The startup funding round: Aconex co-founders shell out, e-commerce boom pays off and data makes the world go round

Smrtr co-founders Boris Guennewig Georgie Brooke. Source: supplied.

It’s been another big week in startupland. More capital is flowing into fintechs, but we’re also seeing cash for construction tech, data analysis, e-commerce and education tech.

Here’s who’s been raking it in:

OpenMarkets Group

Wholesale trade management platform OpenMarkets Group has become the latest Aussie fintech to secure a sizable investment, raising $10 million in funding.

The tech company provides the underlying infrastructure that allows businesses like Superhero and Stockspot to offer retail share trading to their own customers.

This latest capital will be used for investment in marketing and technology, and to build out additional products and solutions, as the startup gears up to go public on the ASX.

“Financial markets have experienced a massive injection of energy and capital flows in recent years, especially with the influx of online traders who want rapid access to markets via digital and more affordable channels,” chief executive Ivan Tchourilov said in a statement.

In Australia, it’s OpenMarkets Group’s efforts to disrupt the industry and lower the cost base that have made this possible, he added.

Mastt

This construction tech startup has secured $2.2 million in funding, including repeat support from the kings of construction startups themselves — Aconex co-founders Leigh Jasper and Rob Phillpot.

The round was co-led by Artesian and Significant Capital Ventures, and also included contributions from Investible and Bob Hennessy, former chief innovation officer of Lendlease.

Mastt provides a SaaS platform offering project owners more transparency across various projects, helping them make quick decisions without blowing out timings and cost.

“Thanks to the success of Aconex, there’s a global appetite for Australian innovation in construction technology,” co-founder Doug Vincent said in a statement.

The business is “well-placed” to follow in Aconex’s footsteps, he added, starting by taking the tech overseas.

Mastt co-founders Doug Vincent and Jamie Cerexhe. Source: supplied.

Smrtr

Data and analytics startup smrtr has secured $2.5 million in investment from one of its clients — property development company Stockland.

Smrtr’s Data as a Service product is designed to help businesses commercialise data and ultimately make better decisions. This funding is intended to help it increase its data assets and expand its customer offerings.

“Data is usually created and made available in silos, meaning users only get a single view of the world,” co-founder Georgie Brooke said.

“However the true picture only emerges from connecting several different views which is what smrtr is able to offer.”

The Nile Group

Online retailer The Nile Group has also secured $2.5 million in funding, following growth of 34.9% year-on-year, thanks to the COVID-19 online shopping boom.

The business has also hired Peter James, chair of several ASX-listed companies and experienced tech chief, as chairman.

“The retailers who will thrive in coming years are therefore not those who passively ‘got lucky’ when COVID-19 hit,” co-founder and chief Jethro Marks said in a statement.

“It will be the retailers with proactive strategies and foresight into market trends, both macroeconomic and at a product level, who will build long-term value for shareholders and customers.”

Preply

In international news, edtech startup Preply has raised US$35 million ($45 million), as it doubles down on its global growth — including in Australia.

The platform now connects some 40,000 language tutors to hundreds of thousands of students in 180 countries.

The Series B round follows a four-fold increase in revenue over the past 12 months.

Now, the team will be investing in new hires, improving support systems and building out the B2B business, which co-founder and chief executive Kirill Bigai believes will play a bigger role in revenue generation in the future.

Preply co-founders Serge Lukianov, Kirill Bigai and Dmytro Voloshyn. Source: supplied.

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