The startup funding round: NFTs in your cereal box, $1.5 million for high-tech ticketing, and an SME banking solution

funding round

Paytron co-founders Jaco Veldsman and Francois Henrion. Source: supplied.

It’s been a news week dominated by yet another COVID-19 lockdown in Victoria, but there’s also been a huge amount of startup funding on the move.

Travello bagged $6.5 million as it ramps its travel tech offering back up again, and the founders behind hemp-based skincare brand Hey Bud secured $2 million to take their e-commerce business to the next level.

We’ve also seen money coming back into the neobank sector, with Volt securing $15 million and a strategic partnership with AFG. And Tenacious Ventures has closed its $35 million fund for investment in agritech startups.

But beyond all of that, we still have a bumper list of startup funding news left over, including more activity in SME-focused fintech, a ticketing startup getting ready for a resurgence in live events, a cereal business raising funds to boost its NFT activity and a whopping international raise for an e-commerce security business.

So without further ado, here are some of the stories you might have missed.

Paytron

Sydney fintech Paytron has launched its cloud-based finance solution for small businesses, off the back of a $4.3 million raise.

Headed up by finance veterans Francois Henrion and Jaco Veldsman, the startup is intended to help small businesses manage their payments more efficiently, integrating directly with Xero to automatically approve, manage and pay bills in multiple currencies.

The launch comes after several months of developing and refining the product, Veldsman said in a statement.

“During the crisis, we witnessed how inefficient the world of business payments still is,” he explained.

“Large companies solve inefficiencies by throwing people at the problem, but this is unnecessary and not feasible for smaller companies.”

Paytron is intended to “level the playing field,” he added.

“Removing these hurdles allows small business owners or their bookkeepers to focus on value-adding, rather than data re-entry,” he added.

Kanopi 

Aussie insurtech startup Expense Check has raised $4 million and rebranded to become Kanopi, ahead of a push into the North American market.

Founded in 2016, Kanopi is a digital platform that offers data-based insights to major insurers, so they can offer more tailored policies to their customers.

The round was led by Hollard Insurance Company, and will also fuel a hiring spree ahead of the global expansion.

“Our new brand identity, combined with this raise, ensures a stronger foundation for us moving forward,” Kanopi founder and chief Nigel Fellowes-Freeman said in a statement.

Listing Loop

Proptech startup Listing Loop has secured $3 million as it gears up an acceleration in growth.

Founded in 2019, the startup offers property buyers access to pre-market and off-market properties that have not yet been advertised through traditional channels.

The raise included backing from Michael Locaso, founder of investment and advisory firm LP7, who has also taken on the role of chief operating officer at the startup.

In a statement, Listing Loop co-founder and chief executive Rhett Dallwitz said the funding will allow the team to accelerate its growth throughout Australia while also developing the tech and AI features behind the product.

“Each investor is as committed as we are to innovation and shaking up how real estate advertising is done in Australia,” he said.

Driva 

Online car marketplace Driva has reportedly raised $3 million in a seed funding round led by Carthona Capital.

The raise also included backing from Credible founder Stephen Dash and Spresbox co-founder Nicolas Scudamore-Smith.

Headed up by co-founders Scott Montarello, a former McKinsey consultant, and Will Brown, a former Goldman Sachs analyst, Drive differentiates itself by offering individual loan rates to each user.

“This sounds pretty straightforward, but on the back-end, it’s a whole series of complex lender credit policies and pricing criteria that we’ve had to price in,” Montarello reportedly said.

Tixel

Ticketing marketplace Tixel has secured $1.5 million in funding, to scale its platform in ahead of an influx of re-sold tickets, post-pandemic.

Tixel is designed to offer a safe platform for tickets to gigs and festivals to change hands ahead of the event. About 30% of all tickets will be re-sold, a statement on the raise suggested. But, with few secure routes to re-sale available, this often leads to fraud, or simply a lack of clarity around who is actually attending.

In a statement, co-founder and chief Zac Leigh said he is “incredibly grateful” to have been able to weather the storm of COVID-19, which has decimated the live entertainment industry.

“We’re feeling optimistic about the steep uptick in demand we’re seeing on Tixel from fans wanting to see their favourite musicians, artists, comedians, and sports stars,” he explained.

“Our investment partners share this optimism and know that a safe and honest place for fans to buy and to resell tickets is a critical need.”

Alt Saints

Design-led and eco-conscious foods company Alt Saints has raised just shy of $188,000 through its second equity crowdfunding campaign.

The Birchal campaign saw 200 investors back the business, surpassing the minimum target of $150,000.

Headed up by founder and chief Charbel Zeater, Alt Saints is a cereal company with a focus on design and tech, as well as sustainability, donating 1% of all revenues to environmental organisations.

The business strives to produce high-quality foods, while also putting an emphasis on characters, storytelling and content. Part of its mission is to replace promotional plastic toy collectables with high-tech non-fungible tokens instead.

Now the business will invest in creating an NFT marketplace, while also gearing up for national distribution, and working on new collaborations.

“We’re making some waves in the food game,” Zeater said in a promotional video.

Forter

In international news, Israeli-founded and New York-headquartered e-commerce fraud protection business Forter has closed a whopping US$3 million ($3.9 million) Series F funding, after doubling revenues over the past 12 months.

The raise comes just six months after Forter closed its $125 million Series E round, and almost triples the company’s valuation, bringing it to $3 billion.

As e-commerce activity has soared throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Forter has doubled the size of its global network of merchants, and more than tripled its headcount in the APAC region.

“We have set a new standard for trust in commerce,” co-founder and chief Michael Reitblat said in a statement.

“The funding will enable us to accelerate our growth trajectory by investing in talent, technology and continued global expansion.”

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