Heavyweight US investors meet Australian startups in Victoria


news A delegation of US investors representing over a trillion dollars in investment capital met with representatives of Australian startups at the Victorian Parliament yesterday.

The investment roundtable, which was co-hosted by the state’s Minister for Small Business, Innovation and Trade, Philip Dalidakis, and President of the Legislative Council in the Victorian Parliament, Bruce Atkinson, involved discussions on how big superannuation funds can best invest in tech startups.

“We’re Australia’s number one destination for startups,” said Dalidakis. “Victoria leads the country in fintech, medtech and cyber security and I’m proud that we have a strong bipartisan approach, but our vision doesn’t stop at the Victorian boarder – we’re aiming to be the business destination of choice for investment across the Asia Pacific.”

The US delegation included representatives of some of Silicon Valley’s most notable venture capitalists, with successful track records making early investments in companies such as PayPal, Facebook, Airbnb and Skype.

The meeting gave the investors the chance to meet with representatives from businesses including Australian Super, Bank of Melbourne, Canaccord Genuity, UBS, NAB, Deloitte, PwC and Deutsche Bank, along with the Victorian departments of Treasury and Finance, Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources.

A select group of local Victorian fintech startups, such as MoneyPlace, Timelio, CliniCloud and Aipoly, also took part in a special pitch event to investors that included Thiel Capital portfolio manager Matt Danzeisen, DOM Capital Group managing partner Tony Owen and Trimantium Capital co-chairman Roderick Thomson.

Mr Dalidakis said the visit was a huge vote of confidence in Victoria’s startup reputation and more broadly Australia’s mounting capabilities to unlock capital and grow big business.

Last week Mr Dalidakis announced the board of LaunchVic, a $60 million startup fund, to help build a better environment for businesses to grow and access capital.

This follows recent moves to Victoria by a growing list of leading global tech companies including Zendesk, GoPro, Eventbrite, Square, Stripe and Slack.

Thiel Capital’s Danzeisen said: “There’s been a lot of change in the Australian economy since the 1990s that has led to great prosperity, supported by one of the strongest financial systems in the developed world.”

The investors see a lot of opportunity for an “Australian approach” to financial services by which world-class innovative companies can grow from the solid foundations that the government and private sector have developed over the past 30 years, he said.