News & Analysis

YOU DESERVE A RAISE: The week’s major startup funding rounds

- September 13, 2019 4 MIN READ
This is Startup Daily’s regular roundup of investment raises in the Australian and New Zealand startup sectors. Each Friday will give you a snapshot of the week’s investment activity. If we missed your raise, please let us know (contact details below). 

 

Quantum computing startup Q-CTRL has raised US$15 million (AU$22m) in a Series A round led by Square Peg Capital. Silicon Valley’s Sierra Ventures also joined the raise beside existing investors, including Sequoia Capital, Main Sequence Ventures, and Horizons Ventures. 

Founded in 2017 by Professor Michael J Biercuk, Professor of Quantum Physics & Quantum Technology at the University of Sydney, Q-CTRL builds “infrastructure software” to aid the development of quantum computers and other quantum technologies. It specialises in solving one of the hardest problems in quantum computing – hardware instability against noise and errors. Quantum computers are notoriously fragile and can only run operations for very short periods before errors creep in and programs fail. 

The raise will support nearly doubling the existing 25-member team of quantum engineers and software developers, as well as global expansion, including a new office in Los Angeles. 

 

Melbourne experiences platform AmazingCo raised AU$5.1m in a Series A round backed by Aconex co-founders Leigh Jasper and Robert Phillpot. Rampersand VC, Artesian and Macdoch Ventures also took part.

AmazingCo has been expanding rapidly in the US over the past six months, launching in 23 cities, with plans to hit 50 cities globally, including London, Paris, and Montreal, by early 2020.

Launched in 2016 by Silvia Hope and Jeremy Cox, the company offers experiences such as mystery picnics, wine tours, social impact activities and team building events. AmazingCo has more than tripled its geographic spread and headcount in the past 12 months and the latest cash injection will go towards the continued rapid expansion of both the experience catalogue and geographic reach.

 

Renewable energy retailer Amber Electric, raised $2.5 million in a seed round 80% led by Square Peg. Black Sheep Capital and Giant Leap also backed it, as well as private investors such as FutureSuper founder Simon Sheikh and Sendle’s James Chin Moody.

The venture was founded in 2017 by former Boston Consulting Group duo Chris Thompson and Dan Adams, and is currently available in South Australia and Sydney. The funds will go towards a national launch. Adams said the business is paying customers with rooftop solar the real-time wholesale energy price for power they export to the grid.

Business intelligence startup Kapiche raised $1.75 million to help take its AI-powered text analytics software global. The round was led by Main Sequence Ventures, along with Transition Level Investments, the Queensland Government’s Business Development Fund and River City Labs Accelerator Fund.

Kapiche offers businesses a fast and effective way to analyse and understand large volumes of text generated from customer and employee survey responses, including NPS (Net Promoter Score), eNPS (Employee Net Promoter Score), CSAT (Customer Satisfaction) and product reviews.

Kapiche CEO Ryan Stuart said the company’s text analytics software gives businesses very clear guidance on which customer issues need to be prioritised to improve their overall customer experience strategy. His customer base, includes American Express, Nissan, Toyota, elevator manufacturer Schindler.  Kapiche will use the funding to accelerate its global expansion.

Slyp’s co-founders

Sydney-based digital tax receipts startup Slyp raised $4 million from the likes of ANZ Ventures, NAB, Westpac-backed Reinventure and Westfield ANZ operator Scentre Group. The funds take the total raised to $7 million and will be used to launch their product to retailers and banks later this year. 

Slyp is partnering with major banks so the Slyp Smart Receipt is automatically linked to a customer’s bank card and then displayed inside their banking app. NAB has already trialled the solution and will be the first major bank to integrate Slyp’s capabilities into their mobile banking app later in the year. Co-founder Paul Weingarth, a former PayPal executive, said the reimagined the receipt with customer-centric features such as warranty and return reminders, ratings, rewards, product recall alerts and much more.

“We want to help retailers turn the end of the transaction into the start of a customer relationship,” he said. 

Harris Farm, Bing Lee, Cue fashion, BBQ Galore, and San Churro have also signed to the platform. Slyp is currently expanding its Australian team and has ambitions to expand into overseas markets later next year.  

 

South Australian startup Fleet Space Technologies raised US$7.35 million (AU$10.8m) to fund internet of things (IoT) connectivity to remote industries using nanosatellites.

Global funds Momenta Ventures and Horizons Ventures – the private investment arm of Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing – led the raise, with local funds Blackbird Ventures and Mike Cannon-Brookes’ Grok Ventures reinvesting following 2017’s AU$5 million Series A. The Kennards Hire Kennard family, which uses Fleet technology in its equipment hire company, also backed the raise.

The new funding will be used on the global deployment of private IoT networks for the logistics, resources and energy, as well as launching more nanosatellites in 2020.

 

Melbourne HR tech business Culture Amp raised US$82 million (AU$121m) in Series E to value the business at US$700 million  – more than AU$1 billion.

Sequoia Capital China, led the round as a new investor alongside existing backers Sapphire Ventures, Felicis Ventures, Index Ventures, Blackbird Ventures, Hostplus, Skip Capital and Grok Ventures.

Global Founders Capital and TDM Growth Partners also came on board as new investors. The startup, founded in 2011, has now raised more than US$158 million, and will use the latest cash injection to accelerate global expansion and develop new products for a customer base of more than 2,500 companies, including Airbnb, Salesforce, Slack and McDonald’s.

 

Auckland-based parking app Parkable has raised NZ$4.6 million in a Series A round, valuing the business at NZ$36 million.

The raise was led by Kiwi telco Spark, with some prominent local investors joining for the first time, including Trade Me co-founder Rowan Simpson, former Edelman APAC CEO David Brain and Movio co-founder Peter Beguely.

Parkable, which began as idea to rent local driveways out near Eden Park stadium to spectators, will use the funds to expand across New Zealand, develop further in Australia and China, and explore new international markets.

 

  • If you raised this week, or know someone who did that we’ve missed, we’d love to know. Send the details to startupdaily@pinstripemedia.com.au

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