March 21, 2022

2019 Year in Review

While it always feels like day one, 2019 marked seven years into our journey at Square Peg.

Kate Stannett

December 20, 2019

2019 Year in Review

While it always feels like day one, 2019 marked seven years into our journey at Square Peg.

Kate Stannett

While it always feels like day one, 2019 marked seven years into our journey at Square Peg. Smash-cut from 2012, and we've come a long way from those first few days with our laptops open in a small office in Melbourne. Our greatest privilege continues to be working with the founders we do - and to all of them, we say thank you.

This year, we welcomed five new companies into our portfolio of 34 โ€” ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ฑAidoc, ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บAmber, ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บHealthMatch, ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฌNeuron and ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บQ-CTRL โ€” all working on ideas that in success, will move humanity forward. We also marked significant IPO milestones for Fiverr and Prospa, and the acquisitions of UHG and Puresec.

In total, we invested over US$86m into our portfolio in both new and follow-on investments. The smallest cheque size was US$1.4m for a seed round, the largest was US$19m for a Series C round.

We're currently investing out of our AU$340m 2018 fund, and manage over AU$0.8B.

Hereโ€™s how 2019 went down.


๐Ÿš€ James Wilson joined Rokt as their new CTO, following an eight-year stint at Apple and Amazon in Silicon Valley.

๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ Athena Home Loans launched on February 25 and fielded over AU$250m worth of mortgage applications in three days!

๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ฑ Lightbits Labs busted out of stealth mode and announced they'd raised US$50m from Square Peg and others to expand their team of 50 and continue development of the NVMe/TCP protocol - separating compute and storage for data centres.

๐ŸŒˆ We hosted the first of our monthly founder dinners, which saw us host over 100 founders over the year.

โšก๏ธ Ben Hensman was promoted to Senior Associate.

โšก๏ธ Karen Wu joined the team in the Sydney office as our Office Manager and Executive Assistant.

๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ Airwallex became the fastest Aussie unicorn, raising US$100m. Jack told the AFR at the time "we've done less than 10% of what we want to achieve".


๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ฑ We invested in Michael Braginsky, Elad Walach and Guy Reiner from Aidoc, a healthcare AI startup improving patient outcomes through deep-learning medical image diagnosis; leading their US$27m Series B round.

Dan Krasnostein, Partner in Tel Aviv, wrote up his investment notes on Aidoc.

๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บUHG was acquired by MedHealth, to strengthen their ability to deliver better health outcomes for customers. Congratulations, Brandon, Nicky and Rob!

๐ŸŒˆ Paul Bassat keynoted a packed room at the AWS Summit in Sydney to bang the drum for innovation.

โšก๏ธ We moved into our beautiful new Sydney office on Foveaux Street in Surry Hills and rebranded the company. We now live in our company swag.

๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ฑ Puresec - which protects serverless applications from cyber-attacks - was acquired by Palo Alto Networks; we are so thrilled for founders Avi, Ory and Shaked!

๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ Prospa IPO'd on the ASX, continuing on their mission to help small businesses access flexible finance - watch them ring the bell. Tony Holt and Tushar Roy wrote up their reflections on working with Greg, Beau and the Prospa team.

๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ฑ Fiverr IPO'd on the NYSE, rang the bell, rebranded the iconic bulls and celebrated the Fiverr community. Read Fortune's IPO article.

โšก๏ธWe hosted the first of our bi-annual team off-sites, with a focus on founder attributes and investment process.

๐Ÿš€ Aidoc got FDA approval for their third AI solution to help radiologists triage critical injuries. The C-Spine fracture algorithm joined their Head (Intracranial haemorrhage) and Chest (pulmonary embolism, pneumothorax, rib fractures and lung nodules) solutions with FDA clearance.

โšก๏ธ Amanda Hjorring, Square Peg's phenomenal COO was made Partner.


๐Ÿš€ ClimaCell (now launched Weather Assistant, their consumer app in the US, to provide the most accurate weather data. We love the 'impending rain' notifications.

๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ We invested in Dan Adams and Chris Thompson from Amber Electric, a startup powering the smart energy revolution; leading their AU$2.5m Seed round. Read the press.

Tushar Roy wrote up his investment notes on Amber.

๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ We invested in Mike Biercuk from Q-CTRL, a startup forging the path to practically-functional quantum computers by providing software to analyse and control qubit decoherence; leading their US$15m Series A round. Read the press.

Tushar Roy wrote up his investment notes on Q-CTRL.

๐ŸŒˆ The team joined the #ClimateStrikes in Australia, to demand action on climate change.

๐ŸŒˆ We hosted Summit, gathering the global Square Peg portfolio together in San Francisco for 48 hours of hyper-intense community-led growth. In addition to radically candid founder-led presentations, we were joined by Keith Rabois, Elad Gil, Robyn Denholm, Nick Molnar, Merav Bloch, Bill Macaitis, Will Gabrick and more for a huge dose of perspective and insight. See the highlights on twitter.

We also went sailing, hiking and yoga-ing.

โšก๏ธ In Israel, Tair Kowalsky Bass joined as Head of Growth (R) and Hagar Perez, as Office Manager and Executive Assistant (L).


๐ŸŒˆ Paul published an Op-Ed in the AFR on the importance of Innovation and why Australia is not prepared for a future of global disruptors.

๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ Canva's valuation hit AU$4.7B following an AU$125m round. Read the press.

๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ We led Athena's AU$70m Series C in September with co-invest support from our LP, Hostplus, plus Airtree, Australian Super, NAB Ventures and Salesforce Ventures. Read some of the press or Paul and Ben's follow-on investment notes.

๐ŸŒˆ We helped up-and-coming tech stars join Web Direction's Conference in Sydney, sponsoring all of the Diversity and Inclusion Tickets.

โšก๏ธ We began recruiting for a Senior Associate/Principal, Portfolio Analyst and CFO to join the Square Peg Team.

๐ŸŒˆ We hosted the Aussie Tech Tour, showcasing the best of the Australian technology ecosystem - startups, accelerators, investors, co-working spaces, thought-leaders, corporates - to local and international investors.

๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ Rokt announced their US$48m Series C round led by TDM.

๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ We invested in Manuri Gunawardena from HealthMatch, a healthcare startup matching patients to clinical trials through; co-leading their AU$6m Series A round. Read some of the press or Paul's Investment Notes.

๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฌ We invested again in FinAccel, a fintech startup providing fast, cheap and accessible financial services for the underbanked in Southeast Asia; co-leading their US$90m Series C. Read some of the press.

๐ŸŒˆ We hosted our annual Investor event - this year in Sydney - bringing together our LPs and Founders for an update on the Square Peg funds. Huge thanks to Micha and Ofer from Fiverr for making the trip Downunder.

โšก๏ธ We hosted our second all-hands bi-annual offsite, with a focus on team strategy and goals for 2020.

๐Ÿš€ Lightbits Labs was named Storage Company of the Year and Received Storage Hardware Award for SuperSSD NVMe/TCP at #SDCAwards! Congratulations Eran and team!

๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฌ We invested in Zach Wang and Harry Yu from Neuron, a micromobility e-scooter startup; co-leading their US$18.5m Series A with GSR Ventures. Read some of the press or Tush's Investment Notes. Please look at the best photograph of Leila we've ever taken.

๐Ÿš€ Amber Electric was awarded a grant under the SA Governmentโ€™s Demand Management Trials Program to deliver an Automated Demand Response Trial with 1000 customers in South Australia.

โšก๏ธ Over the year, we sent 89664 slack messages and an outrageous number of emails. We set up our new favourite channel, #learnings, where we share our most insightful lesson for the week. We participated in 000โ€™s of hours of calls for boards and countless hours with our portfolio teams. One of us lost that bet on bitcoin. We wrote and absorbed 18 x 360-degree development feedback for each other. We celebrated the next career move for three colleagues. We hosted over 100 founders for dinner. We also reviewed and refined the majority of our internal processes.

๐Ÿš€ In short, it was a magnificent year.

Square Pegโ€™s mission is to back outstanding founders across Israel, ANZ and Southeast Asia. We are humbled to work with founders who are shaping the future. If youโ€™re building something extraordinary and consider yourself a square peg in a world of round holes, weโ€™d love to meet you in 2020

Looking forward to itโ€ฆ!

P.S. If you're reflecting on your year, and want to join a high-growth company, there has never been a better time to find a role.