Hope you were able to break away from the desk for some responsible gambling and fun yesterday. And if you're reading this before 7:30 AM, congrats on keeping a lid on it.
A few items before we embark on the penultimate edition of CTV for 2022...
1) More than 650 people tuned in live to Demo Day Flipped. Feedback from founders has been great, and all pitches are now up on YouTube.
Check them out here.
2) The State of Australian Startup Funding returns in February. If you're a fund that wasn't involved last year but would like to join the fun on this edition, drop your contact information here.
3) For the Melbournites. Cut Through Angels throws its first event i a few weeks, and some spectacular partners join us. It's called "Feel Good Fintech" because we're featuring fintech startups who are net-net doing good for the world, and (importantly) the party rooftop we've secured is just plain awesome. Thanks for hosting, Fresh!
You can grab your ticket here.
If you know a Victorian-based startup that fits the brief, please let us know. We have one spot left on the roster. This is not a contest -- no judge's comments, just a feel-good time and a chance to tell your story. Email email@example.com
Alrighty, let's go....
October, the month before the storm?
October funding was marginally higher than September, continuing the funding warm streak. In fact, there were even more confirmed dollars invested in October 2022 than in October 2021. Ignore that stat altogether, though: almost one-third of deals reported last October had no round size attached. There were 87 deals clocked last October, versus 37 recorded last month.
Over the past few years, November and December have been big for funding announcements. That makes the next 60 days ones to watch. If we see months similar to what we've seen since August, we'll end 2022 with a funding figure within 25% of the record hit in 2022. Who would've thunk it?
The champ is back.
The undisputed champion of the mega raise, Airwallex, added to the more than ~$400M Series E it kicked off last year. The international transaction and banking focussed fintech has raised just shy of $1.5B since its 2015 launch. The plan (also the plan post the November '21 Series E tranche) is to take advantage of lower global startup valuations and enter acquisition mode. Our search into Airwallex's acquisition history surfaced just UniCard -- a Hong Kong payments business Airwallex acquired in early 2021.
Pre-commercial launch food tech startup Nourish Ingredients raised a tasty super-sized $45M Series A. The startup, which last raised an $11M Seed in May last year, develops fats and oils that make alternative proteins smell, taste and cook better. The funding will support Nourish's transition out of MVP mode, with the expectation that their tasty fats will start appearing in specialty foods and on-shelf next year.
And shifting from fake foods for humans to real foods for dogs, Lyka raised its Series B to expand its manufacturing capabilities nationwide. The canine chef has tapped investors annually in each of the last three years, including ~$11.5M last year split across two rounds. Lyka has now delivered over 10M meals - and for the more particular pooch, Lyka now offers custom-designed meal plans based on their breed, size, and food restrictions. The founders of Pet Circle and Petbarn joined several local VCs in the round.
Solar technology and manufacturing company Sundrive raised a Series A to help keep Aussie solar tech local. The startup takes advantage of UNSW-developed IP, which replaces silver (expensive) with copper (cheap) in producing solar panel cells. If Sundrive wins, it'll be a triple barrel victory for Australia: Australia built, with Australian IP, using Australian base minerals. A bevvy of local VCs backed the round, alongside ex-PM Turnbull and Canva co-founder Cameron Adams.
Sir, it's time to leave. eBike subscription startup Lug+Carrie landed a bridge round to launch in several new local markets and the US. Kite Magnetics raised its Seed round to continue developing its high-performance electric motors. The motors are lighter, more efficient, and produce less heat, allowing fossil-fuel-free aircraft to fly for longer. And who hates fossil fuels? Millennials hate fossil fuels! Thus it's a good thing that youth travel experience startup Travello raised its Series B. What else do Millennials love?? Electric vehicles! EV rental and finance startup Splend got another boost from local and overseas investors.
Look after yourself and your mate. T-shirt Ventures raised its Series A funding to expand into new markets and grow its two brands: NDIS management platform, Provider Choice, and marketplace connecting participants with service providers, HeyHubble. Banksia Academy raised a Seed round to help scale its virtual training, education and job support hub for women overcoming domestic violence. The married co-Founders of GVDP are heading to the USA following their Seed round. GVDP pairs wearables and beacon technology to transmit information about vulnerable or disabled people to police to reduce the risk of them accidentally being injured or shot on arrival. Shame it's a problem that needs solving.
Look after yourself and your mate. Foodini, which helps diners find restaurants catering to their health and dietary requirements, raised a Pre-Seed from a dinner party's worth of local VCs and angels. Gen Z fitness app Steppen raised a Seed round to double down on its growth in the US and UK. Meanwhile, body composition scanning Evolt 360 startup raised a chunky first round of capital from local instos and high-net-worth investors. And the chillest raises of the month go to medicinal marijuana startup MediCann Health and Psylo, which plans to use the active molecule in magic mushrooms to treat mental illness.
A better way to do it. Work180 raised an early round to shine a light on employers committed to raising work conditions for women. PropHero raised a Seed round from local and overseas VCs. The platform helps property investors prioritise cash flow and price growth over keeping up with the Joneses. Online startup lender Fundabl raised a mix of debt and equity to continue to scale its flexible non-dilutive capital offering. Online curtain superstore DIY Blinds raised a sizable first round to protect us all from that creepy neighbour in our life. Pre-launch carbon offset e-commerce integration Greener raised a Series A round. Date spot finder for the young folk, Urban Swan, raised a Seed round after witnessing 250% month-over-month growth in purchases on the platform. Sign me up for 2x BYO pottery glazing sessions (ad).
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A diversified portfolio.
It was a damn-well-diversified portfolio of startups funded in October. Almost every CTV sector bucket banked a deal. Notably, there were no Web3.0/Crypto deals announced. The Airwallex deal dramatically skewed funded volume in favour of fintech, but it was pleasing to see Climate/Cleantech and Bio/Medtech lead the charge from a deal count perspective.
Not to be outdone, all six states funded deals, with just the territories sitting out the month. Particular shout out to The Good Car Company from Tassy. Founded by three environmental scientists, TGCS is on a mission to get us all driving electric cars, and they're going about it in pretty clever ways.
Separately, if you're a startup ecosystem enabler (or know one) from Tasmania, the ACT or the Northern Territory, please reach out to Chris (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Big deals on hiatus.
October failed to deliver a reversal in the swing against mega deals. Regardless of what you believe about the macroclimate, investor sentiment says that now is not the time to ask for a record-breaking capital kick.
How about that for a pretty perfect pyramid? 👇
Despite a slowdown in activity, core data points at all rounds before Series B are mainly holding up. The median seed deal size for 2022 sits right in line with, or above, 2021 levels. These figures are, in part, being carried by solid numbers Q1. However, it's also likely that cashed-up local investors are just taking their time and being more selective in the investments they make. Many top mid-to-later-stage funds are also dabbling earlier than where they have previously, creating counteracting positive pricing pressure for earlier-stage rounds.
The Lucy Effect.
Just kidding. A glance at the chart to the left, and you'd be forgiven for thinking October had brought the resolution of the unequal funding distribution "issue". Instead, you just see "The Lucy Effect" play out in real time.
Airwallex's co-Founder and President, Lucy Liu, accounted for 69% of the October funding that landed in the hands of female founders. The Lucy Effect is not a new dynamic... Lucy actually accounts for 22% of all startup funding to Australian female founders since the beginning of 2021.
That's it. See you next month for the final CTV of 2022.
– Chris + Sharon.