Building Boom Opens Oz Mines to Foreign Investment
Written by Adam Selway Ryan
It’s never been a better time to be in the Australian construction business. Nearly insatiable demand for iron and ore is reshaping the Northern landscape, with massive rail and port projects set to dramatically invigorate the economy.
And according to industry leaders, it’s not just a flash in the pan. “This is about the urbanization of India and China and the economic prosperity of the region,” declares Hamish Tyrwhitt, the CEO of Sydney-based Leighton Holdings.
For investors, it’s not hard to see the logic of it: all those sleeping tigers in the Far East are going to wake up soon, and when they do, they’re going to need a place to stay. And with its vast reserves of both natural and human resources, Australia is poised to make the best of it.
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Leighton is just one of many Australian companies winning deals to re-win the North. Mining operations on the scale envisioned will require massive investment in infrastructure, and that’s just what’s planned for the $232 billion boom in mineral and energy projects. Port terminals with a capacity of 1.5 billion metric tons a year are set to be up and running by 2022, and 3,700 miles of rail track will be laid – which is enough to reach Sydney from Perth.
Companies from all over the world are competing for the lucrative contracts. French construction firm Bouygues predicts two or three major deals a year in Australia; American corporation General Electric plans on doubling its total business in Australia over the next two to three years.
Looks like it’s time to take construction to the outback.
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.