Aussie Start-up & Venture Capital Summary | 9th September 2023

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It was an unusually quiet week on the raise front, so this week’s newsletter is a little different to usual, with a few more headlines. We’d say it will be back to normal next week, but we’re at the mercy of the news (and raise) cycle!

A timely reminder that we love to source news and wins from you, so if you’ve got something you’d like to share with the OS community, don’t hesitate to reach out to us!


🐧 CBA’s x15 Ventures acquires Waddle (Business News Australia, CBA Announcement)

  • Waddle is an invoice lending platform that helps SMEs manage their cash flows by providing a flexible line of credit based on their invoices. Waddle was acquired by Xero in 2020 and partnered early with CBA to release Stream Working Capital.

  • Waddle uses accounting software like Xero, MYOB and QuickBooks to quickly enable funding up to 80% of the value of outstanding invoices.

🛒 Carted wheels out some redundancies (AFR)

  • Carted, the ecommerce API company, has made eight redundancies (~50% of its team) following their $13M raise in 2021 from the likes of Blackbird Ventures and Grok Ventures, following issues getting its core product to market.

  • The start-up is trying to develop a product to allow any website to become an ecommerce store with minimal integration.

☀️ Grok Ventures acquires Sun Cable, taking it out of voluntary administration. (AFR)

  • Sun Cable will now pursue the $35B solar export project and look to connect solar power generated in the NT to as far as Singapore.

  • The Sun Cable project has committed to supply 800MW to the NT and 1750MW to Singapore.

🚦IR reforms get the go slow (Smart Company)

  • Last week we mentioned the ‘Closing the Loopholes’ bill was going before the parliament, including proposals to set minimum standards for ‘employee-like’ reforms within the gig economy (amongst other things), potentially impacting some industry-disrupting start-ups.

  • Although the legislation looks likely to eventually pass (pending what Pocock reckons), this week the Coalition and the crossbench partnered to delay it, providing more time for “consideration” and for potentially impacted businesses to prepare for its implications.

🏓 OS Hot Take: Pickleball is set to infiltrate the Aussie start-up ecosystem (AFR)

  • You know who loves picking up new trends and running with them like their lives depend on it? Start-up folk. If it includes a social element, double that enthusiasm (see: Startup Striders).

  • The sport that’s taken the US by storm, pickleball, has ‘arrived’ in Australia with its first official tournament in partnership with Major League Pickleball happening this weekend in Brisbane. Who’s behind it? Adam Thompson and Anthony Liveris - Liveris is the CEO of biotech incubator Proto Axiom.

  • And wherever there’s a new fad, there’s room for innovation; as one man in the US found in his quest to help address rising noise complaints caused by pickleball in the US.

This week’s newsletter is supported by…

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Inside this week’s newsletter…

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

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

  3. Vibe Check: Our hot take on a big-picture news story from the week.

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

  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.

New Funds, Who’s This?

Lighter Capital, a venture debt fund, has secured US$30M of funding to offer non-dilutive financing in Australia. (Press Release)

  • The funds are part of a larger US$130M capital raise but $100M of that cash fund is being deployed in the US.

  • The Victorian Government provided the $30M alongside iPartners.

  • Lighter Capital offers start-ups up to $4M in financing and includes products for revenue-based, term financing and contract financing.

Aussie Raisins

Synthesis Capital, a new fund investing in Australian MedTech & DeepTech, is looking to raise a $50M fund with flexibility to scale to $100M. (OS)

  • Synthesis Capital will partner with MedTech Actuator and have access to their pipeline of incubated startups. The fund will invest from pre-Seed to Series A+ in Australia & the Asia Pacific region.

  • The initial fund will target a close of $10-20M and allow LPs to invest in deals directly with the fund.

  • If you’re looking for a warm introduction to their team, please reach out to Will or Gem!


🛠️ The Builders Club runs “ANZ’s biggest AI demo day” (LinkedIn post)

  • Early-stage VC Aura Ventures and its leader Annie Liao have created quite a stir across the ecosystem about their exclusive community and six-week residency program for AI builders since it launched in early August.

  • The first cohort has 40 participants, the LinkedIn newsletter boasts ~1,300 subscribers, the Slack group has 150 people and there’s even been overseas interest in the program. Talk about traction! Learn more about what they’re up to here.

🍷 Aussie Wine Group took home $10,000 in cash in the inaugural Pitch to Paddock event hosted by the AgTech Angel Investor Network.

  • Aussie Wine Group’s innovative Infield sorter system allows wineries to harvest their fruit faster with sorting of matter other than grape occurring on the field.

🐕💩 Little Rippers, the smart dog bag dispenser with patented smart sensor technology to lower plastic waste, has landed a 3 year contract with the City of Swan in WA. (Smart Company)

  • The company's IOT smart dispensers will now be deployed across the council and will let workers know when their bags are running low. (Dog owners will know that’s far from a sh*tty idea..! 😆)

Vibe Check

Could Sydney’s dwindling housing affordability be a threat to the city’s start-up ecosystem?

That’s what The Guardian suggested this week off the back of research from a thinktank, Committee for Sydney, published a report revealing Sydney’s median property price has surged to 13.3 times the median income, with it now being more expensive than New York and London to find a place to call home.

Smart Company also picked up the report, highlighting the takeaway that Sydney’s current housing crisis is estimated to be costing the city an estimated $10 billion a year in lost productivity.

While Sydney is widely considered Australia’s ‘start-up capital’, attracting around ~57% of VC funding in 2022, you do have to wonder how many early-stage start-up founders can rationalise paying such a high price to live in the city, especially whilst capital markets are tight.

Are you a start-up founder who’s opted to live outside of Sydney due to the cost of living? We’d love to hear from you!

Notice Board

  • Startmate Student Fellowship - applications now open!

  • Folklore Revenue Chapter - applications now open!

    • Folklore’s “chapters” are formed to nurture the next generation of start-up builders in ANZ via 100% free immersive cohort-based learning experiences that are open to the whole start-up ecosystem.

    • This new chapter is best suited founders and operators aiming to master and apply revenue strategies - an increasingly in-demand skill set in the start-up ecosystem. Learn more and apply to participate before the 24th of September here.

    • Psst! Check out Gemma’s KaaS below for an insight into what a ‘RevOps’ person actually does.

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!

KaaS (Knowledge as a Service)

  • Gemma’s Pick 💁‍♀️ Calling Operator Podcast interviews Monica Masaoka (RevOps at Airwallex)

    • I’m going to be honest - I’d never really thought deeply about what a ‘RevOps’ person did before listening to this episode, but I found it to be a really interesting insight into a role that intersects multiple business verticals from operations to finance and product strategy (and more!). Well worth a listen!

  • Will’s Pick 💁‍♂️ Probably some Scottish pub from his current adventures in the UK 🍻 Or maybe he’s been listening to Acquired’s new Nvidia (pt. 3) episode on the road 👂️🚗 .

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

‘Til next time,

👋 Will & Gem

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