In news that will shock no CTV reader, July was quiet from a deal announcements perspective. The expected slower pace of funding we've been discussing for months has well and truly kicked in.
There are three major factors at play:
- Deal doing slowed to a responsible pace not seen since the pre-covid era.
- Many completed deals are not being announced publicly.
- All northern hemisphere VCs are at the beach. Must be nice.
One of our all-star panellists on last month's panel highlighted that this slower pace is not all bad: "The relationship between the investor and founder, as people, is incredibly important. And so, when a founder meets an investor, and they only have one day to make a decision, they just won't have time to make the right one". We wholeheartedly agree.
We're excited to launch the Beta version of our simple investor search tool for founders. Our zero-signup, zero-cost, and zero-things-you-don't need platform is powered by Aussie no-code startup Pory, and features Australian investors who've confirmed to CTV that they're still investing in great Aussie startups.
Check out our aptly named "We have dry powder" search tool here.
Where we were this time last year. Sort of.
July was the slowest month of Australian funding announcements since January last year. Announcements is an even more keyword than usual, as we know that many bridging rounds are quietly taking place -- many of which might never hit the public domain.
This month, investors submitted 15 anonymised deals worth more than $100M to CTV. With all company and investor names removed, these were unverifiable, and so we omitted them from our published figures.
The true data nerds amongst us will notice that some of the prior months' total funding has shifted around (mainly downward). This rejig occurred because we've been able to confirm the actual equity component of some of the debt-and-equity deals announced this year.
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After a slow June, Fintech returned to the top of the charts in terms of both total deals and dollars raised. The sector accounted for around a third of both deals and dollars. Otherwise, deals and volume were spread thin across a wide set of sectors.
New South Wales and Victoria accounted for the lion's share of announced deals and capital raised.
The low deal count made hyper granular deals analysis of deal sizes largely immaterial this month. Given the elevated interest in this topic, we'll be pulling out some new analyses on deal sizes in next month's edition.
35 awesome startups 👇
I gotchu covered. Finspo, a digital mortgage broker with heaps of borrower-friendly bells and whistles, raised to add a bunch more and to acquire the loan book of an old-school mortgage lender. Butter Insurance, a young insuretech startup providing seamless, commitment-free coverage for renters and other young cool people, joined the Startmate family along with eleven other Aussie and Kiwi startups. Business insurance startup Upcover, which helps small businesses waste less time filling in insurance applications, raised a seed round led by Antler. And, with a punchy $20M raise, casual platform Sidekicker went steady with job search O.G., who led the round.
That'll teach you. Tutero also received the Startmate booster to build out its suite of K-12 educational products to keep students on track. So did Wriveted, the machine learning-powered chatbot that helps children discover books for themselves, improving literacy rates in the process. InternMatch, which helps uni students and grads get their foot in the door with short-term white-collar jobs, raised a Series A to support their North American and U.K. expansion. Aspen Winter internship, please!
#sportsislife. Human, a personalised healthcare platform founded by ex-Canva product managers, raised the largest ever seed round by an all-female-founded Australian startup. Melbourne sports gambling analytics and engagement platform Cipher Sports Technology raised its Series A to win a share of the newly legal U.S. sports betting market. Also in the Startmate crew, Femmi Co is developing a mobile app that will enable millions of women worldwide to implement and track fitness regimes designed with their menstrual cycle in mind.
Look at me look at me. E-commerce advertising automation platform BlendAI tapped local investors, as did Cloutly, which provides small-to-medium businesses with a suite of reputation management tools. Andromeda, who built a social companion humanoid for aged care, Dexta, whose production and entertainment marketplace connects producers with creative businesses, and SoundSmith, which helps musicians promote their music on social media, all scored slots at Startmate Demo Day. Storipress also joined Startmate whilst raising half a mill from local VCs and high-net-worths to accelerate the expansion of its DIY media publishing platform.
Gimme my money. Futurerent, which advances up to two years of rental income to landlords, raised a sizeable early round from local VCs and strategics to fund national expansion and launch new third-party integrations. Refundid, which currently powers the product returns and refund engine for more than 80 retailers, raised one of the largest seed rounds of 2022. Pearler, which unashamedly helps its customers 'get rich slow' with a diversified buy-and-hold approach to investing, raised a significant seed round from Canadian and local VCs and syndicates. Financial health coach app WeMoney, which helps Aussies pay down their debt, raised to continue gods work.
The front four
Payments fintech Mx51, which equips banks, acquirers, and merchants with the latest payment technology to stay ahead of the game, raised $32.5M in Series B funding to support its global expansion ambitions. The lead backer was none other than a mysteriously unnamed "global fintech investor". Several existing investors also participated, including Mastercard, Acorn Capital, Commencer Capital, and Rampersand. CEO and co-founder Victor Zheng said they expect revenue to double this year. The funds will support expanding their local and international reach and bolstering fraud prevention and data-driven customer insight capabilities.
Overdue payment management platform InDebted closed the financial year with a mixed bag of news. After doubling revenue in FY22, InDebted raised more than $22M, doubling its valuation to $200M. The company, which recently scored the top spot on the AFR's best place to work in tech, unfortunately also cut around 20% of its team just before year-end. Perennial led the recent funding round, with participation from Carthona, MassMutual Ventures, and other scatter of smaller investors. Funds will support expanding the company's R&D headcount, but broader headcount growth will remain tempered for the foreseeable future.
Hivery, a startup that offers AI-driven retail strategy simulation and optimisation solutions tools to retailers, raised $30M in a Series B round led by little-known hedge fund Tiger Global. Existing investors Blackbird, AS1 Partners, and OneVentures also continued their support for the business. The raise will support Hivery's expansion strategy, funding the roll-out of new products, and international expansion into markets beyond Australia and the US.
Biotech startup Infensa Bioscience raised $23M to treat heart attacks with funnel-web spider venom. The University of Queensland spin-out hopes to begin Phase I clinical trials next year, as a heart attack treatment in Queensland. The company has high hopes that venom may be the health super elixir we've been waiting for, and has plans to raise additional funds to support the development of drugs to treat strokes and extend the life of donor hearts.
The share of deals with at least one female founder edged back up in line with the two-year trend, while the share of deals with all-female founders remains higher than we've seen in prior years. The lower deal count this month made stage-based analysis redundant.
Funders from Downunders
This is where we'd usually list the most active investors of the month. As you might have expected, no funds announced multiple deals in July.
Shout out to our good buddies at Startmate for kicking off their newest cohort of 12 up-and-comers. For the first time, most of the startups in this season's cohort are led by female founders.
Did we mention we just launched our "We have dry powder" active investor search tool for founders kicking off their fundraising journey? Check it out -- it's in Beta, so be kind.
– Chris & Sharon