Aussie Start-up & Venture Capital Summary | 2nd September 2023

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💁🏻‍♀️ Supporting female founders was a big topic at Intersekt

  • A bunch of start-up folk attended FinTech Australia’s event, Intersekt Festival this week. Smart Company & Capital Brief both chose to report on the conversations that took place at and around the festival about the role of women in the FinTech industry.

  • Capital Brief highlighted the perspective of Brighte Founder, Katherine McConnell, who suggests higher, more stable base salaries for women founding and working in FinTechs could help increase female participation. Smart Company collated a few (sadly all too familiar) points of view from founders who joined a panel talking about the barriers facing female founders. In short, despite a lot of virtue signalling across the ecosystem, there’s still lots of room for improvement.

💰 Till Payments could be in trouble (AFR)

  • After once boasting a ~$500M valuation, FinTech Till is reportedly in desparate need of additional funding in order to stay afloat, with the change in economic conditions working against the company that was focused on rapid growth over profitability.

  • Till is a processing platform for retailers, hospitality operators and others, allowing them to accept a payment with a physical terminal or online.

🪰 Bardee faces more bad news

  • It was recently revealed that the early stage deep-tech start-up was experiencing significant financial trouble, resulting in delays paying staff. Now, the Fair Work Ombudsman is reportedly investigating the issue. (AFR)

  • The company uses fly larvae to create compost out of food waste and despite its recent troubles, apparently Bardee products will continue to be stocked at major hardware chain, Bunnings, which is no doubt an essential life line for the business.

🛵 Gig economy worker reforms create uncertainty for some (The Conversation)

  • This week the Federal Government proposed the “Closing Loopholes Bill” which aims to establish minimum standards for gig workers with “employee-like” roles working for a range of platforms. While it’s still early, it is expected this will include food delivery, ride-share and care services, but may exclude digital marketplaces (like Airtasker and HiPages).

  • While some details are yet to come out, it’s concerned some business leaders who fear the changes could make their current business models untenable.

  • The legislation looks to be an attempt to hold companies who position themselves as positive disruptors to a higher standard in how they treat the people who deliver their services.

This week’s newsletter is supported by…

Early-stage founders - worried about your start-up's growth? Gufy can help! Their expert team is ready to assist. Book a call with the team today at!

Inside this week’s newsletter…

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

  2. Aussie Raisins: Start-ups looking for fresh funds.

  3. Wins: Highlighting start-up wins, big and small.

  4. Notice Board: Ways to get involved in the Aussie start-up ecosystem.

  5. Accredited Tweeters: Best of the Aussie Twittersphere.

  6. (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⚡️


Exclusive: MasterRemit closes $2M pre-Series A to help ‘unbanked’ people instantly transfer funds

Melbourne-based MasterRemit, has closed a $2M pre-Series A to change how unbanked people can send money across borders. The funding comes from ICM Limited, Scalare Partners, KKK39, and several angel investors. MasterRemit is targeting the massive 2 billion unbanked people in developing nations. Unlike other money transfer companies, MasterRemit offers real-time transactions via mobile phones. Funds can be sent to cash pick-up locations or directly into the app wallet.

The business model is centred on a transaction fee that remains lower than industry standards and plays a large volume game. Many customers use the platform to send cash to their families for key items like food, rent, hospital bills and school fees.

The capital was raised to propel the company’s growth plan and to help fast-track expansion plans, which includes establishing the business in one other market. Also the funding round will allow MasterRemit to continue to invest in its technology, hire new talent and further develop its customer proposition.

“Our ability to keep business costs low has allowed us to disrupt the traditional, high-cost model of international money transfers. We offer no hidden fees, competitive exchange rates, and 24/7 online service.”

Nuradin Omar, MasterRemit CEO

Due Diligence: Founder Interview


Listing Loop lands $2.1M Series A to build a marketplace for off-market properties

Listing Loop, the online realestate marketplace, has raised a $2.1M Series A round led by Bermuda-based Duncan Saville's private equity firm, ICM.

The funding round is said to be 75% complete, as Listing Loop is still securing the remaining $500,000. The capital will be used to scale the business, which offers off-market property listings for vendors looking for more privacy or reduced marketing costs. This capital raise follows the recent acquisition of Hello Haus, a property negotiation service firm, to expand its services.

The board now includes Real Estate Institute of Victoria President Andrew Meehan and ex-Macquarie Managing Director Grenville Thynne, with advisory support from former Carsales Commercial Director Anthony Saines and First National Real Estate CEO Ray Ellis.

Due Diligence: AFR Street Talk

B2B SaaS

Pearler announces a $330k pre-Seed to help businesses respond to tenders and questionnaires faster and better

South Australian based Pearler has landed $330,000 in pre-Seed funding from the South Australian Venture Capital Fund managed by Artesian Venture Partners. Founded in 2019, Pearler utilises AI to streamline the process of responding business questionnaires, such as Requests for Proposal (RFPs), Requests for Quote (RFQs), cybersecurity checklists and grant applications. The tool also allows teams to more seamlessly collaborate on answers, bringing subject-matter experts and project managers all together in the one platform, rather than working across multiple documents and emails.

The platform is a game-changer for businesses bogged down by these repetitive questionnaire processes (which is a lot of businesses!). Using AI allows Pearler to craft optimal answers using a library of previous submissions. For many companies, these requests for information can be the first step in a sale process and nailing these submissions can be an instant revenue unlock.

Pearler is currently focused on the Australian market but will eventually look to expand internationally. This funding round has allowed CEO Robin Garnham to work full-time on the business and to hire a business development manager. Garnham was previously the VP of Engineering at Sine, which was acquired by Honeywell in 2020.

Due Diligence: IT Brief

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

Aussie Raisins

🎧 Muso re-brands & seeks interest for a Series A (Startup Daily)

  • The live entertainment booking platform previously backed by Rampersand has re-branded to ‘Surreal’ and is now looking for some extra cash to keep growing.

  • The company was founded in 2018 and expanded to the UK in mid-2022, claiming to have now “secured some of the UK’s largest and most popular venues right across the country”.

  • The company raised a $1.5M Seed in 2019 and a $2M ‘Seed+’ round in late 2021. It’s not clear how much the team is hoping to raise time around, but given their proven traction and ambitious future plans, they’re no doubt optimistic about gaining some strong interest!


Samsara Eco 🌱 Is building a $25M R&D hub and new HQ (Smart Company)

  • The start-up founded in 2021 has developed an advanced recycling technique that enables complex plastics to be processed again and again without ever losing their quality.

  • The company banked $54M in November last year from the likes of Breakthrough Victoria, Temasek, Assembly Climate Capital, DCVC, INP Capital, Main Sequence, Woolworths Group’s W23 and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC).

Canva turns 10! 🎂 (Canva)

  • We know they’re not technically a ‘start-up’ any more, but we can’t help but jump on board and celebrate the success of this Aussie tech success story. Happy birthday Canva!

Notice Board

Open Coffee Sydney - 6th September 📍Sydney

Elevating Female Founders in QLD - register your interest!

  • At this week’s Something Tech Festival in Brisbane, River City Labs and Advance Queensland announced a new program offering a mix of cohort-based and 1:1 support to guide early stage and aspiring female founders towards their goals. Certain eligibility criteria apply, you can learn more here.

Startup To Scaleup Summit - 16th November 📍Sydney

  • Tickets are now on sale for this new conference with an impressive list of speakers as well as educational sessions, networking events and a pitch night hosted by Startup&Angels with a $10,000 prize on offer.

  • Until the 9th of September, tickets are just $99 (discounted by $100), you can get them here.

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs 💼

Did you hear? 🎉 OS is the newest co-host of the Aussie & NZ Startup Events calendar, created by Startmate and supported by The Community Collective!

If you’ve got an event coming up - add it to this awesome crowd-sourced resource. It could end up on our Notice Board!

Accredited Tweeters

KaaS (Knowledge as a Service)

  • Gemma’s Pick 💁‍♀️ The ultimate guide to ‘Jobs to Be Done’ - an interview with Bob Moesta (co-creator of the framework)

    • If you’re not familiar with JTBD, if you think you’ve tried JTBD and it didn’t ‘work’ for you, listen this this podcast or if you’re in the business of solving real-world problems and not just retrofitting product features to a list of hypothetical customer pains and gains, listen to this podcast. I’ve referenced the Snickers and Milky Way example more than once this week…(and somehow not succumbed to buying one of either)!

  • Will’s Pick 💁‍♂️ The Real Value (or Lack Thereof) of Your Tech Startup Patent by Marcello E. Miranda

    • Quite a fun and educational read on why most start-ups need not worry about a patent. I’d go a step further and say you shouldn’t worry about NDA’s either. DeepTech start-ups are in a slightly different bucket!

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

‘Til next time,

👋 Will & Gem

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