Five years ago, we went all-in to solve a problem in our startup ecosystem
Founders blaze their own trails in the complex jungle of international commerce. They get there faster with the right support. Having worked in a series of successful startups (sold to the likes of Oracle, Facebook and Singtel), our team knows how exhilarating and challenging building a big company can be.
Back then, there were very few venture capital funds in Australia. Our partners had recently returned from the US and were worried breakthrough support was far too hard for Australian founders to access.
Founders thrive when they get more than just money from their investors. Those who go the whole way need investors to join their team, not the other way round. Investors who make introductions to target customers, future staff, and leading international funds when you’re ready. Investors who pitch in when their expertise is needed, and who aren’t there just for shiny investor reports, but also when things get hard.
We’re incredibly proud of the founders we’ve backed. We invest early, and we like to follow on. We’re a small team, so there’s minimal red tape and no fuss. It’s not about us. We love to hear from founders early, so get in touch today - even if just to get on our radar before you decide to raise.
➤ Paul Naphtali: Partner
➤ Jim Cassidy: Partner
➤ Nicole Small: Investment manager
➤ Sunday Berry: Head of Operations
What do we invest in?
What kind of companies?
We aren’t sector-specific and have invested in enterprise, B2B and B2C companies. We’ve invested in startups across fin-tech, data, cybersecurity, augmented reality, HR and workplace platforms, as well logistics. In 2019, we have a particular interest in companies with strong data strategies, cybersecurity and enterprise software.
What’s your process?
Glad you asked. Full details here. But in essence: we try to keep it as time-efficient as possible for founders. For companies that make it all the way through, it’s a few meetings, with the nitty gritty due diligence running as a parallel process. Most of the companies we’ve backed got a clear “yes we’re committed” very quickly.
When do we invest?
We invest at the late seed to series A stage. We have been the first cheque for many of our startups but in round two or three for some of the others. Usually, companies have a product already in market or about to launch as well as a clear on view their target customers and go-to-market, even though we all know this will evolve a lot over the years.
What else do you offer beyond money?
We pride ourselves on being proactive without getting in the way. Our team’s expertise is in strategic product planning, go-to-market (including global expansion), strategic communications, and growing teams sustainably. Our team has worked in leading companies such as Oracle, Canva, Snaptu, Seek + Fairfax Media.
What do we look for?
Smart tech solving big problems is a given. For us it’s all about team. Strong founders with a good mix of skills and a clear sense of what kind of team they need to build to win their race. Australians tend to undersell themselves and come to VCs with clear plans for achievable wins, which is good. But we also want to hear your big vision.
We don’t demand board seats or a certain ownership stake. We don’t invest in deals that are overly dilutive to founders - empowered founders is the point of our fund. We don’t invest in direct competitors to companies in our portfolio, which is in everyone’s best interests. We’re hesitant with medical and bio-tech, and gambling startups are just not for us.
Let's do this.
Ready to ramp up your business? We recommend getting in touch with the team member you think is most likely to get really excited about your startup. Sending a deck helps, but it’s not mandatory, especially if you’re reaching out before you raise (which we recommend).
You’ve probably got a lot of questions. Good - founders need to do their due diligence on investors just as much as they will about your startup. Here’s a guide to how we invest.
Want more insights? We publish articles and investment notes regularly on our blog on Medium, or you can follow us on LinkedIn orTwitter.