Australian government to offer defence industry exporters $3.8bn finance support
Following the closure of Australia’s native car manufacturing industry, the federal government is turning to defence in a bid to revive the country’s factory economy.
The new Defence Export Strategy features $3.8bn in finance to be offered to manufacturers looking to export arms – this will be facilitated through Efic, Australia’s credit export agency.
Other investment includes $6.35mn to develop and implement strategic multi-year export campaigns, an additional $3.2mn to enhance and expand the Global Supply Chain program, and an additional $4.1mn for grants to help build the capability of SMEs to compete internationally.
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A statement on the Minister for Defence, Maris Payne’s website said: “This strategy is about job creation. It will give Australian defence companies the support they need to grow, invest and deliver defence capability. It will make Australian defence exports among the best in the world.
“Australia has so many defence industry success stories: Thales’ Bushmaster, Hawkei and sonars, Austal’s ships and engineering and CEA’s world beating radar, amongst many others. This strategy sets the conditions for even more success, and more defence industry jobs in the future.”
Australia ranks around 20th in the world in terms of the size of its defence exports, and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull wants to get into the top 10 within the next 10 years. This year’s defence budget is worth around $34.5bn.
Timeline: India takes unicorn leap with six in five days
We chart an historic week in India’s tech industry, where in just five days, between 5-9 April 2021, the country achieved six new unicorns, bringing India’s total to 10 in 2021 to date, an immense unicorn leap from just seven in 2020 and six in 2019.
April 5: Meesho
India’s first social commerce unicorn, Meesho raised US$300m from SoftBank, Facebook and Shunwei Capital, giving the Bangalore-based startup a US$2.1bn valuation, a threefold jump from its previous funding round in 2019. Founded in 2015 by two IIT-Delhi graduates, Meesho connects producers and resellers, helping small businesses sell through social media. It has 45m customers and has enabled 13m entrepreneurs to start their online businesses with no investment.
April 6: CRED
Founded just over two years ago, Bangalore-based credit card repayment app CRED raised US$215m from Falcon Edge Capital and Coatue, nearly trebling its valuation to US$2.2bn from its January US$80m round. Allowing customers to pay off their credit card debt while earning CRED coins which they cash in for rewards, CRED has grown rapidly during COVID-19, doubling its customer base to nearly 6 million in a year.
April 7: API Holdings / Groww
The first epharmacy startup to gain unicorn status, PharmEasy (API Holdings), which has digitised 60,000 brick and mortar pharmacies and 400 doctors across India, raised US$350m in a round led by Prosus Ventures. Founded by four former Flipkart employees as a way of making investing simple, investment platform Groww became India’s second-youngest fintech unicorn, raising US$83m in Series D funding led by Tiger Global, quadrupling its previous round in September.
April 8: ShareChat
New Delhi-grown social media startup ShareChat, founded in 2016 by Mohalla Tech raised US$502m from Lightspeed Ventures, Tiger Global, Twitter and Snap taking its raised total over six rounds to US$766m and pushing its valuation to US$2.1bn. The funding will be used to grow its user base and short video platform Moj, which launched in 2020 following TikTok’s ban in India. The regional language startup claims 280m users.
April 9: Gupshup
AI-led conversational message startup joined the unicorn club after raising US$100m from Tiger Global giving it a ten-fold valuation of US$1.4bn. The smart messaging platform, which has seen accelerated growth during the pandemic, was founded in Bangalore in 2005 by serial entrepreneur Beerud Sheth, whose online freelancing platform Elance is now listed. Gupshup’s API enables 100,000+ businesses to build messaging and conversation experiences across 30+ communication channels.