The startup funding round: NZ startup heads Down Under, legal tech goes global and $475 million for electric aircraft

Hnry CTO Lynn Hamilton, head of Australia Karan Anand and co-founders James Fuller and Claire Fuller. Source: supplied.

Stake may have dominated the tech news pages this week with its whopping $40 million funding raise, but between digital wills, legal tech and electric flying vehicles, there’s been plenty more going on.

This week’s funding round features Hnry, a New Zealand startup doubling down on its play in the Aussie market, and Josef, a home grown entity that’s setting its sights overseas.

And, we look at the latest investment from Amazon’s Climate Pledge Fund, which could see synthetic organs being shipped around in electric, eco-friendly aircraft.

Here are some of the funding stories you may have missed:

Hnry

Kiwi fintech Hnry has raised $4.1 million to fuel further expansion into Australia.

Headed up by co-founders James Fuller, Claire Fuller and Richard Freestone, Hnry offers a financial admin platform for contractors, sole-traders, freelancers and gig-economy workers, allowing them to manage invoicing, expenses, taxes and payments in one spot.

Since launching in Australia last year, the startup has seen its user base increase 30% month-on-month, as the COVID-19 pandemic saw more people becoming self-employed.

Now, Hnry is also building out its team, hiring Karan Anand into the new role of head of Australia, and bringing in Lynn Hamilton, previously head of engineering at Xero, as chief technology officer.

The round is led by Equity Venture Partners, which also led its $2 million raise back in 2019.

“Having worked with the Hnry team for the last two years, we have observed first-hand the significant value of their solution within the Australian market,” EVP partner Justin Lipman said in a statement.

“At EVP we focus on investing in technology companies with vast market opportunities that can change how industries and large sectors of society operate,” he added.

“Hnry is helping thousands of customers within the burgeoning independent earner market.”

Josef

Aussie legal-tech platform Josef has raised $2.5 million as it gears up to revolutionise the law on an international scale.

Founded by lawyers Tom Dreyfus and Sam Flynn, along with engineer Kirill Kliavan, Josef is a software-as-a-service product allowing lawyers to automate certain tasks and make their own services more accessible, efficient and — crucially — affordable.

Josef

Josef co-founders Kirill Kliavin, Sam Flynn and Tom Dreyfus. Source: supplied

“Legal help is inaccessible. Most people can’t afford it, and those who can find it opaque and inconvenient. We set out to solve this problem by empowering lawyers to change the way they work,” Flynn said in a statement.

The round was led by Carthona Capital, and also included investment from US-based The LegalTech Fund. It’s set to fuel growth of Josef’s overseas business, building on its presence in Europe and North America.

It follows a $1 million raise back in 2019. Since then, the team has onboarded major law firms including Clayton Utz and Herbert Smith Freehills as clients, as well as the in-house legal teams of L’Oreal and recruitment agency Randstad.

Beta Technologies

In a fun bit of international funding news, Beta Technologies has raised US$368 million ($473 million) to accelerate the development of its electric aircraft.

The Series A raise was led by Fidelity, but included investment from Amazon’s Climate Pledge Fund as well as aviation-specific investor Redbird Capital.

It comes shortly after the business received the first ‘airworthiness approval’ for an electric aircraft, from the US Air Force, in what a statement says in a big step towards full Federal Aviation Administration approval.

Beta’s flagship electric aircraft is its Alia model, a vertical craft that can carry up to 680kg of cargo, or up to six people.

Beta Technologies’ Alia electric aircraft. Source: supplied

Already, the startup is forging partnerships with the likes of logistics giant UPS and the US Air Force, as well as with an urban mobility company and a medical transport business, which will use Alia to transport synthetic organs for human transplants.

Kyle Clark, founder and chief of Beta, said he is “gratified” to receive such a hefty investment from a diverse group of backers.

“These funds allow us to continue hiring the best talent, meet aggressive certification milestones, ramp up production of Alia and accelerate the rollout of an extensive high-speed universal charging infrastructure.”

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