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News & Analysis

5 things you should know about tech today

- October 28, 2019 2 MIN READ

Hello and welcome to Monday.

Here’s how the week starts.

 

1. Behind the Faraday Grid implosion

Faraday Grid, a Scottish energy tech startup led by former ACCI board member and Australian economist Andrew Scobie, blew up in August, just months after WeWork’s ousted founder, Adam Neumann, put US$30 million (AU$44m) into it, valuing the business at US$3.5bn (AU$5bn). In June, Scobie was fired by the board amid questions about his leadership style and other accusations. The company went into administration, owing 100 unsecured creditors around £7.9 million (AU$13m). 

But the story has some way to run with Scobie buying the IP and other Faraday Grid assets from the administrator for £461,947 (AU$870,000) earlier this month, via a new company, Third Equation. That figure included repaying £138,000 in loans made to former directors.

Questions still hang over whether the tech that promised to change the world, helping power grids handle greater amounts of renewable energy, actually works.

Business Insider has the full Faraday Grid story here.

 

2. It’s looking like software company Nitro will list

Nitro Software, which lets businesses create, edit, sign, and secure PDFs  and other digital documents, was founded in Melbourne in 2005 by CEO Sam Chandler. It now has offices in four countries, is based in Silicon Valley and has more than 650,000 business customers and millions of users.

The AFR reports that Nitro is paving the way for an upcoming listing, in contrast to the recent failed IPO attempts of Latitude Financial and Singapore proptech Property Guru.

 

3. Facebook’s former Australian CEO says Zuckerberg has too much power

Stephen Scheeler, the former Facebook Australia CEO, says the company’s founder and boss, global chief Mark Zuckerberg there’s no one to keep him accountable.

Speaking to Which-50 ahead of the annual CEBIT tech conference in Sydney this week, Scheeler said: “He controls the board, he can’t be removed from his job. And I just think that creates bad incentives for how decisions get made and creates room for hubris and arrogance to come in.”

In a wide-ranging interview, the CEBIT boss says the “missing piece” in the digital world is people understanding and taking control of their data footprint, and a change on that from could still take more than a decade. Even if Facebook was broken up , that “doesn’t solve a lot of the problems that people are concerned about”. More here.

 

4.  Check your heart health at the Sydney Startup Hub. 

Work-related stress is believed to increase the risk of heart disease by 23%, putting anyone pushing hard at their startup at risk.

So the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute is offering Sydney workers a quick, free heart health check at Chifley Tower tomorrow, Oct 29, and the Sydney Startup Hub (11 York St, Wynyard) this Weds, Oct 30.

The check measures 3 modifiable risk contributing to heart disease: blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol. It’s running 9am-5pm both days. More here.

 

5. Catalysr wants Melbourne migrapreneurs

Applications for the migrant entrepreneur accelerator’s Melbourne program are open for the First Gens 2.0 program in partnership with ygap until December 15, with the pre-accelerator kicking off January 11, 2020. The best of that cohort get a chance to join ygap’s 6-month accelerator, running from July-Dec next year with the top startups scoring $25,000.