Since our last funding round, investors from the private sector and government have kept their eyes peeled as Australia’s most innovative and creative minds bring new products and ideas to life.
About 40 startup teams and innovative projects received more than $10 million in funding during this time.
The federal government awarded 24 innovative STEM projects around the country $3.4 million to transform the sector, BlueChilli’s new SheStarts accelerator gifted its first 10 startups $100,000 each to start, and the University of South Australia injected a trio of student-led startups with more than $130,000.
In addition to this, an online store supporting local businesses, one of the world’s most disruptive startups and a watch to replace your wallet scored more than $6 million in new investment.
DISRUPTIVE MARKETPLACE BANKS $4 MILLION
What they do: GO1 is an online marketplace for workplace training and it was named one of the world’s most disruptive companies by Disrupt 100 this year.
Led by: Co-founder Andrew Barnes.
How much: $1 million in pre-series A funding from the Queensland government’s Business Development Fund. The remaining $3 million comes from new backers Black Sheep Capital, Full Circle Venture Capital, Blue Sky Ventures, Amasia and former Wotif.com chief financial officer Sam Friend, as well as existing investors Tank Stream Ventures, Y Combinator and Shark Tank’s Steve Baxter.
What now: The funding will be used to set up GO1 offices in the US and Europe, drive sales in select countries and develop products.
The startup is planning to increase its global sales team to about 30 people over the next year.
“We are excited that leading US and Australian investors, alongside the state government, share a belief in GO1 and the market opportunity,” Barnes says.
“The future of education and workplace training is rapidly changing, and GO1 is well positioned to lead globally in this space.”
Baxter says backing GO1 again was a “no brainer”.
“GO1 is the perfect example of a startup who absolutely gets it and is poised to grow rapidly all over the world into a leading provider of learning and management platforms,” he says.
ONLINE GROCER BANKS $1.3 MILLION
What they do: YourGrocer is a three-year-old online shopping platform that enables users to support local businesses like greengrocers, bakers and delicatessens.
Led by: Founders Morgan Ranieri and Francisco Trindade.
How much: $1.3 million led by Tank Stream Ventures. Impact-driven Giant Leap, Envato founders Cyan and Collis Ta’eed, DealsDirect co-founder Mike Rosenbaum and Menulog investor Michael Doubinski also participated.
What now: Since 2013, YourGrocer has processed over 80,000 orders for more than 150 local businesses across Melbourne and Sydney.
With strong support from high-profile startup leaders and even Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, YourGrocer is striding ahead on its mission to give small businesses around Australia a fair go.
“Online retail platforms are often seen, I think with some justification, as being a big challenge to small businesses,” Turnbull said in Sydney this month.
“What Morgan and Francisco have done is they have a platform which empowers small businesses.”
Doubinski says YourGrocer allows Australian shoppers to really back their local community.
“They want the freedom to support local business owners, and boycott conglomerates Woolworths and Coles,” says Doubinski.
The ultimate vision for Ranieri and Trindade is to become Australia’s leading pure-play online grocery store.
“I believe we have the right model for it,” Ranieri says.
“With Amazon launching in Australia 2017, we’re going to see a shake-up of the industry. We have the best fresh produce offering, making us well positioned to sustain our growth.”
PAY-AND-GO WATCH BANKS $1 million
What they do: Inamo, one of Stone & Chalk’s founding startups, has launched a wearable tech device that lets people swap their wallets for a watch. The Curl lets users tap-and-go for purchases at stores with Visa PayWave.
Led by: Founder Peter Colbert.
How much: $1 million led by Tempus Partners and Investible.
What now: During the next 18 months, Inamo plans to expand Curl’s functionality to include public transport, building access, festival tickets and gym memberships.
Colbert says he came up with the idea for Curl after going for a coffee after surfing only to realise he had no money to pay.
Curl has now attracted a range of private investors including new ambassador and ironman champion Guy Leech.
“We are building a platform with true utility,” says Colbert.
“The possibilities for how people can use the Curl are virtually unlimited and we see a great opportunity to lead the way in moving people’s wallets to a wearable.”