Trio of Aussie IT startups win investment


news Three Australian IT and web startups have revealed that they have attracted sizable investment rounds over the past week, as the nation’s startup community continues to gain in scale amid a constant and ongoing series of capital injections that is fuelling individual company growth and the growth of the local ecosystem as a whole.

Firstly, Australian hardware startup Ninja Blocks has been revealed to be in the midst of raising a substantial amount of venture capital funding to bring its dream of integrating a variety of everyday tasks with the Internet through small and flexible hardware devices of the same name.

The company got its first start during the boosting program held earlier this year by new Australian startup accelerator Startmate. Following that process, it pre-sold some $100,000 worth of hardware using the US-based Kickstarter crowd funding website and has since commenced shipping on its first batch of production units.

Last week the company was covered extensively by the Sydney Morning Herald, in an article claiming that it had raised $1 million, predominantly from US-based investors. One of the company’s founders, Marcus Schappi, declined to comment on whether the article was accurate or not, but Delimiter believes the company is indeed in the finalisation stage for a round of funding. Schappi himself has a background in the electronics industry, having operated an online electronics distributor since 2007, Little Bird Electronics.

Secondly, local startup media publication Shoestring Startups has reported that web 2.0 site Tweaky, which appears to be a marketplace where web developers can source business making small modifications to existing sites, has reportedly closed a $450,000 round from 99designs luminary Mark Harbottle and Learnable’s Leni Mayo. SitePoint is also an investor, according to Tweaky’s site.

The company is part of a growing class of web 2.0 crowdsourcing sites which provide marketplaces for various services, ranging from web site designs, business process outsourcing and even general handyman work or household tasks. According to its site, Tweaky’s founders are Ned Dwyer and PJ Murray. The company is based in Melbourne.

Lastly, a Perth-based site which bills itself as for doctors, HealthEngine, has revealed that it has raised about $1 million to roll out its national health appointment search service. The site had its basis back in 2006 as an online directory of medical practitioners, but has pivoted to broker appointments between patients and clinicians.

“There are 25,000 GPs overall in Australia, but there are also 24,000 specialists, 18,000 dentists and 80,000 allied and complementary health professionals,” said HealthEngine medical director Marcus Tan in a statement. “That equates to hundreds of thousands of appointments booked a day — and most of those bookings can be performed online.”

Tan said in general he had seen a “noticeable interest” in tech-related startups out of Perth in recent times, as investors began to look beyond the mining and property sectors. “We have raised $1 million locally through angel investment, which is pretty rare for a venture that is not digging things out of the ground,” he said. “We are beginning to see an increase in activity and interest in the Perth tech start-up and angel investor community, with investors looking for quality investments beyond traditional resources and property plays.”

The company wants to sign up 10 percent of Australia’s GP clinics in the next 12 months. About 1,000 of Australia’s 7,000-odd GP clinics were considered to be in growth mode at any one time, Tan said, with HealthEngine pitching itself as being a good option for increasing patient flow.

Australia’s tech startup sector is coming along in leaps and bounds at the moment, and it’s great to see so many companies getting funding (from both local sources and international ones and growing fast). There is definitely a LOT of angel and venture capital available in Australia right now. It will be interesting to see how things progress over the next six months. Congrats to the companies above and good luck on your future endeavours. Of course, not every Australian tech startup succeeds, and we’ve got a new failure up our sleeve to profile shortly as well ;) That’s the startup sector!