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Start-up financing continues to slow

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Investors closed their wallets again in August, with Australian startups receiving a total of $225 million in funding across 32 deals.

That’s nearly half the amount announced in August 2021 ($443 million), according to the Cut through company newsletter, and is a sign of an ongoing investment slowdown that has coincided with rate hikes and ongoing economic uncertainty.

According to the newsletter’s author Chris Gillings, the number of big ticket deals has fallen through the floor, but there has been a surge in bridge rounds — the quiet, unsung hero of recessions who don’t normally deserve their own press releases or LinkedIn posts.

“In venture land, a bridging round is a funding round that bridges a startup to the next bigger funding round and they are the most popular to get startup funding since the reversible vest of Patagonia,” Gillings wrote this week.

“The number of bridge rounds is skyrocketing, but their details may never be revealed publicly. Why? Because they tend to be small, at flat or lower valuations than the startup’s previous round, and often funded by previous investors.”

Some of Australia’s biggest names steered clear of startups last month, including AirTree and Square Peg, which were not featured in any of August’s public funding deals.

Still, there were some big winners, such as blockchain-based food supply chain company Lumachain, which raised $28 million, and hydrogen electrolysis company Hysata, which completed its $42 million Series A, including $10 million from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.

Brisbane-based Fintech Biza.io successfully sparked interest in its $7.5 Series A in August, ending five years of bootstrapping.

While no-code software company Sitemate raised $5.2 million in what turned out to be the only big round Blackbird Ventures contributed to in August.

Wednesday’s announcement that Sydney-based semiconductor startup Morse Micro has invested $140 million in a Series B led by Japanese chipmaker MegaChips with support from Main Sequence Ventures and Blackbird.

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