Canva, Airwallex and Culture Amp lead Aussie startups to record US$1.23 billion in venture capital investment this financial year

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  • KPMG’s latest Venture Pulse report has found Australian startups received a total of US$1.23 billion in the 2018-19 financial year — a record high.
  • The April-June quarter saw US$120 million invested in Australian startups across 17 deals, down from US$148.4 million in the first quarter of 2019.
  • A US$70 million raise by graphic design website Canva and US $40 million raise by employee feedback platform Culture Amp helped propell Australia to its record year.

It has been a good financial year for Aussie startups.

Venture Pulse, KPMG’s quarterly report on global venture capital investment trends, has found Aussie entrepreneurs have outperformed, raising a collective US$1.23 billion from investors in the 2018-19 financial year.

The accounting giant said it was a record high for Australian startups in a single financial year, and the figure was helped along by big fundraising campaigns by savvy Australian-founded companies.

“The past 12 months has seen Australia surpass previous milestones when it comes to investment in startups,” said KPMG’s Head of Australia High Growth Ventures Amanda Price, in an email statement accompanying the report’s release.

“We continue to see greater amounts raised by later stage startups, with businesses like Airwallex and Canva raising significant later stage rounds.”

Employee feedback platform Culture Amp was an early contributor to the financial year results, raising US$40 million in a series D round led by Aussie investor Blackbird Ventures in July 2018, having previously raised US$34 million.

Graphic design website Canva raised US$70 million in a campaign led by tech analyst Mary Meeker, taking its valuation to $US2.5 billion, while payments app Airwallex reached the unicorn status of a US$1 billion valuation following a US$100 million raise led by DST Global, which previously backed Airbnb and Spotify when they were startups.

Other Aussie startups that contributed to the record year were HR software provider Flare (US$15.4 million), online education platform Cluey Learning (US$14.4 million) and headphones manufacturer Nura (US$21 million), according to a KPMG spokesperson.

The April-June quarter saw US$120 million invested in Australian startups, down from $148.4 million in the previous quarter.

KPMG’s Price said there was some “fall off in deal size and volume” in Australia over the first six months of 2019, but that this was likely due to the federal election and is likely to pick up into the next financial year.

Globally, US$52.7 billion in venture capital was invested in the April-June quarter, of which US$31.5 billion was raised by US startups and US$10.1 billion raised by Asia-Pacific startups.

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