5 things you need to know in Australian tech today

Dodged a bullet by pulling his PlayUp investment. Photo: Stefan Postles / Getty Images

It’s a new week, here’s what you need to know in tech.

1. A sporting social media start up Malcolm Turnbull had invested in is going into liquidation. PlayUp, a sports social media business that has had over $70 million invested in it — including $1 million by the Prime Minister and billionaire Bruce Mathieson — is going belly up after 9 years operating. The company originally started off in the gambling business before they ventured into social media. Malcolm Turnbull withdrew his investment in 2013 after it was claimed it could be a conflict of interest for the then Communications Minister.

2. Travellers rejoice, Vodafone had a few big announcements this morning. The first was that they partnered with Qantas so that when you sign up to a number of their 24-month plans, you will receive Qantas Frequent Flyer points, or for businesses, Aquire points. They also announced that roaming on Red plans will be free in New Zealand, waiving their already good deal of $5 a day. As someone who has had a very average experience with other carriers overseas, that deal is awesome news.

3. Wyatt Roy thinks rivalry between NSW and Victoria startups is good for innovation. Assistant minister for innovation Wyatt Roy is backing the Victorian government’s push to steal startup companies and talent from NSW. Speaking at the Above All Human conference, Mr Roy said:

“It’s vital they are competing with each other to be innovation hubs. The only caveat on top of that is we’ll see specialisation. Victoria’s doing great stuff in cyber, and Queensland, we’re doing great stuff with the biomedical space and in software development. In New South Wales they’re doing incredible things in the fintech space.

“But they should certainly be competing with each other; we’re a big country, we can certainly have more than one innovation hub.”

4. Australian fintech start up Mint Payments just signed a huge deal. The new deal sees them providing fully integrated online payments processing software to travel agency, Tramada, which processes over $4 billion a year and used by over 300 travel agencies worldwide. Mint will be taking a slice of the transaction fee as well as the fee the agencies pay to Tramada.

5. The Toyota Corolla is going hybrid this year. Australia’s highest-selling car is finally getting a hybrid petrol-electric power plant this year. The new engine will pair a 60kW electric motor with a 73kW 1.8-litre petrol motor that produces 100kW in total power. It only has 2km of pure electric range, but it’s meant to cut fuel by a third while giving a nice torque boost over the old engine. It’s expected to launch in Australia in the middle of the year.

Have a great day!