Aussie Startup & Venture Capital Summary | 2nd March 2024

Tracksuit Runs Away with rapid growth

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 161 new subscribers (yep, you read that right!) who’ve joined us since the last edition! 👋

This coming week, the Overnight Success team are off to _SOUTHSTART in Adelaide and boy, oh boy, are we excited. If you’ll be there, we’d love to meet you! Reply to this email to make sure we can connect with you IRL.

Want a behind-the-scenes look at how this amazing festival comes together? Check out our latest article 👇️ .

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👀 Headlines 👀 

⚧️ Gender pay gaps amongst Australia’s largest venture-backed tech companies revealed

  • While the drivers of the pay gap are both societal and company-specific, it’s commendable to see the likes of Culture Amp demonstrating a close to neutral range of 5% - proving that there is a lot a company can control.

🚰 High-valued tech startup Hopin goes into liquidation

  • Hopin, once valued at $11.7 billion during the pandemic, has entered liquidation despite its Australian founder earning $250 million from share sales.

  • It was founded in 2019 for video-calling event services and attracted major investors like Tiger Global and Andreessen Horowitz. Still, it sold most of its assets to another video-calling company, RingCentral, for US$50 million last year.

  • Hopin's CEO, Badri Rajasekar, announced the company's move to the US to streamline operations, whilst winding up and liquidating of Hopin Ltd (the UK entity).

💸 Prospa has been taken over with a $74 million bid as a new fund enters the market

  • Small business lender Prospa will be the founding investment of the Salter Brothers Tech Fund.

    • The fund targets investments in FinTech, PropTech, enterprise software, telecommunications, medical, health, and sports tech sectors, with a goal of achieving a 15% gross internal rate of return over a five-year period.

  • The company is now worth about 10% of the $719 million it was worth at its highest value during public trading, a spectacular ride since listing in 2018.

🤝 NSW Government invites submissions for an Innovation Blueprint

  • To make amends for past support cuts and adopt a more collaborative relationship with the innovation sector, the NSW Government is seeking input on key areas, including ideas, investment, industrialisation, and internationalism.

  • The full 2-page discussion paper is now available, highlighting the specific questions they’re seeking input on. Submissions are open until March 25th.

⚡️Startup Retro⚡️

Tracksuit secures $20.5M at $142.9M valuation to expand brand tracking technology into US and UK markets

Founders: Matt Herbert and Connor Archbold

New Zealand-based Tracksuit has closed a $20.5 million Series A funding round, with Silicon Valley-based Altos Ventures and Footwork co-leading the investment, supported by notable figures like Tim Brown of Allbirds, Bree Johnson of Frank Body, and Lenny Rachitsky, formerly of AirBnB and now behind the well-known Lenny’s Newsletter. This capital injection follows a $6.8 million Seed round led by Blackbird in early 2023.

Founded in 2021, the software company aims to simplify brand tracking by providing actionable and insightful brand data, replacing traditional market research methods. Within three years, Tracksuit has grown to $9.5 million in annual recurring revenue. Now the team has 60 full time employees and is tracking over 4,000 brands across Australia, New Zealand, the US, the UK and Canada including Frank Body, Eucalyptus and Allpress Coffee.

This recent investment will support further expansion into US and UK markets. Tracksuit intends to leverage the Series A funds to evolve its platform, integrating AI to offer more actionable insights and automated summaries to become the most affordable and accessible brand tracker in the industry.

The New Zealand and Aussie VC ecosystems were alight with Tracksuit posts following the raise - demonstrating how the company ‘walks the talk’ when it comes to brand building. Ben Seto of Soul Ventures dove into the value add of an ecosystem diligently supporting each other!

Due Diligence: SmartCompany

Bandicoot lands $1M pre-Seed funding to advance innovative fabric digitisation technology

Founders: Dr David Monaghan, Dr Matthew Arnison, Dr Peter Fletcher and David Karlov

Sydney-based company Bandicoot Imaging Sciences has successfully secured $1 million of pre-Seed funding led by Hong Kong-based qonvolv Ventures, with participation from Precision Textiles, Mou Fung Ltd. and previous investor, NewSouth Innovations (UNSW).

The deep tech startup founded in 2019 is making strides in the fashion and textile industries by enabling the creation of precise, 3D digital twins of physical fabrics. Users can generate these digital replicas by uploading photographs to Bandicoot's platform.

This technology aims to empower manufacturers, brands, and designers to enhance product development and ultimately reduce the waste currently seen in the fashion industry. Instead of creating several new fabrics and sewing them into designs, fashion designers can modify digital twins. Bandicoot’s fabric digitisation texture files will move the industry towards Digital Product Creation (DPC) and the digitisation of the textile supply chain.

Bandicoot aims to use the new funding to scale its fabric digitisation services, enhance accuracy and quality by solving technical challenges, and expand its cloud-based platform with advanced capabilities. The investment is a strategic move to bring Bandicoot's vision to life, particularly by leveraging the partnership with investors deeply involved in the textile industries. To play with the software, head here!

Due Diligence: SmartCompany, Texintel

Wrappr lands $300k to turn cars into mobile billboards

Founders: Liam and Jonte Shaw

Sydney-based Wrappr lands $300K in Seed funding to scale its innovative advertising model which involves wrapping cars with ads, providing brands with a mobile, more affordable alternative to traditional billboards. The company has also developed a proprietary data engine, LIFT, which utilises opt-in mobile location data to track ad exposure accurately and provide a tech solution for the notoriously hard-to-track ROI of outdoor advertising.

The core of Wrappr's model is its network of drivers, or "advocates," who have collectively earned over $1 million since November 2023. Advocates can earn up to $600 per month with their car wrapped and can choose between covering just their back window or wrapping their entire vehicle.

Advocates are matched with advertisers based on detailed demographic information, ensuring ads reach the intended audience. Wrappr's technology, including foot traffic counters and GPS data, provides real-time performance metrics, with which it can refine the algorithm used to match drivers to suburbs and the intended audience.

Wrappr arrives in parallel with the advertising industry increasingly seeking for new, more innovative channels which address increased privacy concerns, rising costs and low engagement rates. Ad spending is down ~5.5% YOY for the March period. This trend is coupled with more and more ad-blockers installed on personal devices.

🎉Wins 🎉 

🐙 Octopus Deploy acquired key US competitor, Codefresh, for $43M

  • The acquisition will bolster Octopus Deploy’s automation capabilities and market footprint, marking a significant stride in the company's growth by adding an expected ~$10M in revenue, 200 customers (to an existing 3,800) and expanding its global workforce.

🤖 The Aussie AI community is thriving!

📌 Notice Board 📌 

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

💰️ Airwallex 10k Acceleration Grant

  • To celebrate their partnership with Formula 1 team McLaren Racing, the Airwallex have launched a competition with an amazing prize pack (think grant money, tickets to an exclusive off-track pre-race Homecoming Party for Oscar Piastri in Melbourne & swathes of F1 merch). Enter by filling out this form - entries close on the 20th of March!

🚀 The MedTech Marketing Growth Program is now live 📍Melbourne

  • Launch Vic MedTech Market Growth Program is supporting scaling MedTech startups to accelerate their pathways to market! Sign up for the info session (7th of March) or apply directly to the program here!

💰️ 🚀 UNSW Founders x Westpac Accelerator Scholarships

  • Three equity scholarships valued at $20,000 each are up for grabs for women and non-binary founders who successfully join UNSW Founders 10x Accelerator programs with their high-potential startup. Applications open for the program on the 12th of April. Learn more about the scholarships here.

🧠 KaaS (Knowledge as a Service)

Gemma’s Pick 💁‍♀️ Feelings of Self-Doubt & Imposter Syndrome (with Hamish Blake), The Imperfects Podcast

  • I am a certified, die-hard fan girl of The Imperfects - there are so many amazing episodes in this series, but I’ve picked one close to home for me this week.

  • Heading into an event like _SOUTHSTART, as fun and exciting as it always is, tends to bring up a little old friend of mine called imposter syndrome. One of the things that’s helped me come to terms with my imposter syndrome is realising that many people - including apparently very confident people like Hamish Blake - regularly experience it too. Hopefully this episode can come in handy for a few of you too.

Will’s Pick 💁‍♂️ Will’s Pick 💁🏻‍♂️ AI workflows for marketers—and recommended tools for each by the MKT1 Newsletter

  • I’ll often daydream about the possibilities of AI. Wow, I’m sure a bot will complete this task one day. Only to never get around to the task because I’ve simultaneously devalued its importance.

  • This newsletter by MKT1 highlighted to me how complex some tasks are that AI can now tackle and which are the best in class tools (currently) to tackle them. I’ll be jumping on a few of these tools for various reasons in the next week.

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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‘Til next time,

👋 Will, Gemma & Kate