To the everyday person, the role that technology like AI, the cloud, and cybersecurity plays in their daily life may not be apparent. It’s a perception we need to change to elevate the importance of technology and startups in our economy.
As AirTree Co-founder Craig Blair emphasised to the Australian Financial Review earlier this year, it’s a narrow view to hold if you think the tech sector’s impact stops at tech businesses. The digital revolution is embedded across diverse value chains, propelling economic growth, creating jobs and elevating productivity–an irrefutable testament to the omnipresence of technology in our everyday lives.
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What does it take to build and launch a full-service banking platform in under 18 months?
“We’re a software company building a platform for banks. This means we need to bring together tech expertise with just the right amount of banking experience in the mix. It’s harder than it sounds as tech and banking cultures are fundamentally different. Proficiency in only one of these areas won’t cut it when you’re building a platform like Constantinople,” says Di Challenor, Co-founder and Co-CEO.
The platform going live with Great Southern Bank caps off a banner year for the Constantinople team. In addition to the launch, they welcomed a new bank client and their first embedded banking client into the fray.
Constantinople’s end-to-end software and operating platform transforms and radically simplifies how banks run and operate. Their product empowers banks to reallocate capital and operational expenses into areas that matter for customers. With the cost of living crisis hitting households hard, smaller banks are focused on assisting their customers through these challenging times. By enhancing operational efficiency, banks can offer competitively priced products and allocate increased profits to their community-focused initiatives.
“By abstracting away the complexity of managing technology and back-office operations, we support banks to realign their focus on serving their customers and creating a terrific user experience,” says Mac Duncan, Co-founder and Co-CEO.
Constantinople’s unfair advantage lies at the intersection of Mac and Di’s deep understanding of bank operations and compliance standards. While some software providers offer point solutions that necessitate complex integration, Constantinople distinguishes itself by providing a single platform with end-to-end infrastructure that’s quicker and cheaper to implement and ensures superior security and compliance management.
There are a handful of companies offering end-to-end infrastructure for banks, but where Mac and Di see the real opportunity is not only in delivering comprehensive infrastructure but also in providing automated operational and compliance services atop of this foundational framework.
"If you stop at the infrastructure level, you have only modernised what legacy technology providers can offer. Most inefficiencies and risk remain in how banks run and operationalise themselves. To improve how banks run today, we need to fundamentally change their operating models through software," says Di.
The Constantinople team is anticipating another defining year as they prepare for 2024. The live market debut of Great Southern Bank’s SME bank will showcase the impact of Constantinople’s offering in an underserved market. And there are many exciting products and features in the works, adding further innovation to the foundational operational elements already built.
Continuing to add exceptional talent to the team remains a key focus in the new year.
“The problem we aim to solve is large and requires a significant team effort. We see people as the key component of building a world-class software business,” says Mac.
Throughout Alisdair Faulkner’s life and career, a consistent theme has been his dedication to social justice, equality and building solutions to safeguard those most vulnerable. His first company, NetPriva, pioneered mission-critical network performance management. Then there was ThreatMetrix, the world’s leading digital identity company. Now, Darwinium is the culmination of a lifetime devoted to making the digital world safe, fair and accessible to everyone.
A pivotal moment for Darwinium came this year when the team secured an $18m Series A funding round. They also onboarded new customers, have several innovative proof-of-concept projects in the works, went live on the AWS marketplace, and bolstered their capabilities with key product, engineering and marketing hires.
Darwinium is a timely solution. AI tooling has dramatically sped up repetitive and time-consuming tasks, enabling fraudsters to execute more attacks with fewer resources. Businesses that don’t keep pace with AI’s speed and adaptability end up fighting an ever-more powerful adversary.
Put simply: fraudsters are circumventing defences faster than companies can build them.
Darwinium emerges as the antidote to generative AI fraudsters, discerning malicious intent from trusted behaviour in real time.
“No matter the sophisticated or speed of AI-facilitated attacks, they leave a trail or pattern of behaviour that’s very different to a trusted interaction,” says Alisdair. “The key is distinguishing those from legitimate automated functions.”
To solve this, Darwinium looks at intent across the entire digital journey, providing continuous assessment of a user's interactions to identify high-risk behaviour and machine-generated anomalies that warrant further review.
Although businesses are familiar with digital security and cyber fraud, Alisdair highlights two critical areas where companies struggle to manage risks effectively.
The first challenge is achieving real-time visibility across the complete customer journey. Darwinium’s edge-based innovations eliminate the need to profile “moments-in-time” by sitting within the content delivery network, which gives visibility to everything a user does within an online session.
The second challenge involves having a configurable and adaptable tool at the ready.
“It’s no good detecting a threat then needing to wait 6 months for your IT or engineering team to implement a patch.”
Darwinium’s deployment at the edge allows companies to orchestrate new user journeys instantly, putting the power to act against real-time threats directly into the hands of business users, data scientists and analysts.
Educating the market on the significance of moving digital security and fraud prevention to the edge has been a challenge, but one that has borne fruit. The message and value resonate with prospects and analysts, industry spokespeople, and early customers are evangelising it.
“We have an ambitious job on our hands in 2024. You’ll see us in the press, online and on stage at the biggest security and fraud conferences, discussing why unifying security with fraud prevention represents the next evolution in the market. And behind the scenes, we’ll continue developing the Darwinium platform to be the system of record for our customers to detect and prevent the most complex AI attacks of the future.”
“The idea of doing a small amount of good for a large number of people is profoundly impactful,” says Mark Woodland. And it’s easy to see how the principle of collective benefit and the power of cumulative actions is a common thread throughout Mark’s career.
AirTree first met Mark when he was building Xplor, a platform making it easier for childcare providers to focus on what matters: Education. Xplor was acquired in 2020, and it wasn’t long before Mark was ready to scratch the entrepreneurial itch again. Enter Kismet.
In a world where people are living longer and the global population is rising, there’s a significant surge in disabilities and a diminishing workforce to meet these demands, putting considerable pressure on families to manage their loved one’s health admin. Mark and the Kismet team see it not only as a challenge, but an extraordinary opportunity worth $1.2 trillion by 2026.
“Kismet is addressing this growing healthcare gap and reimagining services for the elderly and individuals with disabilities, shaping the future of family care.”
After launching in February this year, Mark says it’s been a “wild journey” since. With 1,600 participants, 27,000 providers and 8,000 support coordinators on the platform, the company hit the $1 million ARR mark in the first 6 months.
Kismet’s distinctive role lies in tackling the challenge of disability and healthcare service accessibility and transparency. The $9.1 billion of unutilised care plans in Australia alone underscores the urgency for quick and easy care solutions and deceptive providers syphon off up to $6 billion.
Beyond addressing immediate medical needs, Kismet’s vision heralds a paradigm shift towards a preventive healthcare model that emphasises the importance of regular health check-ups, lifestyle adjustments and early interventions, ultimately leading to a healthier, more resilient society.
“Imagine the ripple effects of such a transformation. Healthier families lead to stronger communities and, in turn, to more robust nations. Productive workforces, reduced medical costs, and enhanced quality of life become the norm, not the exception.”
For Mark, creating a world where health is seen as a collective responsibility isn’t just a dream; it’s a necessary pursuit for a just and equitable society.
“Our goal is for Kismet to be successful in a business sense and make a positive difference in the world. I believe that technology, when used thoughtfully, can be a powerful tool for good.”
While Kismet’s product roadmap for 2024 will continue to deliver on better ways to access healthcare, Mark is most excited about building a great place to work and helping people around the world.
“A company is only as strong as its team, and I’m committed to ensuring that Kismet is a place where talented, passionate individuals can thrive, grow, and make a meaningful impact.”
Teachers are the unsung heroes of society. Outside of their face-to-face classroom time and school hours, they spend a tremendous amount of time on preparation, planning, admin and keeping in touch with parents. But they’re at breaking point.
A 2021 Grattan Institute survey found 86% of teachers didn’t have time for high-quality lesson planning and preparation. And it’s a problem felt even more sharply in disadvantaged schools. The result? A veritable lesson lottery for both teachers and students, where the educational experience comes down to who has the most resources and time rather than a consistent and purposeful journey.
At the coalface of these challenges is where Inquisitive emerges as the resolute solution. By providing high-quality, curriculum-aligned resources, Inquisitive significantly reduces the burden on teachers.
A survey found teachers leveraging Inquisitive save a noteworthy 94 hours annually on average, equating to a collective financial saving of $86 million in teacher time. The findings also underscore the untapped potential of helping schools access high-quality teaching resources across all learning areas, which could save 20 million teacher hours a year.
Inquisitive’s dedication to equitable education manifests in its collaborations with schools facing socio-educational disadvantages. The Federal Government’s Emerging Priorities Program funded the Inquisitive Grant Program, providing unlimited Inquisitive access to 12,500 teachers in 1,000 schools contending with socio-educational challenges. Key findings from the program speak to the positive impact for teachers–increased time for high-quality lesson planning, elevated utilisation of high-impact teaching strategies, improved self-efficacy and personal wellbeing, and user-friendly access to curriculum-aligned resources.
The impact of Inquisitive goes beyond mere statistics, cultivating an environment where educators feel empowered and students become actively engaged.
“Our grand vision is to democratise access to quality education,” says Tim Power, Co-founder and CEO.
“We want teachers, regardless of location, to have access to exceptional teaching resources that save them 300 hours a year. And we want to ignite a love of learning in every child that sets them up to succeed in the real world through a differentiated and purposeful classroom experience.”
Inquisitive is now used and trusted by 70% of Australian primary schools, with a 40% increase in teachers using the platform in 2023. Revenue growth has followed, with a 66% surge in the last financial year.
This all sets the scene for a promising 2024, where the team is focusing on enriching the learning experience on the platform. Think interactive features that make the learning journey more seamless and collaborative, plus a host of exciting AI releases to supercharge personalisation.
An increased demand for GP services has left Australia short at least 860 general practitioners, a number expected to balloon to 10,600 in less than 10 years. The looming shortage is top of mind for HotDoc, and they believe that technology-charged efficiencies could be the transformative answer to the current healthcare conundrum.
“Patients are finding it hard to schedule appointments with their existing doctor and afford their care. We can change that by helping doctors deliver care more efficiently, meaning they can see more patients and charge less for basic care,” says Dr Ben Hurst, CEO and Founder.
To solve the gap between the growing community demand and the shortage in GP supply, HotDoc is ushering asynchronous communication into mainstream care. This not only enhances access to care in areas where GPs are in short supply but also boosts productivity among the existing GP workforce.
HotDoc has already demonstrated the impact its tech can have on reducing the administrative burden on GPs. A typical 10-GP practice using HotDoc processes 75 online bookings per day. As the average time it takes to book an appointment via HotDoc is only 3 minutes, practices save 3.5 hours per day, or the equivalent of half a full-time receptionist per year.
The launch of the Quick Consults product this year, allowing doctors to deliver basic care sans appointments for services such as repeat scripts, medical certificates and follow ups, builds on the company’s commitment to efficiency and accessibility.
HotDoc’s 60% penetration of the GP market is no small feat in an industry that's historically slow to adopt new technologies. And with a staggering 11 million patient users, it’s easy to see the positive change HotDoc enables in the patient-doctor relationship. It also mirrors the company’s traction more broadly, achieving a 40% ARR increase in the last financial year and hitting profitability.
It’s all momentum the team intends to build upon in 2024. As they set out to redefine the norms of healthcare provision, HotDoc aims to get 20% of GPs on the platform to practise asynchronous care. They’re also advocating for a shift towards value-based care, emphasising health outcomes in relation to expenditure to reduce waste in the system.
Looking towards the future, HotDoc is on the frontline of reshaping how Australians access and experience healthcare. It’s a future that promises more innovation, resilience and undoubtedly, a continued commitment to changing the face of health in the land down under.