Ignition Lane works with ambitious business leaders to apply the Startup Mindset to their technology, product and commercialisation problems.
Victoria had a public holiday on Friday thanks to the almighty AFL Grand Final… being held in another state, on another day – congrats, yet again, to the Tigers! – so this week we’re skipping our usual analysis/story shpiel and jumping straight into the short, sharp, snappy rapid fire.
Welcome to Weekly Wrap Lite.
Happenings in ANZ
- Westpac jumped BNPL horses. It sold down its 10.7% stake in Zip (netting around $300 million in profit) and is now cozying up with Afterpay, who will soon offer savings and transaction accounts to its 3 million+ Australian customers using Westpac’s Banking-as-a-Service platform. The Westpac + Afterpay deal sent Afterpay’s shares over AU$100 for the first time, valuing the business at nearly AU$30 billion!
- Ding ding ding – MyDeal and Adore Beauty rang the bell in two highly anticipated ASX listings on Thursday and Friday.
MyDeal had an impressive start following an oversubscribed AU$40 million IPO, popping 120% above its IPO price of $1.00 to $2.20 and closing at $1.75. MyDeal also announced its quarterly gross sales (a.k.a. gross transaction value) are up 317 percent YoY to $56.7 million.
Adore Beauty listed at AU$6.75 a share. At one point on Friday the shares were up 10% at $7.42, and closed at $6.92. The listing gave Quadrant Private Equity a 5x return in just 12 months. Not too shabby.
- Luxury Escapes is partnering with Airly to provide a private jet offering. Prices start at $17,500, with up to four people able to take a flight on the plane.
- Entrepreneurial goodness: Startmate has created a Student Internship Program, apply here. Swinburne Uni launched an AWS-backed cloud degree. Antler Sydney is showcasing 16 companies at its upcoming Demo Day on 19 November.
- People moves: Envato has a new boss – former HotelsCombined CEO, Hichame Assi. FinTech Australia appointed Paypa Plane’s Simone Joyce as its new chair.
ANZ cap raises
- ecommerce marketing tech company founded by former Jetstar boss Bruce Buchanan, Rokt raised a whopping US$80 million Series D at a $450 million valuation, led by TDM Growth Partners and supported by existing investors including Square Peg. Part of the raise will be used to buy back shares from employees and investors and $20 million set aside for M&A. Deals deals deals – watch this space.
- Movac announced two Seed investments from their brand spanking new NZ$250 million fund: Yabble is “where brands meet fans” – a consumer data and insights marketplace. Portainer provides tools to simplify container management. Its technology is used by software engineers to speed up software deployments, troubleshoot problems and simplify migrations.
- Online ordering start-up HungryHungry raised AU$2 million. HungryHungry competes against big dawgs UberEats and Deliveroo, whose high fees are angering restauranteurs (they charge 20-35% of an entire order vs HungryHungry’s 5%). They’re currently processing over 60,000 orders per week – up 6x compared to pre-covid levels.
- ecommerce startup Storbie raised NZ$1.5 million to fuel its expansion into Australia. Storbie is NZ’s answer to Shopify but focussed on the Pharmacy, Vet and Optometry verticals.
- Tiliter, a startup whose technology uses computer vision to recognise products without the need for barcodes, has closed a AU$7.5 million Series A led by Investec. Its tech is currently used in 20 Woolworths stores.
- Alternative meat startup V2food raised AU$77 million to expand into China. An interesting strategy considering how revered meat has become in China. That said, V2food has the backing of some big name Asian investors (including Horizons Ventures, Sequoia China, Temasek, along with Australia’s own Main Sequence Ventures) who obviously believe the business has legs in the Asian market.
Around the world (all in USD)
- Short-form mobile-native video platform, Quibi is shutting down just six months after launching, sending nearly $2 billion of investment down the drain. Backers included the Australian Government’s very own Future Fund who invested around $50 million (h/t Alan Tsen – great detective work), alongside big names like Alibaba, Goldman Sachs, Google, JPMorgan, WarnerMedia, MGM and Disney *cough* FOMO *cough*.
Quibi was co-founded by Jeffrey Katzenberg, the former Walt Disney Studios chairman who produced hits like The Little Mermaid (1989) and The Lion King (1994) before co-founding DreamWorks Animation, and Meg Whitman who was famed for her roles at eBay and HP and is now a director of Dropbox and P&G.
Quibi—a portmanteau of “quick bites”—set out to win our eyeballs with highly produced bite-sized content featuring Hollywood celebrities, designed to be viewed on your mobile e.g. Nikki Fre$h featuring Nicole Richie:
There are post-mortems galore circulating at the moment. All we will say is, no market need = the #1 reason startups fail, and being a successful executive in a corporate is very different to executing in the early days of a startup, no matter how much funding you have at your disposal.
- Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez played Among Us on Twitch, drawing in over 430,000 people, making her the third most popular streamer on the site ever.
- As if deep sea data centres weren’t enough, now Microsoft is launching Azure cloud computing into space. In June Amazon also formed a dedicated space business unit. Meanwhile, NASA has appointed Nokia to build a $14.1 million 4G network on the moon.
- Pfizer and IBM researchers claim to have developed a machine learning technique that can predict Alzheimer’s disease years before symptoms develop:
One day, doctors might be able to use speech and blood tests in conjunction with each other, leveraging AI to help them predict the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and laying the groundwork for preventative measures.
- Airbnb revealed a multi-year partnership with famed former Apple designer Jony Ive and his firm LoveFrom, which will see Ive design the next generation of Airbnb products and services. Maybe he will fix Airbnb’s unfortunately shaped logo.
- McAfee (cybersecurity software) and Datto (managed service provider software) listed rather unspectacularly. McAfee shares fell more than 6.5 per cent in their first day of trading. Datto popped 18.5% on opening, but closed right around its IPO price of $27.
- Snap shares jumped 23% in one day after announcing that it beat user growth and revenue forecasts as more people signed up during the coronavirus pandemic.
- Head down memory lane with FastCompany’s compilation of 25 moments in tech that defined the past 25 years (with a big U.S. slant). Remember when we used to have to pay per minute for 56k dial-up? Napster? Angry Birds? They all make the list.
That’s a wrap! We hope you enjoyed it.
Gavin, Bex and the team at Ignition Lane
p.s. We love feedback – if you have any or want to continue the conversation, please reach out.
Watch Gavin live on AusBiz at 2pm on Mondays, when he opens the Startup Hour of Power.