January was a crazy month for public market investing, 8.5 million Wall Street Bets (WSB) subreddit retail traders led by a fast-talking retail trader known as Roaring Kitty, pumped Gamestop (GME) shares from $17 to $500USD in the space of a few weeks, smashing short-seller Hedge Funds causing the loss of $70 billion USD and dominating the financial press for the last few weeks of January.

Hang around long enough and you get to see numerous boom-bust cycles and lots of crazy behaviour but this is notable given the way in which the 8.5 …

Despite the COVID turmoil SPAC launches have doubled in 2020 and raised 3 times as much capital as 2019

In the last 6 months, there has been a rash of new SPAC announcements in the US. With three months to go in 2020 there have been 128 SPACs filed, up from 59 last year raising $50 billion, 3x more capital than 2019.

First launch of the SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket — photo by Bill Jellen
First launch of the SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket — photo by Bill Jellen

A special purpose acquisition company, sometimes called blank-cheque company, is a shell company that has no operations but plans to go public with the intention of acquiring or merging with a company utilising the proceeds of the SPAC’s Initial Public Offering.

An entrepreneurial investor/promoter will setup a SPAC with the objective of either acquiring a preidentified…

Earlier this month AI think tank OpenAI released a closed beta version of their Language Modeling platform known as GPT3.

GPT3 is the world’s largest language model by an order of magnitude, essentially it has been trained on the world’s websites using CommonCrawl.org, Wikipedia, and other well-known text corpa, its predecessor GPT2 was one of the world’s most advanced language models trained on 1.7 billion parameters, GPT3 is multiple orders of magnitude larger with 175 billion parameters and pre-trained on nearly half a trillion words on a Supercomputer.

The supercomputer developed for OpenAI is a single system with more than 285,000 CPU cores, 10,000 GPUs and 400 gigabits per second of network connectivity for each GPU server.

Microsoft Blog

So what does a language model do? Essentially, given a…

Subtitle: No one expects the Spanish inquisition…

My PET Scan —Three Hot Nodes in Tongue & Neck

No easy way to say this, 3 weeks ago just before the hugely successful Main Sequence Ventures national tour, my specialist diagnosed me with Stage 3 Oral & Neck Cancer.

TLDR: The surgeons are confident they can treat this but its going to be a tough 3–6 months.

I am grateful for the surge of well wishes from friends and business colleagues, some of you were genuinely shell shocked and speechless, I have had people burst into tears on me, the effect that one persons cancer diagnosis has on another is astounding.


Dr David Goodall, Co-founder Michael De Nil, Hon Angus Taylor MP holding the 1st prototype with Co-founder Andrew Terry

I am excited to announce that the team at Main Sequence Ventures have co-led an investment in next generation Wi-Fi company Morse Micro alongside Pan Group Australia, a Melbourne based specialist investor.

Based at Cicada Innovations in Eveleigh, NSW, the Morse Micro team are developing a microchip to support the new IEEE 802.11ah standard; better known as “Wi-Fi HaLow”.

Calling researchers, students and alumni — applications now open for Class 10

SpaceOps Australia, part of Class 9, test firing their rocket engine during the program

Hot on the heels of the most successful cohort in INCUBATE history it’s now time to recruit the next batch of entrepreneur superstars!

Applications are open for INCUBATE Class 10, please apply here.

The INCUBATE accelerator offers:

  • 14-week intensive startup accelerator program
  • $5,000 grant (we do not take equity)
  • ~50 coaching and educational events with specialist professionals
  • Free office space for 6 months (3 months at INCUBATE + up to 3 months at Cicada Innovations with options for more space on campus for suitable startups)
  • ~100 mentors you have access to with regular meet-up’s
  • Three advisory board meetings with senior…

Lessons from the fastest growing Class in INCUBATE’s history

Full house for INCUBATE Class 9 Demo Day in the MacLaurin Hall at The University of Sydney

The ten teams from INCUBATE Class 9 are getting ready to move out of our incubator after arguably one of the most successful intakes for INCUBATE so far.

We had a bunch of highlights and set new records this round:

  • Increased from 8 to 10 startups, our biggest cohort
  • The most teams who had prototypes on commencement day
  • The most teams with early revenue on commencement day
  • 40% of Founders were PhD & Masters students
  • Fastest revenue growing cohort
  • Fastest growing startup with 100% month on month growth over the program
  • 80% teams producing revenue by Demo Day
  • First ever…

I found this email from Paul Budde while going through my old files this week, a list of instructions for life written by Richard Vincent who mentored me for a very short period before he passed away, it seems as relevent as ever.

From: Paul Budde [pbc@budde.com.au]
Sent: Friday, 30 May 2003 12:33 PM
To: Mike Nicholls
Subject: Instructions For Life — by Richard Vincent
Dear Mike,

Instructions For Life — by Richard Vincent

Richard’s wife Debbie found this note in his papers. Last week Thursday she read it out at Richard’s funeral in Launceston.

In no particular order.


Helping more women become startup founders at university

INCUBATE Class 8, 2016

As I get older and somewhat wiser it’s become obvious to me that some things have to change. In some cases, it is up to us older guys to find ways to lead that change, in particular levelling the playing field for women and minorities in startup and STEM land.

INCUBATE is the startup accelerator at The University of Sydney. We run a 14 week startup accelerator program with 8–10 teams twice a year and a number of other programs to support entrepreneurial student activities.

INCUBATE was formed nearly 5 years ago and has helped launch over 60 startups which…

British Australian Black Knight Rocket at Woomera — SpaceUk.org

Over the past few months I have been surprised by the level of outrage and dissatisfaction in the startup ecosystem about the state of our industry and lack of support from various Governments.

While there is still a decade of work to be done to establish a significant technology industry, to be frank the startup ecosystem has never had it as good as it does now.

Two years ago I wrote a popular essay Let a 1000 Startups Bloom after realising that less than 6% of the BRW Rich List came from Tech Startup fortunes vs The USA Forbes Rich…

Mike Nicholls

Talent Scout — Partner Main Sequence Ventures

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