Australian startups have raised over $100m in recent weeks as the market turns
It was always going to be a challenge for the Australian startup scene to build on the record funding levels achieved through early 2022, given the changing economics of inflation, interest rate hikes and uncertainty about the next phase of pandemic life.
But even as investors revert to the ‘grow at all costs’ approach seen through 2020 and 2021, Australian startups continue to garner major investment aimed at launching them onto the global stage.
Over the past four weeks, local players have revealed at least $113 million in capital raising activity, not to mention the exploits of the crowdfunding industry.
Here are some of the companies that have defied the harshest doomsday predictions in July so far.
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Announced July 19
$32.5 million, Series B
Led by an “undisclosed global fintech investor”, alongside Mastercard, Acorn Capital, Commencer Capital, Rampersand and Artesian
mx51 provides banks with white label ‘payments as a service’ capabilities, leveraging their existing technology, while also offering online and in-person payment solutions to merchants. The company says its platform can help legacy institutions stay abreast of rapidly changing payments infrastructure.
The funding round, which comes 14 months after its $25 million Series A funding round, will help mx51 tackle the global market.
mx51 CEO and co-founder Victor Zheng said the latest increase came despite global macroeconomic headwinds.
“That’s because our core customers, banks and acquirers, are well positioned to deepen collaboration and co-invest with fintechs to deliver modern payment experiences to their merchants.”
Announced July 18
12 million, seed
Led by Salesforce Ventures
Refundid works almost like a mirror image of buy now, pay later systems. Instead of making it easier for customers to purchase, it works in the refund space, instantly transferring money to customers for refunded goods before they are returned. The merchant only pays Refundid if and when the refunded goods arrive, which puts the risk on Refundid. For fun, Refundid charges merchants a fee.
Refundid markets itself as a customer loyalty tool in the increasingly competitive e-commerce space. According to Brad Karney, CEO and Co-Founder, “What Refundid has done is turn that potential customer loss into one that has much greater long-term value.” Users include Australian retail heavyweights including Adore Beauty, Culture Kings and Princess Polly.
Announced July 18
Investors include Startmate, Boson Ventures and Tim Duggan, co-founder of Junkee Media
Options are limited for digital media publications that are past the life of blogging, but don’t have the time or funds to build their own content management system or heavily modify a WordPress platform or Wix. Australian startup Storipress hopes to provide a no-coding alternative to growing newsrooms. The company’s vision has intrigued a list of investors, including Tim Duggan, co-founder of Australian digital media player Junkee Media. Storipress now has $500,000 in seed funding to expand its product line and attract new customers.
“Thanks to the steps taken by our predecessors, we can now build platforms designed for the editor, not the coder,” said Alex Pan, CEO and Co-Founder.
Announced July 15
$43.2 million (US$30 million), Series A
Led by Tiger Global
HIVERY provides AI and machine learning solutions for the retail industry, mapping the most efficient and cost-effective ways to organize shelf and vending machine space. The company emerged from CSIRO’s Data61 – the AI-focused arm of the national science body – in 2015, and has since developed a presence in Japan, North America and Europe.
The July investment round will help HIVERY pursue its global growth strategy.
“Our investors all share our vision to bring AI-powered assortment and optimization solutions to the global retail industry,” said Jason Hosking, CEO and Co-Founder.
Announced July 11
$10 million, Series A
Directed by Henslow
If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you’ve taken advantage of the labor shortage to get a new job – or you’re an entrepreneur or startup founder struggling to find yourself. even good talent.
InternMatch is an Australian startup that aims to address these labor shortages.
The platform matches students and other interns with companies seeking intern positions, hoping to fill talent gaps in companies and facilitate on-the-job training and connections for young professionals.
CEO Gerard Holland said: “Many people don’t have the connections, support or resources to get into these skilled professional roles, and therefore need a foot in the door that will allow them to use their knowledge and gain ‘real world’ experience. ”
A $10 million Series A, led by Henslow, will help the company expand in Canada, the US and the UK.
Announced July 5
$4.7 million seed
Led by Antler and BetterLabs
Insurance tech startup Upcover believes insuring a small business shouldn’t be difficult. Its platform provides insurance for small businesses and entrepreneurs, covering allied health professionals, fitness trainers, traders, and more. The point of difference: upcover claims that its platform can provide a quote in moments.
“The insurance industry has long been plagued by convoluted questionnaires, overly complicated terms and long quote times and coverage is changing all of that,” said co-founder and CEO Skye Theodorou.
In addition, upcover also wants to help small businesses become conduits for insurance sales. The platform “allows any online business or brand to become a distributor of insurance products and monetize their existing members and customer base,” upcover said in a statement.
The company has now completed a $4.7 million seed round, led by Antler and BetterLabs, designed to boost its product development and customer acquisition efforts.
Announced July 1
$7.8 million seed
Led by Portage Ventures, with participation from Archangel Ventures and Ten13
The pandemic has seen a boom in retail investment as ordinary Australians seek opportunities to grow their wealth in a tumultuous economic environment. Pearler, an Australian investment app, took a somewhat different wave – instead of prioritizing trading individual stocks, it focused on ETFs, offering a slow and steady alternative for new traders.
“We don’t want to allow the investment as a series of transactions,” Nick Nicolaides, co-founder and CEO, said after the raise. “Our process is more about helping people set goals and achieve them over the long term in a simple and effective way.”
Promotional materials claim that Pearler is “even a bit boring” compared to other fast trading startups. However, not much is boring about a $7.8 million seed funding round. The company says it hopes to develop in-app tools that allow users to discuss money issues with financial advisers, expand to New Zealand and, echoing banking programs of yore, offer an investment app for kids.
Announced June 27
$3.6 million seed
Led by Tidal Ventures, with participation from Upswell Ventures and Luxem
Recent headlines about BMW charging a recurring fee for heated steering wheel use underscore a broader point about the auto industry: many industry players believe the future of driving is less about ownership than of subscription.
Loopit is a company tapping into the booming consumer car subscription market (though it has no direct connection to the BMW steering wheel issue). Loopit’s software underpins car subscription services that cover things like registration, insurance and maintenance, a combination of features the company says are appealing to the younger generation of drivers. Think of a car rental, but global.
The $3.6 million round is intended to help Loopit expand into the European market, arguably the spiritual home of the heated steering wheel.
“With our leading and award-winning software solution, Loopit is in an ideal position to lead the growth of the subscription industry,” said Michael Higgins, co-founder and CEO.
“Our technology is already proven and we are delighted to bring this innovative solution to the rest of the world. Our operating experience in Australia, New Zealand and the UK, combined with new financing, will help us accelerate our growth in current markets and beyond.