This Week in Australian Startups #50, 17th December 2023
A quick one from me to end the year out before I give this space over to a more important message and movement that is happening in our ecosystem.
I first started writing weekly wrap ups back in April 2021 when I was still in London, writing ‘This Week in London Startups’ after starting the London Startup Club with some friends during lockdown when Clubhouse was all the rage. It’s a habit that’s stuck with me since then - curating the most interesting news for the local ecosystem I’m in and sharing a perspective on what I think are the most interesting topics for the week.
The first edition of This Week in Australian Startups went out just over a year ago in November 2022 on Substack, and launched on LinkedIn 10 months ago. I made a conscious decision to not to do any paid advertising, referral campaigns, or any growth hacking/tactics. Instead my number focus was on quality and consistency - both across what I was curating and what I was writing, and let it grow organically as a result.
Despite not focusing on subscriber numbers, it’s still humbling to see that there are now over 1,500 subscribers across all platforms - thank you to each and everyone of you.
Recently thought I have been asked a lot about what’s next, and how I plan to monetise.
In terms of monetisation, I don’t plan to. I’m not curating or writing in order to make this into a business. I want this to be a community resource, not one that is paid or driven by chasing advertising revenue. For me the ‘monetisation’ is that I enjoy it and get to nerd out on what’s happening in Australian startups, meet interesting people along the way and contribute to our ecosystem in a meaningful way.
What’s next? I have lots of ideas and I’ll be experimenting more next year - some might be successful and whilst others will fail.
For now I’m looking forward to switching off for a few weeks and get back to with the next edition on the 7th of January 2024.
Subscribe to get weekly updates on the latest news in the Australian startup ecosystem.
Alright enough of me, as I said I wanted to give this real estate to something more important.
This week we saw the launch of Grapevine, a grassroots initiative led by founders, operators, investors and leaders within the Australian tech ecosystem focused on empowering individuals by spotlighting personal stories and insights.
This has been a long time coming, but in particular the recent stories of misogyny, harassment and bullying being made public have led to real action being taken. Below is the LinkedIn post Kirstin Hunter (MD at Techstars) who is part of the founding group of Grapevine announcing the launch and why it came to be and how you can get involved.
Stories are powerful.
In First Nations cultures millenia of knowledge is woven into Songlines, which transfers complex information of the land, animals, and how humans can not simply survive - but thrive - and care for Country. Western scientific discovery is not even close to catching up to the knowledge embedded in these Songlines.
In the same way, the stories we share between ourselves convey knowledge and experiences that help us not only survive, but thrive in the world we live in today.
Early in my career I worked in big companies. Even as a junior we knew to watch out for X partner if he'd been drinking, or Y partner's tendency to get abusive if you committed certain transgressions - this might be as simple as providing a document with an angled staple when he preferred his staples parallel to the long edge of the page. We learnt to avoid these transgressions and the anger that followed.
In startups though things are different.
Our organisations are smaller, power is concentrated in a small number of people, team structures and norms evolve as the business rapidly grows. How do we hear the stories that will teach us what to look out for and how to respond when lines are crossed?
Today we are proud to launch Grapevine - our digital offering to the Australian tech community to share our knowledge, rally support, and hold the ecosystem accountable for creating safe and equitable workplaces, where everyone is empowered to thrive.
We are launching Grapevine because we believe that the tech industry has structural vulnerabilities that make it susceptible to issues of bullying and harrassment. But in our small organisations, how do recipients of this behaviour learn how to recognise when a line is crossed? How do inexperienced leaders learn how to respond? How do the people carrying out these behaviours learn to be better?
Grapevine is a grassroots initiative led by founders, operators, investors and leaders within the Australian tech ecosystem.
We hope these stories will drive a dialogue with your teams, friends, and yoursel - and through that, make our ecosystem a stronger place where all can thrive.
Connect with the Grapevine below 👇
👩💻Submit your story to the Grapevine at askthegrapevine.com
📥 Support the grapevine here: 📷 Follow on insta @askthegrapevine
💼 Follow our LinkedIn page Grapevine
Fitbit hit with $11 million fine over misleading users about their guarantee rights (Startup Daily)
Fishburners Appoints Majella Campbell as COO (Startup Daily)
Startups could get skilled visas approved in a week under the federal government’s new migration strategy (Startup Daily)
Brand platform Collabosaurus founder in rare female-led tech exit to Cali Social founder (BNA)
Pendula launches takeover bid for Whispir at 19pc premium, but with a catch (BNA)
Report finds deep tech talent coming from "unexpected places" (BNA)
Carbon Revolution, an automotive technology company, announces record revenue in the September quarter as it heads towards 3x YoY revenue in FY24 after Nasdaq listing (BNA)
Birchal raises $1.2m in first 24 hours of its own crowdfunding campaign (BNA)
Gold Coast leads Australia in founders per capita (BNA)
Respiratory tech group 4DMedical to acquire US-based Imbio for up to $68.4M (BNA)
Neobank Volt enters solvent liquidation as wind down continues (BNA)
Leading Aussie irrigation services group Green Brain acquired by CropX (BNA)
Men’s health player Mosh appoints adviser to explore exit options (AFR)
OneVentures made a 13x return on its investment in Employment Hero after completing a major secondary transaction, that has repaid more than its entire fund (AFR)
KP Rx, a new VC fund that is targeting late stage medical, biotech and health tech startups has raised $40M of a planned $200M (AFR)
Eucalyptus to sell replica Ozempic (AFR)
C1 Fund, a crypto fund is looking for bargain buys in Australia through secondary shares (AFR)
Equity Clear: Inside the Australian VC supergroup boosting gender diversity funding (SmartCompany)
Former Westpac boss Brian Hartzer lands CEO role at Quantium Health (AFR)
AirTree 2023 year in review (AirTree)
AI-pocalypse Now: Matt Barrie (CEO of Freelancer) shares his predictions of where AI will take humanity (Medium)
EnergyLab and ARENA team up to support the next generation of renewable energy startups through a $1.64M grant (Energy Lab)
Deep Dive: Climate Tech by James Tynan and Amanda Hjorring (SquarePeg)
Murray Hurps announces UTS Startups Growth Funding - (LinkedIn)
Linktree acquires link-in-bio platform Koji in its second investment of the year (TechCrunch)
Around the World
Vertical farming company INFARM raised $500m, and then it all but disappeared (Sifted)
Amazon Satellites Will Use Space Lasers to 'Talk' to Each Other (The Messenger)
Adam Mosseri spells out Threads’ plans for the fediverse (The Verge)
UK watchdog slams the brakes on Adobe’s $20 billion bid for Figma (The Verge)
Google Loses Antitrust Case to Epic; The Differences Between Apple and Google, Revisited; The Tying Question (Stratechery)
Forget quiet quitting, employers are doing quiet layoffs now (Axios)
Tidal is cutting 10% of its staff as parent company Block seeks to reduce headcount (TechCrunch)
Uber, Deliveroo and other ride-hailing and food-delivery platforms will have to treat 5.5m gig workers as employees under new EU deal (Fortune)
Apple, Google Get Billions From Their App Stores. That’s Now Under Threat. (WSJ)
Docker acquires AtomicJar, a testing startup that raised $25M in January (TechCrunch)
Etsy is laying off 11 percent of its staff (Engadget)
MrBeast's analytics platform ViewStats is out in beta (TechCrunch)
Google unveils Gemini (Platformer)
TikTok becomes first non-game app to reach $10B in consumer spending (TechCrunch)
Netflix finally reveals viewing data across its entire catalog (Ars Technica)
Beeper vs. iMessage is a fight about how tech works — and who’s really in charge (The Verge)
TikTok requires users to “forever waive” rights to sue over past harms (Ars Technica)
Australian Funding Rounds
Smartlox, a platform to manage Lockout Tagout (LOTO) and Access Control processes, has raised a $600K Seed round (Startup Daily)
Relevance AI, a platform to analyze text, images, audio, videos, etc for measurable qualitative insights, has raised a $15M Series A round from King River Capital, Peak SV's Surge, Galileo Ventures and Insight Partners (Startup Daily | SmartCompany | AFR)
Vitruvian, a connected fitness company, bringing smart and engaging resistance training to the world, has raised a $21.8M in an extension to their Series A round (SmartCompany)
Downsizer, which allows people to purchase a new home with a zero cash deposit by using equity in their current home, has raised $2M and is still seeking to raise a further $2M (SmartCompany | AFR | The Australian)
Mist, a startup making relocation easier for international students, skilled workers and migrants, has raised a $1.6M Seed round from Investible, Allectus Capital, Archangel Ventures, Seedspace and The Hunter Angels (SmartCompany | BNA)
XFrame, Office of Planetary Observations, DiaperRecycle, ClimateClever, CoolSan and Medsalv get a $47K investment each from Bupa as part of its Eco Disruptive program to help them develop pilot solutions that improve people’s health, as well as the planet’s (Startup Daily)
Koala Eco, the natural cleaning product, has raised a $3M Series A round (AFR)
Femmi, an app that provides personalised training for women, has raised an undisclosed sum from Even Capital (Even Capital)
Vizial.io, which helps state and local governments track utilisation of their transport ecosystems in real time, identify issues and react in real time, has raised $100K from UTS Startups Growth Funding (LinkedIn)
International Funding Highlights
SumUp, a rival to Jack Dorsey’s Block, defies fintech funding slump with $307 million cash injection (CNBC)
Procurement software startup Pivot raises $21.6 million just a few months after its creation (TechCrunch)
Line Next secures $140M funding for its web3 platform (TechCrunch)
Mistral AI, a Paris-based OpenAI rival, closed its $415 million funding round (TechCrunch)
Subscribe to get weekly updates on the latest news in the Australian startup ecosystem.