funds that has led to our thriving ecosystem.
This Tuesday gone saw the launch event held in Sydney, which I was able to attend. There was some great discussions throughout, and discussion from the panel which was summarised on Linkedin by Laura Warden, Head of Operations at Folklore Ventures.
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A key theme throughout, and certainly highlighted in some media reports is the drop in funding from 2022 to 2023. There was a great insight shared by the panel that if you look at funding from 2019 to 2023 it’s a straight, steady line up to the right. 2021 and 2022 were outliers and 2023 saw things coming back down to normal, this is the post ZIRP come down (I wouldn’t call it a crash).
There’s definitely a lot of dry powder in our market with a lot of funds raising record amounts of capital in the last 18 months - which we’ll see how much of it will get deployed this year. It’s certainly there, and as startups have had last year to adjust to a post ZIRP environment I’d expect to see an increase from the $3.5B raised last year.
The panel was asked for their predictions, and everyone seemed confident in an increase with bets on 2023 landing somewhere between $4B to $5B, and if you count the $1.5B in secondaries reported to be sold by Canva that’s a decent headstart.
Coverage in the media:
Women founders are getting more VC deals, but no more money, an analysis of Australian funding reveals (Startup Daily)
Funding plummeted 54% in 2023, but early-stage startups fared the best (SmartCompany)
Persistent gender disparity in startup funding shows urgent need for change (SmartCompany)
Startup report slams crowdfunding model, claims it "fails to adequately protect retail investors" (BNA)
Female founders involved in 26pc of startup funding deals in 2023 (BNA)
Aussie startup funding fell in half to $3.5 billion in 2023 (BNA)
Tech wreck: Aussie start-up funding plummets two-thirds from peak (AFR)
Investors poured just $3.5bn into start-ups in 2023 (The Australian)
After a bleak 2023, startup founders and VCs eye funding frenzy in 2024 (Capital Brief)
Tech unicorns vanish as start-up funding plummets (The Age)
Brisbane clean tech startup EVOS Energy breaks into India with export grant (Startup Daily)
Afterpay’s Australian users have flatlined as Apple Pay continues to soar (Startup Daily)
Airwallex signs deal to power McLaren’s F1 financial operations and merchandise platform (The Australian)
The Productivity Commission wants a light touch on AI regulation (Startup Daily)
Brisbane’s Canaria Technologies shoots for the moon with NASA-approved AI for astronauts (Startup Daily)
Hydrogen aircraft startup AMSL Aero lands its first customer (Startup Daily)
What this small fintech deal says about the big shifts in data sharing (AFR)
Kiki and Blackbird say the “girls only” club is still committed to subletting (SmartCompany)
Kiki apologises for ‘offensive’ male-led girls’ club announcement (AFR)
From agritech to workplace safety: Startmate unveils a sizzling Summer ’24 cohort (BNA)
Cettire valuation surges by $370m after "strongest trading half" since IPO (BNA)
Appen promotes from within its ranks as CEO Ahmad quits after a year in the job (BNA)
Investor reforms could ‘push the next Canva offshore’ (AFR)
ASIC gets its first win against the crypto industry (AFR)
Advent to turbocharge RMS Cloud’s global expansion plans, takes stake (AFR)
CBA claims AI is already making it work 30pc better (AFR)
Adore Beauty: The online beauty stock that will be a takeover target this year (AFR)
Adelaide tech start-up MyVenue eyes new markets after rapid US expansion (The Australian)
Nick Molnar signals Block will axe Afterpay brand in the US by year-end (Capital Brief)
Beanstalk AgTech Launches $10m Drought Resilience Initiative Nationwide (Startup News)
Grok Ventures announces Tan Kueh as new CEO, with all new capital to be focus on climate-related investment to support decarbonisation (LinkedIn)
Applications open for Startmate Women’s Fellowship (Startmate)
Remarkable Tech announces their 2024 Launcher cohort - welcoming 38 disability tech startups (Remarkable)
Heidi Health re-launches, with free note creation powered by AI (LinkedIn)
StartSomeGood launches a new program Diverse Perspectives is a first-of-its-kind entrepreneurship program for a mixed cohort of Indigenous and migrant founders (LinkedIn)
Athletic Ventures announced newest partner, Matthew Dellavedova (LinkedIn)
The State of Aussie Startup Employee Equity 2024 released by Cake Equity (Cake Equity)
Zip in the takeover spotlight (The Australian)
F5 Collective announces Bree Kirkham as new CCO (SmartCompany)
Q-CTRL, a quantum computing startup, has received $1.9M grant from the UK government as part of the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) Quantum Catalyst Fund Competition (SmartCompany | InnovationAus)
34 female majority founded businesses receive a share of $11.6M in funding from the Australian Government (business.gov.au)
Around The World
Spotify Reports Fourth Quarter 2023 Earnings (Spotify)
Notion acquired Skiff, a three-year-old platform that offers end-to-end encrypted file storage, docs, calendar events, and email (TechCrunch)
Sam Altman Seeks Trillions of Dollars to Reshape Business of Chips and AI (WSJ)
OpenAI on track to hit $2bn revenue milestone as growth rockets (FT)
Google Prepares for a Future Where Search Isn’t King (Wired)
Google releases ‘Gemini’ in new effort to cash in on generative AI (FT)
Disney invests $1.5 billion in Epic to create ‘persistent universe’ tied to Fortnite (The Verge)
Nvidia's stock market value on verge of overtaking Amazon (Yahoo Finance)
As Bluesky opens to the public, CEO Jay Graber faces her biggest challenge yet (TechCrunch)
Entrust is buying AI-based ID verification startup Onfido, sources say for more than $400M (TechCrunch)
These VCs think the Vision Pro has a shot in the enterprise (TechCrunch)
Spotify’s podcast exclusive days are over as Joe Rogan’s show expands to other platforms (TechCrunch)
Why Tim Cook Is Going All In on the Apple Vision Pro (Vanity Fair)
Bezos Discloses Plan to Sell Up to 50 Million Amazon Shares as Stock Surges (Bloomberg)
Maple VC backs Canadian-founded Dexa’s $6-million seed round (BetaKit)
Neurona raises another $120M for brain disease cell therapies (BioPharmaDive)
Digital twin company Unlearn secures $50M (MobiHealthNews)
Ambience Healthcare raises $70M for its AI assistant led by OpenAI and Kleiner Perkins (TechCrunch)
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