Aussie Startup & Venture Capital Summary | 24th Feb 2024

One small step for man, one giant leap for Australia 🦘️

G’day, and welcome to this week’s edition of Overnight Success! Your weekly download on all the important things that happened in the Aussie startup ecosystem. 🚀 

A very special welcome to the 16 new subscribers who’ve joined us since last edition…! 👋 

This week, we have a very exciting announcement….We’re launching something new! 👇️ 

New Newsletter Alert 🔔 

Pulse Check will be your monthly download on the emerging trends & insights shaping the Aussie startup ecosystem, written by people at the grassroots of what’s really happening.

Subscribe here to meet our amazing team of writers - you don’t want to miss the first release in early March! 👀

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👀 Headlines 👀 

🍰 Women lead the charge as they make up 60% of Startmate's Summer24 Accelerator Cohort

  • Startmate is doing its part in addressing sector-wide gender concerns, with six of the ten startups in the latest summer cohort showcasing women founders, including two all-female teams.

  • Also of note - the cohort included four hardware companies.

🌱 Tech Council of Australia collaborates with the government and year13 to launch Virtual Work Experience program

  • The program is for 14 to 25-year-olds to improve their digital skills, particularly in the areas of cyber security, software engineering, and data science, with supporting partners such as Microsoft, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, and National Broadband Network.

  • The program is available to over 2,200 schools nationwide and aims to contribute towards achieving 1.2 million tech industry jobs by 2030 - the number currently sitting at 860,000.

🏦 Judo Bank co-founder, Joseph Healy, resigns as CEO after 7 years at the helm

  • Chris Bayliss, deputy CEO and Chief Relationship Officer, will become the new CEO next month.

  • Healy leaves the company in a good spot, with profits (before tax) reported in their half-yearly results up 24% from the prior 6 months, at $67 million.

  • This ‘overnight success’ story has spanned ~8 years; the company was started in 2016, but only officially launched in 2018, and received its banking license in 2019. It raised $1.2 billion in funding before listing on ASX in 2021.

🧬 Brandon Biocatalyst lands $50M government grant from Medical Research Future Fund for a new MedTech incubator tackling dementia

  • The incubator will be called BioMedTech Incubator (BMTI) and will be delivered in partnership with ANDHealth and Dementia Australia.

  • The goal is to develop commercial innovations and prepare participants to be investor-ready.

🔍 Finder, the comparison website, makes 4th staff cut in the last 12 months

  • The AFR’s Street Talk column reported rumours in July 2023 that the company was considering raising funds at a valuation of ~$770 million. The company’s last successful raise (worth $30 million), was in 2021 at a pre-money valuation of $650 million.

⚡️Startup Retro⚡️

Hatch stitches up $7M Seed round to transform Gen Z job matching

Founders: Adam Jacobs and Chaz Heitner

Hatch, an AI-powered jobs marketplace geared towards Gen Z, has secured a $7 million Seed round led by Rampersand. Alberts Impact VenturesAura VenturesJelix Ventures, Investible and existing private investor Ahmed Fahour all supported the round.

Recognising the limitations of conventional methods in their previous ventures, The Iconic co-founder Adam Jacobs and Zip co-founder Chaz Heitner established Hatch in 2018 to meet the demand for a more streamlined hiring process. With Gen Z employees demanding more values alignment from prospective employers, the pair identified a growing demand for a more refined approach to job matching. Unlike traditional job boards that rely on resumes and standardised application forms, Hatch leverages AI to match candidates with roles based on skills, values, and motivations, resulting in a 3x increase in interview likelihood. The solution modernises hiring by aligning roles with qualifications and aspirations. This approach improves hiring efficiency, reduces turnover, and enhances job satisfaction for employers and candidates.

Hatch will use the new funding primarily for national expansion beyond its current Sydney and Melbourne focus, with big-name employers like Woolworths and Uber already on board. Additionally, the funds will enable Hatch to develop and refine its AI-matching algorithm. The team is also hiring!

Gilmour Space launches with $55M Series D in funding for Queensland rocket launch at $605M valuation

Founders: Adam Gilmour and James Gilmour

Queensland-based space tech startup Gilmour Space Technologies has secured $55 million in Series D funding, primarily led by the Queensland Investment Corporation (QIC), along with VC backers Blackbird and Main Sequence and superannuation funds HostPlus and HESTA.

Founded by two brothers from Gold Coast, Queensland, Gilmour Space is an Australian launch services company building a space services platform (building rockets like Lego). As well as launch services from their Bowen Orbital Spaceport in North Queensland, allowing rockets to take off locally.

With a strong focus on competing as a full-stack launch services provider, Gilmour Space aims to contribute to the growth of the Australian aerospace sector. Since QIC's original Business Investment Fund investment in 2021, Gilmour has created more than 100 jobs across Queensland, with plans to increase this to 300 by mid-2027, establishing itself with a strong foothold in the $600+ billion global space economy.

This investment marks a crucial step as the company prepares for its inaugural rocket launch in Queensland later this year. It will help drive production and testing and enable multiple launches of the company's rockets and satellites, with the aspiration of becoming the first Australian-built rocket to achieve orbit.

CEO Adam Gilmour is bullish about the potential for Gilmour Space to enhance Australia's sovereign space capabilities, create jobs, and foster local manufacturing. Check out his take on a recent article from the ABC about the risks we face when relying on offshore space technologies.

🤑 Aussie Raisins🤑 

👚Samsara Eco, an enviro-tech company, is gearing up for a significant capital raise following a partnership announcement with Lululemon

  • Samsara Eco specialises in plastic-eating enzyme technology, extracting nylon 6,6 (previously considered un-recyclable) from textiles for reuse.

    • The enzyme breaks down plastics into their individual building blocks, called monomers. These monomers can then be used to create new high-grade plastic products, enabling infinite recycling in closed-loop cycles.

  • Current investors include Main Sequence Ventures, the Singapore Government’s Temasek investment vehicle, and W23, the venture capital fund run by Woolworths.

  • The AFR did a nice recap of Samsara Eco’s journey here.

🏃 Running hat company Fractel has launched a $750,000 crowdfunding campaign

  • Having achieved significant traction with over 100,000 items sold using 100% recycled fabrics, revenue surpassed $1 million last year. Revenue is on track to double this fiscal year.

  • The funding target is between $200,000 and $750,000 to expand its reach outside Australia, maintain inventory, launch new products, enhance sustainability initiatives, and grow its community through various activations.

    • Long-time readers may remember Fractel was the manufacturer behind the Startup Striders hat.

🎉Wins 🎉 

❤️ 🔬 Australian engineer builds a world-first artificial heart

  • Daniel Timms, on a quest to save his father's life, has developed an artificial heart that is now set for human trials in the US and Australia.

  • Supported by a $50 million government grant, the project could help reduce reliance on organ transplants by using an off-the-shelf alternative.

👶🏄 Hackerlily and its ‘doctor approved’ baby carrier are going global

  • Gold Coast-founded Hackerlily has designed a baby carrier (HipSurfer) that addresses the discomfort of carrying around little ones. It includes a large storage compartment under the seat, a retractable bottle holder, three extra pockets and washable and interchangeable covers… beat that Supernanny 🍼 .

  • After turning over $250,000 in revenue and winning 3 awards, the HipSurfer has garnered domestic and international attention, with plans to expand into the UK, Europe, and the US by 2025.

📌 Notice Board 📌 

🎤 Pitch Opps | 🚀 Accelerator/ Program |💰 Competition/ Grant | 📅 Event

📆 Startup Speakers Launch📍 Sydney

  • Overnight Success has secured 10 extra tickets to the fully-catered launch of Startup Speakers on the 1st of March for Startup Speakers. You can register here (and say OS referred you)!

📅 💰️ Innovation Series: The Future of Venues 📍 Brisbane

  • Entain, Cherryhub and Usual Company announce Startup Showcase with a $20k prize pool and distribution through Entain Venues network. The showcase is for technologies that will transform the venue industry. Apply here!

📆 SeenCulture Session: The Ripple Effect of Investing in Women📍 Sydney

  • This International Women's Day event (5th March) is themed "Count Her In: Invest in Women. Accelerate Progress”. It will focus on the importance of investing in women's potential through an interactive panel. Lock in your spot here!

💰️🚀 LaunchVic's CivVic Labs challenge is closing soon!📍 Victoria

  • EOIs are still open for the newest CivVic Labs Challenge, connecting ten startups to solve real-world problems. Each will receive $15,000 in equity-free funding to develop their solution in a six-week design sprint. They will then have a chance to pitch for a further $35,000 to bring the solution to life. Apply here.

📅 🚀 Techstars Startup Weekend 📍Sydney

  • Startup Weekend Sydney returns this March (22nd-24th), offering an immersive experience into the startup ecosystem over 54 hours. It’s a great opportunity to network with mentors, investors and potential co-founders. Find out more and sign up here.

🧠 KaaS (Knowledge as a Service)

Gemma’s Pick 💁‍♀️ Creator Science podcast, by Jay Clouse

  • I’ve been getting into this podcast series by Jay Clouse, who also creates content for YouTube, about how to be a better creator (very meta, I know). Although it’s geared towards ‘professional content creators’, with more founders (and professionals more broadly) leveraging the benefits of content creation to build their personal brands, there are definitely useful takeaways in these episodes for just about anyone. (I’m currently listening to the latest episode which interviews the founder of AppSumo, Noah Kagan).

Will’s Pick 💁‍♂️ 1000 Conversations about AI blog post, by Casey Flint from Square Peg

  • Casey's hefty and information-dense piece, written after 1,107 conversations with new people, is a must-read if you want to level up on AI. From defining a defensible moat to resetting expectations around chat interfaces, this essay covers the extremely fast moving space well. There’s also a low-key stock tip at the end! (This is not financial advice).

Have we missed something? Got some feedback? We love emails, so send one over!

‘Til next time,

👋 Will, Gemma & Kate