Rise and Demise

28 November, 2022
Rise and Demise | News | Pause Awards
Ignition Lane Wrap monthly
Gavin Appel & Rebecca Eastwood
28 November, 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. 

Sunrise. Demise. No more pies.

Record raises. Blackbird announced a whopping A$1bn raise – Australia’s largest VC raise to date. Square Peg raised US$550m for its fifth fund. VC Sprint Ventures closed A$8m for its second fund. SecondQuarter raised A$83m for its second secondary fund (this lets investors, founders and employees sell down shares before an exit or IPO).

Sunrise. ICYMI, the big theme at Sunrise 2022 (one of the best conferences in startupland) centred around preparing for slower economy and expensive capital:

  • Make sure FY23 & 24 financial plans include a recession scenario.
  • Many will find it hard to raise through 2023 and beyond. Some will need to consider alternative capital options, less founder-friendly terms and early exit strategies.
    Related: a guide from A16Z on how to evaluate and decide on the best financing option for your startup.
  • There may be record amounts of capital available, however VCs will have to make tough decisions on which companies they continue to back in 2023/24, given many won’t have stellar growth.

Despite all this doom and gloom, there’s fierce industry-wide optimism for the future. However not everyone is sold on Web3, yet.

$250m capsize. The ASX has (finally) abandoned a 7-year, $250m project to upgrade its clearing and settlement system to a blockchain-based platform, following a review by Accenture that showed “major deficiencies in the design of the software, developed by a company in which ASX has a stake, and questioned its ability to ever launch.” A classic case of corporate IT project problems + sunk cost fallacy, perhaps?

No more pies. Blaming a highly competitive, challenging market, Deliveroo entered voluntary administration in Australia. Menulog axed jobs at its Sydney HQ. Meanwhile, DoorDash has for some reason decided that expanding into instant grocery delivery is a great idea. This comes as Sydney-based Voly shut up shop, and global grocery giants Instacart, Gorillas, Getir and Zapp cut staff and reduce operations.

Crypto crackdown. ASIC launched court action against two crypto firms, Block Earner (offers a fixed-yield for crypto) and BPS Financial (issued Qoin tokens, a digital wallet and exchange), alleging they should have had a financial services license to offer their crypto products. Expect regulation to ramp up, particularly after the recent crypto-related meltdowns.

The Adventures of Tin200. The annual NZ Technology Investment Network (TIN) Report is out. The report benchmarks* the performance of what it categorises as NZ’s 200 largest globally-focused tech companies. It found:

  • Tech generated NZ$15.1bn in total revenue for FY22, up 9% (NZ$1.247bn) YoY. Accounting for 14% of total export revenue in FY22, tech is NZ’s second largest export earner behind dairy.
  • 31 companies recorded revenue of more than NZ$100m – including four companies that topped NZ$1bn (F&P Healthcare, F&P Appliances, Datacom and Xero).
  • The number of jobs within TIN200 companies grew by nearly 11% (up 6,148) to 62,718 jobs, with the average employee’s salary being $89,711 (up $699).

*NZ investor Rowan Simpson questions TIN’s data collection and reporting.

$500m club. ELMO (HR & payroll) and Nitro (PDF tools) each received near-A$500m takeover offers from North American firms. The boards of both ASX-listed companies have recommended shareholders accept the offer. If successful ELMO will be acquired by K1 Investment, and Nitro by Alludo (owned by KKR). Esports hedge fund PAC Capital acquired Clearwater Portfolio Management, growing its funds under management to $500m.

This month’s fundraising trend: green tech

The Clean Energy Finance Corporation will administer a new $500m sub-fund on behalf of the federal government to commercialise and scale up technologies designed to cut emissions.

Samsara Eco, who have created a plastic-eating enzyme, raised $54m to build its first plastic recycling facility in Melbourne. It also took out two awards at the second annual InnovationAus Awards this month, including the Australian Hero and Energy & Renewables trophies.

Uluu raised $8m to make a plastic replacement from seaweed.

Nourish raised $45m to develop animal free fats and oils to bring flavour to plant-based foods.

SunDrive raised $21m to produce the world’s most efficient solar cells, which replace silver elements in solar cells with cheaper copper.

Greener raised $4m to help customers find greener brands, and offset the carbon for their purchases.

Kite Magnetics raised $1.85m to halve the size and weight of electric motors by 2030. The main use case for its tech is in aviation.

Amber Electric raised $13.5m to further develop its automation software that will allow customers to automatically charge solar battery and EV devices when electricity prices are low and sell power back into the grid when prices are high.

Climate Salad received LaunchVic funding to establish a team in Melbourne and run a Global Impact Incubator for Victorian-based climate startups.

Big Tech. Big Fraud. Big News.

Dumpsterfire. Almost 30k Australians are caught up in the collapse of FTX, once the world’s second largest crypto exchange valued at US$32bn. FTX plunged into bankruptcy “holding just $900m in easily sellable assets against $9bn of liabilities the day before it collapsed.” According to FTX’s lawyer, a “substantial amount of assets have either been stolen or are missing.” The fallout quickly rippled across crypto markets:

  • The price of Bitcoin dropped to its lowest level in two years – US$15,480. It is now sitting back above $16k.
  • Coinbase’s market cap dropped below US$10bn. This time last year, it was more than $70bn.
  • Cronos (the exchange token of lost approximately $1 billion in value. Furthering the crypto mismanagement narrative, accidentally sent $400 million of Ethererum to another exchange.
  • Major crypto brokerage Genesis reportedly warned investors that it could go bankrupt without additional funding.

Speaking of fraud. Elizabeth Holmes, the Theranos founder and former CEO, was sentenced to 11.25 years in prison for defrauding investors in her failed blood-testing startup.

Because the real world isn’t enough drama. Apple is rumoured to start producing a mixed reality headset with a chunky US$1k price tag next year. Meta continues to pour billions into its VR and metaverse projects, despite cutting 11k jobs globally.

Bye Alexa. Amazon is gutting the team behind Alexa. The voice assistant is costing Amazon billions a year, and user and developer engagement beyond simple use cases (setting timers, asking the weather, playing music) has been limited.

End of an era-note. The once-great note-taking app Evernote has been sold to an Italian app developer.

Chief Twit. We won’t recap the entire chaos at Twitter. Instead, here’s our unsolicited take: Twitter needed a shake up. Elon has an incredible track record of ruthlessly getting teams to achieve commercial and engineering feats at a staggering pace. Do back him to turn the ship around? Yes. Do we agree with his management style and would we want to work for him? No. Are we worried about his conflict of interests? And the danger he poses having so much control and influence? Certainly.

For now, Twitter is a huge experiment. Can a slow incumbent turn back into a startup, and if so, at what cost? Is it possible to (very publicly) move fast and break things at scale, without completely breaking the beast or alienating your customers? Can you price new products by negotiating with a billionaire author?

Daily usage may be at an all time high, but only time will tell if Elon will succeed in the long term.

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