Ignition Lane’s Weekly Wrap: The 2021 Great Wrap


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 goes out to subscribers every Saturday for free. Usually it's a throwback to the week in tech, but as of the end of 2021, here are the highlights of the year that was

The wrap of wraps

Our annual pack with weekly packs

2021 was a year for new records! In Australia we saw:

Biggest M&A deal: Afterpay closed a deal to be taken over by Block (fka Square) for $ 39 billion.
The highest rating for a software company: Canva raised $ 278 million at a value of $ 55 billion just 8 years after it was founded, putting its founders Melanie Perkins and Cliff Obrecht in the top 10 of the wealthy list. The last time we heard was that Canva is on track to have $ 1 billion in annual sales this year.
Most VC Money Ever Deployed: The list of ANZ startups funded every week is getting longer. In Australia alone, over $ 8.5 billion has been provided by local and global VCs. Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) made his first Australian investment (Pyn). Tiger, Accel, Sequoia, Level Equity and Insight were also busy bees Down Under. The spectrum of supported industries and startups is also expanding – quantum, space travel, food, health / biotechnology, agriculture, green energy, crypto, DeFi. 2022 will get even bigger, especially when the Australian's three big VCs – Blackbird, Square Peg and AirTree – raise their next funds (estimated to be over $ 2 billion).
Aussie startups deliver world firsts: Skedulo helped plan millions of appointments for Covid vaccines. Swoop Aero delivered the first malaria vaccine. Fleet launched a tiny, powerful nanosatellite into space.

What else? (Apologies in advance to everyone else we may have missed below)

The Rise of the Growth Round and Several New Australian Unicorns: SimPRO $ 485 million, ROKT $ 458 million, Airwallex $ 557 million (three rounds over the year), Canva $ 278 million, Octopus Deploy 221 $ Million, ScalaPay $ 210 million, Go1 $ 273 million, Employment Hero $ 140 million, Culture Amp $ 135 million, Harrison.ai $ 129 million, Till Payments $ 110 million, Skedulo $ 100 million , SiteMinder $ 100M, Safety Culture $ 95M, Athena Home Loans $ 90M … too many to name.
Talent Wars: While all companies are leaving in Great Resignation, Canva, Airwallex, Xero, all tech-cos are eating up startup talent to further stimulate growth. It's a great time to be around a developer / designer / product manager / someone with technical experience. In the meantime, Startmate and the Tech Council are working hard to address this talent shortage.
Exits galore; IPOs were hot (not now): Monster Acquisitions for A Cloud Guru $ 2 billion, MessageMedia $ 1.7 billion, Sequent $ 1.45 billion, Invoice2go $ 850 million, Vend $ 450 million and many strategic M&A, e.g. Dixa and Elevio. The IPO and SPAC hunt continued: Siteminder, Airtasker, MadPaws, Allbirds, Rocket Labs. However, we are now seeing business fatigue with many delayed or canceled IPOs: Vinomofo, CompareClub, HealthEngine, MySale, Marketplacer (acquired last week), and SocietyOne (acquired this week – see below).
More financing options for founders, aka everyone wants a piece of the start-up pie: The supply of VCs, Angels and non-VC options has exploded. Income-based financing and venture debt are now in full effect: Tractor Ventures, Lighter Capital, PFG, OneVentures, and even BNZ. SecondQuarter closed $ 51 million for Australia's first secondary fund, offering founders and early investors the opportunity to cash out early rather than forcing an exit. We've seen tons of new funds raised at breakneck speed: AfterWork, Jelix, Touch, Skip, Folklore, Investible, Giant Leap, King River, Icehouse, Climate VC Fund, Our Innovation Fund, Tenacious, Main Sequence, to name a few to call. Current founders are spreading their angel wings and are starting to actively invest in other startups, e.g. founders of Who Gives a Crap, Practice Ignition. In addition, private equity continues to strengthen its startup game.
A handful of women promoted to General Partner (aka Check Writer): Rachel Yang (Giant Leap), Elicia McDonald and Jackie Vullinghs (AirTree), Chelsea Newell and Samar Mcheileh (Co-CEOs at Scale ). Rachael Neumann and Kylie Frazer, who paved their own way to becoming General Partners, founded Flying Fox, and Kate Vale and Marisa Warren founded ALIAVIA Ventures.

All over the world

Web3: We touched on this last week so we don't go into the details, but some overwhelming statistics: A decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) raised $ 47 million from people around the world in just a few days to buy the US Constitution. Over $ 13.7 billion worth of NFTs were traded on OpenSea this year. The world's first bitcoin ETF hit the markets and exceeded $ 1 billion in fortune in just two days. Blockchain and crypto have become a cornerstone of a16z's multi-billion dollar investment strategy, with deals up 7x compared to 2020.
On and off again: Clubhouse. SPACs. IPOs. The Bitcoin Price. Chinese public technology reviews. Zoom – oh, we mustn't forget the cat filter process:
Lawyer: “I'm here live. I'm not a cat "
Richter:" I can see that "

Creator Economy: Twitter, Spotify and TikTok are just a few of them releasing new products this year for creators to make money. Huge reviews for Patreon, Clubhouse, MasterClass, Substack, Cameo, Roblox and OnlyFans.
Chip Shortage: The chip shortage was still causing chaos in supply chains around the world, but from 2020 to 2021 … and beyond. The shortage has impacted industries from automotive to game consoles and network equipment to medical equipment.
Big Tech is getting bigger: Apple's market cap is approaching $ 3 trillion, Microsoft was worth more than Apple for a hot minute, Tesla hit $ 1 trillion, Google hit $ 2 trillion.
Elon Musk: Elon Musk is TIME's Person of the Year 2021. Love him or hate him, he makes an impact – we've stopped counting the number of times he trolled Twitter or sent stock and crypto quotes to the moon. And he seems to be able to quickly build companies that deliver visionary new products. SpaceX launched the very first mission into orbit with tourists and without professional astronauts. Teslas conquered the streets of Melbourne and Musk became the richest person in the world, not least because of his share price.

Elon Musk is a bullshitter who delivers. This breaks the pattern of many people in both directions.

– Benedict Evans (@benedictevans) February 8, 2021

There you have it – a year in technology. A wild ride!

Local deals & bargains this week

MoneyMe takes over SocietyOne. We expected SocietyOne to go public at some point, but instead it will be acquired by MoneyMe, which is listed on the ASX and brings together two of the biggest names in personal credit. Rumor has it that the deal valued SocietyOne at $ 132 million, allowing the two groups to combine resources and sales.

Spotify acquires Whooshkaa. Another podcast tech deal for Spotify: Whooshkaa is a Sydney-based all-in-one platform for hosting, managing, distributing, promoting, monetizing and measuring podcasts. However, Spotify is most interested in Whooshkaa's proprietary technology that enables radio stations to easily convert their existing audio content into on-demand podcast programming. A lot of money can be made with podcasts.

RapidPay takes over QuickaPay. RapidPay provides online payment solutions for legal practitioners, QuickaPay is a BNPL = BNPL for the legal industry.

ConX was taken over by Houzz. ConX is a Sydney-based construction technology start-up that assists contractors in estimating bids. Houzz is a Palo Alto-based home renovation and design platform. The acquisition of ConX helps fulfill the most requested function of the Houzz platform: launches. The tool enables contractors to create construction plans on screen and convert them into professional estimates up to 10x faster.

Kogan sold the domain name bitbuy.com to Bitbuy's parent company, First Ledger, a Canadian cryptocurrency trading platform to be established in Australia. Kogan will receive $ 1.5 million in cash and a warrant that can be triggered within one year of the transfer that entitles it to approximately $ 2.8 million in equity (and thus some crypto exposure) or cash .

Round up the local raise

Rokt raised $ 325 million (A $ 458 million) under the leadership of Tiger Global and valued the company at $ 1.95 billion, making it the third most valuable Australian private technology company. Founded in Australia in 2012, Rokt is an ecommerce tech platform helping brands grow order value, drive engagement and make money from affiliate links. If you've ever made a purchase and been greeted with a pop-up ad offer, it's likely Rokt's technology. Working with more than 3,000 brands worldwide, including Live Nation, Groupon, Vistaprint and Ticketmaster, Rokt expects to close the year with sales of $ 230 million. Founder and CEO Bruce Buchanan describes an enviable process of exaltation:

"It was a two-week process, we selected the three best players who had gone deep [on the business]."

Inventia Life Science raised $ 35 million under the direction of Blackbird. Inventia creates advanced 3D cell cultures for research and clinical use. Co-founder and CEO Dr. Julio Ribeiro:

“New drugs [can] are tested in a cellular 3D environment and eliminated if necessary long before they reach the clinical trial stage… Similarly, cancer researchers can now work on a scale with cell models that mimic the human body almost exactly and deliver research results that are more accurate and predictable than ever before. "

DiviPay raised $ 20 million for its all-in-one spend management and SMB spending solutions.

The Trovio Group raised $ 20 million under the direction of Ellerston Capital, Sun Hung Kai Strategic Capital, and Amherst Holdings. The group is an amalgamation of Sydney-based digital asset manager and advisor TCM and technology developer Trovio and will provide asset management (with an emphasis on decentralized financial protocols), advice (crypto-tech investments and operations), and licensing (tokenization technology).

Whip Around raised $ 14 million under the direction of the Punakaiki Fund (NZ) and Amplo, Texas. Whip Around aims to replace the paper-based fleet inspection process with a digital one that will make it easier to track progress over time, hold employees accountable, and predict future maintenance needs.

VOLY raised $ 18 million from Sequoia India for its online grocery offering, which expanded to 42 suburbs across Sydney.

CT4 raised $ 12.5 million. CT4, formerly known as Canopy Tools, offers a range of products: Australia's first private cloud, an IoT data collection and control platform, and a Microsoft 365 backup automation tool. In 2021 the company had sales of US $ 21.1 million.

Provectus algae collected 11.4 million . Provectus Algae produces novel types of microalgae that can be used in a number of products, including food colors, flavors, crop protection and feed supplements, and medicines.

Haventec raised $ 11 million and began expanding into the US market after seeing strong demand for its passwordless authentication and data storage solutions.

Complexica raised $ 11 million to develop software and IoT products for ports.

Atomi raised $ 9 million led by our innovation fund. Atomi is an online teaching and learning platform that offers video lessons, interactive quiz questions and AI-supported repetitions.

6clicks has raised $ 5 million for its risk and compliance operating system.

Replica Studios raised $ 5 million . Replica Studios naturally uses AI to create expressive voice-overs that game developers and animators can adapt and write – "You have to hear it to believe it."

ProForm Foods raised an undisclosed sum (rumors say $ 5 million) from Andrew Forrest's family business, Harvest Road, for its plant-based meat products.

Dataro raised $ 2.5 million under the direction of Basis Set Ventures, Black Sheep Capital and Save The Children. Dataro would like to help make fundraising of charities more efficient – by first providing the charities with analysis to determine who they are looking for donations.

Relay raised NZ $ 2.5 million under the direction of Icehouse with the participation of Blackbird. Relay's vision is to eliminate payment delays by using cashback to encourage companies to pay their bills promptly.

Runn.io raised $ 2 million to help project managers plan, track, and forecast staffing capacities and capacities.

Cropide raised NZ $ 1 million . Crooptide's technology, which instantly transmits plant water health to a farmer's phone, is being tested by leading New Zealand grape growers.

Empiraa has raised $ 637,000. Released next year, Empiraa combines organizational visibility with KPI accountability to create a culture of autonomy in the workplace.

Investor News

Blackbird has published the returns on its funds. Blackbird, which will celebrate its 10th anniversary next year, announced that it has turned $ 1.3 billion into a portfolio valued at over $ 10 billion and that the net IRR of a dollar invested in all funds 81%. Smart PR move when you're raising a new fund and your returns are looking this good.

LaunchVic's Alice Anderson Fund announced its first round of investment. The fund invests between $ 50,000 and $ 300,000 in early-stage deals. The first startups to receive investment are Team Timbuktu (D2C outdoor brand), mtime (marketplace for & # 39; Moncierges & # 39; – people who can run errands, housework, cleaning and babysitting), Steppen (social fitness platform ), TalkiPlay (a language and language program to develop children's language) and Milkdrop (a portable breast pump).

Lighter Capital has been appointed manager to provide VicGov's Venture Growth Fund (the other is Sydney-based OneVentures). The government will provide the Lighter Capital Fund with $ 10 million, plus $ 20 million from private investors and $ 1.6 million from Lighter Capital as equity. Lighter Capital offers up to $ 3M in revenue-based funding through a fast online application process.

On this day in 2006: "You" were named Person of the Year, while user-generated content grew. pic.twitter.com/YBmhY4KoFC

– Jon Erlichman (@JonErlichman) December 16, 2021

That was just the beginning. 2006:

YouTube had 50 million users
Facebook had 12 million users
Twitter had thousands of users
There was no Insta, TikTok, Snapchat or Pinterest
The iPhone and the first Samsung touch phones hadn't hit the market yet

What will the next 15 years have in store for us ?!

This is a graduation for 2021! Don't worry, we'll be back in a few weeks with a very special summer series that gives insider insights into what M&A is like as a startup founder.

Thank you for coming to us this year. Your support and feedback mean the world to us.


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Source References: Startup Daily