The startup funding round: Fintech frenzy continues, $50 million for cancer biotech, and Stripe’s $122 billion valuation

Skills shortage in tech

This week, we’ve seen startup funding going into businesses at every end of the spectrum — from early-stage and up-an-coming players to global behemoths landing valuations of $100 billion-plus.

QBiotics

Aussie biotech QBiotics is making headway in the fight against cancer, with their product already working on canines — so now they’re working on getting it approved for people as well as pups.

The company secured $50 million to fund clinical trials for its cancer therapy treatment.

Co-founded by former CSIRO scientists Dr Victoria Gordon and Dr Paul Reddell, the 21-year-old business has reportedly brought TDM Growth Partners on board as its first institutional investor.

It also has the backing of a network of high-net-worth individuals, and is looking to raise another $25 million through repeat investment from them.

The treatment uses an active ingredient derived from native Australian plant fontainea picrosperma — commonly known as the blushwood tree — to treat tumours.

The veterinary version of the product already has approval from the US Food and Drug Administration, after successful trials among dogs.

Phase one of human safety trials have been now completed, too.

LAB Group

Melbourne fintech LAB Group has raised $4 million in startup funding from Costa Asset Management (CAM), the family office of the Costa family.

Founded in 2010 by Nick Boudrie and Lyndon Webster, this is the first time the startup has taken on external capital. CAM chief Liza Whitmore has also joined the board of the startup.

The Software-as-a-Service platform offers digitised onboarding services for financial services organisations. Throughout 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic led to an increase in digitisation and a surge in online trading activity, the company saw a 300% uptick in business.

This funding is pegged for doubling down on the Aussie business, while making a push into overseas markets.

“The backing of an investor of the calibre and reach of Costa Asset Management will be hugely supportive as we expand and consolidate our offering in Australia and setup the foundations to expand more globally,” Boudrie said in a statement.

LAB group co-founders Lyndon Webster and Nick Boudrie. Source: supplied.

Hudled

Antler graduate Hudled has reportedly raised $640,000 in startup funding, to grow its tool that is helping other businesses track and optimise their software stack.

The startup is still operating in beta mode, and is scheduled to launch officially next month. But, it has already nabbed a slew of big-name clients, including Employment Hero, Airwallex and Legal Vision.

The funding comes from Black Nova Group, Antler and Sydney Angels, plus a group of angel investors, including MadPaws co-founder Justus Hammer.

The cash will fuel the official launch, and a push into the US market.

Stripe

In international news, fintech giant Stripe has raised US$600 million ($773 million), at a massive valuation of US$95 billion ($122.4 billion).

The global platform will be investing in its European operations, and particularly in its Irish headquarters in Dublin. According to a statement in response to the increase in demand, Stripe said of the 42 countries it is active in, 31 are in Europe.

“Whether in fintech, mobility, retail or SaaS, the growth opportunity for the European digital economy is immense,” Stripe co-founder John Collison said in a statement.

The mammoth funding round follows Stripe’s announcement of an integration with SquareSpace and Afterpay, allowing small business owners to to integrate a buy-now, pay-later offering into their online stores.

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