How it started; How it’s going 2022

17 December, 2022
How it started; How it’s going 2022 | News | Pause Awards
Ignition Lane Wrap monthly
Gavin Appel & Rebecca Eastwood
17 December, 2022

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

What a roller coaster of a year!

How things can change in a short space of time. We looked back through the archives to our first Wrap of 2022 to compare then and now:

Growth rounds & virtual/hybrid collaboration

Then: Multi-billion dollar valuations and US$400m+ capital raisings by virtual collaboration tech companies – Miro, Airtable and Clickup.

Now: Growth rounds are out; ‘fit’ startups are in. Almost overnight, VC advice went from “grow at all costs” to “ensure you have a two year cash runway.”

The war for talent

Then: ‘The Great Reshuffle’ and the need for companies to have flexibility and work-life balance in order to win in the war for talent.

Now: The tables have turned, with thousands of people in tech being made redundant around the world.

Big international VC investment in Australia + grocery delivery hullabaloo

Then: Grocery delivery startups were flavour of the month with big backing from international VCs. Sydney-based Milkrun raised $75m led by Tiger Global and Voly raised $18m led by Sequoia.

Now: Voly has shut up shop. Milkrun is rumoured to have been (unsuccessfully) shopping around for deals with Uber, Coles and now defunct Deliveroo Australia.

Sadly one of the OGs of grocery delivery, Your Grocer, which aimed to help independent grocers announced on Friday that it is also shutting down.

Over in Europe, Getir bought Gorillas this week for US$1.2bn, valuing the two combined at US$10bn vs $15bn last year. Gorillas was reportedly burning $1.50 per dollar of revenue.

In VC land, the most active US VC firms made just seven investments in Australia during the second half of 2022, compared to 28 and 39 in the two halves prior, according to Cut Through Venture.


Then: Zero mentions of Elon Musk in the Wrap.

Now: We can’t get away from the guy after his Twitter purchase blew up the internet.

What’s remained constant: new VC funds, early-early-stage investing, M&A deals, choppy public markets and Wordle.

The big Aussie VCs raised record funds. Sydney VC AirTree kicked off the year with a $700m raise. Blackbird and Square Peg ended the year with A$1bn and US$550m raises respectively.

VCs ploughed capital into early-stage companies throughout the year, with 80%+ of the big 3 Aussie VCs’ (named above) investments into new companies being seed or pre-seed deals. Square Peg even wrote a whole post reminding people that they invest early.

Local M&A deals continue. Uber acquired Carnextdoor in January. Now, that Aussie-grown product is being roll out around the world as Uber Carshare. This month saw Relay Commerce acquire SmartrMail. Last mile delivery business Drive Yello and café ordering app Hey You also merged.

Wordle took the world by storm. This week Google confirmed it was the most searched term of 2022.

Still relevant:

Local newsings

Winning a market. Australians spent a total of $7.3bn with Uber last year, generating $2bn in revenue and $1bn gross profit. Deliveroo, on the other hand, was losing around $3m a month on its Australian operations before it shutdown last month.

In other closing down news, online furniture retailer Brosa has gone into administration.

FTX ripples. FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried has been arrested in The Bahamas. Meanwhile, Australian crypto exchanges are battling to stay amid the FTX fallout. Digital Surge went into voluntary administration due to its exposure to FTX. Swyftx has announced it will lay off 40% of its workforce (around 90 people) and CoinJar has cut around 20% of its staff.

Winner winner chicken dinner. 

Women and purpose-led businesses took out the most wins at Pause Awards ‘22. Two standouts, winning three awards each were Great Wrap (compostable Stretch Wrap made from potatoes) and Verve (ethical super fund for women). In the Deloitte Tech Fast 50, Montu (medical cannabis telehealth and training) was announced as the overall winner, followed by FrankieOne (fraud and money laundering risk management) and me&u (restaurant table ordering platform).

New local funds

Melt Ventures launched Australia’s first dedicated Advanced Manufacturing Venture Fund (e.g. clean technologies, automation and robotics, agriculture, transport and space), targeting a $20m raise by the end of March 2023.

Accelerator, Startmate is aiming to raise $30m by early 2023, including for a new Continuity Fund that will let Startmate continue backing its successful alumni as they mature.

Community Capital launched a new credit fund that will donate a portion of its management fees to charities. The fund aims to give multi-year grants of between $100,000 and $500,000 a year to 10 and 15 early-stage social purpose organisations.

In the US of A

Grow big or go home. US VC a16z launched a Guide to Growth Metrics benchmark tool for VC-backed B2B companies.

Everyone is leaving Salesforce. Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield is leaving in early January. This comes less than a week after it was announced that Salesforce’s vice-chair and co-CEO Bret Taylor will be stepping down and Tableau CEO Mark Nelson is also moving on (Butterfield says the departures aren’t related).

Open iPhone. After ferociously fighting to keep iOS as a closed ecosystem, Apple is preparing to allow alternative app stores and side-loading on iOS in response to looming EU requirements. It is also exploring opening up its camera and NFC stack to developers.

Terrible UX. Hertz will pay $168m to settle 364 claims related to the company falsely reporting rental cars as stolen. Thanks to a few bugs in Hertz’s back-end systems, its innocent customers were stopped at gun point, arrested and even imprisoned.

Jail, cont’d. Theranos Exec Sunny Balwani was sentenced to 13 years in prison for defrauding patients and investors – that’s 2 more years than CEO Elizabeth Holmes.

Chinwag. Over 2 million people have signed up to use OpenAI’s conversational text-generation model, ChatGPT. Massive hype and an equal amount of criticism:

“It often looks like an undergraduate confidently answering a question for which it didn’t attend any lectures. It looks like a confident bullsh*tter.” – Benedict Evans

Here’s VC Turner Novak giving ChatGPT a whirl:

This wrap was not written by ChatGPT (yet). 

That’s a wrap! Thanks for joining us this year. See you in 2023.

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.

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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.

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