💌 Aussie Startup & VC Summary | 6th April 2024

The Series A is back 👋 + a new curated jobs board for those on the hunt 👀

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. 🚀 You can read the full version without interruption here.

OS Angels 😇 

We believe there is a whole generation of the ecosystem that can offer so much to startups and founders but are unable to participate due to the pesky sophisticated investor test. Let’s change that.

We’re considering launching an angel investment community to invest tiny cheques individually and combine them to have a significant impact. Think of it like a friends and family round, but the whole ecosystem is your family.

We plan on using some cool technology to allow our amazing community to invest both very small cheques and their expert advice into amazing teams at their earliest stages. Express interest here.

👀 Headlines 👀 

🔥 Heating up of the US IPO Market indicates opportunities abound within the US investment landscape

  • After a two-year freeze of companies going public, the IPO market in the US is finally starting to show some signs of life, with 14 companies going public this year.

  • To paint a picture, 2021 saw 1,035 IPOs, while 2022 and 2023 saw a significant drop, with 181 and 154, respectively.

🥼 CSIRO invests $20 million to boost access to research and development (R&D) for 750 startups and small businesses

  • The SME Connect Initiative will assist up to 750 SMEs through various programs that provide facilitation, training, funding and support for company-led research projects.

  • Since its establishment in 2017, one of the programs, CSIRO Kick-Start, has overseen 280 company-led R&D projects in alumni companies, totalling over $2 billion in value.

  • CSIRO CEO Dr Doug Hilton emphasises the importance of driving SME productivity, sustainability and growth through enhanced access to R&D opportunities, with the programs connecting SMEs to leading scientists, world-class research capabilities, alternative technological advancements and industry connections.

  • Take a deep dive into the range of SME connect programs here.

🖥️ Software tech firm Plutora is set to restructure, shutting down Australian businesses to focus on US-based entities

  • Plutora is a software designed to help companies speed up their software delivery processes, offering a centralised dashboard for tracking enterprise software delivery, helping to streamline the management of technology projects within organisations.

  • Macquarie Bank injected $46 million into the company between 2016 and 2019. With Plutora Pty Ltd recently going into voluntary administration and closing down its domestic operations, Macquarie has sold back its 45% stake for $1.

  • Plutora’s demise followed a dispute with the ATO regarding R&D grants; the ATO ruled that Macquarie's 45% stake constituted control, which impacted the company's eligibility for R&D tax incentives. Plutora submitted extensive documentation to prove that the founding team made 'strategic decisions', but the ATO's refusal led to operational changes and rendered its Australian operations unviable.

⚡️Startup Retro⚡️

Constantinople banks $50M Series A round to continue development of bank-in-a-box infrastructure

Founders: Macgregor Duncan & Dianne Challenor

Constantinople, a Sydney-based technology and operations platform tailored for banks, has successfully raised a $50 million (US$33 million) Series A. Prosus Ventures led the investment, which included participation from existing investors Square PegAirtree Ventures, and Great Southern Bank. This funding marks a significant step forward since Constantinople's A$32 million Seed round in April 2022. Constantinople aims to transform the global banking landscape by enabling incumbent banks to better meet customer needs through a unified software solution.

The platform is designed to revolutionise the way banks operate, focusing on enhancing customer relationships and the overall banking business. It offers a comprehensive retail and business banking suite, including transaction banking, payments, lending and digital customer interfaces. It also automates customer onboarding, financial crime surveillance, fraud detection and compliance using software and AI. The founders, Dianne and Macgregor are both former Westpac executives.

The platform currently counts Great Southern Bank as its primary client (which made an investment in the startup) and is expanding its clientele in Australia and New Zealand. The team has grown to about 100 employees and continues to hire software engineers.

Due Diligence: AFRSmart Company

Femtek finds a $1M Seed round to build a cycle-tracking wearable ring

Founder: Olivia Orchowski

Femtek, an Australian HealthTech startup focusing on women's health, has successfully raised $1 million for its cycle-tracking Basal Body Ring. The funding round, led by Arcanys Ventures and Techstars, with additional support from angel investors, aims to develop and market the product further. This follows a successful Kickstarter campaign that raised over $133,000 and garnered 500 active users across Australia, Europe, and the US. Femtek was also a participant in the Techstars 2023 cohort.

Founded in 2020, Femtek aims to fill a significant void in the wearables market with a device specifically designed for women. The ring is intended to be worn only at night and tracks critical health metrics such as basal body temperature (temperature when at rest), heart rate, and variability, offering valuable data for women with irregular cycles, PCOS, and endometriosis. The ring captures 30,000 data measurements to accurately read and make predictions.

The mission is to create a discreet, non-daily wearable that sidesteps the challenges of style compatibility and constant charging. Femtek's commitment to accessibility is further highlighted by its decision to avoid a subscription model, focusing instead on providing women with tools for better healthcare decisions. The business will sell directly to consumers and health practitioners to recommend to their clients.

The capital will be used for product enhancement, team growth, and marketing efforts. The raise is a rare example of a hardware product securing funding in the Aussie market.

Due Diligence: Smart CompanyFemTech Insider

PlanCare secures a $2.5M Seed investment for NDIS plan management software

Founders: Dave Newman

PlanCare, a Perth-based NDIS and Home Care Package management service, has secured $2.5M of follow-on investment. The funding comes from WA-based Purpose Ventures, which previously invested in the business in July 2023. The PlanCare platform provides a comprehensive solution for self-managed healthcare for a flat fee percentage.

The platform targets both self-managed home care packages and NDIS plans. Self-managed home care supports people over 65 in continuing to live at home independently and safely. The government support money is paid to a home care package provider, who will then provide the service and charge a fee. PlanCare offers a manager with oversight from a registered nurse for advice when needed. The care could include meal preparation, cleaning, medication prompting to gardening. For NDIS users, PlanCare will assign a care manager and help optimise NDIS budgets for better outcomes.

The platform addresses the global challenge of at-home healthcare for the aging population, offering users autonomy and control over their care through technology. The founder, Dave Newman is well known in WA startups for running the Morning Startup community of over 6,000 people.

Fun fact: Since launching the fund in 2023, Purpose Ventures has reviewed over 250 investment applications and invested over $4.5 million in its initial portfolio companies: Paperly, IDEAcademy, Plancare, and Gene-S.

Due Diligence: OS Exclusive

BurnBot secures $20.5M Series A to scale 'good fire' practices

Founders: Anukool Lakhina & Dr. Lee Haddad

BurnBot, a US-based startup that is combating the increasing threat of catastrophic wildfires, has successfully raised $20.5 million in a Series A funding round. The round was led by Bryon Bay-based ReGen Ventures and supported by a diverse group of investors including Lowercarbon Capital, Toyota Ventures, AmFam Ventures, Blue Forest Asset Management, Overture Ventures, Pathbreaker Ventures and Australian-based Skip Capital.

Founded in 2022 by Anukool Lakhina, a pioneer in real-time big data analytics, and Dr. Lee Haddad, with a background in physics and industrial equipment, BurnBot aims to scale 'good fire' practices. These include prescribed burns and other controlled fire methods that can preemptively reduce fuel loads and create barriers to stop the spread of large-scale fires. Using drones for aerial ignition, forest thinning, and controlled burning techniques, BurnBot operates under any weather condition, overcoming the limitations of traditional prescribed burn windows.

The BurnBot is driven over the landscape and ignites vegetation under it, creating a fire break line. BurnBot's approach increases efficiency by up to 100 times compared to existing methods but also addresses labour shortages and the high costs associated with manually prescribed burns. By capturing smoke during operations, BurnBot enables 'good fire' practices in areas previously deemed unsuitable, such as alongside critical infrastructure and residential zones. It offers a smoke-free solution to vegetation management and wildfire defence.

Due Diligence: BurnBot Announcement

Investment Notes: Regen Ventures

Live Demo of Tech: YouTube Video

Funding the Balance | Weekly Edition

Aussie Startup Funding x Gender Scorecard

# of raise announcements

$ value of raise announcements

Total Funding



Gender Minority Founders

(Women, Non-binary, Transgender)




Mixed Team




Men-only Team




Want to learn more about why we’re reporting these figures? Read about the ‘Funding the Balance’ initiative here.

👨‍🏭 Jobs 👩‍🏭 

We’ve partnered with Airtree to cherry-pick the best of their available jobs across their portfolio each week.

🏗️ Procure Pro, the procurement-focused ConstructionTech, is hiring for a remote-first Sales Operations Associate to accelerate their market entry after their $6.15M raise earlier this year. Apply via the link!

👩‍🔬 OS Exclusive: Chemist2U, the online pharmacy marketplace, is looking for a SOC2 Compliance Project Manager to level up its security as it moves from startup to scaleup. Please send CVs directly to Matt, the founder, at [email protected]. Make sure you mention OS for bonus points.

🎉 Aussie Raisins 🎉 

🧬 ULUU, a synthetic biotechnology (synthbio) company is closing a small round to prep for a planned Series A at the end of the year

  • The startup offers a plastic alternative by using farmed seaweed instead of fossil fuels. It uses a fermentation process to extract biodegradable plastic PHA, which can be used as pellets for product manufacturing.

  • ULUU closed an $8.6 million Seed round in November 2022, which was led by existing investors Main Sequence, Possible Ventures and Alberts as well as Mistletoe, Inc., along with individual investors including Karlie Kloss, Kevin Parker, Melvin Benn, Nathan McLay, and Neil Perry.

  • ULUU has its eyes set on a Series A at the end of the year but has just completed a small bridging round to help them begin fielding the initial components for their first factory, which is set to be located in Indonesia.

🤑 New Fund, Who’s This? 🤑 

🦘 A new $20M business investment fund has been established in the Northern Territory; a collaboration between the government and Darwin's Paspalis Corporation.

  • The Northern Territory Government is contributing $10 million through the Local Jobs Fund, matched by an equal investment from Paspalis. Investments will be made dollar-for-dollar into high-growth companies that align with Paspalis and the Government's investment criteria, aiming to generate positive economic outcomes for the Northern Territory.

  • Funding of up to $5 million is available for both domestic and international businesses that aim to establish operations in the Territory and create new jobs.

  • The fund will target sectors including advanced manufacturing, logistics and defence, technology, mining and exploration, space, and primary industries.

🤝 The QBE Foundation awarded First Australians Capital (FAC), an Indigenous-led investor, $500,000 for Seed funding to support Indigenous startups, contributing to a capital pool for early-stage Indigenous businesses.

  • FAC has supported over 800 Indigenous businesses, most significantly in FY2023, including funding for 282 businesses, over 80% of which stated they would not have had access to capital otherwise.

🎉 Wins 🎉 

🍖 Vow’s cultured meat makes debut in Singapore as their first product, Forged Parfait, hits shelves

  • Vow is the first Australian company to receive approval for selling cultured meat and their first product is a world first in not imitating existing meat products, but rather offering a unique meat alternative!

  • Check out where to taste the Forged Parfait, named Qualia, here!

📶 Morse Micro listed in the top 10 coolest IoT hardware companies as part of the CRN’s 2024 Internet Of Things 50 for the second year in a row!

  • Backed by Blackbird, Morse Micro innovated the wifi HaLow router and single-chip wifi solution for long-range, low-power and mass-capacity wireless connectivity.

🎯 Heatseeker launches self-serve AI-powered market testing platform following Euphemia investment earlier this year

  • Heatseeker allows businesses to automate social media tests to validate key messaging and ideas for new products and services.

🎽 Samsara Eco and athletic clothing giant Lululemon launch first product!

  • Lululemon, which partnered with Samsara last year to aim for 100% end-of-use solutions for their products by 2030, has now launched its first product made from enzymatically recycled polyester.

💙 AI medtech firm, Artrya, signs its first Australian commercial deal with The Cardiac Centre NSW

  • The AI-driven heart disease-detection technology will be used across four specialist centres, enhancing diagnostic workflows and patient care.

  • The platform is capable of full diagnostic and evidence-based assessment within 10 minutes of the first scan.

📌 Notice Board 📌 

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

📅 🎓HEX is offering the opportunity to win a scholarship to their intensive 2-week International program in Melbourne or Ho Chi Minh City!

  • 🇦🇺 Melbourne: June 15 - June 29, 2024

    🇻🇳 Ho Chi Minh City: June 22 - July 6, 2024

  • Get in quick, applications close on Wednesday, April 17th. Apply here!

📅 🚀 The Startup Network has an array of upcoming events 📍Melbourne & 📍Wyndham

  • Advanced Tech, Web3 & AI pitch night on April 30, 6-8.30pm at The Commons Gipps Street. Applications close April 19. Apply here!

  • As part of the ‘WYNovation’ festival from the 13th to the 17th May, the Startup Network is hosting a Wyndham pitch competition, get in your entry before April 19!

🚀 Startmate is hosting a demo day as part of Sunrise Australia by Blackbird📍Sydney

  • This is a chance to meet the Summer'24 Accelerator cohort on Thursday, May 2, 5-7pm.

  • Stay tuned for a comp to win tickets to Sunrise! 👀 

🧑‍🎓 UNSW is holding their next Angel 101 course which will be held on May 8-10th at the UNSW CBD Campus 📍Sydney

🚀 Applications for Antler Australia’s 12th cohort are now open! 📍 Sydney & Melbourne

🧠 KaaS (Knowledge as a Service)

Gemma’s Pick 💁‍♀️ The Club

  • I’m loving this new fortnightly newsletter which is all about “sharing real stories of women working in tech and startups; the awkward, eye-roll moments and the inconveniences that only women seem to have to deal with.”

  • Co-founded by Marie Dowling (Founder & PR expert) and Stef Palmer-Derrien (writer, ex-Smart Company) and joined by our own Bronte McHenry as an advisor, this publication fills a need for more female-focused stories in our ecosystem with a compelling, easy-to-read tone that will leave you wanting more. One word: subscribe! (Yes, you too fellas) 💌 .

Will’s Pick 💁🏻‍♂️ How to make your business stand out in the fundraising process: The Business FAQ, by Airtree & ProcurePro

  • The ProcurePro team built out a FAQ about their business. It held long-form (but concise) answers to questions the new investors were going to ask. The answers were generally to questions a VC may ask on a first meeting. The purpose was to get investors to think harder about the business and get closer to FOMO. It worked. ProcurePro raised $6.15M Series A early this year!

  • What I found most interesting about this was that FAQs are probably going to happen anyway, just later down the road in DD, so you may as well get it in there early and increase your chances of a second meeting.

New Newsletter Alert 🔔 

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

The next edition is coming out this week - subscribe now to make sure you don’t miss it! 👀 

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

‘Til next time,

👋 Will, Gemma & Kate

Join the conversation

or to participate.