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Published 15 March 2013 11:31, Updated 23 April 2013 10:32
Blackbird Ventures ‘bread and butter’ will be late seed rounds of around $250,000 to $500,000, say founding partners Niki Scevak, Bill Bartee and Rick Baker Photo: Supplied
Newly formed venture capital fund Blackbird Ventures says it will not be looking at “business plan-type investments” where companies haven’t yet demonstrated early signs of having paying customers and a market for their products.
The new $30 million fund has some of Australia’s most successful entrepreneurs behind it along with seed funding company Startmate and Southern Cross Venture Partners. Investors include a range of founders of prominent companies including Atlassian, Campaign Monitor and Aconex. The more than 35 investors in the fund also include Silicon Valley venture capitalists like Bill Tai and Dave McClure.
Blackbird co-founder Rick Baker says the fund will invest in about 25 companies. Its “bread and butter” will be late seed rounds of around $250,000 to $500,000, but it will also do Series A rounds over $1 million.
“We’ll do quite a lot of seed investments but we’re looking to put the weight of capital into Series A or B onwards,” Baker says.
For a $1 million equity round, Blackbird might tip in $500,000 and seek the other $500,000 from its founder network of Silicon Valley-based investors, which offers a range of advantages, Baker says.
“It really helps to drive the Silicon Valley start-up thinking by the teams, and it helps them connect into Silicon Valley expertise and customers,” Baker says. “And when it comes time to raise the next round, having well-respected investors in Australia and Silicon Valley makes a big difference.”
The fund is still open, and other investors will have a chance to participate before the fund’s final close later in the year.
It is finalising its first four investments, and while two are still secret, Ninja Blocks and Canva are among the recipients.
Canva is an online design platform aimed at helping consumers make unique designs for a range of things including their Facebook timelines or business brochures.
Ninja Blocks is a hardware hub and software platform that allows people to connect home devices to web and mobile apps.