Thursday, April 26, 2018

Oovvuu raises $3.8m

Oovvuu has just closed a $3.8m round led by CapitalPitch and Cygnet Capital.


Ricky was a headline keynote at the IBM conference in Las Vegas earlier this year.

Founded in 2014 by former Fairfax Media and broadcast executives, Oovvuu combines ground-breaking proprietary technology with IBM Watson AI capabilities to match video from 75 global broadcasters with articles from publishers in 143 countries in near-real time.

The company’s mission is to insert contextually-relevant videos into news articles on trusted news sources around the world. Despite the video consumption boom, only seven per cent of news articles currently feature relevant videos.

“Oovvuu is one of the most exciting companies we’ve ever seen, with the potential to disrupt the advertising duopoly of Facebook and Google on a global scale.” Say Emlyn Scott , CEO of Capital Pitch 

We believe Australia needs more technology startups like Canva and Oovvuu; globally competitive companies that solve massive problems, scale up and create jobs. 

Watch “my Recruitment Plus” and “referron” 

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Canva raises $50m and is on acquisition trail - Zeetings 1st cab off the rank

Robert Kawalsky (Zeetimgs) and Melanie Perkins (Zeetimgs)

A few months on from raising a US$40 million ($51 million) round that saw its valuation push past the $1 billion mark, online design startup Canva is on the acquisition trail! 

Canva’s CEO Melanie Perkins is using its financial clout to acquire great teams - and technology along the way.

This bodes well for Australia’s start up industry - in need for innovative growth tech companies. 

One such team is Zeetings

Founded by Robert Kawalsky, Tony Surtees, Neill Miller, and Adam Schuck - with $2m of capital raised - and 1million people having used the technology in 50 countries since 2015. Zeetings allows users to add interactive elements such as polls and group chats to presentations, which participants can engage with through their own device.

(Ivan’s comment ...Their biggest asset is the amazing team of humans .... Robert, Tony, Neill and Adam are awesome !!!)

Canva has been doubling its headcount each year since launching. This year it intends to go from 280 people to more than 400..

Canva focuses on building small teams who work together to solve problems, set smart goal and achieve them! These teams are capable of making their own decisions.

“It's been incredibly important to find the right people, people that think like a founder and are passionate to solve problems and are capable of making their own decisions." Says Melanie

This is a model for the future, and will bear well for a great growth path for Canva ! 

Onwards and upwards !!

Monday, April 23, 2018

How to start a startup

  1. Have a vision
  2. Find the pain
  3. Create the pain killer 
  4. Test it with 100 people 
  5. Find funding from fff (fools family and friends)
  6. Get 1000 users
  7. get to 10000 users
  8. Grow grow grow 
  9. Refine - pivot - refine - pivot 
  10. Find the  magic formula 
  11. Find Vc funding
  12. Spend it And Make mistakes
  13. Find the magic formula
  14. Start scaling with series A finding
  15. 100,000 users
  16. Roll out internationally
  17. Series B funding
  18. Reach the tipping point 
  19. Year later - overnight success
  20. Yayayay

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Adam Riemer @ BBG talking about ROI, Affiliate Marketing , Facebook and Google - and of course WINE and TIARRAS

Hi Ivan,

I wanted to let you know I thought today was an amazing lunch presentation for so many reasons. Adam is the first presenter I have seen consume a bottle of red whilst presenting to an audience of 100 people and I have been around a long time. More amazingly though was the insights he gave on what is really happening with data analytics on the major social platforms. I would be surprised the level of information the Westpac Board realises is on the web about their senior staff (or maybe not) as they are probably able to profile most of their customers the same way. I regard you and I as more than mug punters but today was a revelation. Well worth the BBG membership with these type of lunch time presenters. Now what to make of all this and how to make it work in an SME business environment.

Talk soon.

John Scutt | Managing Director | The Lindfield Partners Pty Ltd T/A Essential Management Services

Friday, April 06, 2018

Ride to riches: This 35-year old turned a crazy idea into a $4b boom

Bike sharing !

It seemed like a nutty idea at the time -  and it still does.

Three years ago, Hu Weiwei and her co-founders decided to start a business letting people share bicycles for pennies per ride. People could hop on for a quick ride to the train or supermarket, then leave the bike right out front without the hassle of finding a parking rack.

(Ivan’s comment - I’ve been using mobile to ride from work to home and it’s great) 

In a shocker for most of the rest of the world, the Chinese business boomed and this week the former journalist and her cohorts agreed to sell Mobike in a deal that values the startup at $US3.4 billion ($4.3 billion). Food delivery giant Meituan Dianping is acquiring the company. The founders and investors pocket more than $US1 billion in cash and Ms Hu  -  who's turning 36 this year - and her team get to keep running the business.

It's a story of the New China, where tech parvenus amass riches at mind-boggling speed. A generation of younger entrepreneurs is capitalising on the mass adoption of smartphones, faster internet speeds, easy mobile payments and abundant venture capital. Backed by giants Alibaba Group and Tencent Holdings, Chinese startups have been able to burn billions in cash to build business models that often ultimately benefit the two behemoths.

"In world internet history you have never seen a phenomenon like this; so much money raised, so quickly with such young entrepreneurs," said Ben Harburg, a managing partner at Magic Stone Alternative Investment, which invested in both Meituan and Mobike.

China Renaissance acted as the adviser for Mobike, most recently valued at $US3 billion according to researcher CB Insights. The deal values the bike-sharing firm's equity at about $US2.7 billion, and Meituan will assume roughly $US700 million in debt, one of the people said.

"In world internet history you have never seen a phenomenon like this; so much money raised, so quickly with such young entrepreneurs."

Ben Harburg, Magic Stone Alternative Investment

Mobike's unlikely tale began in 2015 when Ms Hu's team worked out of an office next to their building's communal toilet. Along with co-founders such as Davis Wang, she hatched the idea of pooling bicycles -- long associated with Communist China's industrial boom -- to help harried urbanites glide through worsening congestion. Around that time, a bunch of college kids led by Dai Wei were experimenting on-campus with the same idea, eventually creating Ofo -- now Mobike's biggest rival.

Mobike bikes in Sydney: The company's rapid expansion is a story of the New China, where tech parvenus amass riches at mind-boggling speed.

Mobike bikes in Sydney: The company's rapid expansion is a story of the New China, where tech parvenus amass riches at mind-boggling speed.

Photo: Peter Braig

It wasn't easy. In China, the internet business is trial by fire. At least three dozen companies jumped into the field and mountains of bicycles piled up in Beijing and Shanghai. Municipalities struggled to keep streets and sidewalks passable -- and local governments from the US to Australia and Europe balked as the China startups tried their free-wheeling approach abroad.

More than 34 smaller competitors have shut due to high operating costs and a lack of funding, according to the China Consumer Association. Now, Mobike and Ofo account for about 90 per cent of the market, Counterpoint Research estimates.

Snazzy orange

Mobike lured investors by cultivating a premium gloss. It created bikes with snazzy orange wheels that cost as much as 3,000 yuan ($578) and equipped them with satellite positioning. Its pricing was double that of Ofo's, but that eventually came down and was often free when the two waged subsidy wars. But a steady stream of funding from some of the biggest names in tech investment -- including Alibaba, Tencent and Sequoia -- helped them flood the streets with bikes. It also let them replenish the bikes confiscated on a daily basis by city authorities trying to clear their sidewalks of the resultant clutter.

"Mobike's case shows how China's full of opportunities for small startups to grow quickly in very short period of time," said Teng Bingsheng, a professor at Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business.

"Many of the Chinese tech startups will eventually take sides between Alibaba and Tencent because the pair simply covered a wide area in terms of internet services."

In the US, it takes on average seven years for a startup to achieve unicorn status or more than $US1 billion in valuation, according to Boston Consulting Group. In China, that figure is four years.

The deal also highlights how allegiances can shift in the blink of an eye. In the bike-sharing space, three camps remain. There's Meituan and Mobike, backed by Tencent, the social media goliath using both to prop up its mobile payments business. In another camp is Alibaba, which has drafted Ofo and No. 3 player Hellobike.

"It wasn't just that they were in the middle of a war between the Alibaba and Tencent internet giants who were financing them and the venture funds," Mr Harburg said.

"They were also, of all the technology companies in the world, the most under the public spotlight because they're one of the few visual manifestations of this internet wave that is hitting China."

Playing a game of chess

Then there's Didi Chuxing, the latest to wade into the fray. Didi was once Ofo's strongest backer. But that relationship soured in past months as Didi sought more control. The company then attempted to invest in Mobike but didn't follow through, according to people familiar with the matter. Tencent, a backer also of Didi's, gave its blessing to Meituan, one of the people said.

Meituan itself is treading a fine line with its most important backer. The company directs some 60 per cent of its payments traffic to Tencent, but is developing its own transactions system. As Meituan evolves into a super-app that offers everything from food delivery to ride hailing, it may no longer be content with just being Tencent's proxy. It's already said to be planning an initial public offering this year, seeking a valuation of at least $US60 billion.

"These second-tier companies might be used as proxies for Alibaba and Tencent for now, but within their own camps they also are playing a game of chess and trying to build bigger ecosystems," said Zhou Xin, President of Beijing-based internet consultancy Jkinvest Bigdata.

Mobike's big pay-day aside, bike-sharing remains a fraught arena. Both Ofo and Mobike have raised billions via some eight rounds of funding, according to Counterpoint. Yet they're unprofitable, said Zhang Mengmeng, an analyst at Counterpoint. And the bike wars continue.

Beginning of the End

"The fees charged are not enough to cover the costs of running the operation," Zhang said. "It seems unlikely that there will be any clear ways of monetisation from big data in the near future."

Ms Hu, on her personal WeChat account, turned reflective as the deal was completed. She said Mobike's mission is consistent with Meituan's vision.

"From my perspective it's a new beginning," she wrote, including a link to the Nine Inch Nails song "The Beginning of the End".


Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Sparkmag: Can you be saving bucketloads on your mortgage?

Sparkmag: Can you be saving bucketloads on your mortgage?: Hi Ivan The Reserve Bank of Australia decided to once again leave the official cash rate unchanged at 1.5% with the last rate...

Open - raises capital from Draper - assisting developers to incorporate blockchain into their apps

OPEN, a blockchain-based developer platform centered on providing payment infrastructure to mainstream application developers, Wednesday said it has received an investment from Tim Draper’s Draper Dragon Digital Asset Fund, though it didn’t disclose the amount.

The OPEN Platform aims to bridge the gap between traditional application developers and the coming era of blockchain technologies by providing a standardized infrastructure that interfaces the two architectures.

The company said the platform is designed to work with existing applications and new applications by enabling current applications to integrate OPEN’s technology without having to redevelop existing application stacks. In addition, a developer’s application can be ported to various smart-contract-based blockchains through a single integration by piggybacking off OPEN’s Scaffold.

“Most applications require the use of off-chain technologies, meaning traditional components that do not exist on blockchains such as a database to interact with transactions taking place on the blockchain, thus requiring applications to realistically require both on-chain and off-chain components,” the company explained in an email. “OPEN provides this missing infrastructure for developers to enable application backends to interface with blockchain wallets and the two-way communication of payment data between on-chain and off-chain systems.

Although OPEN is still in its early days, current application developer partners consist of both centralized and decentralized applications from a variety of categories from gaming to enterprise partners.

“Centralized applications, including leading entertainment platforms and mobile games, such as Netflix and Candy Crush, as well as newer decentralized applications, can incorporate OPEN’s accompanying payment rails applications needed to accept blockchain and cryptocurrency technologies in a way that applies to many current application infrastructures,” the company claimed.

Image: Open

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Adelaide tech company HappyCo raises $10m

Adelaide grown  HappyCo, led by CEO Jindou Lee, now based in SF, has just completed a $10m Series A round from a batch of AUSTRALIAN Venture Capital Firms. 

HappyCo, founded in 2011, is a real estate technology company, that builds mobile and cloud solutions to enable real-time property operations. It is the leading real-time operations platform for inspecting, managing and monitoring residential properties and commercial facilities, and is used to manage more than 1.2 million units by companies such as Airbnb, Softbank/Fortress and Vicinity Centres.

Leading the Series A round was Sydney based  Alium Capital Management (Rajeev Gupta ) Tempus Partners (Alister Coleman) and PieLab Venture Partners,  (Chris Rolls) Larsen Ventures and Sandalphon Capital

The question for the capital raisers is “how do you get access to these funds? Where do I get the key? What do I need to do?

Alister Coleman gave us a clue.... “We are thrilled to back a laser-focused team that has achieved international success and a global customer base, yet retained its engineering talent and roots in Adelaide.”

If you are a  successful technology company looking to scale we would like to work with you with a view to helping you connect to people and money! 

If you are interested to find out more send me your contact details or join me at one of our bbg forums or nsstermind groups go to