Aussie Start-up & Venture Capital Summary | 22nd July 2023

Fresh funds for 8 companies + Aussie Quantum goes boonta

G'day and welcome to Overnight Success!

Psst….! 🤫 We’ve been working very hard behind the scenes on a much-requested platform. Pencil in your diaries for an announcement in next week’s newsletter!


🤖 🤑 So apparently, this AI thing is a big deal…?

  • The Tech Council of Australia has released a report estimating that up to 5% of Australia’s GDP could be attributed to Generative AI tech by 2030 due to productivity gains and increased innovation. The key industries in for a shake-up include healthcare, manufacturing, retail, and professional & financial services.

  • If you’re interested in a slightly more nuanced perspective on the potential of AI to improve economic output, The Economist has written several intriguing pieces so far this year. (Our faves here, here, here and here).

😭 Two (very different) start-ups enter voluntary administration

  • Paylab, a pay-in-advance Fintech competing against the likes of BeforePay, is currently in limbo as it eyes off a potential sale or recapitalisation. The company earns revenue from service fees charged on wages paid out in advance and affiliate fees from brand partners promoting special offers to employees on the platform. Originally billed as an employee retention tool, the changing labour market could be partly to blame for Paylab’s change of fortune (literally). (Smart Company)

  • Sans Drinks, a non-alcoholic beverages store founded in 2020 by Irene Falcone (who previously founded & sold successful online beauty retailer Nourished Life) revealed the business has been struggling amidst difficult economic conditions (i.e. decreasing discretionary spending) and increasing competition. It’s a surprising turn of events given the seemingly hot investment market for non-alcoholic beverage brands, as evidenced by the likes of recent raises from Lyre’s ($34.5M) and Naked Life ($3M). (Smart Company)

🏠 Farquar backs in WFH (Smart Company)

  • The Atlassian co-founder has this week doubled down on his support of remote work/WFH arrangements at this week’s National Tech Summit in Brisbane. (Meanwhile, we can’t help but wonder if Scott sometimes indulges in working in his pyjamas sometimes, too… 🤔.)

📀 The NSW Quantum Computing Commercialisation Fund announced 3 grant recipients of the $7M.

  • Full summary down below!


  1. Start-up Retro: Australia's start-up raises with a smidge of context.

  2. Job Board: Hot jobs from across the ecosystem.

  3. New Fund, Who’s This?: Quick overview of fresh capital hitting the ecosystem.

  4. Wins: Highlighting wins, big and small.

  5. (KaaS) Knowledge as a Service: Resources that make you smarter. Or for you to share with co-workers to make them think you’re smart.

⚡️Start-up Retro⚡️

PropTech / IoT

Sensor Global raises $2.65M Seed to bring IoT tech to ressie homes

Sensor Global, a NSW-based PropTech specialising in IoT solutions for residential properties, has raised $2.65M. The Seed round funding came from a mix of angels, including Shane Oswin, David Lynas, and David Welsh, with institutions like Causeway Equities LLC and Second Century Ventures closing out the round. The round closed quickly with devices already pre-sold to community housing and property manager clients. The current product is an IoT smoke alarm that can alert property managers in case of tampering, power loss or the need for cleaning. Product (and revenue) expansion will come from other intelligent products like water leak detectors, carbon monoxide alarms and water shut-off valves.

Behind the technology is a cloud software platform that can integrate into the property manager's current CRMs and management systems. An essential cost saving for many is the automation of unit testing - bringing relief to renters and property managers across the globe. Rumour is that Sensor Global is already in talks with investors for another $2.4M for expansion into the US.

Due Diligence: SmartCompany


Verve locks away $3M to focus on female investors

The women-focused financial services platform, Verve, has raised an oversubscribed $3M pre-Series A to build an ethical investing platform designed around women. The investment was led by the impact-focused family office, Alberts. Verve has already built a 25,000 large community of investors and established Verve Super as the primary business. The raise comes with the launch of Verve Money, self-described as "not your old man's investment fund". Verve Money has three curated portfolios with varying risk levels, returns, and time frames. A significant driver for the platform is the investment gap between men and women investors. Verve Money ethically screens all investments and includes impact-focused assets that may not be listed publicly. Importantly, for all investors, is the sense of diversification and the linked decreased risk. Verve now has 9,000 users across its financial platforms, and this capital will be used to build out Verve Super & Verve Money further, as well as the compliance function of the team.

Due Diligence:, Womens Agenda


Wrapd raises $1.8M to expand retail rewards platform into the male market

Wrapd, the deals and discovery app formally known as 'Her Black Book', has closed a $1.8M round of funding. The capital comes as Wrapd, originally a smartphone app, has launched its web version. The platform connects brands with highly engaged, 'ready-to-shop' audiences. The round includes several previous investors, who've chipped in $4M of funding and included Touch Ventures and Andrew Hagger amongst others.

The platform has attracted over 800 retail partners, including Gucci, Nike, Aje and Lululemon. Interestingly, the co-founder's previous venture, Stylerunner, which unfortunately ended in VA, is also listed on the platform.

The consumer gets curation of promotions, flash sales, rewards and cash back from a mix of emerging and well-established retailers. The brands get to be in the spotlight of the Wrapd community.

The fresh capital will be invested in the tech, including using artificial intelligence to offer new functionality to consumers and merchants, scaling brand partnerships, and marketing to drive customer base growth. The gender-neutral name, Wrapd, will also allow the platform to expand its brand and product categories.

Due Diligence: AFR, Business News Australia

Equipment Rental / Events

Gecko gets $350K pre-Seed to create an event rental platform

Sydney-based Gecko has raised $350,000 in pre-Seed funding, led by accelerator Techstars with participation from Goodwater Capital and Launch House. Gecko began as a peer-to-peer marketplace for event equipment but has since transformed into a platform helping event rental businesses reach customers. The platform simplifies and centralises the rental process, eliminates delays, and offers cross-selling, referrals, and rebooking features. The cocktail of elements has increased some businesses' revenue potential by 50%. Gecko is currently in the Techstars Tech Central Sydney 2023 Accelerator, which is supported by the NSW Government. The fresh capital will help expand the platform offering, which currently hosts 120 rental businesses.


Lumi lands $15M to lend to SMEs, fast

Alternative small business lender Lumi has secured $15M in fresh funding. The capital comes from Israel's largest insurance group, Harel Insurance and Finance Group, which is joining as a new investor. Existing investors participated, including Perennial's private investment arm, Josh Liberman Investment Group, Arbel, and Stellan Capital. This investment follows a $20M raise in 2020 and a $31.5M Series A in 2018.

Lumi offers businesses loans and lines of credit between $5,000 and $500,000 with repayment terms of three months to four years and lending decisions made within two hours. The platform offers business loans, lines of credit and "Lumi Lux". Lumi Lux is for good matches with revenue of $2M, a business older than three years and up to date records with the ATO. Eligible clients get a reduction in interest rates over time.

The capital will be used to develop its proprietary platform further. In particular, Lumi is looking to build out its broker distribution model.

Due Diligence: Startup Daily, AFR

Quantum Corner

NSW Quantum Computing Commercialisation Fund

Diraq lands $3,004,551

Diraq, a Sydney-based quantum startup, is a leader in developing quantum processors using silicon "quantum dot" technology. The tech allows the creation of a tightly packed quantum processor stack that can be the size of single server racks.

The funding will allow Diraq to commercialise its first product - a cloud-accessible 10-qubit processor - over three years.

Q-CTRL lands $2,342,202

Q-CTRL, an infrastructure software that makes "quantum technology useful", has received a $2.3M grant to create a SaaS quantum computing solution for the financial sector. The software will eliminate errors common in financial applications that use quantum computers today.

On top of this, Q-CTRL has partnered with the Australian Department of Defence to develop quantum sensors that will deliver 'quantum-assured' navigation capability for military platforms. This means when GPS is unavailable or untrustworthy, Q-CTRL can deliver navigation accurately in air, space, underground and underwater. (Interesting Engineering)

Quantum Brilliance lands $1,445,000

Quantum Brilliance enables quantum computing at room temperature using diamond quantum accelerators. This grant funding is for the build-out of The Qristal Emulator (QE). QE is a software package that emulates quantum hardware on regular computers. It lets users design quantum algorithms that use the inherent properties of quantum systems to solve computational problems (e.g. entanglement).

If you're a founder or investor who has just closed a round, please reach out to us at [email protected]

Job Board

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  • 🖥️ Q-CTRL hits 100 employees, and founder Prof Michael Biercuk reflects.

  • ✒️ Bootstrapped Paperform announces 10k+ users and launches Papersign, an e-signature solution with ambitions to take on Docusign. (The Australian)

  • 🛰 Fleet Space Technologies has used it’s fresh cash ($50M) to continue its global expansion with the acquisition of rights to new long-term frequency filings in Europe. (Satellite frequency filings explained) (Tech Business News)

  • ⚽️ Matildas won (1-0) against the Republic of Ireland to currently sit top of Group B.

📈 SAAS STARTUPS: Need help with SaaS metrics?

Grab this guide from Standard Ledger (self-confessed metrics + FinOps nerds), feat. calculations. 💡 

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Notice Board

ClimateTech & AgTech Pitch Night - 25 July 📍Collingwood, VIC

  • After a month hiatus, The Startup Network’s pitch nights are back, with their July edition focused on ClimateTech and AgTech. Buy tickets here ($28).

HEXPO - 29 September 📍Melbourne, VIC

  • Early bird tickets ($59) are available until the end of July for this one-of-a-kind conference hosted by the team at HEX. The event is perfect for students, professionals, founders and anyone in between to explore unconventional paths to unlock your full potential. The speaker line-up so far is looking 🔥. Learn more about the event here.

Want to build an AI startup in 6 weeks?

  • The newly-launched ‘Aura Builders Club’ is bringing together 25 of Australia’s best AI hackers to “build solutions to meaningful problems”. If you’re an AI-nerd or engineer and want to get stuck into building something tangible with the support of Aura Ventures (for 0% equity and no fees to participate!), check this out.

HealthTech Happy Hour - 27 July📍 Sydney

  • Startmate and BioticsAI are hosting a casual drinks & networking event for “innovators, founders, providers, investors, and patient heroes”. Register here.

KaaS (Knowledge as a Service)

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‘Til next time,

👋 Will & Gem

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