This Week in Australian Startups - 23rd December, 2022
In what seems to be the way Musk makes all major decisions at Twitter, by public poll, he’ll be stepping down as CEO as soon as a replacement has been found. Like his other recent polls, he’s already made these decisions beforehand and he’s just trying to create as much hype and engagement as possible - and here’s proof, plus Tesla investors aren’t too happy either..
By all accounts, we can all but unanimously agree Musk has been doing a bad job at running Twitter. With Tesla and SpaceX, he’s built from the ground up (or close to) and they’re also hardware companies - with Twitter he’s got neither of those, it’s software and it’s an established business he’s had to begrudgingly acquire.
Musk has those mad scientist vibes, with hardware though there is physical limitation. I’m sure he’d love to have time travel in the next Tesla model, but it’s just not possible. With Twitter every whacky idea is almost possible given it’s software.
Personally, I don’t think he ever had any intention of running Twitter - in fact he’s been on record saying ‘I Frankly Don't Want To Be CEO Of Any Company’. Let’s also not forget he tried oh so hard to not back out of buying Twitter, but settled into buying it to avoid being sued and is now doing what he does best - being the ultimate hype man.
Despite (or because of) all this chaos Twitter engagement has surged since he’s taken over as CEO - a recent 31 day period shows engagement up 42% from the same period last year - everyone wants to stop and wants to see what’s going on at a car crash. Revenue is down - as a brand advertising platform no one wants to be caught in this culture war. Musk cares about this, he needs to keep the lights on but this will force them to move quicker to create more revenue streams, as we’ve seen with the launch of Twitter Blue.
There was outrage and furore on how this was anti-Internet and anti-Twitter. Musk trying to control what you can and can’t do on Twitter. I’m not trying to defend Musk, but it would be good to see the same sentiment against Apple who controls what you can do on your app, (Musk tried to control what you can do on his app) prevents you from providing any in-app links even to your own website. This isn’t the first time Twitter has made a move like this, famously in 2012 blocking Instagram from using its API. Power is great when its in the hands of someone you like, but not when it changes hand.
Whether Musk will be able to make Twitter the ‘Town Square for the Internet’ is to be seen, but he’s certainly driving more engagement - a good start for whoever will take over as CEO.
Next week will be the last edition for this year, I’ll provide a 2022 summary (perhaps a summary of all the summaries out there), but in many ways everything that has happened with Twitter sums up this year in tech. Here’s hoping for a great 2023 for Twitter 🤞🏽
Albanese government looking at laws to force big business to disclose climate efforts, more here
Spotify’s grand plan to monetise developers via its open source Backstage project, more here
Woolworths Group to acquire 55% of Petspiration Group, ASX announcement here
Google brings multisearch and in-video search features to India, more here
Superhero founders to buy company back from Swyftx as crypto volatility, regulatory changes sink $1.5 billion merger, more here
“White knight” Kogan scoops up collapsed furniture retailer Brosa for $1.5 million, more here
Porsche pumps first synthetic fuel as Chilean plant finally starts producing, more here
Jobs and Skills Councils to receive $400 million over four years in bid to curb workforce shortages, more here
Inside Invast Global's GMO-Z.com Trade UK Acquisition, more here
Quora launches Poe, a way to talk to AI chatbots like ChatGPT, more here
Netflix branches out into fitness content with upcoming launch of Nike Training Club classes, more here
Tesla said to be conducting a fresh round of layoffs next quarter, more here
Sam Bankman-Fried’s former friends pleaded guilty and are cooperating in the FTX fraud case, more here
Australian Funding Rounds
Cutting-edge environmental, social and governance SaaS platform, FairSupply raises a $6.3m series A round led by AirTree, more here
Synchron raises $110 million for its brain computer, doesn’t see Elon Musk’s Neuralink as a competitor, more here
Digital twin software startup Willow tops up with $42 million raise at a lower valuation, more here
BP backs Sydney solar startup 5B in $55 million Series B, more here
Health regtech startup Zipline banks $10 million for US push, more here
Fintech partner software startup Aerotruth lands $1.3 million in Seed funding, more here
Healthtech startup Vively raises $1.5 million in pre-Seed to tackle blood sugar levels, more here
Venue management software company ROLLER rewards early investors after $28m funding round, more here
BiomeBank Continues Growth Trajectory With Over $10M Capital Raise, more here
Avarni raised $3 million for its carbon management platform, more here
GeoMoby raises $3 million to fund rollout of its technology to the global mining industry, more here
Adelaide digital lender Tic:Toc grows Series D to $54m, more here
UK tech sector raises £24bn in 2022 – the highest in Europe, more here
Atom bank to keep four-day week in 2023, more here
Europe’s fastest-growing fintechs of 2022, more here
Open banking loan provider Updraft raises £108m, more here
Gilgamesh Pharmaceuticals (YC S20) has raised a $39 million Series B to develop new psychedelic treatments for depression, more here
South Park creators’ deepfake video startup Deep Voodoo conjures $20M in new funding, more here
[Adelaide] Southstart, 9-11 March 2023
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