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Tuesday, February 7, 2023

The Ignition Lane Wrap: Sunrise. Demise. No more pies.

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Welcome to Ignition trajectory’s Tech Wrap, where they cut through the noise to bring you their favorite insights from the tech and startup world.

Ignition Lane works with aspiring business leaders to apply the Startup Mindset to their technology, product and commercialization problems.

This wrap goes out free for subscribers. Don’t forget you can see Gavin Appel every two weeks on the Startup Daily show ausbiz Monday at 2 p.m. If you miss it, you can check out the shows of the week here.

Here’s their review of all the big news in tech.

Local news

Record increases. Blackbird announced an increase of a whopping A$1 billion – Australia’s largest VC increase to date. Square Peg raised $550 million for its fifth fund. VC Sprint Ventures closed A$8 million for his second fund. SecondQuarter raised A$83 million for its second secondary fund (which allows investors, founders and employees to sell shares before an exit or IPO).

Sunrise. ICYMI, the big theme at sunrise 2022 (one of the best conferences in startup land) was all about preparing for a slower economy and expensive capital:

  • Make sure the financial plans for FY23 & 24 include a recession scenario.
  • Many will find it difficult to increase through 2023 and beyond. Some will need to consider alternative capital options, less founder-friendly terms and early exit strategies.
    Related: one guide of A16Z on how to evaluate and decide the best financing option for your startup.
  • Record amounts of capital may be available, but VCs will have to make tough decisions about the companies they continue to support in 2023/24 as many will not experience stellar growth.
  • Despite all this doom and gloom, there is fierce industry-wide optimism for the future. But not everyone is sold on Web3 just yet.

$250 million capsize. The ASX has (finally) exited a 7-year, $250 million project to upgrade its clearing and settlement system to a blockchain-based platform, after an Accenture review found “major flaws in the design of the software developed by a company in which ASX has a stake, and questions its ability to ever launch. A classic case of business IT project problems + sunk cost misconception perhaps?

No more pies. Blaming a highly competitive, challenging market, Deliver voluntary administration introduced in Australia. Menu log abolished jobs at the Sydney headquarters. In the meantime, ByDash decided for some reason that it’s a good idea to expand into instant grocery delivery. This comes as Sydney-based Full shop closedand global grocery giants Instacart, Gorillas, Getir and Zapp cut staff and reduce operations.

Crypto Gig. ASIC has filed a lawsuit against two crypto companies, Block Earner (offers fixed returns for crypto) and BPS Financial (issued Qoin tokens, a digital wallet and exchange), claiming they should have had a financial services license to offer their crypto products. Expect regulation to increase, especially after the recent crypto-related meltdowns.

The Adventures of Tin200. The annual NZ Technology Investment Network (TIN) report is out. The report benchmarks* the performance of what it categorizes as NZ’s 200 largest globally focused technology companies. It found:

  • Tech generated total revenues of NZ$15.1 billion in FY22, up 9% (NZ$1.247 billion) year on year. Tech, accounting for 14% of total export earnings in FY22, is NZ’s second largest export earner after dairy.
  • 31 companies posted sales of more than NZ$100 million, including four companies that surpassed NZ$1 billion (F&P Healthcare, F&P Appliances, Datacom and Xero).
  • The number of jobs within TIN200 companies grew by almost 11% (+6,148) to 62,718 jobs, with the average salary of an employee being $89,711 (+$699).

*New investor Rowan Simpson questions TIN’s data collection and reporting.

$500 million club. ELMO (HR & payroll) and Nitro (PDF Tools) each received a takeover offer of nearly A$500 million from North American companies. The boards of directors of both ASX-listed companies have recommended that shareholders accept the offer. If successful, ELMO will be acquired by K1 Investment and Nitro by Alludo (owned by KKR). Esports hedge fund PAC Capital acquired clear water Portfolio management, growing assets under management to $500 million.

This month’s collection trend: green technology

The Clean Energy Finance Corporation will administer a new one Sub-fund of $500 million on behalf of the federal government to market and scale technologies designed to reduce emissions.

Samsara Ecowho made a plastic-eating enzyme, Raised $54 million to build its first plastics recycling facility in Melbourne. It also won two awards at the second annual InnovationAus Awards this month, including the Australian Hero and Energy & Renewables trophies.

Uluu raised $8 million to create a plastic seaweed replacement.

To feed Raised $45 million to develop animal-free fats and oils to flavor plant-based foods.

SunDrive Raised $21 million to produce the world’s most efficient solar cells, replacing silver elements in solar cells with cheaper copper.

Greener Raised $4 million to help customers find greener brands and offset the carbon emissions of their purchases.

Kite Magnetics Raised $1.85 million to halve the size and weight of electric motors by 2030. The main use case for its technology is in aviation.

Amber Electric Raised $13.5 million to further develop its automation software that enables customers to automatically charge solar batteries and EV devices when electricity prices are low and feed power back to the grid when prices are high.

Climate Salad Received LaunchVic funding to set up a team in Melbourne and run a Global Impact Incubator for Victorian style climate start-ups.

Big technology. Big fraud. Big news.

Waste container. Nearly 30,000 Australians are implicated in the collapse of FTX, once the world’s second-largest $32 billion crypto exchange. ftx went bankrupt “with only $900 million in readily marketable assets against $9 billion in liabilities the day before it collapsed.” This is reported by the lawyer of FTX, a “significant amount of assets have either been stolen or are missing.” The fallout quickly swept across the crypto markets:

  • The price of Bitcoin fell to its lowest level in two years: $15,480. It is now sitting back above $16k.
  • Coinbase’s market cap fell below $10 billion. At this time last year, it was more than $70 billion.
  • Cronos (Crypto.com’s exchange token) lost about $1 billion in value. Following the crypto mismanagement story, Crypto.com mistakenly sent $400 million worth of Ethererum to another exchange.
  • Large crypto brokerage Genesis reportedly warned investors that it could go bankrupt without additional financing.

Talk about fraud. Elizabeth Holmes, the founder and former CEO of Theranos, was sentenced to 11.25 years in prison for defrauding investors in her failed blood test start-up.

Because the real world isn’t enough drama. Rumor has it that Apple to start producing a mixed reality headset next year with a hefty price tag of $1,000. Meta continues deposit billions in its VR and metaverse projects, despite cutting 11,000 jobs worldwide.

Bye Alexa. Amazon is hollowing out the team behind Alexa. The voice assistant costs Amazon billions a year, and user and developer involvement beyond simple use cases (set timers, ask the weather, play music) is limited.

End of an era. The once great note taking app Evernote has been sold to an Italian app developer.

Chief Twit. We are not going to repeat everything mayhem on Twitter. Instead, here’s our unsolicited opinion: Twitter needed a shake-up. Elon has an incredible track record of relentlessly getting teams to deliver commercial and technical performance at a dizzying pace. Send him back to turn the ship around? Yes. Do we agree with his management style and would we like to work for him? No. Are we worried about his? conflict of interest? And the danger he poses with so much control and influence? Secure.

For now, Twitter is a huge experiment. Can a sluggish incumbent become a startup again, and if so, at what cost? Is it possible to act quickly (very publicly) and break things to scale, without completely break the beast or alienate your customers? Can you price new products based on negotiating with a billionaire author??

Image

Daily use can take a all times highbut only time will tell if Elon will succeed in the long run.

It’s a wrap! We hope you enjoyed it.

Bex, Gavin and the team at Ignition Lane

Watch Gav chat about all things technology with Startup Daily Monday at 2 p.m.!


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