Your 90-second guide to the day in tech

- May 21, 2021 3 MIN READ
Susan Oliver
Susan Oliver, the new chair of the Alison Anderson Fund

Hello and welcome to Friday.

We took a bit of a break from the daily column while away for Intersekt, so here’s what caught our eye in recent days. 


Apple’s known unknowns

A week after Apple claimed it didn’t know its high-profile hire, Antonio Garcia Martinez, had written a New York Times best-selling book that said some rather unsavoury things about women – and canned his job amid an employee uprising, the company now says it doesn’t know if the App Store is profitable.

Say what?

Exec Phil Schiller was giving evidence in Apple’s California court battle with Fortnite creator Epic Games, which launched legal action over the store’s commission costs (up to 30%) to app developers and restrictive terms and conditions.

Schiller said an whether the store makes the company money “doesn’t come up” in internal discussions.

Must be great to run the world’s most valuable business without having to worry about exactly where the massive profits come from. One estimate is that the App Store delivers around 20% of the company’s profit – up to US$12 billion.

Perhaps the Don’t Ask policy has something to do with Epic’s claim that the App Store has a 77.8% operating margin.


Anderson Fund ramps up

LaunchVic $10 million Alice Anderson Fund, which is designed to drive investment in women-led early-stage startups, has announced its investment committee, chaired by Susan Oliver, who is stepping down from Scale Investors after 10 years as Chair and founding member, for this new role.

Tractor Ventures CEO Matt Allen, SBE Australia chair Kerri Lee Sinclair, LaunchVic director Aneetha De Silva, and LaunchVic’s CEO Dr Kate Cornick are also on the fund’s investment committee.

The committee will review and approve applications by investors to the fund when it opens on July 1. 

The Alice Anderson Fund is a commercial sidecar fund, open to local and international Angel Networks, early-stage VCs focused on seed investments and individual investors.


Finder’s keepers

Imagine the value of your pay crashing from month to month because of something Elon Musk tweeted or China decided. Sounds good? Well a job at Finder may be for you.

The comparison site is offering its 350 employees up to 25% of their pay in bitcoin, with co-founder Fred Schebesta,  taking 5% of his salary – perhaps that says something about his appetite for risk as a crypto evangelist – in bitcoin.

The only thing Startup Daily will say about this is if you get paid mid-monthly, consider 2020’s bit coin prices so far: Jan: US$38.4k; Feb $49.1k; Mar $60.1; Apr $62.9k; May $50k.

In the week since your May 15 payday, bitcoin’s lost more than 20% of its value to fall under US$39k. Hopefully you’re not living pay cheque to pay cheque and have an investment strategy for the longer term.


Prospa’s $2bn milestone

ASX-listed small business lender Prospa Group (ASX: PGL) has hit a fresh milestone: lending $2 billion through its fintech platform to SMEs in Australia and New Zealand.

Total originations in April 2021 hit $41.5 million, bouncing back 1331.0% on the prior corresponding period (April ’20: $2.9 million which was COVID impacted). In NZ , it was another monthly originations records for April of A$8.5 million.


NBN users speed up

More than 500,000 households upgraded their NBN plan to a faster speed – 50Mbps or more – in the March quarter, according to the ACCC’s latest Wholesale Market Indicators Report.

The report says nearly 8.3 million broadband services are now connected to the NBN, with 17% of customers at 100Mbps or above.

There were nearly 465,000 fewer ‘Home Fast’ (100Mbps) and 100/40Mbps services in the March quarter, while ‘Home Superfast’ services (250Mbps) increased from 11,136 in December 2020 to almost 490,000 in March 2021. The number of ‘Home Ultrafast’ connections (500-1000Mbps) grew from 9,924 to almost 83,000 in the same period.