news Future Capital Development Fund (FCDF), the prominent Australian web 2.0 investment group, announced its investment yesterday in two more companies, TheAgendaDaily.com and BlueChilli Technology. This brings the total of fast growing Internet companies in the Future Capital portfolio to at least 14.
FCDF invests in revenue-generating companies, moving funds from a hundred thousand dollars up to a million and usually acquiring a minority stake. Its services aim to give practical support and capital to encourage a company’s expansion. FCDF has on its member investor roster dot com luminaries like online veteran Domenic Carosa, Flexigroup founder Andrew Abercrombie and former Realestate.com.au chief executive Simon Baker.
Agenda is a hybrid media/commerce platform covering the best on offer in nightlife, shopping, restaurants, style and things to do, and offering customers daily recommendations with exclusive member-only sales. These sales and member recommendations extend across the three major capital cities of Sydney, Melbourne and Perth. Agenda’s plans for future expansion and evolution will now be accelerated with Future Capital’s investment.
Domenic Carosa, Executive Chairman of FCDF said that Agenda’s combination of loyal and engaged members, high quality reviews and compelling offers represent excellent value without cutting into supplier margins.
Founder and CEO of Agenda, Blake Hutchison expressed his company’s delight at receiving Future Capital’s investment: “… it’s an endorsement of the model’s potential. We will now focus on expanding Agenda in terms of content, experiences and services aimed at deepening our relationship with members and suppliers.” Hutchison explained that Agenda’s focus on top products, places and experiences maintained its model of offering good value to members and excellent opportunities for business managers and owners.
FCDF’s other investment is in start-up incubator BlueChilli Technology, a venture technology company that builds and invests in online start-ups by offering resources, mentorship and technology. The fast-growing BlueChilli is launching a new online business every two months, with projections to build this up to one new start-up every month from 2012. BlueChilli’s unique model combines a fee and equity for service model for clients.
The founder and CEO of BlueChilli, Sebastien Eckersley-Maslin, is one of Anthill Magazine’s inaugural 30under30 Award winners. Eckersley-Maslin has been combining a full time naval career and a Masters in Engineering with starting BlueChilli after returning from active duty in Iraq in 2009.
Speaking about Eckersley-Maslin’s contagious drive, ingenuity, passion and genuine interest in BlueChilli’s clients’ success, Carosa predicted BlueChilli’s success as an incubator for Australian Internet entrepreneurs. “This approach is aligned with Future Capital’s investment objectives and consequently we see enormous synergy between Future Capital and BlueChilli.”
Eckersley-Maslin stated, “I have single-handedly built BlueChilli to this point but I’m passionate about reaching out and playing my part in the promotion of Australia’s entrepreneurs and in building innovative online ventures.” He explained that he could now accelerate his venture with Future Capital’s support and evolve exponentially with an investor and partner aligned with his vision.
Speaking about BlueChilli, Andrew Fiori-Dea, CEO of FCDF pointed out BlueChilli’s excellent partnerships and investments, enviable client list and leading technologists on the team. “We are confident that together we can play a role in transforming Australia’s technology and investment landscape with our investment in BlueChilli.” Talking about Agenda, Fiori-Dea highlighted the important opportunity represented in the convergence of content and commerce. “Agenda has done a great job building a trusted relationship with members and we (FCDF) intend to assist and accelerate this through collaboration, ongoing innovation and diversification,” stated Fiori-Dea.
Agenda will have its headquarters in the Melbourne offices as part of the Future Capital portfolio. BlueChilli’s headquarters will be in dedicated Sydney premises that house both FCDF investments and incubator companies connected with BlueChilli. The company expects this to become a hotbed for innovative Internet companies in Sydney, similar to its set-up in Melbourne.
The two new investments by FCDF follow the investment house’s August announcement of funding for three more Australian web properties, namely FarmTender.com, RentABin.com.au and GetInform.com. Other companies in its stable include Imorial.com, DriveMyCarRentals.com.au, Eventarc.com, OurWishingWell.com, CheapHotels.com.au, SMS Central.com.au, PaintMyPicture.com and MyGuestList.com.