Hit it, DJ! and other local newsings

24 July, 2023
Hit it, DJ! and other local newsings | News | Pause Awards
Ignition Lane Wrap monthly
Gavin Appel & Rebecca Eastwood
24 July, 2023

Welcome to Ignition Lane’s Wrap, where they cut through the noise to bring you their favourite insights from the technology and startup world.

When two become one. Big consolidation news for the DJ tech world and another big kiwi tech exit: Auckland-based DJ and music production software company Serato is being acquired by AlphaTheta Corp in a deal likely worth more than NZ$100m. Serato has been at the forefront of DJ culture and tech for the last 25 years, amassing a community of millions of DJs, producers, engineers and musicians around the world. AlphaTheta is the parent behind Pioneer DJ, which is one of the biggest DJ hardware and software producers.

Simply the best. Canva was named as one of Time’s 100 most influential businesses and Fast Company’s #1 Best Workplace for Innovators. With these titles under its belt and tech talent becoming more plentiful, it’s not surprising to see Canva tighten up its performance management system – now ranking its people by achievement tiers to identify underperforming staff.

Time to say goodbye. AirTree and CommBank x15 Ventures-backed proptech startup :Different went into voluntary administration after struggling to raise further capital. :Different digitises property management tasks involving paperwork and admin for owners, investors and renters. The hosts of FuckUp Nights Melbourne have decided to shut down the local arm of the popular storytelling event – “you’ve got to know when to let go”. Airwallex transferred ownership of its Indian and New Zealand entities from Australia to the Cayman Islands. Tax shmax.

I’m too sexy. Aussie eco soap startup Single Use Ain’t Sexy has been acquired by travel amenities company, Buzz. Single Use Ain’t Sexy will shut down its direct-to-consumer operations and shift its focus to the wholesale travel market.

The artist formerly known as. Fashion deal app Her Black Book has relaunched as after “hearing from a lot of men that the app sounded like a dating service.” Alongside a $1.8m raise, the rebrand is a bid to get more male customers and reach an international audience. The app, which offers flash discounts and cashback on purchases for retailers including The Iconic, Selfridges, Farfetch and Net-A-Porter, has around 20,000 active users.

Money, money, money. Women-focused fintech Verve launched ‘Verve Money’ to complement its superannuation product and raised $3m. Verve Money allows investors to choose between three ethically curated portfolios with different goal time frames, risk levels and anticipated returns. The portfolios include impact-focused alternative investments including a minimum 20% investment in climate solutions.

You are my sunshine. Climate Salad released its Climate Technology Industry Report. As you’d expect, it shows lots of momentum in this space. 3,000+ new jobs have been created in Australia, with a further 2,400 expected soon. 47% of Australian climate tech companies are already global.

Insurer IAG’s CVC Firemark Ventures is partnering with Jerusalem Venture Partners, and Margalit Startup City to explore and nurture new climate change and risk assessment technologies in the US, Israel, and Australia.Toilet paper startup Who Gives A Crap convinced one of the biggest landlords in Australia to install solar panels on their warehouse, including the word CRAP. They share some handy tips to help other businesses to follow their lead with solar power.

Movie star. Coming to Amazon Video and Apple TV on 1 August, ‘Founder‘ is an upcoming series delving into the lives of some of Australia’s most successful startup founders from Canva, SafetyCulture, Finder and Brighte.

Trending in capital raising land

VC stats this quarter. Cut Through Ventures released its quarterly report on local startup funding. Things have picked up 20% compared to the last quarter, with $810m raised across 90 deals in the last three months. So some improvement, but still significantly lower than 2021 levels. More voluntary administration and down rounds on the horizon.

Crowdfunding. Birchal’s fifth annual report on crowdsourced funding in Australia showed a 26% decline in funding compared to the previous year. The average deal size was $763k, with an average investment of $1,739. Food and beverage startups were the leading category, raising $23.7m.

New SaaS-focussed funds. Our Innovation Fund raised $55m for its new Opportunity Fund, which will target tech businesses with more than $10m in annual revenue. Black Nova is raising $35m for its second fund, with an investment thesis of “boring is better… the less-glamorous, but essential, businesses solving acute, and the everyday problems for the mid-market and enterprise customer.”

Related: Productiv released its 2023 State of SaaS Series on insights on SaaS growth, spend, consolidation and usage. Key insights:

  • On average, organisations use 371 SaaS apps. The average department uses 87 apps. However there are indications that businesses are focussing on app consolidation – there has been an 11% reduction in the number of SaaS apps across key categories in 2023, such as project management and recruitment tools.
  • US$9.6K per employee will be spent on SaaS apps in 2023
  • Only 47% of licenses are actively used (assessed over 90 days). The larger the organisation, the higher the wastage.
  • The vast majority of contracts have a one-year term.

Also related: NZTE/Movac released a handy SaaS pricing and packaging guide.

Battery tech bonanza. Sicona raised $22m to develop low cost, scalable next-gen battery materials that enable electric-mobility and storage of renewable energy. HydGene Renewables raised $6m for its alternative green hydrogen solution. EVOS raised $5m for its EV chargers, which are now aimed at consumers, as well as commercial fleets. The first model provides an average car with a range of up to 120km in an hour, as well as controlling charging times to make use of solar or off-peak electricity.

AI everywhere. A new report from the Tech Council reckons generative AI could be worth between $45bn & $115bn (up to 5% of GDP) by 2030. Some interesting AI-related raises this month: Secure Code Warrior raised $50m to work on an AI platform to write highly secure code. Nullify raised $1.1m for its cybersecurity bot that analyses the code within existing workflows to identify and fix any issues. Sherlok raised $3.4m for its mortgage repricing and refinancing platform that uses AI to predict loan book churn.

Women backing women. ModiBodi founder, Kristy Chong has made her first two investments since selling her company for $140m last year. Both investments were in women-founded companies (also in battery/charging tech and AI):

  • Laronix has created an electronic voice prosthesis for people who have had their larynx removed. The prosthesis monitors the respiration signals a person’s body makes when they are trying to speak and uses AI to produce a voice.

Everty allows businesses that install EV chargers (e.g. property managers or shopping centres) to monitor the equipment for outages, to ramp charging up and down depending on how much energy is being used elsewhere in the building, and to take payments.

AI and other hype around the world

M-ai-king bank. Microsoft will charge $30 per user per month for businesses that want to use its AI copilots to automate work in its Office products. This represents the most significant new revenue opportunity for Microsoft’s Office business since it switched to a subscription model.

Price of AI: $1.3bn. Databricks bought MosaicML, a 60 person AI startup founded 2 years ago, for US$1.3bn (its last round valued it at $222m). Inflection raised US$1.3bn from Nvidia and others to build the world’s largest GPU cluster (using chips from Nvidia, of course).

AI Policy. The UN Secretary-General has endorsed creating a UN agency to deal with AI threats, like how AI might be used in weapons of mass destruction or AI’s role in spreading conspiracy theories. Not at all alarming. On another note, the Grammys (music awards) has a new policy on the use of generative AI that requires humans to contribute to songs in “a meaningful way.”

China rebound abound? China announced a AU$1.5bn (7.12bn yuan) fine for Ant Group’s violation of laws and regulations – one of the largest ever fines for an internet company in China. Many market watchers hoped this could signal the end of a multi-year regulatory crackdown on the country’s technology sector. But shares haven’t rallied and investors clearly aren’t convinced.

Disrupted pickle. Netflix’s password crackdown and advertising tier appear to be working, resulting in 5.9 million new customers last quarter – more than double Wall Street forecasts. But overall results failed to impress (revenue $8.19bn, operating profit $1.49bn). Shares were down more than 8% after the announcement of its results. Meanwhile, Hollywood writers and actors are on strike, and entertainment profits at non-Netflix entertainment giants have plummeted from previous highs of US$23bn in 2013.

Social wars. Snap now has 4 million paying subscribers (much more than Twitter). In a big win for local startup Linktree, it is also rolling out ability for all users to add links to their bios using an exclusive integration with Linktree.

The Metaverse may be dead. But Zucks doesn’t care – he’s got bigger fish to fry in the shape of Elon Musk. Meta launched its Twitter competitor Threads, and managed to amass almost 100m users just a few days. Of course, Twitter/Musk has threatened to sue, and has even challenged Zuckerberg to a “Literal Dick Measuring Contest.”

That’s a wrap! We hope you enjoyed it.

Bex, Gavin and the team at Ignition Lane

Gavin and Bex make it their business to know everything going on in technology, startups and venture capital.

Gavin is the Founder and CEO of Ignition Lane. He has 25 years of experience in the technology industry across startups, corporates and venture capital. Gavin was a founding Partner at venture capital firm Square Peg, an SVP of Product and Technology at Experian, and was one of the first employees and CTO at Hitwise – a venture-backed startup that was acquired for US$240m in 2007.

Bex is a founding Partner at Ignition Lane. Driven by curiosity, her career is the epitome of unconventional – spanning technology commercialisation and operations, corporate law, IT delivery and more. Applying this unique mix of skills and experience, she now works with CEOs and their teams to solve problems, drive growth and move beyond the status quo.

Let Pause Awards tell your story
Entering first-timers
Check 2023 Pause Awards winners
Pause Awards Night: the community of champs
Pause Awards Night
2023 Years Summary page is here
Summary Page

Related posts

See who won in 2023

Read more

Category tracks

The Culture track seeks entries that exemplify the development of an inclusive and collaborative workplace culture, crucial for organisational success and growth. Submissions should illustrate transformative strategies implemented across core business functions, reflecting expertise, leadership, and a clear vision. These strategies should demonstrate a positive impact on the business, its employees, stakeholders, and customers, showcasing how a nurturing culture contributes to overall growth and innovation.

The Excellence track celebrates businesses that have demonstrated remarkable success and impact within their industry, regardless of their size. Entries for this category should illustrate how the business's strategic execution, guided by visionary leadership and exceptional expertise, has significantly influenced the industry. The focus will be on the tangible outcomes of these strategies, highlighting the company's ability to innovate, lead, and leave a lasting impression in its field.

The Good track is focused on recognising companies dedicated to their mission of creating a positive societal impact. Entries should highlight innovative solutions aimed at addressing global challenges such as environmental sustainability, social equity, and community well-being. Successful submissions will demonstrate how their initiatives contribute to significant changes, tackling issues like gender inequality, social imbalance, and injustice, thereby setting a precedent for responsible and impactful business practices.

Awarded to a single entry in a category, Grand Prix is the top accolade in that category. To win the Grand Prix, the entire Judging Board must unanimously agree that the entry deserves the accolade of being the best in that category.

The Growth track is about showcasing how businesses have enhanced productivity and execution to make a significant impact in their market. Entries should highlight innovative strategies that have optimised the customer journey, leading to increased engagement and commercial success. This track is for those who have effectively used their understanding of the market and customer needs to scale their business and achieve notable growth.

The Operators track seeks entries that showcase leadership in fostering innovation within their ecosystems. Ideal submissions will highlight how your initiatives have catalysed the creation of new products or services, bolstered by a culture that uplifts internal teams and the wider community. This track celebrates those who drive progress by empowering voices and forging transformative connections in their industry.


  • Always Evolving New

    Acknowledges a culture of continuous learning and improvement within a company, encourages employee development, and always looks for ways to optimise and innovate operations.

  • Big & Mighty Culture New

    Recognises companies (51-1000 employees) for their exceptional efforts in cultivating a culture that champions innovation.

  • Diverse Co.

    Celebrates workplaces dedicated to fostering innovation through a vibrant tapestry of diverse talents and perspectives.

  • Small & Mighty Culture New

    Applauds small teams of fewer than 50 employees for their remarkable ability to foster innovation and set new benchmarks in their domain.

  • Work Sweet Work

    Acknowledges companies that have achieved extraordinary employee engagement, satisfaction, and retention, creating an exemplary workplace culture.

  • Company of the Year

    Honours an outstanding company that not only showcases exemplary leadership and resilience but also demonstrates a clear, quantifiable impact over the past year.

  • Customer Obsessed New

    Applauds prioritisation, understanding and meeting the needs and expectations of their customers, including feedback, personalised services and ensuring high satisfaction.

  • Defiant Ones

    Recognises firms that lead technological innovation, setting new standards and defining the future of their industries.

  • Hammer

    Celebrates companies that have not only defined success on their own terms but have also concretely demonstrated their triumphs over the past year.

  • I Wish I'd Done That

    Applauds ingenious, simple solutions in niche markets that spark a universal sentiment of admiration.

  • On the Rise

    Celebrates early-stage startups, under 4 years, that have shown remarkable progress and success in their initial years.

  • Prodigy

    Recognises young visionaries under 30 with outstanding talents and achievements, setting them apart in their fields.

  • Singularity

    Highlights AI-driven companies that are pioneering new services or integrating AI to create innovative products.

  • Women in Business

    Celebrates female entrepreneurs and leaders who are forging paths for future generations by creating more equitable opportunities.

  • B-Good

    Recognises businesses that redefine commercial success by positively transforming our economic system for the benefit of all stakeholders.

  • Circular Pioneer

    Celebrates companies at the forefront of circular economy practices, making substantial and sustainable differences.

  • Ethical Leadership New

    Commends companies exemplifying leadership in environmental and social governance, setting standards in corporate responsibility and ethical practices.

  • Going Green

    Acknowledges companies leading large-scale sustainable initiatives, addressing critical areas like clean energy and environmental justice.

  • Collab New

    Honours strategic partnerships and alliances with other businesses to leverage complementary strengths, access new markets, and share resources for synergistic growth and innovation.

  • Design First

    Celebrates companies where design is the heartbeat of innovation, engaging the whole team in crafting groundbreaking products.

  • Going Global New

    Applauds companies that have expanded their reach globally, showcasing exceptional growth and international success.

  • Great Pivot

    Acknowledges companies that adeptly navigate change, leveraging insights to pivot towards delivering outstanding products.

  • Movement

    Recognises unforgettable event experiences that resonate emotionally, drive social change, or achieve viral status.

  • New Model

    Honours businesses revolutionising markets with elegant and disruptive business models.

  • Next Level New

    Applauds companies which had successful strategic acquisition and integration of another entity, staff or an asset that allowed them to further grow and scale their services.

  • Wildfire

    Celebrates companies that have rapidly and significantly impacted their marketplace, online and offline, setting new standards for success.

  • Angel

    Honours visionary angel investors who've significantly contributed to early-stage startups, guiding them toward success.

  • C-Suite

    Recognises exceptional leadership qualities in high-ranking executives, showcasing their management and interpersonal excellence.

  • Creative Maverick New

    Honours unconventional thinkers with exceptional abilities to execute typically unimaginable initiatives, expertly coordinate teams, secure funding or successfully launch multiple ventures.

  • Ecosystem Star

    Celebrates individuals who energise and nurture their communities, fostering engagement and advocacy.

  • Future Builder

    Recognises the determination and resilience of founders who've embarked on the challenging journey of starting their own ventures.

  • Quiet Achiever New

    Applauds the unsung heroes whose behind-the-scenes efforts have led to flawless project executions and exceeded expectations.

  • Splash Down Under New

    Acknowledges international companies making a noteworthy entrance into the Australian market, enriching the local business ecosystem.

  • TopCoder

    Recognises developers for their outstanding technical skills, clean code, and collaborative spirit.

  • Venture Cap

    Salutes venture capital firms with a track record of backing transformative businesses, contributing significantly to Australia's economic growth.

  • Visionary New

    Recognises effective leadership by setting a clear vision, motivating the team, and making strategic decisions that guide their business towards its goals.

Early Entries end on:
00d : 00h : 00m : 00s
Enter now