5 things you need to know in Australian tech today

Mike Cannon-Brookes. Pictures by Belinda Pratten

Hello! It’s Tuesday and here’s what’s happening.

1. Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes has backed Sydney-based fintech startup Brighte. His private investment company Grok Ventures, led a $4 million Series A funding round in the 10-month old micro-banker for home improvements, which uses a smartphone app to finance solar panel and batteries installations in homes.

2. ATM operator Stargroup is converting 500 machines in Australia to trade the digital currency Bitcoin for cash. The joint venture with DigitalX is for the entire global network of ASX-listed Stargroup’s ATMs. There are currently fewer than 20 ATMs in Australia which can process a Bitcoin transaction. More details on the deal are here.

3. The National Australia Bank is rolling out “virtual bankers”. The “chatbot” will initially deal with common administrative questions in its business banking arm, and there are plans to roll the technology out more broadly. NAB thinks it can save $16 million on staff within 3 years as a result.

4. A Western Australian Internet of Things business targeting energy efficiency in commercial buildings has made a veteran Cisco executive its first general manager. David Barker originally came on as an investor in Quantify, which backdoor listed earlier this year, then started as director of enterprise solutions. Now, as the company prepares to take its IoT device to market, he’s taking on the GM’s role.

5. So you’ve got a startup, and now you need a board. Melinda Conrad is a Sydney-based company director who today on Business Insider offers an excellent outline of both what a business needs from its board and what you need to do as a director, having spent four years as a NED on the Sydney fintech OFX (formerly OzForex). You can read her excellent advice here.

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Have a great day. Find me on Twitter if you’ve got some news to share.

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