There’s nothing I hate more than hearing “there’s no Venture Capital in Australia” from the peanut gallery. This type of commentary does nothing to improve the situation – so I decided that at BlueChilli, we would do something about it. Because we don’t whinge about the status quo – we get down and change it.
The “Brain drain” or “I can’t find a tech co-founder”
“I can’t find a tech co-founder”. Heard that before? Non tech founders typically struggle to get their ideas off the ground because they’re faced with a huge dilemma. Either they have to pay a software development business to build it, knowing that the business has an incentive to take longer and charge more – or they have to give away a significant amount of their equity to an individual who may not be the right person in the long run. (A non-tech founder who raises capital on 10% equity and splits the remainder with their tech partner will only own 45% of their company.)
So we did something about it and built a hybrid between the two. And built a team of tech parters who are incentivised the right way to build the product with a process to get the right tech co-founder in at the right time, without sacrificing high amounts of equity. (A non-tech founder who raises capital on 10% equity and partners with BlueChilli will typically own 70% of their company.)
“I can’t get angel funding!”
Australian institutional Venture Capital funds don’t play at Angel. So we created one that does. The $10m BlueChilli Venture Fund is one of a handful of ESVCLP funds and it has a mandate to invest up to $250k in to eligible Angel rounds in BlueChilli co-founded startups.
Since we launched it back in 2013, others have been created to take on early stage. The Sydney Seed Fund for example typically invests $100k in to early stage companies, those which have launched a product but haven’t yet fully commercialised it.
In the few months since closing the BlueChilli Venture Fund has invested almost $1m into six startups, making it one of the most active funds in Australia.
“I can’t get my product in front of a Corporate!”
BlueChilli is leading the way in enabling Corporates to engage with Startups. We have worked with Big Pharma, Logistics and Financial Services including Macquarie, Westpac and AMP to bring them the startup process and methodology and teaching them about the risks and advantages of working with startups.
We’re providing the pathways between startups and corporates, educating corporate partners in the way to engage startups and build out their investment strategy. Corporate Venture Capital is still very much in it’s infancy, but we’re spearheading the charge.
For example, we’ve now down five Disrupt@Scale corporate programs with another three in the pipeline. After each of these we refine the model, making it better and better. If we took a techstars approach to Australia, to a corporate community who had never experienced it, the progam would never have got up and we would not be seeing the corporate cultural change we are now. So we went in with what we could, and will continue to refine and improve the model to the benefit of everyone in the ecosystem. Because that’s the way one should build a startup.
So the next time someone complains about lack of funding, or that there’s a brain drain; ask them – what are they doing about it?