Australian startups off to a good start with nearly $1 billion in funding in the first quarter

Nearly $1 billion ($952m) in funding for our Australian startup ecosystem, 2018 seems to be off to a pretty good start.

According to Techboard’s funding report for March quarter 2018, this is the highest level of funding of any of it’s quarterly reports to date. There were 142 funding events ranging in value from $5,000 to $220 million. A 50 percent jump in Venture Capital played a significant role in this achievement.

A pretty impressive number which shows major growth in our ecosystem.

Data for this report is collated by Techboard from public sources of the over 2000 companies that they track and deals reported via their relationships with investors, investment groups and angel groups. They also have monthly company reports.

Let’s see who were the award winners for this report.

Splend, the vehicle rental for Uber drivers took home the crown for largest individual funding event with $220 million debt funding, which lead the travel sector to a win for the industry that had the most investment.

Australia’s latest unicorn is still not done with the spotlight as Canva had the largest VC investment from their series C funding that was valued at $50 million.

Largest acquisition goes to makers of Botox, Allergen for acquiring Elastagen, a clinical stage medical company for $120 million, which might be a sign that we are investing in Botox for some reason.

ICO is all the rage for the past few months as well, stable coin startup, Havven was crowned the king for largest ICO from their $35 million ICO. Honey on tap startup, Flowhive was the largest crowdfunded, raising over $19 million on Indiegogo.

Travel sector took home the award for biggest sector thanks to Splend while Fintech sector came in third. Crypto and IoT sector came in fifth and sixth respectively.

Techboard also convenient gave us a comparison from the previous quarter.

As mentioned there was a 50 percent jump in VC/large scale private investments, from $200 million to $310 million. ICO is still a trend with 5 ICOs raising over $76 million as compared to last quarter’s $73 million; this only goes to show that maybe ICOs are getting more interest.

Havven’s ICO was the biggest one for an Australian company, but something tells me there might be more  ICOs breaking this record soon.

Grants and awards had a nice $7 million boost from $20 million last quarter, while angel/seed funding went down from $21 million to $11.8 million, but this can be due to lesser startup’s in that stage during this summer period.

Debt (including venture debt) was up from $180m between 3 companies to over to $224m to two companies.

Crowdfunding experienced a big leap as well from half a million to over $24 million with five crowdfunding, with Flowhive creating the record for largest crowdfunding event for an Australian company.

Acquisitions were up from 6 to 7, including the acquisition of Elastagen for $120m, although a comparison between periods is difficult with acquisition values often being undisclosed.

NSW can rejoice and pride themselves as a startup hub as they contributed to almost three-quarters of national funding totalling $728m, while there are reductions in funding level for other states. However, South Australia showed strength with a seven times increase in funding jumping from under $7m to over $48m, with two major venture capital investments into Myriota $19.4m and the Happy Co. for $14.1m and grants played a major role in South Australia with grants totalling close to $4m

The push with grants and awards goes to show that support is vital for the ecosystem to grow.

What about the undisclosed amounts?

It is important to know that some investment value is not added to the mix because it was undisclosed. Hence, the amount could be higher if it was added to the mix.

Just like the acquisition of Zeetings by Canva, the amount was disclosed, which may be of various reason, but that is just an example of an undisclosed amount.

Techboard founder and chief executive Peter van Bruchem told StartupSmart, the funding amount would be well over $1 billion if the value of “undisclosed” deals from across the startup scene were taken into account.

“I’m never surprised to hear that a company has received investment and never disclosed it, as it happens particularly in the early stages when the investment amounts are in the low or sub-millions, or done by someone outside of the ecosystem,” he said.

“A lot of early-stage investments might not want to be disclosed by investors because of the risk it might all go bad.”

This might be a negative impact as it will not show a transparent or accurate picture of the ecosystem, which might discourage investors if the ecosystem looks shrivelled.

I mean, for example, our startups, only with an accurate report then we can work towards the lack of certain aspects. Hence, the power of an accurate report should not be undermined.

But with major news coming out weekly from our community, with the likes of ICOs, there is much more to look forward to. Especially where there are more and more startups using that mode of investment, such as BlockGrain being the latest one.

However, the chance of seeing more ICOs really depends on the Government’s decision not to post various legislation to make it not an option.

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Australian startups off to a good start with nearly $1 billion in funding in the first quarter
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