Ignition Lane Weekly Wrap: M&A mania, Telsa trademarks, African fintech, another SoftBank implosion & NFTs explained


Story by: Gavin Appel & Rebecca Eastwood Startup Daily

Welcome to Ignition Lane's Weekly Wrap, where they break through the noise to bring you their favorite insights from the world of technology and startup. Ignition Lane works with ambitious business leaders to apply the startup mindset to their technology, product and commercialization problems.

This wrap is sent to subscribers for free every Saturday. Don't forget to watch Gavin Appel talk about the week every Monday at 2:00 p.m. on the Startup Daily show on Zusatzbiz. If you miss it, check out the shows of the week here.

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Trade sale lessons from the gurus

There is a lot of M&A news from ANZ this week. Brief statistic: 1/2 of these deals involve a "guru". 3/4 didn't announce a sale price of $ (which forces us to put on our investigative detective hats to find out more). 100% acquired by non-ANZ companies.

Lesson 1: Make them an offer they cannot refuse. A cloud guru is sold to Utah-based human resource development company Pluralsight for more than AU $ 2 billion. Wowowow – a phenomenal achievement when you consider that the startup is only five years old!

A Cloud Guru is an online learning platform for cloud technology (e.g. AWS, Azure, Google Cloud) that was founded from a bedroom by the Melbourne brothers Sam and Ryan Kroonenburg (classic unicorn move). It serves 2.5 million learners and over 4,500 organizations with sales of AU $ 116 million. A fairly simple idea, huge customer demand and extremely well implemented with perfect timing.

The brothers aren't the only big winners from the sale – the company has raised $ 55 million in funding from AirTree Ventures and US Elephant Venture Capital, Summit Partners, and Bain Capital.

Lesson 2: If you can't beat them, join them. PropertyGuru and REA Group merge in Malaysia and Thailand. Square Peg-backed PropertyGuru has agreed to acquire all of REA's operating units in Malaysia and Thailand in exchange for an 18% stake in PropertyGuru. PropertyGuru last raised $ 220 million in KKR and TPG in September 2020. A $ 1 billion SPAC was rumored in March after a last-minute decision not to go public on the ASX in 2019. This deal likely buys additional fuel to fire higher revenue for an even bigger listing on the line.

Lesson 3: Knowing when to hold it (aka bootstrap). Auckland-based ezyVet was sold to the Nasdaq-listed pet company IDEXX Laboratories for an undisclosed amount. According to the NZ Herald, the valuation is over NZ $ 100 million. ezyVet was founded in 2006. Its veterinary practice management software is used by over 50,000 users worldwide. The company, which employs more than 180 people worldwide, is bootstrapping and wholly owned by founder Hadleigh Bognuda. ezyVet is Bognuda's third start-up – he also founded Think Concepts, a software system for pharmacies, and was a co-founder of the boutique ISP provider Vibe Communications.

Lesson 4: Don't stop believing. Stackla is taken over by the Finnish company Nosto for an unspecified total purchase price. Stackla aggregates user-generated content for marketing purposes (social hubs, social e-commerce, live events, competitions, social ads, data vis). It nearly went under in 2019 when Facebook accused it of "scrapping" and banned it from accessing public data generated on Facebook and Instagram. Facebook lifted the ban six weeks later, but significant damage had already been done. Investor Bailador wrote back his investment from AU $ 12.6 million to US $ 0.

In September, Bailador increased the value of its "significant minority investment" to $ 11.5 million, and that valuation remains unchanged as a result of the deal. So no “oversized” return, but not a terrible result either. Rampersand, Alium, Macdoch and Asia Pacific Growth Management are also investors.

Other Australian news

More than a word. Indigital demonstrated how it is taking the lead in bringing indigenous cultural knowledge, history, and language to life in schools through AR, Minecraft, and Python coding.

Harvey Norman canceled himself. Harvey Normal is in a phase of bad PR. The retailer refuses to repay $ 22 million to JobKeeper (earnings rose 116% to $ 462 million in the second half of 2020) and employees protested outside of the store to demand pay increases. #BoycottHarveyNorman started the trend in the tweeter sphere on Sunday night.

And Harvey Norman's Twitter account controller essentially lost the plot, with rude replies and bulk bans on other accounts. They tweeted a kissing emoji in response to a tweet criticizing the mass blockades. And reacted thoughtfully with a face palm + bye emoji to someone who said that working for the company "drove me to suicide in 6 months":

The Twitter account has since been deleted. You are mute.

Above: Footage from our Zoom interview with Gerry 'Yolo' Harvey.

Marks swipe right. Collabosaurus launched a matchmaking app for brand collaboration after 2020 proved to be "The Year Of The Brand Mashup". Customers include Magic Mike, ASOS, The Iconic, Pinterest, Marks & Spencer, and Bondi Sands. Collabosaurus sales have doubled in 2020 and are expected to double again in 2021. Founder Jess Ruhfus has to be one of the toughest young founders in Australia. After struggling to raise capital in the early years, she said she was "financially cornered" to build a better business. She has listened to customers, has remained true to her belief that collaboration is the future and has evolved into a laser focus on ROI. As a result, the business is now profitable and she is ready to take Collabosaurus to the next level.

People move. Xero Trent Innes, General Manager of Australia and Asia, resigns from his role. Xero EGM Global Sales Joseph Lyons was appointed to the position effective July 1, 2021. Former eBay Australia CEO Alison Deans becomes Cochlear as the new chairman. Speaking of eBay: ANZ sales rose by only 2.5% to US $ 62.3 million in 2020 (it rose by 26% in 2019).

SheEO Venture applications are now open. 0% interest loan and coaching support for women entrepreneurs who identify women. How?

Our model brings together hundreds of radically generous women named Activators who each contribute $ 1,100 (or twelve monthly payments of $ 92) for Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United States; or £ 850 (or twelve monthly payments of £ 71) for the UK. This money is pooled and then given in the form of 0% interest 5-year loans to women-run ventures, where the activators help with the selection. When the money is returned to the fund, it is loaned back every year to support more women-run ventures.

LaunchVic has several offers for you, including 6 months of free Zendesk, 50% off Salesforce, and 20% off Zoom.

Increase announcements

Tixel raised $ 1.5 million for its second-hand ticket resale marketplace in Australia.

CloudWave raised $ 2 million for its contact center software.

ListingLoop raised $ 3 million for its pre-market and off-market real estate marketplace.

Driva raised $ 3 million under the direction of Carthona Capital. Driva is an online marketplace for car loans.

The expense check raised $ 4 million and changed its name to Kanopi. Kanopi provides large insurers with data-based insights so that they can offer their customers tailored policies.

Paytron raised $ 4.35 million for its SMB bill payment solution.

Travello raised $ 6.5 million from a range of Travel and Tourism Types. Travello recommends experiences and allows users to book over 40,000 tours, attractions, and activities.

Volt raised $ 15 million and entered into a strategic partnership with AFG.

Telstra Ventures invested in the $ 16 million Series B LambdaTest (under the direction of Sequoia). LambdaTest is a web app test platform founded in India in 2017. Telstra Ventures is now independent from Telstra, but still counts the telecommunications giant as an investor. More on this in the AFR last week:

Telstra Ventures was founded by Telstra in 2011 and can look back on an impressive track record. The 73 investments made resulted in 27 liquidity events (either sale, merger or float), 12 of which reached unicorn status – a valuation of over $ 1 billion ($ 1.3 billion) – and a handful, including US $ 65 billion cyber security giant Crowdstrike, which is worth more than US $ 10 billion.

Tenacious Ventures has closed its $ 35 million Agritech fund with support from Grok Ventures and the CEFC. This appears to be an increase compared to a completely new fund.

Around the world

What kind of Depop? Etsy buys Depop for $ 1.6 billion. If you are over 26 years old and not in e-commerce, you are probably asking if wtf is Depop?

Depop has become the second-hand marketplace for millennials and Generation Z consumers. It has over 21 million stylists, designers, artists, collectors, and sellers, some of whom also reuse vintage clothing and add a handcrafted Esty-style component to certain products. In 2020 Depop had sales of $ 70 million. So for Etsy this is a big bet on the future of thrift fashion and a game to stay relevant with younger customers.

Prosus will acquire Stack Overflow for $ 1.8 billion. Prosus is the international asset holding arm of Naspers of South Africa, the major shareholder of Tencent (earlier this year it sold a 2% stake in Tencent for nearly $ 15 billion). Stack Overflow is a leading Q&A website for programmers founded in 2008. It has 10 million visits a day.

An exciting day! @spolsky called me and let me know. Today's sale of Stack Overflow lets Stack Overflow continue as an independent site – and also marks 61 new millionaires.

– Jeff Atwood (@codinghorror) June 2, 2021

Twitter's dead horse. Twitter introduced its first subscription product, Twitter Blue, initially available in Australia ($ 4.49 / month) and Canada ($ 3 / month). We'd be surprised if someone signs up. The best feature is the ability to undo a tweet within 30 seconds of sending it. Whoopdeu.

1Q2022 results. Asanas sales rose 61% to $ 76.7 million in the April quarter. The revenue forecast has been raised to between $ 336 million and $ 340 million. GAAP operating loss was $ 50 million, or 65% of sales, compared to $ 29.1 million, or 61% of sales, for the first quarter of 2021. Slack continued its steady slowdown in growth continued with revenue growing 36% to $ 273.4 million for the quarter. The GAAP operating loss was $ 55.3 million, or 20.2% of sales.

Masayoshi Son's predilection for mismanagement? After the SoftBank-backed construction company Katerra blows more than $ 2 billion, it closes. Katerra aimed to introduce the "Silicon Valley Approach to Building" by reducing reliance on skilled labor and automating the building process. The company, run by a tech veteran with no construction experience, was plagued by problems overshadowed by shady accounting practices. Katerra is now expected to lay off thousands of employees and leave dozens of construction projects.

Tesla tea. Tesla filed for three new brands covering the categories of restaurant services, pop-up restaurant services, self-service restaurant services, and takeaway restaurant services. Fun fact: Telsa wouldn't be the first car company to venture into restaurants – the Michelin Guide was invented in 1900 by tire brothers Andre and Edouard Michelin to entice people to new restaurants. Stars were introduced in 1926 – one star means “a very good restaurant”, two stars mean “excellent cuisine that is worth a detour” and three stars mean “exceptional cuisine that is worth a special trip”.

Roller skate waiters might come in handy in Port Kembla, NSW …

A couple of Tesla in Auckland harbor.

📷 Mark Kelly pic.twitter.com/JUwgKBfppn

– Richard Hills (@ richardhills777) June 3, 2021

Toyota Ventures plans to invest an additional 300 million US dollars in new technologies and carbon neutrality through two early-stage funds.

African fintech is hot. The cost of shipping $ 200 from Tanzania to Kenya and Uganda can average anywhere from 17-21%. One of the startups working to improve cross-border payments in Africa is Chipper Cash, with over 4 million customers making 80,000 transactions a day. Last June, Chipper raised $ 13.8 million in Series A (Steve Baxters Family Office and TEN13 investment consortium participated). Now, just a year later, the startup has completed a $ 100 million Series C and valued the three-year-old company at over $ 1 billion. From TechCrunch:

Fintech remains the bright spot in African technology investments. In 2020, the sector accounted for more than 25% of the nearly $ 1.5 billion raised by African startups. That number is likely to rise this year as four startups have already raised $ 100 million in rounds: TymeBank in February, Flutterwave in March, and OPay and Chipper Cash in May. All but TymeBank are now valued at over $ 1 billion, and this is the first time Africa has seen two or more billion dollar businesses in a year.

Fintok explains NFTs:

Excellent explanation of an NFT. pic.twitter.com/yri7QdWiDO

– TikTok investors (@TikTokInvestors) June 2, 2021

That's a wrap! We hope you enjoyed it.

Bex, Gavin and the team at Ignition Lane


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Source References: Startup Daily