News Pulse for May 26, 2016

A daily download of SME, startup, fintech and tax news from around Australia.

These are 20 of Australia’s hottest startups

The Australian economy is transitioning — as the mining investment boom comes to the end, the dollar weakens and technology brings down ever more barriers.

There are thousands of small businesses across the country, tackling innumerable industries, contributing significantly to future growth and employing a plurality of Australians.

The Uber contract explained: ‘I would be loath to sign it’

Would you accept a job that guaranteed unpredictable pay, forced you to cover your own costs and put you at risk of losing your income at any time without warning?

That’s what’s expected of the thousands of workers signing up to join Uber’s legion of driver-partners.

While the company is keen to spruik its sharing credentials, a contract obtained by Fairfax Media tells another side of the story.

Australian business is getting more comfortable with Uber

Corporate Australia is starting to take to Uber.

Businesses have become much more open to their employees hiring Uber drivers rather than taxis now the ride-sharing service has been legalised, according to one of Australia’s biggest corporate travel agencies. One of the reasons: the strict driver-rating system on Uber provides more quality control than taxi drivers.

Square tackles invoicing

Global payments firm Square has unveiled its third product in Australia, Square Invoices, an offering it says will help fix Australia’s chronic invoicing problem.

Square Australia country manager Ben Pfisterer said cashflow was critical for small business growth and survival, and Square Invoices would help significantly simplify the invoicing process.

Optus boosts focus on small business with new SMB chief

Optus’ quest to grab a greater share of the small business market from its competitors has been boosted by the appointment of former Blackberry Australia chief executive, Matthew Ball, as head of its SMB division.

Telstra sharpens its cybersecurity claws

Telstra’s venture capital arm has put some capital on the table to seal a partnership with US cybersecurity start-up, vArmour, which will see the telco boost its managed services portfolio.

The start-up, which offers cloud security solutions to enterprises, has raised $US41 million in a Series D round, with Telstra coming on board as a significant investor.

Is email marketing start-up Campaign Monitor the next Atlassian?

Campaign Monitor is not just one of Australia’s most valuable technology companies, it’s arguably the most exciting tech firm this nation has produced. Let’s face it: the biggest names in Australia’s blossoming technology scene make their money in pretty boring ways. Even Atlassian, whose founders Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar are estimated on this year’s BRW Rich 200 to have combined wealth of nearly $4 billion, makes relatively unexciting products for IT help desks and software development teams.

Aconex founders back colour recognition start-up Palette

The chairman and founders of tech darling Aconex  are backing a paint recognition technology that has just been licensed by Dulux in Australia and is chasing similar deals globally.

Snapshot, developed by Melbourne Accelerator Program graduate Palette , is a canister that shines red, green and blue light on a surface, and measures the light intensity of what’s reflected back. Patented software then turns that light data into colour readings, and a smartphone app can serve up the closest matches from a pre-loaded library of shades.

Crowd-funder CoAssets seeking ASX listing and raising

Perth and Singapore-based fintech player CoAssets has announced plans to list on the ASX in July alongside a capital raise of between $5 million and $10m.

CoAssets, which describes itself as the biggest crowd-funding player in Southeast Asia, listed on the National Stock Exchange in July last year and is now seeking an ASX listing to push further into Australia and Asia

Fintech lender Spotcap milestones as sector grows

A year after setting up, small business fintech lender Spotcap believes the industry will build scale and keep maturing in coming years before some consolidation occurs.

Upon its first anniversary, Spotcap Australia managing director Lachlan Heussler said the online lender had written more than $11 million of loans to small businesses amid rapid growth in the sector.

Start-up Uno takes home loans to next platform

After the failure of his business that developed mortgage processing technology used by most banks and brokers, Vincent Turner in 2011 jetted off to Silicon Valley.

Upon stepping away from ­Pisces Communication slightly bruised from the “school of hard knocks”, Mr Turner set up Planwise in the US, a fintech company to assist buyers of property.

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