Hello and happy Tuesday.
Behave if you’re at Flemington.
1. The race that stops the nation’s conversation
Startup Daily has been to the Melbourne Cup. It should be on everyone’s bucket list, like the Boxing Day test, feeding the fish on Lord Howe Island, spending $100 a week on Sydney toll roads and not climbing Uluru.
We remember it well because, aside from the surreal nature of the Birdcage, we wore our wedding day suit and bumped into actor Alex Dimitriades. In a THIS IS HOW WOMEN FEEL moment, we looked each other up and down, in the same clobber, and he gave me a wink and life moved on to the next glass of champagne.
We’ve tried hard over the decades to embrace the Sport of Kings (we assume they don’t mean Edward II), and this week, thinking we’d have a little bit of harmless fun, we asked dozens of startups to nominate their tips for today’s race.
Only one did, so we’ve decided to skip that idea, but give kudos to the Employment Hero team, whose Cup day tips included “Don’t push a police officer into a bush if you’re drunk!”, “Ladies, keep your shoes on all day – don’t carry them” and “If you’re not a supporter of the Melbourne Cup, don’t feel as though you have to get involved”.
And given these guys are the future of Australian business, and thus potential future sponsors, racing, we have a problem.
If you do need tips, we’ve always enjoyed the analytic efforts of Macquarie Bank’s Quantitative Strategy team, analysts of investment risk, and thus like an angel round startup fund. They’ve been doing this for 12 years and their picks this year, having also crunched data from Ladbrokes, are: Surprise Baby, Vow and Declare, Finche, Cross Counter, Mer De Glace and Constantinople.
They’ve had a lean time in recent years and we don’t want to rain on the parade by pointing out that picking a quarter of the field is an investment strategy of sorts, but only half, at best, will have an ROI.
Enjoy the afternoon. We’re betting on the RBA rates decision at 2.30pm. Hold for the win and place.
2. NAB exec Mike Baird roped into Facebook’s crypto scam ads
Former NSW premier Mike Baird, who used to rule social media before he left politics for banking and vanished, made a strange reappearance in late October, and not in a good way. The NAB exec’s face began appearing in scam ads on Facebook – the sort that previously press-ganged the likes of Twiggy Forrest, The Project’s Waleed Aly and David Koch – to try and flog cryptocurrency.
The links include fake stories mocked up to look like they’re from reputable news sites and the Baird posts have flooded Startup Daily’s feed since at least October 24 and there appear to have been dozens of variations linked
A NAB spokesperson told Startup Daily: “We are aware of ‘fake news’ sites and advertisements that reference Mike Baird and can confirm he is not associated with the companies or products mentioned. We encourage Australians who come across these scams sites to avoid clicking on the links and report where possible to the administrator of the platform where the ads are hosted.”
Facebook says it’s putting “significant resources” into tackling the issue.
Is Tom Waterhouse running a book on whose face Facebook’s crypto scammers will use next?
3. The world’s best fintechs
KPMG, with H2 Ventures, has crunched the numbers to create the Fintech 100 – a combo of the 50 best established fintechs, ranked, and 50 emerging startups. Austalian ventures nabbed 7 spots, led by Airwallex, Judo Bank and Afterpay in the established 50, which was dominated by Chinese ventures with third-party payments platform Ant Financial topping the 50 established ahead of Singapore’s Grab. More on the list here.
4. The quantum wars
Anarms race over quantum computing has been going on for a while now, with Google and IBM slugging it out for supremacy, with the former claiming the crown last week. The Microsoft jumped in the ring this week at its Ignite conference in the US, announcing the launch of cloud-based Azure Quantum. The plan involves linking partners quantum computers from partners such as Honeywell, IonQ, or QCI with Microsoft’s cloud over the internet.
Why does this matter? Short answer is calculations that previously took thousands of years on existing computers can be done in seconds on quantum computers. But the challenge up until now is developing hardware that won’t literally meltdown doing it.