New $50m fund to target Aussie IT startups



blog If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: Now is a fantastic time to be involved in an Australian IT startup. It used to be that it was tough to find finding for great new ideas in the Australian technology sector, but the plethora of sizable investment deals over the past several years proven that the local funding environment has changed substantially. From the Financial Review earlier this week comes the news that a new $50 million investment fund is being set up, one of the largest yet. The newspaper reports (we recommend you click here for the full article):

“Serial technology investor and former Microsoft executive Daniel Petre is preparing to launch a $50 million technology investment fund, joining the grow­ing ranks of investors looking to fill the multimillion-dollar gap in venture capital.”

You may remember Petre from several previous funding efforts including PBL’s ecorp (which had a bit of a rocky ride during the first dot com boom) and netus, the backer of Allure Media (the Australian licensee of the Gizmodo and Lifehacker brands, among others).

However, not everyone is excited about the new fund. Startup Smart has an article examining industry reaction to the reported launch (we recommend you click here for the full yarn), and a few familiar faces were quick to pooh-pooh the amount of money involved. Freelancer chief executive Matt Barrie, for example, had this to say:

“It’s tiny. You’re talking maybe 10 investments max over a 5-7 year life at $5m each total over the lifetime of investment. Venture Capital isn’t even an asset class in this country.”

My view is that Barrie’s right — Petre’s new fund is quite small by any international standard, especially consider the huge success that Freelancer and other tech startups are seeing from avenues such as listing on the Australian Stock Exchange. However, that doesn’t mean it’s not a good thing that there are more options available. The more of these types of funds that launch in Australia, the more options there will be for local technology entrepreneurs. And that can only be a good thing. It definitely shows the industry is making progress.

Photo credit: Cimexus via photopin cc


  1. The size of the fund is not as important as it’s medium and long-term success. There is a lot more cash sitting around and a lot more worthwhile ventures that can be “married together” if there is at least one significantly successful venture kick-started by such a fund.

  2. Forget the fund. Fix negative gearing so the property market isn’t absorbing all capital, and fix the employee share program taxation so it only targets those it was designed for.

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