Singaporean venture capital firm Acumino acquires Melbourne start-up Speakeasy

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Acumino, a newly launched Singaporean venture capital studio focused on emerging technologies and disruptive innovation, has acquired the intellectual property assets of Melbourne-based startup Speakeasy.

Speakeasy launched a social video streaming platform to deliver live interactive events to a large-scale global audience, launched in March of last year just as the Covid pandemic struck.

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) company creates a virtual suite of corporate boxes or VIP rooms for shared consumption of live entertainment. Speakeasy’s clients included BHP, KPMG, Philips and CPA Australia.

The cost of the acquisition was not disclosed.

Speakeasy CEO and co-founder John O’Sullivan said the startup developed the startup to tackle the Zoom fatigue people felt at the start of the pandemic, and the deal with Acumino will help ambitions international startups.

Co-Founder Kerry Tate said, “Speakeasy’s early success is a testament to the quality of Melbourne’s startup ecosystem, with the acquisition being a prime example of a local business winning the eyes of investors on the global stage.

Speakeasy’s other two co-founders are serial entrepreneur Jennifer Fein and software engineer Issac Trotts.

The deal is structured as an asset acquisition, with Acumino buying all of Speakeasy Technology Solutions’ key assets with the co-founders retained as advisers.

The Speakeasy platform

O’Sullivan said the deal will see the four co-founders refocus on their pre-covid startups.

“The four of us launched Speakeasy to address two very specific issues – the challenge of video technology for events and the challenge of our own underemployment during the COVID crisis,” he said.

“Now that we have found a solution to both challenges, we are stepping back into our pre-Covid careers.”

O’Sullivan said he and Fein would focus on their respective businesses, Depot Adventures and YouLi, and their plans for expansion in the United States.

“For Issac and Kerry, it’s about getting back into the startup space in their respective fields – programming and business, respectively. Issac worked for security startup Stairwell Inc, Kerry worked for SaaS startup CredShare, ”he said.

Australian-born Acumino founder and CEO Sam Johnston said this was the first into virtual communities and the metaverse.

“The deal strengthens Singapore’s position as Asia’s Silicon Valley and reflects the dynamism of Australia’s own startup ecosystem,” he said.

“The software itself, developed by a former NASA / MIT engineer and other Google / YouTube alumni, will allow Acumino to safely deliver multiple large-scale video products. “

Johnston, computer scientist, traveled to Singapore from Melbourne via the country’s new Tech.Pass visa to create the Acumino after building a global network of innovation centers researching areas such as drones, robotics, 3D printing, l quantum computing, AI and IoT devices.


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