Our job at BlueChilli is to help entrepreneurs take their ideas, launch their first product and get their first customers — taking them from zero to one. We look at all the common reasons why startups don’t succeed and with training, people and capital we systematically mitigate each of these risks to improve the likelihood of success.
Startups typically have a high failure rate, but our model has demonstrated some early success. In the broader ecosystem, 95% of startups don’t survive their first year. Of the remaining 5%, only 7% are able to raise capital. At BlueChilli we only take the top 1-2% of people who apply but of the startups who get through, 50% successfully raise capital. We’ve done this 100 times and our startups have raised over $60M in public and private markets. Our first independently-managed fund currently sits at an (unrealised) IRR of over 90%.
A year ago we took our model and applied it to address the global problem of diversity in tech companies. At our program kick-off, 20 incredible entrepreneurs and their ideas were selected from more than 800 applicants. These amazing founders began their entrepreneurial journey with the BlueChilli Bootcamp, an engaging and challenging process intended to refine their idea and define their minimum viable product. At the end of the bootcamp these women pitched to a panel of industry experts, partners, investors and entrepreneurs and the top 10 were offered $100,000 and entry into the inaugural BlueChilli SheStarts program.
With the amazing support of our corporate partners MYOB, ANZ, SunSuper, GSK, and UTS, we have been recognised at the OECD as an exemplar in how to address and improve diversity in an ecosystem. We have directly invested capital in each of them, have indirectly supported the 800 applicants with an online education program and have impacted over 100,000 Australians through our SheStarts documentary series.
Over the past 10 months we’ve supported these women led startups with the skills, people and capital to accelerate their ideas and build out their technology. They’ve been introduced to partners, collaborators and potential later-stage investors in the US. The companies who all presented at our investment showcase dinner last week built their tech products, validated them in the market and are now raising capital to support the next stage of their growth.
I’m so excited by this amazing opportunity to be connected with these awesome entrepreneurs, to be involved at a critical inflection point in their startup journey, and to help them take their startups from one to one million.