As we slowly made it back to our desks across January, the Sydney startup space readied itself for the year ahead with capital raises and climate change dominating the news. Here’s what we heard last month …
"There's a huge global market opportunity for us and we're the clear market leader around the world. We want to keep building out the tech platform and push into new markets across various segments and deepen our relationship with customers through new products as well."
-Sankar Narayan, CEO and Executive Director, SiteMinder
The start of a new decade brought with it the announcement of our latest tech unicorn, Sydney-based hotel inventory management platform, SiteMinder. The completion of the international funding round saw the travel tech company valued at $1.1 billion with investors including the world's largest asset manager, BlackRock, as well as AustralianSuper, Pendal Group, and Ellerston Capital. According to a statement, the newly crowned member of the unicorn club will be directing the funding toward investment in research and development, and for fuelling growth through new go-to-market strategies.
"Our vision is that 80 to 90 percent of what lawyers are doing could be done with software code. What the humans in our business are doing are the most human things: customer service and showing empathy."
-Alex Solo, Co-founder, Sprintlaw
Sprintlaw are at the forefront of the digitally-focused law firm movement transforming the way legal services are delivered to businesses via tech. On a mission to make legal services faster, simpler and more affordable for entrepreneurs and small business, Sprintlaw’s workflow is split between its team of remotely employed staff and 100 "intelligence bots" which work to automate legal tasks. The Sydney-based startup has entered the new year with a $1.2 million raise from seed investors which will be directed toward refining their offering and the exploration of an overseas launch.
“The more we’re working with distilleries the more potential collaborations we’re able to pitch them. A lot of that has inspired tech that can solve some of the pain points distilleries are having.”
-Joel Hauer, Founder, Whisky Loot
Booze subscription discovery service, Whisky Loot, has grown its business by responding to the pain points of both drinkers and distillers; taking the risk out of a whole bottle purchase for customers and providing distilleries with invaluable customer experience data. After bootstrapping for two years, the Sydney-based startup has just secured $400,000 in seed funding to fuel growing demand and the potential to expand into other verticals and markets. Watch this space!
“Tech and innovation is key to finding our way out of this global environmental crisis and as Australia’s largest startup community, we have a significant role to play in that.”
-Dr Katherine Woodthorpe AO, Chairman, Fishburners
Australia’s bushfire crisis has drawn together a super league of startup founders to create The Envirotech Alliance
, a group of environmentally focused startups with a mission to create scalable solutions to tackle climate change. The alliance is setting out to build a structure around work in the sector to measure the impact of startups on fighting climate change and demonstrate the economic benefits of clean tech. Founding members include technology lobby group TechSydney, co-working space, and startup community hub Fishburners, energy community Spark Club, women’s tech startup Girl Geek Academy and startup communications agency Launch Group. The first Envirotech Alliance meet-up will be held on 17 March 2020.
"It's about pulling the tech community into action to do something great. People feel like it’s time to take into our own hands and, in truth, change will come from us."
-Lo Russo, Founder, Digivizer
Across our Sydney tech and startup community companies have committed to continued innovation when it comes to climate change while offering support and extended leave to affected staff in the wake of the recent bushfires. The likes of Canva, Atlassian, Future Super, and Digivizer are leading the charge, with Digivizer founder Lo Russo announcing the digital analytics firm was working with other technology leaders to develop a national hackathon and a strategy for commercialising good ideas related to both reducing carbon emissions and responding to disasters.