Monday, February 17, 2020

Investible lunches it’s $22m early stage fund

Trevor Folsom and Creel Price’s Investible has closed its first early / seed stage venture capital fund of $22 million early stage funding in Australia run by veteran Daniel Veytsblit.

The fund plans to make 40 investments of circa $300k and 7-10 follow on investments of $700k -$1m. This will de risk the investment in startups says Veytsbilt. 

To date, the fund has backed 10 companies such as seafood auction platform Manettas Seafood, hotel pricing optimisation platform Hotelmize, tourism attraction big data start-up Dexibit and diversity recruitment company WORK180.

One of the early investors into the new fund was son of Primo Smallgoods rich lister Paul Lederer, Rob Lederer, who has been an angel investor for about five years and has built up a portfolio of 30 investments.

Mr Lederer said the $1.45 billion sale of Primo Smallgoods in 2014 had put him in a position to be an investor.

"All the maths shows to have a decent portfolio you need at least 25 investments.

"Through Investible's “club” fund they'll be able to back 40 start-ups, so by investing in this fund, I should get that diversification, as well as their experience and due diligence. The team have the capability, processes and bandwidth to do the relevant due diligence and ensure that the investments are looked after. 

The fund uses 16 criteria to guide its investments, incorporating 250 data points, covering the strength of a start-up's business model plan, pitch, investor deck and the chemistry of the founders.

Hopefully the successes of the fund will be a catalyst for further investments in early stage funding.

Source .... 

By Yolanda Redrup 

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Basic business principals in making a successful cap raise

TEDx Speaker Dr A Minai and linked in influencer talks about the 3 things that will bolster your success of an ICO and the 9 things you need to do to make your ICO succeed.

These are the things and practices that every business needs to omunderstand to scale, raise money and succeed

3 VERY BASIC things that will bolster your ICO success substantially.

  1. Clarity about the idea of an ICO - what pain does it solve
  2. The quality of the whitepaper
  3. Influencer and content marketing should be you breakfast lunch and supper

nine (9) best practices you ideally should eat, sleep, & breath when you're ICO-ing.

  1. Build your community
  2. it’s about giving an roi to investors
  3. Build a great team
  4. Make it real - not vapourware
  5. Timing is everything
  6. It’s not about the ICO - it’s about after the ICO
  7. Beware of scammers and impersonators 
  8. Be sure to hustle - attend events, conferences, do Pr and social media
  9. Make sure your customers can add value 

Read article on link in comments below - it’s gold 

The Sh*t you need to know about ICO’s

With regards to an Initial Coin Offering (ICO), the reality is that the majority fails more than anything else because of an over-obsession on all the “Bells & Whistles” instead of just keeping it simple & recognising three (3) VERY BASIC things that will bolster your ICO success substantially.

(a) The fundamental idea behind why you’re pivoting on an ICO? Of course the idea needs to good, but is it something that people will rally behind? Is it truly something that adds value or solves a problem? If you aren’t clear on this, then believe us — you’ve already got problems.

(b) The quality of your white-paper. We’ve all heard that 90% of the ICOs out there are bogus. Well that’s true and not true at the same time. Many of the schemes accused of being ponzy are in-fact just really really badly explained at a white-paper level. Here’s what’s happening today ladies & gentlemen — this is a new space in which every second tom, dick, and harry claims to know what they are doing when the reality is simply, that very few actually do. We are at the tip of the iceberg today and that’s just the blunt reality we all have to embrace while we keep learning as we go through this. So I can’t emphasise this enough, the quality of your white-paper has to be top-notch. It can’t be a bunch of tech jargon slapped together to impress someone. It’s got to be value on paper from the minute someone, anyone starts to read it.

(c) Influencer & Content Marketing should be your breakfast every morning when you’re ramping up to ICO. In the crypto-world, selecting the right advisors really helps. Getting as much as PR as possible really helps. Roadshows need to be happening every damn month if its possible. You need to shout “legit” from the get-go. More often than not, forget about having massive A&P budgets in order to do this. We live in a bootstrap world in the midst of a bursting gig economy. You can build epic partnerships and influence the sh*t out of the market today IF you know why & what you’re doing.

With the aforementioned three points, the icing on the cake should be an adaptive & agile mindset when you’re on this journey. Speed is key in ensuring that your ICO is on track, all the time. If you notice a problem with the quality of your white-paper, fix it now. If you think a bunch of advisors on your board aren’t bringing the value they were meant to, fix it now. Don’t wait on anything when it’s down to you ensuring a successful ICO. You need partners who know why & what they’re doing.

So what's the checklist to Success? News flash. There isn't one. 

Here’s a checklist of nine (9) best practices you ideally should eat, sleep, & breath when you're ICO-ing. At the very least, they should aid & amplify the success of your ICO: 

  • Live, eat, sleep COMMUNITY BUILDING.

ICO or not, at the core you need to have a product or service that a lot of people want to build on top of and ultimately use. Nurture community, be authentic, & keep them updated regularly through some form of two-way engagement. Let me tell you, bounty campaigns don’t work anymore in this market. You’ve got a better chance with things like Telegram, and even those can be sh*tty as hell. The key is to build an “engaged” community before you launch a product or service. Bottomline, its important to build up your community earlier than later.

  • ICO is much more a shareholder’s game than it is a stakeholders.

Understand two things. Firstly, that you need to find investors as quickly as possible before anything else starts when you're talking ICO. Your investors are your biggest marketers, especially if you’ve got the right ones. Secondly, don’t underestimate demography but don't obsess over it either. We live in the age of psychographics now. More than half the ICOs out there today regret that they didn’t explore the China market as much as they first should have. So do whatever it takes to build the smarts as well as the connections to ensure you know how to keep your investors happy as you build epic partnerships for the ICO.

  • Build your team like its the Justice League. 

So here’s a reality check in the crypto-world. Everyone’s a f**king cowboy and the industry, let’s face it, is the wild wild west for the most part. If you don’t find the “right” team players for your core ICO ramp-up & management — you are in for a nasty ride. The team is crucial. Either you or your consultants need to be 100% clear on what to look for, in order to build a strong in-house team for ICO. Don't underestimate the need to be absolutely meticulous when it comes to your core ICO team. Invest time, money, and resources into this like you're building the next DreamTeam for the NBA (that was so 90s, sorry)

  • We hate “concepts”. Your ICO needs to be REAL.

There are hundreds of ICOs that are all active at the same time. So how the hell is your ICO going to stand out? Having an MVP at the very least is crucial. If you’re still at “concept” halfway through to ICO, you're in trouble. People will rally behind you if you give them a real reason or product. Contracts aren’t the only thing that have gotten smart on the blockchain these days. The market is watching your every move. So ensure that your business model is real, ready, & easy-to-understand.

  • Timing is everything.

You need to be able to count on your team & advisors to tell you what you need to hear instead of what you want to hear. 5 out of 10 times, I've told companies that their ICO just won’t happen. Why? because of a variety of market variables that you and I can’t control. Timing is crucial, and so having a team with you who understands when & how to max out your ICO is absolutely imperative. An example of that was when China had just banned ICOs a while back — do you think that would have had an affect on the rest of the market? Hell yeah it did, and Bitcoin tanked for a bit back then.

  • Prepare for ICO by preparing what’s after the ICO.

Too many companies fail in this industry simply because they have no clue around what to do in order to put effective operations, customer support, and legal clarity into place after an ICO goes live. The market needs to see your company and its ICO as a legitimate opportunity. KYC, Bookbuilding, Refunds, Compliance, Token sale spots, Traffic, Website, etc — you name it, be absolutely clear on what your brand needs to do in order to keep the ICO going full-steam ahead, transparently.

  • Scammers are hunters in the crypto-world, & they’re smart.

What do you do if a scammer impersonates or spoofs your site? How does your team react to those who will do anything to hijack your ICO because they know for a fact that yours is one of the few that’s legit. FYI, ICOs went from 90% capping to 90% scamming in a matter of months. Do you even know why? One of the most important things you need to be conscious of is how to effectively steer clear of scammers, hijackers, & impersonators during and after your ICO.

  • Hustling at the right time & place is key.

Every ICO has a different way of building awareness. It could be conferences, articles, PR, websites, ads. It’s critical to know your value, your audience and your message & then pick the right channel for the audience. Every brand is different. Some have massive marketing budgets which undeniably make visibility a lot more easier. Others don’t have that sort of cash or coin behind them. So that’s when your team, your advisors, or your consultants need to get creative and do nutty things to get your brand noticed in ways that other would never do. Don't be afraid to get yourself out there.

  • Your advisors & investors need to be more than just trophies.

A lot of ICOs position their investors & advisors as their “call-to-credibility” in the market as they ramp-up towards pre-launch and onwards. But they have no f**king clue that these guys aren’t just a credibility boost. They are value-creators waiting to happen if used in the right way at the right time. Picking and choosing the right advisors particularly is something of an art. My advice is to do a thorough gap analysis coupled with an understanding of your “why”, after that you should be able to identify and invigorate your ICO journey with connections that make things happen instead of just sitting there & looking pretty!

To all those who read this up till here. Thank you very much & best of luck building your product, your community, your fundraising platform, and in getting your ICO mechanics in place.

Having many avatars in the market, Dr. A.J Minai is also CEO of Omni Payment Solutions Sdn. Bhd - an upcoming, mobile platform that's set to disrupt the way we spend, pay, & transfer money on a daily basis using Blockchain. He is also an investor at HODL Miners alongside a mentor on a variety of subject matter including Fintech & BlockchainI  at brands like Futurelabs, Ubaru, & Supercharger.

Tuesday, February 04, 2020

X15 - CBA’s Fintech Incubator - 25 startups planned in 5 years

The CBA is open for business - supporting fintech startups with X15 enabling them to leverage the bank’s balance sheet and brand .

CBA has teamed up with Microsoft and KPMG to launch X15 - an incubator which plans to fund 25  fintech startups in the next 5 years - with the hope of adding value to its existing and new customers.

CBA will need to transition its technology systems amid IT transformation in the global banking industry - and to do so - they need to innovate and  enhance its CBA's banking applications.

It is well known that innovation in a large enterprise is difficult - where failure is not tolerated! X15 will allow innovation in a startup environment - said Matt Comyn - CEO of CBA .

Toby Norton-Smith -  CBA's general manager for digital growth has been appointed managing director of X15 Ventures.

 "Our startups will have access to a technology stack and operating model that sits outside of the CBA group, but with the support of the bank infrastructure enabling them to achieve rapid growth.”

"New ideas can be brought to market faster with external managers operating and outside the bank's traditional product development cycles.” 

KPMG High Growth Ventures is working as an adviser while Microsoft will provide platform and engineering services, including providing the new businesses with access to its artificial intelligence technologies.

Microsoft Australia managing director Steven Worrall said that the next wave of major technology breakthroughs "will come from partnerships such as this, bringing together our deep technical capabilities and absolute clarity about the business challenges that need to be addressed.”

X15 was announced shortly after the nmbank

pumped  almost $450 million into Swedish fintech Klarna, which launched an integration with the CBA banking app last week, to offer instalment payments services as Millennials shift away from spending on credit cards. 

X15  announced the first two concepts that its new "venture building entity" will support: 

Home-In, a digital concierge to assist customers with the home buying process; and 

Vonto, an aggregation tool for business insights.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Water from Air - another Israeli technology

Israeli tech company , Watergen has created Genny - a water-from-air system that taps into atmospheric water using patented heat-exchange technology.

Founded in 2009 by Arye Kohavi, Watergen uses its patented GENius heat-exchange technology to create the drinking water.

GENNY received the Mark of Excellence Award at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) that annually recognizes the tech industry’s top smart home innovations.

Genny produces up to 30 liters of potable water for a home or office every day – significantly reducing plastic usage and disposal by eliminating the waste caused by drinking bottled water.

How does it work? 

After the air is sucked in and chilled to extract its humidity, a built-in blower draws air into the system’s atmospheric water generator. There, an internal filter cleans the air by removing dust and dirt. Once clean, the air is directed through the GENius heat exchange and cooling process, and condensed into water.

The water is then filtered to remove impurities and add minerals, resulting in fresh, drinking-quality water. Once produced, the water is continuously circulated in a built-in reservoir to preserve its freshness.

GENNY also has the potential to serve as an air purifier, circulating clean air throughout homes through a small tweak in the water generation process, using the already existing technology to create a multipurpose product.

The vision - to help people become more environmentally aware, and supported by its Chairman -  philanthropist Mikhael Mirilashvili, the Company has  set its sights on expanding its renewable and energy-efficient clean water solution to the 2.1 billion people worldwide who lack access to safe water at home.

Last year, Watergen’s large-scale system was donated to authorities in Brazil, Vietnam and India. It also assisted rescue and recovery efforts during the 2018 California wildfires and provided clean water to the residents of Texas and Florida in the aftermath of the devastation caused by hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

The large-scale version, called Gen-L, can produce up to 5,000 liters of clean water a day, requiring no infrastructure other than a standard electricity supply. 

According to the company's website, it is “perfect for villages, off-grid settlements and factories.”

“My first priority is not how to make money but to help people, the planet and make [a] kiddush hashem [sanctification of God’s name],” said Mikhael Mirilashvili

Newcastle training and workforce management firm raises $28m for international expansion

Pegasus, a Newcastle   safety and competency tech company, founded in 1998, has raised  $28m from USA private equity and VC investment firm Accel-KKR.

What does it do

Pegasus provides Competency management, training, and site safety services for over 3 million workers for more than 80,000 companies including Woolworths, BHP, Visy, Lendlease, Aurizon, and Ausgrid.

What the CEO’s vision is 

Pegasus CEO Adam Boyle (pictured) says Accel-KKR's investment is the beginning of a new chapter for the company, and they are going to use the  funds to expand rapidly in the UK, Europe, and North America.

"Forged in deep industrial expertise, our first software product was created to keep Australian workers safe on site," says Boyle.

"Two decades later, we've reinvented workplace labour and safety management for the modern company and mobile worker."

"We're positioned for rapid growth with our sights firmly set on protecting workers no just in Australia, but across the world."

Friday, December 27, 2019

Mike Cannon Brookes and Twiggy forest invest in Solar Farm

"If we nail this, we can build a new export industry for Australia, create jobs and set our economy up for the future." 
We must continue the transition to clean, affordable and reliable renewable energy and storage technologies. 

Mike Cannon-Brookes and Andrew "Twiggy" Forrest are part of a Capital raise of  $millions in a David Griffin’s Sun Cable - solar farm which will enable Australia to supply electricity to Singapore.

The project  aims to supply competitively priced electricity to the Darwin region and to Singapore via a 4500-kilometre high-voltage cable.

This is the start of a $22 billion plan to build the world's largest solar farm with a 10-gigawatt capacity covering 15,000 hectares near Tennant Creek in the NT, and a 22GW-hour storage plant.

Square Peg Nails it in 2020

Imogen Baxter shares 2019 Squarepeg in review... 

2019 , Squarepeg invested over US$86m in technology —all working on ideas that in success, will move humanity forward. 

It’s amazing how they are actively connecting their investees and enabling them to work together to grow from strength to strength.

Well done Justin and Paul !! 

They are a VC building an amazing culture :


Some interesting developments of their investments...

🇦🇺 Airwallex became the fastest Aussie unicorn, raising US$100m. Jack told the AFR at the time "we've done less than 10% of what we want to achieve

🌈 Paul Bassat keynoted a packed room at the AWS Summit in Sydney to bang the drum for innovation.

Prospa IPO'd on the ASX, continuing on their mission to help small businesses access flexible finance

🇮🇱 Fiverr IPO'd on the NYSE, rang the bell, rebranded the iconic bulls and celebrated the Fiverr community. Read Fortune's IPO article.

🇦🇺 Canva's valuation hit AU$4.7B following an AU$125m round. Read the press.

Rokt announced their US$48m Series C round led by TDM.

Square Peg’s mission is to back outstanding founders across Israel, ANZ and Southeast Asia. We are humbled to work with founders who are shaping the future. If you’re building something extraordinary and consider yourself a square peg in a world of round holes, we’d love to meet you in 2020

Looking forward to 2020!action of VC in Australia 

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Netflix was the best-performing stock of the decade, delivering a 4181% return

Inspired by Ari Levy of CNBC 

Ten years ago - in 2010 - Netflix was worth $2b and had 12m subscribers paying $9 a month - receiving dvds  by mail . No late fees... and going head to head with video stores .


CEO Reed Hastings' shared a vision of streaming videos directly to your lounge. 

10 years on it is worth $148b today, giving investors a 4,181% return. $1m invested 10 years ago would be worth $40m today! 

The company has had its issues. In 2011 , the share price plunged and company needed more money .... as the company went to streaming $400m was raised! 

Jay Hoag’s firm, Technology Crossover Ventures, led that raise pumped in $200 million in exchange for 16 million shares at $12.26 a piece. With the stock now trading at over $336, TCV's current stake is worth about $1.66 billion after selling a big chunk of its shares in the years since the investment.

"When you're being contrarian is when you'll end up with the most exceptional returns, if you're right," said Hoag - who is a proud Director of Netflix .

Why did Jay Hoag  invest?

  • He believed in the team and in Reed Hastings 
  • Netflix had a Global and Scalable model
  • Technology - high-speed broadband would make streaming the bomb 
  • Licensing movies in a disruptive way 

Content and Licencing

It’s all about content and  originals seem to be the bomb.

The Irishman, Ozark , House of Cards, Narcos  and the Crown are some of the BB series that have taken up a significant portion of my weekends with me binging in front of TV!!

Netflix have invested $15b on content in 2019 up almost 70% from two years  who, borrowing more than $10 billion making debt to equity greater than 2:1.

Competition is fierce with HBO, Disney and Warner fighting for content. Recently  Netflix have lost “Friends” and “the Office”

This is fantastic news for movie industry and creators - Netflix seems to have revived Hollywood and encouraged creators to create! 

Case in point ... "Otherhood" was among the 10 most-watched Netflix original films of the year, with 29 million views in its first four weeks.

Subscriber Growth is the upside 

12m to 158.3 million in 10 years - with International growth being  62% of the total and a strategy to continue to grow.

That is a powerful catalyst for future growth 


With the advent of 5G - will Netflix invest in Gamification and Interactive? 

The risks 

High debt, high costs and high competition with a cash burn create a volatile equation for a company that has over half the market cap of WarnerMedia parent AT&T and only 12% the revenue. 

Is Netflix going to continue to Innovate? 

You gotta listen to my mother-in-law 

You’ve got to accumulate to speculate

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

2 year old Trust and Will raises $6m Series A

Trust and Will has just raised  a $6 million Series A round to transform the future of estate planning.

Cody Barbo, CEO and co-founder of Trust & Will shares her pulse

“We are driven by our mission to help millions of families in America protect their legacy,” 

Cody has built a brilliant team that has built a rapidly growing customer base, with over 60,000+ members signing up since launching in April 2018. 

What it does 

Trust & Will creates digital trusts, wills and guardian ships in an online affordable easy way - helping people create an estate plan, protecting their valuable assets and loved ones.

All documents have been designed and vetted by attorneys experienced in estate planning.

Support from Awesome Investors 

Investors include  Jesse Draper’s Halogen Ventures, Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund, WTI, Luma Launch, Techstars Ventures, and others. 

We look forward to leveraging our big data assets to help them scale,” said Rob Chaplinsky, Managing Director at Link Ventures (Lead Investor).

“We are proud to have participated in both the Seed and Series A rounds of another transformative company based outside of Silicon Valley,” said David Hall, Managing Partner of Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund.

“We are excited to back Cody and her amazing team - who are providing the opportunity  for millions of families to protect their assets and families” - Jesse Draper - Halogen Ventures - investing in female founded consumer technology companies