Arrow

Life in the fast (tech) lane

24 April, 2023
Life in the fast (tech) lane | News | Pause Awards
Ignition Lane Wrap monthly
Gavin Appel & Rebecca Eastwood
24 April, 2023
Share

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

Tiger’s growth funding implosion hits Aussie shores. This week The Information revealed NY-based Tiger Global’s $12.7bn ‘peak tech boom’ 2021 fund recorded a 20% loss as at the end of 2022. Tiger was the world’s busiest investor in 2021, fuelling extraordinary valuations and growth at all costs strategies… until the era of easy money came to a screeching halt.

In Australia, Tiger led Mr Yum’s record breaking $89m Series A (mobile food/drink ordering), TradeSquare’s $28m round (wholesale goods marketplace) and MilkRun’s $75m Series A (15 min grocery deliveries).

Now, a little over a year later, Mr Yum has made its second round of redundanciesMilkRun has collapsed making 400 people redundant, and TradeSquare has stopped trading in Australia as it shifts direction to “a new business model.”

The startup world flocked to the blogosphere to defend AirTree and other local investors for joining the Tiger bandwagon, and argue the case that startup failure is a healthy ecosystem feature.

Timing. Turns out the grocery behemoths agree with MilkRun that there is a market need for instant delivery. Just days after MilkRun shut down, Uber and Coles announced a partnership enabling customers to receive groceries from 500 stores within an hour. Each delivery will be packed and delivered by an Uber driver or delivery person. Woolworths also partners with Uber Eats for fast delivery.

What’s your moat? Instagram launched a new feature allowing users to add five links to their profiles, saying it was one of the most requested features by creators. TechCrunch:

in reality, it’s also an example of how Instagram’s failure to adapt to the needs of that community has allowed alternative solutions to thrive… The platforms would rather keep users trapped inside Instagram or their own network, rather than potentially lose users’ time and engagement.

The move muddies the future for “link in bio” companies, including Melbourne-based Linktree (which was last valued at US$1.3bn). Linktree’s CEO and founder Alex Zaccaria took to Twitter defending their value proposition.

Venture land. Blackbird took out top spot in The AFR BOSS Best Places to Work. Square Peg promoted James Tynan to partner. Flying Fox is raising $20mCo Ventures launched its first $5m pre-seed fund, led by Maxine Minter. Alan and Carol Schwartz will commit $100m to green climate investments.

The latest Cut Through Venture figures show that only $661m was raised in the first three months of 2023, compared with $1.8bn in the final quarter of 2022.

Bumbling breaches. Personal loan and financial service provider Latitude suffered one of the biggest data breaches in Australian history, impacting around 14m customer records across Australia and NZ. Stolen data includes details for 7.9m drivers licenses and roughly 53k passport numbers. The attack originated at a third party vendor and involved stolen employee login credentials. Meanwhile, a class action has been launched for millions of Australians caught up in last year’s Optus breach.

Crypto corner. ASIC cancelled the derivatives licence for the world’s largest crypto exchange, Binance. Another crypto exchange, Independent Reserve, bought the Bitcoin.com.au brand for $3m. NAB completed a cross-border transaction using NAB-issued stablecoin – a world-first by a major financial institution on a layer-one public blockchain. Bitcoin is up over A$40k for the first time since June 2022 and a16z released the State of Crypto Report.

Mighty Melbourne. Big things for Melbourne tech: Catapult’s Racewatch software was used by seven out of 10 of the F1 Grand Prix teams and motorsport’s governing body, FIA, to analyse thousands of metrics in real-time. Envato made the cut again in the 4th edition of a16z’s Marketplace 100 (US grocery marketplace Instacart took #1 spot). Customer service firm Cyara acquired Irish communications testing company Spearline in a deal reportedly worth $150m.

LaunchVic has chosen nine scaleups for its mext cohort in the 30×30 program: JET Charge (EV charging), Preezie (eCommerce experience), Thriday (business financial management), Intelligence Bank (marketing operations and compliance), Halaxy (healthcare practice management), FourthRev (EdTech – digital careers), VendorPanel (procurement management), XY Sense (workplace sensors) and Great Wrap (Compostable Stretch Wrap).

Generative AI everything

DesAIgner. Canva booked 40 million new customers in the last six months and now has 3,500 employees, with plans to hire another thousand this year. Taking on Adobe, the design platform unveiled a suite of generative AI products ranging from text-to-image generation, a ‘magic’ editor, automatic branding kits, and automatic copywriting. The products stem from its acquisition of Kaleido.ai, an Austrian visual AI-start-up, in February 2021. Just like ChatGPT, Canva’s AI model has a bit more learning to do:

AI bankers. Bloomberg released a new AI model, BloombergGPT, designed to understand financial language and can process complex financial information, such as market trends, risk assessments, and portfolio optimisation. The tech could be used in a variety of financial applications, e.g. asset management or trading.

Text-to-video. Runway showcased its new generative video model, Gen-2, which it says will be available to users in the coming weeks.

AI Drake. “Heart on My Sleeve,” a synthetic song using Drake’s voice went viral. No-one knows who is behind the ‘Ghostwriter’ account that released the song, leading to all sorts of conspiracies:

Ghostwriter’s come-up is strange even for viral TikTok standards. “Heart on My Sleeve” could be a fluky viral hit, a sloppy stunt by a crypto-adjacent startup, a revenge prank by Drake himself, or the beginning of the legal battle over AI-generated work that is flooding the internet. Maybe a combination. Whatever it is, something weird is going on…

Existential risk. Elon Musk, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and other technology leaders have signed an open letter urging for a six-month pause to the development of AI systems more powerful than GPT-4 (OpenAI’s latest large language model). The authors say advanced AI represents a risk to society, with potential to spread misinformation, replace humans and remake civilisation.

Surprise, surprise – just a few days later, reports surfaced that Musk is working on his own rival to OpenAI, that he thinks he might call TruthGPT – a “maximum truth-seeking AI that tries to understand the nature of the universe” and that “hopefully does more good than harm.” Sure.

Opportunity in enterprise tech

The latest Battery Ventures Cloud Software Spending Report says the death of enterprise tech spending have been greatly exaggerated. In fact, 73% of survey respondents expect their enterprise tech budgets to stay flat or increase in 2023.

The report contains some handy tips for those of you in enterprise tech:

  1. Renewals are the main driver of budget cuts, so you should aggressively nurture relationships well before renewal and focus on understanding and articulating customer health, product usage and value.
  2. Adoption of new technologies is still happening, but expect slower sales cycles in today’s environment.
  3. Evaluate cloud solution provider (CSP) marketplaces as a part of your GTM strategy. But this isn’t a “build it and they will come” solution.
  4. Similar to point 3 – don’t wait for bottom-up and PLG sales motions to save you in this market. These should be part of, not all of, your sales strategy, given the conservative nature of buyers in today’s market.

The end of things around the world

Netflix DVDs. After 25 years and 5.2 billion DVDs, Netflix is ending its DVD-by-mail business. The service peaked in 2010, when around 20 million people subscribed to the service. Netflix also released its fourth quarter results: It added 1.75 million subscribers, bringing the total subscriber base to 232.5 million around the world; revenue was up 4% YoY to US$8.1bn – slightly less than analysts had forecast; and profit hit $1.3bn.

Alibaba conglomerate no more. Alibaba is doing a major restricting, splitting into six different business units, each with their own P&L and minority shareholders: cloud intelligence, global digital commerce, domestic e-commerce, local services (e.g., delivery), logistics and entertainment/media. Interestingly, the announcement came on the same day that Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma reappeared in China, after being away for more than a year.

Twitter. Elon Musk merged Twitter with X Corp, signalling move towards his vision of an ‘everything app’. Celebs are crying because Twitter has taken away free blue verification ticks. Oh and, Twitter is also no longer responding to journalist requests. Instead, the company’s press email is set to auto respond with the poo emoji.

Moore. Intel co-founder Gordon Moore has died at the age of 94. A pioneer of the semiconductor industry, he was known for formulating Moore’s Law in 1965, which predicted that the number of components on a chip would double every couple of years. Intel CEO, Pat Gelsinger:

He was instrumental in revealing the power of transistors, and inspired technologists and entrepreneurs across the decades. We at Intel remain inspired by Moore’s Law, and intend to pursue it until the periodic table is exhausted. Gordon’s vision lives on as our true north

On that cheery note, we better end with some inspo. The Steve Jobs Archive released Make Something Wonderful, a curated collection of speeches, correspondence and photographs from Steve Jobs

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
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.


Categories


  • 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