The List: 15 companies that banked the lion’s share of $11 billion in funding

We have just witnessed a historic year for Australian venture capital. Here are the companies that received the lion’s share.
Key Takeaways
  • In the 2021-22 financial year, 709 deals closed totalling more than $10.55 billion in venture capital
  • Scalapay received the most funding ($565 million)
  • Daniel Petre, founding partner of AirTree, discusses the state of Australian funding in his corresponding op-ed for Forbes Australia here.
$11 billion in the bag | Image source: Sean Morris

Between July 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022, a monumental 709 deals were closed totalling more than $10.55 billion. That’s more than double the funding companies received in the previous financial year. This will probably not be the modus operandi moving forward.

As the tech market experiences a downturn comparable to the dotcom bubble, valuations are being slashed (Canva has been re-valued at US$25 billion, down from its US$40 billion peak) and funding is being pulled back. While some companies may rise to the challenge, inevitably, some will come crashing down.

In Forbes Australia’s inaugural startup funding list, we unveil the companies that received the largest venture capital funding across the 2021-22 financial year, supported by data from Cut Through Venture.

Daniel Petre, founding partner of AirTree, discusses the state of Australian funding in his corresponding op-ed for Forbes Australia here.

CompanyAmount raised in FY2021-22SectorInvestor comment

Simone Mancini & Johnny Mitrevski, founders
$565,000,000Fintech“Scalapay has quickly become an important player in European payments and the BNPL sector. We are impressed by their product development pipeline and strong focus on merchant success. We are excited to support Scalapay in the next phase of its growth.”

Alex Cook – Partner, Tiger Global

Alok Kulkarni, co-founder
$499,000,000Software“Cyara provides mission-critical software and is led by a visionary management team. We look forward to supporting Alok and the management team to execute on their growth strategy and further cement their position as the category leader in automated customer experience.”

Roy Liao – Principal, K1

Vaughan McKillop & Stephen Bradshaw, co-founders
$479,452,055Prop-tech“K1 sought to invest in a global category leader. simPRO’s global growth momentum will only accelerate with the acquisitions of ClockShark and AroFlo. K1 is thrilled to partner in creating a platform that can support the broadest range of customers with best-of-breed solutions, globally.”

Simon Yu – Senior vice president, K1

Bruce Buchanan, co-founder
$458,000,000Ad-tech“When we first invested in Rokt it was an under-the-radar success story, but one that we knew was driving incredible value for its customers. We had been lucky enough to have built a relationship with (CEO) Bruce Buchanan and seen first hand what an incredible operator he was, how aligned we were in many aspects of the scaling challenges that he faced, and really felt with great execution that Rokt could become a huge business. That thesis is certainly playing out.”

Tom Cowan – TDM Growth Partners

Andrew Barnes, co-founder
$418,000,000Ed-tech“We were introduced to Andrew and the Go1 team back in 2016 when the product had just 20 courses on offer. Although we didn’t invest in their Series A – something we came to regret – we were thoroughly impressed with the team. Go1 is (now) one of the world’s largest corporate education content hubs. It is used by some of the largest enterprises globally, including TikTok and Delta Airlines. We remain excited by the ongoing opportunity for Go1 to pioneer new ways of learning.”

Craig Blair – Co-founder and partner, Airtree

Lucy Liu, co-founder
$411,500,000Fintech“We first invested in Airwallex in late 2017 at the stage the business was pre-product. What attracted us was the clarity of the vision and confidence in the ability of Co-founders Jack Zhang and Lucy Liu and the team to solve problems in cross border financial services. The business is evolving into one of the most important technology companies to have emerged from the Asia-Pacific region. It has built a comprehensive product offering that meets the financial services requirements of digital first, global businesses.”

Paul Bassat – Co-founder, Square Peg Capital

James Ferguson & Robbie Fergsuon, co-founders
$362,000,000Blockchain/Web 3“The Immutable founders set out to solve the fundamental problem of replicating real world ownership of items and property in the digital world, through unlocking the power of NFTs through their Immutable X protocol. We see Immutable X becoming the go-to platform across gaming, defi, Web3 marketplaces and more.  And when you consider that the gaming industry is already worth more than music, film and on-demand TV combined, with spending estimated to reach US$200-300bn this year, you start to understand how significant Immutable’s tech really is.”

Zeb Rice – Founding Partner, King River Capital

“We think the instantiation of true digital property rights via NFTs is a fundamental innovation that will create whole new digital economies. Immutable is building the infrastructure to enable the transfer of NFTs at scale, quickly, cheaply and with deep liquidity. We see it as the backbone of a future in which NFTs permeate many sectors, starting with gaming. We were instantly drawn to Robbie and James (Ferguson) as the kind of founders who could achieve such an ambitious vision. They started out building their own blockchain games in 2017, ran into scalability issues, and are now building the infrastructure to solve them. Hundreds of other game developers have followed suit, building on the Immutable platform to create high performance games for their customers”

John Henderson – Partner, AirTree
Employment Hero

Ben Thompson & Dave Tong, founders
$321,000,000Software“At the time we were introduced to Employment Hero in 2016, businesses were crying out for a smooth and painless HR, payroll and benefits platform. A strong commercial and visionary founder, we could see the fire in Ben’s (Thompson) belly and were impressed with the great team he had built around him. Not only did they continuously set ambitious targets and deliver, they regularly surprised on the upside. The stickiness of the product and the fact there was still lots of white space left in ANZ’s SME market was also attractive – we fundamentally believed Employment Hero could emerge as the leading player to solve an array of problems facing small businesses, both here in Australia and abroad. Six years on, Employment Hero connects and empowers over 80,000 businesses across the world and this will continue to rise with adoption rates expected to increase by 30-40% over the next five years.”

Dave Parfett – Operating Partner, AirTree

Melanie Perkins, co-founder
$277,777,778Design/publishing“Canva is a truly generational company, and one of the very best software companies in the world. Its continued growth is underpinned by a rich and long product roadmap and the team to deliver on it. We continue to believe Canva has a lot of opportunity ahead.”

Rick Baker – General Partner, Blackbird

Alex Zaccaria & Anthony Zaccaria, co-founders
$152,312,379Social media“The first time we met (co-founder) Alex (Zaccaria ) in 2019 and he shared the Linktree metrics we were astounded. They had bootstrapped to millions in revenue, taking advantage of inbuilt product virality and celebrity endorsement to drive consistent organic growth. Linktree looks simple at the outset, a selection of links on a page, but the elegant simplicity of its UI is intentional. (Co-founders) Alex, Nick (Humphreys) and Anthony (Zaccaria) blew us away with the depth and sophistication of their product thinking. They are laser-focused on a delightful user experience which reveals a depth of functionality and integrations. In the future, we believe Linktree could become the online front page for creators and businesses, allowing them to turn fandom into financial stability.”

Jackie VullinghsPartner, AirTree
Culture Amp

Didier Elzinga, co-founder
$136,000,000Software“Culture is a defining company characteristic in determining long-term success – but it has historically been hard to quantify. Culture Amp changes that, enabling culture to be something that companies track quantitatively, and not just qualitatively.”

Nick Crocker – Partner, Blackbird
Till Payments

Shadi Haddad, co-founder
$135,000,000Fintech“Till is uniquely positioned to be a market leader in the global payments industry with its world-class omni-channel payments platform and merchant-centric approach. We are excited to partner with Till to support their sustainable long-term growth.”

Jamie Reynolds – Partner, Avenir Growth

Aengus Tran & Dimity Tran, founders
$129,000,000Medtech“We look for founders who are doing their life’s work and the Tran brothers exemplify this. There are few founder teams in the world who can combine clinical experience, AI medical device expertise and experience in enterprise healthcare partnerships and sales.”

Samantha Wong – Partner, Blackbird
Pet Circle

James Edwards & Michael Frizell, founders
$125,000,000E-commerce“We had admired (founder) Mike (Frizell) and his team from afar for many years prior to investing – they had solved difficult problems by applying first principles thinking and constantly challenging the norm. They managed to scale a business in an industry ripe for digital disruption.”

Ben Gisz – TDM Growth Partners

Mina Nada & Michael Johnson, founders
$108,000,000E-transport“We’ve seen a big uptick in interest in micromobility as a quicker, cheaper and more environmentally friendly mode of transport. We believe this trend will continue. Zoomo’s offering, combining fleet management, software and hardware is unique in the market and allows customers to deploy ebike fleets quickly and simply. We believe Zoomo is the market leader in the space.”

Kim Jackson – Founder, Skip Capital

Cut Through Venture gathers funding data from publicly available sources. Australian startup participants, investors and founders contribute. All deals are validated by an investor or founder, or a press release citing deal parties. There must be an infusion of capital in return for the investor taking equity. Exits, grants, prizes, secondary equity transactions are excluded. Data is augmented with publicly available information, such as LinkedIn and company websites. Material includes information about the founder(s) and background information. Funding amounts are presented in AUD. Deals reported in other currencies use the average exchange rate for the month in which the deal was announced.