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19 Aug

Australian coconut water pioneer H2coco launches new juice range H2juice

by launch-admin Aug 19, 2019 0 News
New product range to transform juice space and further expand ‘better for you’ category

Sydney, Australia, 20 March 2019 – Australia’s coconut water innovator and ‘better for you’ lifestyle beverage brand, H2coco, has introduced a brand-new juice range – H2juice, now being sold in Woolworths supermarkets around Australia.

With more and more Australians becoming increasingly aware of the nasties associated with other juice brands in the market, such as refined sugars, added sugars and preservatives, H2coco is staying true to its brand with its new H2juice range. Available in three flavours – Pineapple, Mango Mix and Berry Mix, H2juice products are 100% natural, made from real fruit juices, with no added sugar or preservatives, is certified vegan and sealed at the source to maintain freshness.

David Freeman, H2coco founder and CEO, said, “The rise in consumer interest for healthier, lower sugar products has been a driver for us to create H2juice and introduce this new product category to our range. We’ve created three unique and fresh flavour combinations that are thirst-quenching and taste great, which we think will appeal to Australian consumers – in particular, young and growing families, and especially their kids, will find this healthier alternative becoming a permanent fixture in their fridge.”

H2juice Pineapple is a specialty juice made from 100% pineapple, which is also a rich source of Vitamin C – its tropical flavour is the perfect balance between sweetness and tart. Sourced from natural and exotic locations, H2juice Mango Mix contains a tasty fusion of mango, passionfruit, grape, apple, pineapple and orange. H2juice Berry Mix is a delicious, deep blend of nature’s finest berries, including strawberry, blackcurrant, raspberry and blueberry – a delightful beverage on its own, Berry Mix can also be a fantastic addition to any cocktail or mixed drink.

On the sustainability front, H2coco heavily focuses on ensuring it only works with manufacturers that have environmentally friendly practices in place to ensure the company is providing consumers the ability to make the real choice when it comes to packaging and ethically-sourced products. H2juice is the only juice range available in Tetra Pak, a variety of packaging made from renewable resources. The average renewable content of Tetra Pak carton packaging is currently around 75 per cent and post-consumer, Tetra Pak cartons can be recycled and are a valuable raw material for new products.

H2coco is dedicated to empowering people’s lives to make every day healthier through its healthy innovation. The company works alongside food scientists in development of new products and make health convenient and easily accessible. H2juice follows on the heels of the company’s first-to-market offerings including the first-ever, long-life watermelon water and real banana water products, H2melon and H2nana, as well as CocoEspresso, CocoChoc, and its recently released Pure Pink Coconut Water.

H2juice varieties are available at Woolworths stores nationally in individual 1L Tetra Pak RRP $4.00. For bulk purchases, a case of six 1L tetra packs is available at www.h2coconut.com RRP $24.00


About H2coco
The H2coco company is Australia’s leading pure fruit water-based beverage manufacturer and progressive lifestyle brand. Established in 2010, H2coco has made headway with its Pure Coconut Water products and is now branching out, bringing a number of first-to-market products including world-first innovations such as H2melon, H2nana and SuperGreens Coconut Water. H2coco empowers the consumer’s journey towards a lifestyle of making every day healthier, by creating an innovative range of ‘better for you’ hydration drinks, made from 100% natural ingredients.

For more information, visit www.h2coconut.com.

19 Aug

Australian fintech PayRight raises $30+ million to scale payments business

by launch-admin Aug 19, 2019 0 News
Melbourne, Australia, 11 March 2019 – Australian fintech PayRight has raised over $30 million through a mix of debt and equity, with just over $26.5 million secured in the past 12 months led by corporate advisory firm Henslow in partnership with wealth manager Escala Partners.

Payright’s most recent debt and equity raise was oversubscribed and included a combination of existing shareholders along with a number of new professional and sophisticated investors. Following a period of substantial growth with a near-doubling of revenue quarter-on-quarter, PayRight is now in discussions to accelerate its growth profile, with plans to obtain further funding in Q4 FY19.

Capital raised will be used to fund the company’s next phase of growth, including international expansion, deployment of its smart technology and custom-built platform, growth in the loan book, as well as continuing to hire talented individuals to deliver on growth objectives.

PayRight is an Australian payment plan provider that enables merchants to offer a buy now, pay later payment option to their customers. Intended for bigger ticket items that are more considered purchases rather than smaller impulse buys, PayRight practices responsible lending and performs extensive identification and credit checks to ensure a customer’s repayment capability. PayRight pays merchants upfront and in full on the same day and manages the customer’s repayments. Merchants include a diverse mix of broad-reaching products and services such as direct sales businesses, home improvement and education, to photography, dental, and health and beauty.

Co-founder and joint CEO of PayRight Myles Redward said there was a clear growth in the buy now, pay later space with a $300 billion opportunity in the addressable market.

“In the last 12 months we have experienced significant growth and we expect that growth to continue. We’re targeting $45 million in volume in FY19 and we are well on our way to achieving that goal. On a more strategic mid to long term horizon we are looking at $200 million in volume annually. PayRight currently has over 1,000 merchants on our books with around 200 new merchants joining the platform every month and we are excited to see what the future holds,” said Mr Redward.

Piers Redward, co-founder and joint CEO of PayRight, said, “My brother Myles and I saw a gap in the market and identified merchants with higher price point products and services were being underserviced. Putting our heads together and drawing on our finance backgrounds, we established PayRight to provide merchants the opportunity to offer their customers a payment option to accelerate the return-on-effort.

“We are seeing an increasing societal trend for spreading the cost of purchases and living expenses – consumers are moving away from credit cards with high fees and embracing more cost effective services such as buy now, pay later. We have also conducted extensive research around consumer spending patterns and the trend towards buy now, pay later as a form of payment rather than traditional payment methods such as cash and credit cards is on the rise – we expect that trend will continue into the future,” continued Mr Redward.

Andrew Woodmore, Director at Henslow said, “We have worked with PayRight for over two years and have been impressed with their ability to consistently exceed expectations. The Company provides a innovative and valuable solution to merchants and customers, and is well placed to continue significant growth as consumers continue to adopt buy now pay later solutions.”

Simon Dawkins, Head of Fixed Income Markets / Partner at Escala Partners, said,“We were very happy to join forces with Henslow in helping PayRight structure and fund their lofty but measured growth plans in the Australian ‘considered purchase’ payment plan market. We have a number of UHNW clients who are looking to invest in this alternative lending space (both debt and equity), and we see PayRight as the perfect vehicle for us to make those investments.”

PayRight is partner-led and has a consultative partnership approach with merchants. Aspects of the product and process are tailored to merchants, which ultimately benefits them, as well as their customers. Merchants transactions are settled the same day, upfront and in full and PayRight manages the customer’s repayments, mitigating any risk for the merchant, improving their cash flow and helping to increase profit for their business. PayRight adopts a number of responsible lending principles to ensure a positive customer experience, leading to additional referrals and repeat business for merchants.


About PayRight
PayRight is an Australian payment plan provider developed for merchants to accelerate return-on-effort and for making things more affordable to consumers, by spreading the cost of purchases over time, without ever paying interest. PayRight provides merchants a buy now, pay later flexible payment option to offer their customers, intended for bigger ticket items that are more considered purchases rather than smaller impulse-driven buys. PayRight practices responsible lending and performs extensive identification and credit checks to ensure a customer’s repayment capability. Merchants are paid upfront and in full on the same day and include a diverse mix of broad-reaching products and services such as direct sales businesses, home improvement, education, photography, dental, and health and beauty.

Founded by brothers Piers Redward and Myles Redward, PayRight is based in Melbourne, Australia and is a privately owned company. For more information, visit www.payright.com.au.

About Henslow
Henslow is an independent advisory firm that supports growing companies and their stakeholders through every phase of a business’s evolution. Henslow is one of Australia’s few independent full-service firms that advises growth companies on M&A, capital markets and active management services. Henslow is the Australian member firm of Oaklins, the world’s most experienced mid-market M&A advisor, with 700 professionals operating in 40 countries from 60 offices. For more information, visit www.henslow.com.

About Escala Partners
Escala Partners is a high net worth wealth management business focused on comprehensive advice. Escala provides global asset allocation advice to private clients, not-for-profit institutions, and family offices. Escala offers objective, considered advice grounded in market-leading research and works collaboratively as a team to ensure the best possible outcomes for clients to realise their financial aspirations. Escala has a physical presence in Melbourne, Sydney and Perth. Escala Partners Limited is a Corporate Authorised Representative of Escala Wealth Management Pty Ltd (AFSL 456207). For more information, visit www.escalapartners.com.au.

19 Aug

Drink Pink – H2coco unveils new Pure Pink Coconut Water

by launch-admin Aug 19, 2019 0 News
Unique pink coconut water range expands ‘better for you’ category

Sydney, Australia, 26 October 2018 – Pioneers of coconut water in Australia, H2coco, today launched its Pure Pink Coconut Water range – a beverage innovation the brand is breaking new ground with, that will transform the ‘better for you’ category and multiply the number of coconut water consumers. Pure Pink Coconut Water is actually pink when bottled and like a non-alcoholic chilled glass of rosé, it is a sweeter, lighter version of H2coco’s classic Pure Coconut Water.

With zero nasties and packed with antioxidants, Pure Pink Coconut Water is 100% natural with no additives, not from concentrate, naturally gluten, dairy and lactose free, fat and cholesterol free, and vegan-friendly.

Hand-picked from a small province in Thailand, H2coco is the first Australian coconut water brand to introduce the delicious pink waters from Nam Hom coconuts. Literally meaning ‘aromatic water’, the Nam Hom coconut variety is grown specially to produce and consume the coconut water inside. The region is famed for its nutrient-rich soil and coconuts are only harvested once they have reached a young maturity stage – this is to optimise the delicate composition of minerals that causes the water to turn pink and give it a slightly sweeter and lighter delicious taste.

Priding itself on sourcing the finest quality natural ingredients from ethical suppliers, H2coco’s Pure Pink Coconut Water is farmed from a small collective of sustainable farmers in Thailand’s Amphawa region, where their Nam Hom coconuts are known for their pinky hues and floral aroma.

H2coco founder and CEO David Freeman said the new Pure Pink Coconut Water range tastes and smells much more naturally sweeter than regular coconut water, appealing to non-coconut water drinkers and expanding H2coco’s market reach.

“Our Pure Pink Coconut Water range is a fragrant, sweet coconut water with a flavour that will please even the most discerning palate. Classic coconut water can be an acquired taste and we believe our Pure Pink Coconut Water will appeal to everyone, even non-coconut water drinkers. It has tested extremely well in market trials and we are excited to be the first to bring this product to Australians who love coconut water, as well as introducing our unique pink coconut water to those who are not currently coconut water consumers,” said Freeman.

H2coco is dedicated to empowering people’s lives to make every day healthier through its healthy innovation. The company works alongside food scientists in development of new products and make health convenient and easily accessible. H2coco’s Pure Pink Coconut Water follows on the heels of its other first-to-market offerings including H2melon and H2nana 100% banana water, as well as CocoEspresso, CocoChoc, and its lunchbox range designed as a low-sugar play on the juice category.

Pure Pink Coconut Water will be available from mid-October at Woolworths stores nationally in 1L tetra packs RRP $7.00 and Caltex in a 280mL bottles RRP $3.50.

H2coco will soon back up this launch and introduce Pure Pink Coconut Water options with added functionality in early 2019.


About H2coco
The H2coco company is Australia’s leading pure fruit water-based beverage manufacturer and progressive lifestyle brand. Established in 2010, H2coco has made headway with its Pure Coconut Water products and is now branching out, bringing a number of first-to-market products including world-first innovations such as H2melon, H2nana and SuperGreens Coconut Water. H2coco empowers the consumer’s journey towards a lifestyle of making every day healthier, by creating an innovative range of ‘better for you’ hydration drinks, made from the finest natural ingredients.

For more information, visit www.h2coconut.com.

19 Aug

Australian infra-tech energy business Evergen appoints new CEO Ben Hutt

by launch-admin Aug 19, 2019 0 News
Sydney, Australia, 24 April 2019 – Infra-tech energy business and the provider of Australia’s only CSIRO-developed, intelligent energy management system, Evergen, has appointed innovation leader Ben Hutt as its new CEO and Managing Director.

Former Chief Program Director and Entrepreneur in Residence at Australia’s leading provider of corporate innovation programs, Slingshot, Mr Hutt comes from a strong business background with over 15 years’ experience in management consulting and problem solving with top-tier firms including Macquarie Group and PwC Consulting. In his role at Slingshot, Mr Hutt was in the heart of the Australian startup ecosystem advising high performing startup and scale up companies, and connecting them with clients including Qantas, Lion, HCF and Caltex through Slingshot Accelerator programs.

Michael Cummings, Chairman of Evergen and Global Co-Head of Asset Management for AMP Capital’s infrastructure equity business, described Mr Hutt as an exceptional leader with a great combination of skills and experience, and the ideal person to lead the company through its next phase of growth and development.

“On behalf of the Board and the Shareholders, I am delighted to announce the appointment of Ben Hutt, an experienced startup founder and execution-focused entrepreneur, to the role of CEO and Managing Director. Ben has significant experience in setting companies up for growth, in developing collaborative partnerships and scaling internationally. Ben is a unique and experienced CEO, and we are delighted he has accepted the opportunity to grow Evergen and be a driving force in the renewable energy and infra-tech revolution,” said Mr Cummings.

Evergen’s new CEO Mr Hutt said, “I believe we live in an unprecedented era of global change around how we generate and consume energy. Climate change has never been more evident, and people around the world are beginning to rapidly change how they consume energy. These changes are accelerating through industry and governments, and the renewable energy industry will be a driving force in enabling transition from the carbon economy to the green economy. I believe that ten years from now, we could see more than 50% of the world’s energy generated through renewable sources, and this will lead to significant economic and social changes in Australia and globally.

Solar and battery technology, and the decentralisation of energy networks is critical to these changes and Evergen is at the forefront globally of the technology required to power and coordinate the energy network of the future. I am excited to be able to bring to Evergen everything I have learned throughout my career, in particular the skills I’ve honed supporting more than 100 of Australia’s leading entrepreneurs over the last two years. I strongly believe in business partnerships and collaboration to accelerate change – and look forward to working with like-minded businesses in the evolving energy market.”

The five years preceding his role at Slingshot, Mr Hutt had spent building a globally disruptive recruitment startup, which he grew from humble beginnings in Australia to a team of 70+ with offices in UK, Canada, USA, and thousands of customers all over the world. During his tenure as CEO and Managing Director of Search Party Group, he raised significant capital (more than $20 million), listed on the Australian Securities Exchange in 2016 (ASX: SP1) and took the business from $0 to $50 million+ in market capitalisation.

Evergen’s outgoing CEO and co-founder, Emlyn Keane, will remain on the Board.

Mr Cummings said, “I’d like to thank Emlyn for building Evergen, and we’re delighted he will remain on the Board to help oversee the next stage of its growth and provide continuity, particularly with key relationships. Emlyn has successfully led the team and developed important relationships with tier 1 property developers, operational partners, and hardware suppliers. We are very excited for the next chapter in Evergen’s growth, and excited to continue our momentum both locally and further afield.”


About Evergen
Evergen is an infra-tech green energy business and the provider of Australia’s only CSIRO-developed, intelligent energy management system. Evergen sells and manages intelligent home energy systems comprising solar power and batteries. The ’intelligence’ technology provided by the CSIRO periodically analyses and remotely updates the system to improve over time. AMP Capital is a major investor in the company alongside CSIRO. Evergen is a multi-award winning business that has earned a CSIRO Entrepreneurship Award, awarded the 2018 Optus My Business Awards Energy Business of the Year, and debuted on the Financial Review Fast Starters 2018 list.

For more information, visit www.evergen.com.au.

19 Aug

World-first report: Research reveals inclusive design can expand customer reach fourfold

by launch-admin Aug 19, 2019 0 News
Research commissioned by Centre for Inclusive Design, Adobe and Microsoft shows applying inclusive design adds financial, economic and social benefits for Australian organisations

Sydney, Australia, 21 May 2019 – New research launched today by the Centre for Inclusive Design in partnership with Adobe (NASDAQ: ADBE) and Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) has revealed that products and services designed with the needs of people experiencing poverty, disability or the effects of ageing in mind can reach four times the number of intended consumers and impact the bottom-line of organisations.

To highlight the importance of inclusive design, the Centre for Inclusive Design partnered with Adobe and Microsoft to commission ‘The Benefit of Designing for Everyone’ report, which was conducted by PwC. According to the report, people who experience difficulty accessing or using products and services are often not included in the design process. This can result in disregarding a significant percentage of the Australian population as well as costly retrofits for products and services, which can reach up to 10,000 times the cost of introducing inclusive design earlier on.

Findings from the report showed that the Australian education, retail and financial services sectors can benefit from implementing an inclusive approach in the design process. Within education, inclusive design can translate into an additional 228,000 tertiary qualifications earned in Australia which in turn can increase employment and salaries by $4.5 billion annually. Inclusively designed financial services can help more than 830,000 Australians experience improved financial capacity and capability, while in the retail sector there is a $4 billion potential increase to revenue from better designed products and services.

Five million Australians across the country are unable to access products and services because of poor design, yet they possess over $40 billion in annual disposable income. This number includes people living with a disability and seniors, however there are millions of Australians who are also vulnerable to exclusion due to location, gender, ethnicity or financial status.

Global technology and digital experience leaders, Adobe and Microsoft are innovators in the inclusive design space and two of the first organisations worldwide to recognise the importance of understanding the needs, wants and limitations of customers as part of the design process. Both companies have inclusive design roles within their teams, who are in charge of driving transformation and rethinking products.

Dr Manisha Amin, CEO of Centre for Inclusive Design, said, “Design that considers the full range of human diversity with respect to ability, language, culture, gender, age and other forms of human difference means more people are included. We commissioned the research to identify and determine the necessary means by which Australia can act to reduce these gaps. Inclusively designed products and services that have edge users in mind, can reach and benefit up to four times the size of the intended audience and enable organisations to increase their revenue by growing the size of their target markets. Designers, companies, and government all have a role to play, by designing, investing and legislating with difference in mind, so that a design process that is inclusive becomes standard practice.”

Jeremy Thorpe, Partner and Chief Economist, PwC, said, “Inclusive design is a no-regrets process that creates significant benefits which are currently being left on the table. It is an overlooked step in maximising the potential of Australian business and ensuring a more productive Australia.”

Suzanne Steele, Managing Director, Adobe Australia and New Zealand, said, “Inspiration can come from anywhere and anyone, and it’s up to Australian businesses to give employees accessible tools that can enhance the creation process to bring their ideas to life. Through our partnership with the Centre for Inclusive Design and Microsoft, we want to raise awareness of the importance for organisations to include a diverse range of voices and perspectives within their teams in order to reflect the diversity of the Australian population in their products and services.”

David Masters, Corporate Affairs Director, Microsoft Australia, said, “Accessibility is often focused on compliance, and while that is incredibly important, this report clearly shows that inclusion drives economic benefit too. Embedding inclusion in the upfront design phase ensures organisations are delivering products and services for everyone. Inclusive design is driving innovation at Microsoft and is a concept that all organisations should be embracing.”

The report analyses three key industries in Australia – education, retail and financial services – that can benefit from implementing inclusive design and drive financial, economic and social improvements. Among these benefits, businesses have the opportunity to increase their revenue by growing their target markets and include Australians vulnerable to exclusion, who possess over $40 billion in annual disposable income.

Only 17 per cent of Australians living with disability will complete a bachelor level qualification or above, compared to 30 per cent without a disability. The research showed that placing inclusive design at the forefront of higher education would lead to an improved student experience, as well as attracting more students from local and global regions, which could result in an additional 228,000 tertiary qualifications being earned. This increase would translate directly to the Australian economy, which would receive a further $4.5 billion through salary earnings.

Inclusive design in tertiary education has already enabled students to complete online courses, studying whenever and wherever best fits with their lives. According to the report, this emphasis on diversity should be extended to the way in which higher education is taught and accessed, especially among excluded population groups.

Within the retail products sector, up to 20 per cent of Australians are unable to access and use goods appropriately. More inclusively designed retail products would promote accessibility and improve the user experience for all Australians. For example, the ‘household goods’ and ‘clothing, footwear and personal accessory’ categories, which comprise products used by most of the population, would be greatly impacted through inclusive design. This impact would see a $4 billion increase in revenue for these retail categories.

Applying this approach across multiple retail products would equate to considerable financial benefits in an untapped market for many retail businesses.

According to the report, a variety of retail products that were originally designed with edge users in mind are now used by a wide majority of consumers. Electric toothbrushes were created for patients with limited motor skills but have also become popular with consumers who don’t have this issue.

Last year, Coles introduced an autism spectrum-friendly low-sensory “Quiet Hour” experience in 173 of its stores. The initiative has not only impacted shoppers with autism, but also shoppers who want peace and quiet while they shop.

Financial Services
Almost 17 per cent of Australians are currently financially excluded, which is significantly higher than comparable developed nations such as the UK, Germany or France. This percentage includes people living with disability as well as underprivileged groups.

Financial inclusion improves financial capacity, capability and independence, allowing individuals to participate more in social and economic activities and create better outcomes for their communities. Reducing financial exclusion through inclusive design by even 25 per cent, would result in 832,000 additional Australians being financially included. The financial services industry would also benefit significantly, receiving $1.5 billion in additional revenue from annual fees.

For inclusive design to be successful, it should be implemented at the beginning of the design process. Design that is not inclusive can lead to complaints and negatively impact brand reputation. Other consequences may include legal challenges, planning delays and costly retrofits as a product or service matures. The relative cost of retrofitting a product or service to become inclusive will increase significantly over time and can reach up to 10,000 times the cost of introducing inclusive design earlier on.


About Centre for Inclusive Design
Centre for Inclusive Design is a social enterprise that helps government, educators, business and community organisations design and deliver products, services and experiences that are accessible and usable by as many people as possible. As Australia’s inclusive design centre for excellence, Centre for Inclusive Design mission is to champion Inclusive Design, to reduce disadvantage and increase participation and possibility for everyone. Centre for Inclusive Design works with corporate, startups, education, government and super-connected individuals to demonstrate the value of Inclusive Design in a way that is relevant, usable and valuable to its clients. For more information, visit www.centreforinclusivedesign.org.

About Adobe
Adobe is changing the world through digital experiences. For more information, visit www.adobe.com.au.

About Microsoft
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realise their full potential.

20 May

StartupAUS welcomes return of Morrison Government

by launch-admin May 20, 2019 0 News

StartupAUS welcomes return of Morrison Government

Support for high-growth technology businesses remains key to Australia’s economic growth

20 May 2019:  StartupAUS, Australia’s peak national advocacy group for startups, today welcomed the return of the Hon Scott Morrison MP as Australian Prime Minister, saying the country could now look forward to a period of political stability which would have flow-on benefits into tech and startup investment and growth.

“Congratulations to Prime Minister Morrison and his team on a strong election result in a hard-fought campaign. We look forward to seeing the final composition of the Cabinet for this term in office in the coming days, and to engaging collaboratively with the new team to expand Australia’s capacity to develop a world class home-grown technology sector,” said StartupAUS CEO, Alex McCauley.

“During the course of the election campaign the Prime Minister made it clear that Australia’s continued economic prosperity was his principal focus. Over the next few years, that will rely more than ever on our ability to create high value global companies.  Australia’s tech sector will have a large part to play here, with breakthrough global businesses such as Atlassian, Canva, Wisetech Global, Airwallex, Envato, Deputy, Afterpay, CultureAmp and Aconex all demonstrating that multi-billion dollar Australian technology companies are a new reality” said Mr McCauley.

“There’s still lots of hard work to do to get the settings right to enable more Australian tech companies to become global successes, but we are optimistic about the opportunity now to clearly articulate the important role technology will play in Australia’s future prosperity. The technology companies we create now are going to employ the next generation of Australians.

“This Prime Minister has been an active champion of high growth entrepreneurship. He was Treasurer at the time of the government’s $1.1 billion National Innovation and Science Agenda, and as Treasurer personally supported a range of policy proposals to grow the fintech sector. With a renewed mandate, and a focus on a strong economy, we look forward to his continued support for entrepreneurs. We also look forward to continuing to work with the government to help Australian startups access the best talent in the world, through the Global Talent Scheme.

The Coalition’s policies since 2015 have seen the introduction of generous tax incentives for angel and venture capital investors, a dedicated startup stream of the skilled migrant visa, the introduction of an entrepreneur visa, a global network of startup landing pads, significant funding support for incubators and accelerators, and the establishment of a national space agency. During the election campaign, the Coalition flagged an injection of $60 million over 3 years to the Export Market Development Grant, as well as $3.4 million over four years dedicated to encouraging more women in STEM careers.

“Thanks in part to the strong foundations laid while Scott Morrison was Treasurer, Australia has a promising future as a place where global companies are born. Of course, there’s a lot of work still to be done, so we look forward to sitting down with the new team to get stuck into it,” said Mr McCauley.


Media information: Fleur Brown m: +61 419270863 / e: fleur@launchgroup.com.au

About StartupAUS: StartupAUS is Australia’s national startup advocacy group, working to support the tech community and accelerate the growth of Australian startups. That means making Australia one of the best places in the world to build and grow a tech startup. StartupAUS focuses on trying to get the big picture right for Australian startups – improving the regulatory environment, building a case for the right sort of Government support for a fast-growing sector, and increasing public awareness of the impact of tech startups across the country. StartupAUS is a non-profit organisation registered with the ACNC.

2 Apr

Budget 2019: StartupAUS – Budget provides incremental gains but lacks vision on technology

by launch-admin Apr 2, 2019 0 News
Despite a welcome injection of $60 million over 3 years to the Export Market Development Grant, StartupAUS described today’s Budget as a ‘missed opportunity’ to provide strategic vision on the role technology will play in Australia’s economy.

StartupAUS CEO Alex McCauley said, ‘Tonight the Treasurer launched his Budget with a message of strong economic management, but gave no indication of his government’s approach to the transformational role of technology in Australia’s economic future. The Treasurer chose to focus on the status quo rather than outline his government’s strategic plan for transitioning the Australian economy into an increasingly technology-led world.’

Mr McCauley noted that within the raft of measures announced in the 2019-20 Budget, there were some that would have an impact on the startup sector.

‘The increase to the Export Market Development Grant (EMDG) is a valuable addition to the program. In our latest Crossroads report, StartupAUS called for an increase and improvement to the scheme, and we’re glad to see a significant level of additional support allocated towards helping businesses export Australian-developed goods and digital products overseas. Given that Labor has also talked about boosting the EMDG, it’s great to see bipartisan support of a valuable program. Also, we’re pleased to see $3.4 million over four years dedicated to encouraging more women in STEM careers as a long-term measure of support.’

Mr McCauley also highlighted that the lack of any attention provided to the Research and Development Tax Incentive (R&DTI) continues to leave technology businesses without stability.

‘In the 2018-19 Budget, the government responded to the 2016 FFF R&D Tax Incentive review and announced a crackdown on overclaiming of the scheme. One year later, the response to the review has been put on hold, yet startups continue to be hammered by audits while the status of software under the scheme is in limbo. Uncertainty here is an existential risk for startups, it is critical to ensure that high-growth startups are unequivocally welcomed under the scheme as soon as possible. This is an urgent issue and was left unaddressed tonight.’


PR Contact: Sophie Hanson | 0417927316 | Sophie@launchgroup.com.au

About StartupAUS: StartupAUS is Australia’s national startup advocacy group, working to support the tech community and accelerate the growth of Australian startups. That means making Australia one of the best places in the world to build and grow a tech startup. StartupAUS focuses on trying to get the big picture right for Australian startups – improving the regulatory environment, building a case for the right sort of Government support for a fast-growing sector, and increasing public awareness of the impact of tech startups across the country.

28 Mar


by launch-admin Mar 28, 2019 0 News
28th March 2019, Sydney: Fishburners, Australia’s largest startup community, has appointed senior leader and social enterprise champion Nicole O’Brien as its new CEO. Ms O’Brien will take over the role from outgoing CEO Pandora Shelley in April, who completes her successful eight-year career at Fishburners in March to pursue overseas opportunities.  

Ms O’Brien’s most recent role has been with ACON Health, as Company Secretary and head of strategic and business planning functions, commercial operations, finance, HR, IT, risk management, and marketing and fundraising. Established in 1985, ACON works to end HIV transmission among gay and homosexually active men, and promote the lifelong health of LGBTI people and people with HIV.

Prior to joining ACON, Ms O’Brien spent a decade at YWCA NSW. Her role as Director of Marketing was a pivotal one for the charity which raises funds through profit-for-purpose businesses, donations and government grants to  improve gender equality and eliminate violence against women.

Fishburners Board Chair Dr Katherine Woodthorpe AO said Ms O’Brien was chosen after an extensive executive search, standing out amongst an outstanding selection of candidates for her powerful track-record within the areas of community-building, partnerships and non-profit.  

Nicole received unanimous support from our board as the right person to lead Fishburners into its next decade, as we support and champion the interests of our diverse community of Australian entrepreneurs.  She has enormous passion for improving lives and communities and has worked to create a powerful impact with social enterprises in the not-for-profit sector since 1989. Nicole is also very accomplished in creating financial sustainability in the non-profit sector, commercial services, strategy, governance and risk, and marketing and fundraising.

“We were thrilled with the overwhelming interest and response to the Fishburners role. It’s a testament to the impact Fishburners has had both in Australia and internationally since it launched in 2011, and we have enormous gratitude to Pandora for her contribution to building such a powerful community brand in her many leadership roles over the past eight years,” said Dr Woodthorpe.

Ms O’Brien said she is looking forward to applying her leadership skills to foster the growth of startups, enabling them to create their own success stories.

“Startups are critical to Australia’s ongoing economic success and global competitiveness, they bring innovations that improve lives, generate employment and contribute to our wealth,” Ms O’Brien said.  “Fishburners has such a generous and authentic commitment to helping inspire, nurture and grow Australian startups. I feel incredibly privileged to be joining the Fishburners team and to be given the opportunity to play a role in guiding and supporting our vibrant startup community.”

Ms O’Brien joins Fishburners after a record-breaking year of growth. With a talented and expanding team, the Fishburners membership has grown significantly, supported by the expansion  of new offices in Brisbane, Sydney and the launch of Fishburners virtual platform. Fishburners also boasts numerous partnerships established or strengthened with the community over the past 18 months, including Google for Startups, Jobs for NSW, Brisbane City Council,  UTS, Optus and Chartered Accountants ANZ.

Dr Woodthorpe thanked Ms Shelley for her commitment to Fishburners as CEO and prior to that as head of community.  

“Fishburners is at its heart a community of entrepreneurs and Pandora’s contribution over her eight years on our team has been fundamental to our work in that area.  She will be enormously missed, but she leaves with our gratitude and best wishes as she takes her Aussie startup expertise into new offshore opportunities,” she said.

Founded by entrepreneur Mike Casey and venture capitalist Peter Davidson in Ultimo in early 2011, Fishburners was the first, Australian coworking space dedicated to creating tech startups, and a pioneer in growing the Australian startup ecosystem. The founders’ vision was to create a space for aspiring tech entrepreneurs to learn and communicate, run by entrepreneurs. The community has grown from a small group of just 20 members in Ultimo in central Sydney to a scaling community of more than 850 members and 400 startups, across its offices in Sydney, and Brisbane

Ms O’Brien is excited about continuing this vision: “I can’t wait to get started.”


About Fishburners: Fishburners hosts Australia’s largest startup community – with 383 startups and 728 entrepreneurs across the Sydney and Brisbane hubs, as well as over 100 virtual members. A recent survey recorded that in 2018 Fishburners members achieved approximately $65 million in sales, raised around $40 million in investment and created close to 1,000 jobs. As one of Australia’s first startup spaces, more than 2,000 startup entities have been part of the not-for-profit operations since it opened, including high-profile alumni such as Koala, GoCatch, graphic design marketplace DesignCrowd, Code Camp, Tinybeans, Madpaws, Jayride, GradConnection and Hyper Anna. Fishburners is also home to Australia’s largest event space dedicated to startups and entrepreneurship and has hosted well over 4,000 startup-focused events since opening.

PR Contact: Sophie Hanson | sophie@launchgroup.com.au | 0417927316

Sophie Hanson
Launch Management Group Pty Ltd
office: + 61 2 9492 1003
mobile:            + 61 4 1792 7316
website: www.launchgroup.com.au

4 Mar

‘Gaingels’ – the world-first investment vehicle for LGBT founders – invests in its first Australian company, Nexba

by launch-admin Mar 4, 2019 0 News

‘Gaingels’ – the world-first investment vehicle for LGBT founders – invests in its first Australian company, Nexba
Gaingels’ investment forms part of the leading beverage brand’s $6M Series A capital raise

Australia, 28th Feb 2019: Nexba, Australia’s leading Naturally Sugar Free beverage brand, has become the first Australian company to be backed by the world-first, investment vehicle for LGBT founders, Gaingels. The investment forms part of Nexba’s Series A capital raise, looking to close shortly at $6 million with the Gaingels adding $150,000. The final allocation of Nexba’s Series A round is currently live on crowdfunding platform VentureCrowd.

Gaingelsderived from “gay angels” and “gaining from angels” – is an angel-investing group of members who invest their own funds into LGBTQ-led companies. The group currently operates in US, Canadian and British markets. Gaingels was formed to actively advocate for leadership diversity. LGBT founders have been shown to face discrimination and are less likely to receive funding. A recent study found that 37% of founders were not “out” to investors and 12% thought being “out” would hurt them.

Nexba’s Series A funding will be used to accelerate Australian growth and support global expansion plans, after recently launching into the UK through a major deal with English supermarket giant, Sainsbury’s. Nexba has its sights on becoming the fastest growing Naturally Sugar Free brand, with a focus on proving global scalability of its proprietary, natural sweetener blend. This follows a record year of significant growth, including 148% increase in year-on-year gross sales and household penetration up 202% in Australia alone.

Troy Douglas, Nexba Co-founder and Global CEO commented, “I’m honored that Nexba is Gaingels’ first Aussie investment. As an openly-gay founder in a family-first business, I’m aware of how fortunate I’ve been to have the support of my business partner and brother-in-law, Drew Bilbe. That said, I will always be thankful to groups like Gaingels who lead the way by encouraging each of us to feel safe and proud of who we are. Capital raising is an intense experience, but it has transitioned Nexba from being a start-up to a scale-up. As custodians of our Nexba Legends (our shareholders), we are energised to continue reinventing high sugar and artificial categories. Recent product range launches include Tonic Waters and more functional offerings such as our Kombucha and Probiotic waters. I’m more excited than ever to put our Australian Naturally Sugar Free innovation on the global stage.”

Since Paul Grossinger and David Beatty co-founded Gaingels in late 2014, they have invested more than $10 million directly and led $25 million in investments from other organisations; 32 companies and eight venture capital funds have received investment, including challenger bank Varo, travel tech start-up Freebird and swimwear company Andie Swim, which recently expanded to Australia.

Mr. Grossinger commented, “We’re proud that Nexba is going to be our first Australian venture. We believe in the company’s leadership, and that its brand and proprietary product range will continue to translate in Australia and beyond. Gaingels backs companies with LGBT leadership, such as Troy and Nexba, because we believe that diverse leadership correlates with stronger culture, better opportunities for more LGBT senior leadership at the companyand, ultimately, stronger performance. We look forward to helping Nexba scale toward its ultimate potential.”

12 Feb

StartupAUS and the Australian tech community call for AA bill to be curtailed

by launch-admin Feb 12, 2019 0 News

StartupAUS and the Australian tech community call for AA bill to be curtailed 

Australia, 12th February 2018: The Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment (Assistance and Access) Act 2018 must be limited to avoid crippling Australia’s technology sector, according to a submission by StartupAUS, Australia’s peak national advocacy group for startups. The submission has received surging industry support from the likes of tech giants Atlassian, Canva and SafetyCulture, and VCs Blackbird Ventures and Airtree.

StartupAUS made the four-page submission to the Federal Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS) today.

StartupAUS CEO Alex McCauley warned about the impact of the AA bill on Australian startups when it passed in the Senate on 6 December, 2018, saying it put them “under a regulatory burden that is unique to them, and limits the level of security that Australian startups can develop”.

The submission outlines the urgent changes that are required to divest the government of “globally-unprecedented power to involve itself in the operations of technology companies.”

“Startups are critical to Australia’s economy. At a time when we should be developing and broadening our vision and support for them, the bill will jeopardise their standing with investors both here and abroad,” it states.

The StartupAUS submission makes four key recommendations for the protection of both individuals and the tech industry:

1. Remove the possibility for TCNs to be issued to individual employees, to ensure that individuals are not targeted where a company is providing the service. While TCNs may only be issued to Designated Communications Providers, the bill’s Explanatory Memorandum states this can extend to individuals.

2. Reduce the breadth of organisations that may be regarded as a Designated Communications Provider. By broadly defining a Designated Communications Provider as any provider of electronic services with one or more end-users in Australia, this includes any technology provider that offers technology designed to connect to the internet, whether or not the service is designed to support communications as a market segment. The bill should only be applied to communications-based companies.

3. Increase oversight and provide limits on use. A bill of this scope must have checks and balances. The submission states:“The government must include an objective, merits-based review to ensure consistency regarding the exercise of powers under the Act.”

4. Reduce the broad basis for executing the powers of the Act. The bill should target high-stakes criminals but instead will weaken the security of law-abiding Australians using software. StartupAUS calls for a clearer definition of a serious offence, as currently defined in 317B of the bill: “The definition of ‘serious crime’ should be restricted only to those crimes which are the stated target of the Act, that pose a genuine and serious threat to Australia and its citizens.” On an equally important level, StartupAUS warns about applying the laws to international organisations providing digital services or operating R&D in Australia, stating: “Further, the ability to exercise powers in furtherance of other countries’ criminal laws should be withdrawn.”

Mr McCauley, along with the submission’s signatories, reinforced that the bill is disappointing and should ideally be repealed. “We agree with Scott Farquhar, Co-founder & CEO of Atlassian, that the legislation is a ‘gut punch’ to Australia’s tech sector” said Mr McCauley.

“We need to ensure every effort is made so that international confidence in the Australian technology sector is not undermined by new legislation. We welcome a formal consultation to amend the Act so it is practical for our burgeoning tech industry, without cannibalising on our efforts to innovate” commented Cliff Obrecht, COO and Co-Founder, Canva.

Scott Farquhar reinforced the importance of the technology sector coming together. “At at time when we should be leaning into Australia’s tech potential, we’re anchoring it with legislation that hurts us.

We know we’re louder as one voice – that’s why we’ve rallied together as an industry – and we’re calling on the government to reduce the scope of the bill and limit the negative consequences on our industry.”


Helen Hu
Launch Management Group Pty Ltd