At least 500 of its drones to the Ukraine forces, with soldiers able to assemble the sturdy wax-covered cardboard aircraft easily with minimal tools, load the payload, program the avionics module with the target location and launch the air vehicle.
DataMesh chief executive Mark Nagy, a long-time payments technology specialist who was part of the team that led design and creation of the Commonwealth Bank’s Albert platform, says the volume of crypto payments on the platform is small, but on the rise.
“I don’t know whether it’s because times are tough now and people want to spend cryptocurrency, maybe that’s why we’re seeing a volume uptick,” Nagy says.
Without the platform, merchants can’t accept crypto payments through their existing POS terminals and consumers need to convert the digital currency into fiat money to spend it. DataMesh’s platform automates settlements in AUD meaning that merchants are not subject to cryptocurrency fluctuations.
“No one else has done it, because it’s a disaster to do,” Nagy says.
“We’ve been architecting this platform for many, many years to actually be able to respond to these kind of requirements.”
The underlying technology platform can also used to enable consumers to use their Qantas points to pay for a meal at Seagrass Boutique Hospitality venues such as Meat & Wine Co and Five Guys.
Also among the runners-up was Brisbane-based company Universal Field Robots, which has developed a system that can turn existing mining equipment into an autonomous vehicle.
More than 35 machines operating across 10 major mines for companies such as BHP, Newcrest and Anglo American have been fitted with the modular package of hardware and software, known as UFRautonomy.
Jeff Sterling, the managing director of Universal Field Robots, says the system means mines can automate their equipment, such as haul trucks, without buying an expensive new piece of machinery or waiting for OEMs to manufacture new robotic and autonomous systems.
“It’s an incremental change in costs for a dramatic change in outcome,” Sterling says.
The eight-year-old company is starting to field larger customer orders, with demand driven by a shortage of FIFO workers and a great focus on keeping workers out of the heat and safe in air-conditioned control rooms.
The first clothes made from recycled plastic will appear in Lululemon stores next year, thanks to a partnership with Samsara Eco, a start-up that uses plastic-eating enzymes to produce recycled packaging and fabric.
Samsara Eco, which is backed by Woolworths, has engineered an enzyme that can break down the nylon that is most commonly used in textiles.
The original chemical building blocks can then be recovered and reused an infinite number of times without any loss in quality, meaning old clothes can forever be made into new ones.
Working with Lululemon, the recycling start-up has spent the last 18 months conducting trials which turned damaged product and post-industrial waste such as nylon car parts back into thread.
As part of the partnership the fashion retailer also made a minority investment in Samara Eco.
“We’re in the process now of making some clothing that will be on sale next year through Lululemon stores, which will be the first enzymatically recycled clothing anywhere in the world,” says chief executive Paul Riley.
Fabrics are notoriously difficult to recycle because they are made from a complex blend of materials, including plastics such as nylon and polyester, which are derived from fossil fuels. The vast majority of clothes eventually end up in landfill.
Samsara has engineered different enzymes which have each been developed to break down a specific form of plastic, which allows the company to break down products made from a mix of plastics and other fibres, ready to be turned into a new product.
The company is currently building a $25 million research and development facility outside Canberra which will produce 1000 tonnes of polyester and 1000 tonnes of nylon each year.
The recycling tech start-up raised $54 million last year from Breakthrough Victoria, Temasek, Assembly Climate Capital, DCVC and INP Capital, which joined existing investors Main Sequence, Woolworths Group’s W23 and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation Innovation Fund.
Founded in 2020, the company is still in the demonstration phase, meaning the technology has progressed from the lab and has found customers who are willing to pay for the product.
The next step towards commercialisation, which requires serious capital to grow the business operations to an industrial scale.
Samsara Eco is planning to raise more capital over the next six months to fund its expansion plans and build first commercial scale plants in Europe and North American which would be capable of producing 20,000 to 30,000 tonnes a year.
“We’re coming to market quicker than we’d anticipated and we’re coming to market in more geographies than we anticipated,” Riley says.
“We’ll be raising capital to support our expansion into North America and into Europe as we build out these facilities.”