The startup funding round: Tech preventing heart failure, the Airbnb of street art, and digital ‘twins’ for infrastructure

Neara founder and chief Dan Danilatos (centre), chief product officer Karamvir Singh (left) and chief operating officer Jack Curtis (right). Source: supplied.

It’s been another busy week for Australian startup investors and the businesses they’re backing. We saw Melbourne hospitality tech startup Mr Yum bag $11 million as it expands into the US and the UK, while software startup Octopus Deploy raised a massive $233 million in its first ever equity raise.

Elsewhere, there’s been activity in infrastructure tech, AI enabled property design, and eco-friendly home products. And, the Aussie ‘Airbnb for street art’ has come out of COVID-19 crisis stronger, and is now heading overseas.

Here’s the funding news you might have missed this week.


Utilities infrastructure startup Neara — previously named Power Lines Pro — has secured $7.25 million in Series A funding.

This round was led by Square Peg Capital and also including investment from Skip Capital.

Formerly named Power Lined Pro, the software-as-a-service startup allows utility companies to design, analyse and manage assets such as power lines by creating 3D digital ‘twins’.

The tech allows for safety and risk management and performance monitoring. It can also aid in real-time decision-making and maintenance of services during natural disasters such as storms, bushfires and floods.

Skip Capital founder Kim Jackson noted that the product sits “at the intersection of technology and large-scale utility infrastructure”.

The goal is to “democratise engineering”, founder Daniel Danilatos — who is a former software engineer at Google — said in a statement, so that its partners “can conduct deep infrastructure analysis and make smarter decisions.”


Skip Capital has also led a $6 million funding round into AI-enabled property design startup Archistar.

AirTree Ventures also contributed to the round, having led the startup’s Series A round last year.

Founded by architect Dr. Benjamin Coorey in 2018, Archistar allows architects, property developers and planners to mock up digital 3D designs to ensure buildings comply with height restrictions, while allowing for natural light and ventilation.

The team is also working with the Victorian government to automate planning approvals.

The business has doubled its revenues, year-on-year, since launch. Now, the founder is gearing up to launch in the US and the UK.

Urban Ethos

Eco-friendly household goods retailer Urban Ethos, headed up by father-and-daughter team Michael and Chantel Vidor, has secured $3.8 million in funding from unnamed but purportedly ‘influential’ investors.

The business sources products from sustainable home and kitchen brands, which are available on its online store to purchase individually, in bundles, or through subscription packages.

The raise follows a strong 12 months, which has seen the business grow by about 500%.

Each sale on the site also sees $1 donated to one of three charities. The customer can choose to contribute to removing plastic from the ocean, planting trees or helping restore the Great Barrier Reef.

“We were sick of seeing so much toxic waste and exploitation of resources,” Michael Vidor said in a statement.

“We felt offering consumers eco alternatives for everyday household consumables with the highest possible eco certifications was long overdue.”

ESN Cleer

ESN Cleer, a medtech startup that produces a saliva test kit for detecting early stages of heart failure, has raised $650,000 through a VentureCrowd equity crowdfunding campaign, plus an additional $50,000 in direct investment.

Some 28 backers came on board during the campaign, investing an average of just over $23,200 apiece.

The cash injection comes as the startup gears up to roll its product out across the country.

“With protected IP sitting behind the technology and pre-sales for our devices due to launch in the coming months, we anticipate [the funding] will support us to achieve a strong return on investment over the course of the next two years,” co-founder and chief Leo de Bruin said in a statement.

This was not the medtech’s first rodeo.

In November last year, the startup closed a $180,000 equity crowdfunding campaign through rival equity crowdfunding platform Birchal.

Book An Artist

The Aussie ‘Airbnb of artists’ Book An Artist has raised $400,000 in seed funding, led by early-stage investment firm Skalata Ventures, and also including the US VC Hustle fund.

Book An Artist is a marketplace pairing businesses and individuals with local street artists, allowing those artists to secure and manage commissions.

The funding follows something of a tumultuous year for the startup, but one that ultimately led to growth.

As Melbourne was plunged into its second COVID-19 lockdown last year, Book An Artist founder and chief Gaurav Kawar quickly shifted his focus to invest in marketing in Sydney, Brisbane and Perth.

The focus also shifted from the hospitality sector to construction and even wallpaper design.

Now, the business has crossed the milestone of $1 million in commissions, and expanded to the UK.


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