Melbourne might be about to build a third airport in $7bn proposal
Well on target to become Australia’s most populous city by 2030, Melbourne could have a brand new airport in operation by as early as 2020.
Private investor Paragon Premier Investment Fund will be presenting a $7bn plan to Victoria’s government in the coming days, a plan which comprises two runways and an annual passenger capacity of 2.8 million. If all goes smoothly, cargo could be handled by 2020, with the option to build another two runways also on the table.
The project already has financial backing, and will be positioned Koo Wee Rup and Lang Lang to serve Melbourne’s growing south-eastern suburb districts. Although not disclosed by name, the funding is coming from a private financier based in Europe and the Middle East.
This news comes to light as Melbourne Airport celebrates 20 years since being privatised. In a statement marking the occasion, CEO Lyell Stambi said: “Melbourne is on track to be Australia’s biggest city – by some estimates as soon as 2029. With the division of growth over two airports in Sydney, it makes sense that Melbourne Airport will have to be Australia’s biggest airport as well.
“Since 1997 Melbourne’s population has grown by 40 per cent, from 3.3 million to 4.6 million. Over that same period, passenger volumes through Melbourne Airport have more than doubled, from just under 14 million in 1997 to more than 35 million passengers in the past 12 months. International travel has blossomed – in 1997 one passenger in every seven was travelling internationally, today that number is almost one in three.
“Along the way we’ve developed the airport asset to accommodate each new wave of growth. Privatisation of Australia’s major airports unlocked the investment that was essential to meeting the challenges brought by dramatic changes in global aviation. The traveller experience and operating efficiency has improved enormously and airports have played a major part in the travel boom.
“Today, the airport plays a major role in the Victorian economy, as each daily international service injects between $100 million and $150 million into Victoria per year.”
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.