5 Things You Need To Know In Australian Tech Today

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Hello there! It’s Tuesday, let’s get rolling.

1. Ninja Blocks has raised $US700,000 from some big name investors including SingTel’s Innov8, Blackbird Ventures and 500 Startups. The funding will be used to further the home automation startup’s push into the US market as well as develop its next product Ninja Sphere. There’s more here.

2. Sydney is getting a startup co-working space with street cred. SydStart founder Pete Cooper is working on launching a co-working space for startups in a pretty epic location on Sussex Street in Sydney’s CBD – right near Town Hall. The cost of a desk is about half the price of some of the bigger co-working operations and Cooper is hoping to host a bunch of events every night of the week once it’s all up and running. There’s more here.

3. Looking for the back door. A growing number of Australian tech startups are listing on the ASX through reverse takeovers or back door listings to raise funds. The latest is retail tech company SkyFii which allows merchants to serve up hyper-local advertising and map consumer behaviour through a shopping centre’s wifi. SkyFii is hoping to raise up to $3.5 million through the exercise. There are two sides to this – some analysts say reverse takeovers can be used by “penny dreadfuls” to raise much needed cash while others say its a sign of how weak Australia’s VC market is. Either way there are a bunch of these deals going on at the moment and with the federal government’s ESOP changes it means listed entities won’t benefit from the tax breaks. There’s more here.

4. Commbank’s new tech boss is getting straight to work. David Whiteing is streamlining the bank’s systems, looking at opening up APIs to developers and pushing ahead with the bank’s cloud policy. He’s only been in the job since August but has big dreams for the bank and sees tech advancement as one way for the institution to maintain its edge in financial markets. One of the strategies he’s working on is limiting the number of partnerships Commbank has so it can form deeper relationships with fewer companies. There’s more here.

5. Microsoft and Google are battling for control over your documents. Overnight Microsoft announced it will be giving away unlimited storage to customers who buy the cloud version of its Office 365 software, one-upping Google on its paid version of Google Drive. There’s more here.

Have an awesome day! I’m on twitter. @alexandraheber

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