• Garage Storage

    Do you know what your stuff’s worth? Trov raises $6.5M to reinvent insurance for the mobile generation

    Millennials, the largest generation since the Baby Boomers (their parents), have almost no relationship with the insurance industry. This is in part due to low rates of home ownership –and a general malaise toward renter’s insurance — but also due to the fact that the insurance industry has yet to deliver a solution that speaks this massive group’s language the way Wealthfront and Venmo do for personal finances, or Gilt, Wish, and Instacart do for retail commerce. You’d be hard…
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    PayPal appeals for regulatory clarity in Australia, hints at future blockchain application plans

    Large, mature companies are rarely the first to adopt new technology. But if you want to get a sense of what areas of innovation these incumbent giants view as promising, if not deeply strategic, it pays to look at where they direct their lobbying muscle. This has certainly been the case with bitcoin, as large retailers, payments platforms, and financial services companies continue to weigh into the ongoing regulatory process with carefully crafted messages either in favor of or in…
  • Converted Church Home

    With rabid overseas demand, home design favorite Houzz looks to triple its international reach in 2015

    After getting a taste of international operation in 2014, Houzz is going back for a second helping in 2015. With overseas outposts currently in the UK, Australia, Germany, and France, the home remodeling and design community will expand its footprint into a total of 15 non-US markets in the first half of 2015 with its sights firmly set on covering all of Europe and much of Asia as soon as possible. “We’re discovered that we have a strong…
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    Spotify positions itself to take advantage of Australia’s declining piracy

    Australians aren’t pirating music as often as they were before, according to a study by Spotify that analyzed the rate at which consumers in the country illegally downloaded music via their mobile phones. And the company isn’t shy about its excitement at the idea of selling its service to everyone who have decided they would rather pay for their music, or at least suffer through a few ads, than download it for free. According to the study, a 20 percent decrease…
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    Ransomed iPhones are the latest sign that “digital security” is an oxymoron

    Australian iPhone users are reporting that their devices have been “hacked” and held for ransom by someone calling themselves Oleg Pliss. The attacker is offering access to affected devices in exchange for around $100, according to the Age, and has compromised iPhones across Australia. The attacks have been reported to Apple and to relevant local authorities. These reports continue months of security woes for Apple customers. First it was revealed that the company had failed to implement a security standard…
  • australia

    Australia becomes the latest country to offer a government website with crippling security flaws

    It seems that the United States isn’t the only government that struggles to make a functional website. The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the Australian government has failed to fix security flaws with the country’s myGov site, leaving millions of Australians’ personal information unprotected. A simple exploit can be used to gather information about someone’s medical history, tax logs, welfare payments, and other data handled by many government services connected to the site. Gathering the information from the site doesn’t require any…
  • Drug sales

    Oops! Silk Road shutdown leads to more online drug sales

    It looks as if global law enforcement is getting a taste of the Streisand effect. Nearly six months after the FBI seized the underground black market website Silk Road, not only have dozens of copycats sprung up in its place (although none yet reaching its level of scale or dominance), but also the level of online drug sales activity has actually increased in some jurisdictions. This, according a new report by ABC News Australia. The explosion in activity…
  • Sydney Flight

    Zookal starts “world first” delivery-by-drone service in Sydney

    Sick of relying on slow trucks and traditional delivery systems to get his company Zookal’s textbooks to people, Ahmed Haider decided on a fresh approach. Now, his Sydney, Australia-based company will deliver the textbooks via drones. Today, Zookal, a textbook rental startup, is announcing that by using unmanned aerial vehicles to ferry textbooks to renters, it will cut delivery times from two to three days down to a matter of minutes, while shaving shipping costs down to a tenth…
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    OzForex notches up biggest Australian tech IPO of the year

    As of yesterday, Australia has another tech role model. It may not be as iconic as Atlassian or as recognizable as Bigcommerce, but as of now you should be paying attention to OzForex, an online foreign exchange service that on Friday, Australia time, raised US$416 million in an initial public offering. On its first day of trading, shares in the company jumped 30 percent, from $2 to $2.59. While it was founded in 1998, OzForex held off on…
  • Lion Screenshot

    Canva attempts to bring Photoshop-like design power to the Web

    Writers have got free online publishing tools like Medium and PressBooks. Photographers can use PicMonkey and Pixlr. But what have graphic designers got? Photoshop still sets the standard for graphic design, but it’s expensive, and there’s a high barrier to entry. But an Australian startup launching into private beta out of stealth today thinks it can offer something almost as good that’s totally online, and free.

  • Appfolio

    Kickfolio becomes, picks up $1M, and prepares for a move to the US

    As the native frameworks for trying apps before you buy them remain wedded to screenshots and written descriptions in the App Store or Google Play, independent developers are pushing ahead with a better model. Until yesterday, Melbourne, Australia, startup Kickfolio was one of the leading players, bringing interactive app experiences to the Web browser so developers have a way of advertising their wares in a format that does justice to their work. Actually, today Kickfolio is still a leading player…

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    Enter the Ninja: A startup attempts world domination on “Internet of Things” from Australia

    You might have heard of Ninja Blocks. The Sydney-based startup first came to the world’s attention last year with one of the most successful pre-Pebble hardware campaigns on Kickstarter. The Ninja Block, a small device with built-in sensors that allowed users to link the Internet to actions in the physical world, raised more than $100,000 in pledges and shipped out to customers only a couple of months after deadline – almost unheard-of in the world of hardware projects on Kickstarter.…

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    How a 2G feature phone can outperform an iPhone

    Last week, I wrote about an Australian entrepreneur who sold an ad-serving company to 25/7 Media for $75 million only to see its value evaporate in the dotcom crash. He then built up a search engine marketing company that he eventually also sold to 24/7, this time for $30 million when the Internet industry was in recovery. In that post, I mentioned that Gour Lentell was also working on a new startup, biNu, which offers an app platform that gives…

  • Atlassian founders

    Hard yakka: Why Atlassian’s founders are the pride of Australia’s startup world

    A few years ago, Mike Cannon-Brookes was invited to speak to a student entrepreneurial society at a Sydney university. The co-founder of Atlassian, one of Australia’s most successful software companies ever, showed up to the venue in cut-off jeans and a T-shirt. One of the workers who was setting up the venue mistook him for IT support. When Cannon-Brookes walked in the room, the worker asked the scruffy entrepreneur if he could fix the projector, which was playing up. Not…

  • Gour Lentell

    Boom, crash… what? A dotcom train wreck finds a remarkable second coming

    It was 1999, right in the thick of the dotcom boom, and Sydney-based ad-serving startup Sabela Media was just one day away from closing a $14 million venture round. Things couldn’t look much better for Sabela, which in the space of 18 months had become one of the top five ad-serving platforms in the world and had expanded to New York and London. In the bubble’s blur, it looked very much like its digital ad business would have a lucrative…

  • Melbourne-Skyline

    Sydney vs Melbourne, rival cities but sisters in startups

    Many countries have strong rivalries between their two leading cities. New York vs San Francisco, Shanghai vs Beijing, Toronto vs Vancouver. In Australia, it’s Sydney vs Melbourne. This past week, I have been reporting from Sydney and meeting as many people as possible from the city’s startup ecosystem in that short period of time. Since announcing my arrival in the country, however, I have been made to regret not adding Melbourne to my itinerary. When it comes to startups, there…

The Week in Review