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10 biggest capital raises by Australian startups in 2018

Airwallex’s chief operating officer Lucy Liu. (image: Airwallex)
Airwallex’s chief operating officer Lucy Liu. (image: Airwallex)

Money. That’s what a startup founder with a great idea needs to turn it into reality.

And that’s when investors step in — so that the startup can employ staff, code the software and scale up its customer base. If the business does well, an early backer could later make back many thousands of multiples of the original investment.

But investors aren’t fools — they don’t want to plough their capital into a failure. This is why a look at the Australian startups that have raised the most money can be an indication of how confident the venture capital community is in their business models.

Here are the 10 Australian startups that raised the most capital in 2018, according to startup investment firm Right Click Capital:


10. Nura – US$21 million (AU$29m)

Nura makes headphones that adjust to the user’s hearing capabilities. The Melbourne startup closed an oversubscribed series A capital raising round in November, to follow up on a $2.5 million raised through Kickstarter back in 2016 and a seed round of $6 million in 2017.

9. Clinical Genomics – US$26 million (AU$36m)

This biotech startup based in northern Sydney raised a massive round B in June, with the investors backing its blood test for colorectal cancer, which is meant to be twice as effective as current screening methods.

8. Powerwrap – US$26.9 million (AU$37.6m)

Powerwrap, which is eyeing a public listing later this year, provides an electronic platform for financial advisors that have high-worth clients. The company counts PwC Australia, Escala Partners and Koda Capital as customers, according to The Australian, and has $7.35 billion of funds under administration.

7. Brighte – US$28.98 million (AU$40.5m)

This energy finance company is backed by some big names — not least the investment firms of Atlassian founder Mike Cannon-Brookes and the wife of his co-founder, Kim Jackson. The startup provides financing for residential energy improvements, such as solar panels.

Katherine McConnell, founder and chief of Brighte. (Image: AirTree Ventures)
Katherine McConnell, founder and chief of Brighte. (Image: AirTree Ventures)

6. Culture Amp – US$40 million (AU$56m)

This Melbourne company operates an online platform for corporate clients to improve employee engagement. Its massive series D raise in July took the total amount raised to almost AU$100 million since the venture started in 2009, according to SmartCompany.

5. Canva – US$40 million (AU$56m)

A year ago, Canva raised US$40 million to become the first Australian “unicorn” since Atlassian — an honour that means the business is now valued at more than US$1 billion. Financial reports have since revealed that the company even turned a profit in the second half of the 2017 calendar year.

4. SafetyCulture – US$45.17 million (AU$63.15m)

Queensland startup SafetyCulture scored a massive thumbs up from investors in May, with investors climbing over each other to write cheques for the capital raising round, according to the AFR. The company makes software for workplace health and safety.

3. Airwallex – US$80 million (AU$112m)

Airwallex, founded by five young Chinese-Australians, is a fintech that allows seamless cross-border payments and currency exchange. The Melbourne startup’s series B raise of US$80 million in July follows US$19 million in 2017, with payments giant Mastercard listed as a backer.

2. Deputy – US$81 million (AU$113m)

Human resources software provider Deputy scored the biggest series B funding injection in Australian startup history, according to TechCrunch, in November. The 10-year-old firm reportedly counts Amazon, Google, McDonald’s and Uber among its clients.

1. Judo Capital – US$102.69 million (AU$143.5m)

This Melbourne outfit is a startup bank aimed at lending money to small business clients. Back in August, co-founder Joseph Healy told Fairfax Media that after 12 weeks in business the firm’s pipeline of lending was nearly $80 million and that it had already loaned out about $25 million.

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