Australian investment platform VentureCrowd is planning to make the venture capital market more accessible to new players through a white-label platform that allows them to establish their own startup funds.
The Sydney-based VentureCrowd has partnered with Melbourne-based venture capitalist Pitch VC to launch their new emerging fund manager platform to the market in a move aimed at democratising the funds management sector.
The VentureCrowd Emerging Fund Manager platform will leverage VentureCrowd’s existing technology and funds administration infrastructure to deliver a white-label product that it says will transform Australia's multibillion-dollar startup funding market.
The platform aims to empower experts in their fields and ‘highly networked individuals’ to launch and operate their own startup venture capital fund.
VentureCrowd says the platform will manage the establishment, compliance and administration of these new funds so that new fund managers ‘can focus on what they do best - finding and investing in the standout companies of tomorrow’.
The partnership will see Pitch VC co-founders Johnny Quattro and Campbell Walshe join the VentureCrowd executive team to bring the new emerging fund manager platform to the market.
Quattro is a computer science engineer and founder of the music technology app JAMN, while Walshe is the co-founder of global Medtech company CNSDose and co-founder of Pitchblak, a venture studio that created and launched the Mr Yum ordering system for the hospitality industry.
The entrepreneurs co-founded Pitch VC in 2021 and launched their Founders Fund 1, which they say will be the first external fund to trial and use the new VentureCrowd platform.
“In the past two years of raising and deploying Pitch VC’s first founders fund with the ambitious goal of backing 100 early-stage start-ups, we quickly realised the operational challenges of launching a startup fund of this size,” Quattro says.
“Having scoured the market for some sort of technology or support that could help us, we realised that VentureCrowd’s unique technology and capabilities were a perfect fit.
“Having spoken to the team there, we shifted our thinking to solving not just our problem, but fixing a gap in the market for a platform that can empower an entire new generation of startup fund managers.”
VentureCrowd, which launched its first equity crowdfunding deal in 2014, has overseen the raising of $310 million since inception with plans to improve its platform with a Web3 version due by the end of this year.
The venture capital platform also administers a number of investment funds, including its own VentureCrowd HealthTech Fund which has a portfolio of 12 early-stage medtech companies including Nexba, EnGeneIC, Stripped Supply and EduVid.
“There are hundreds of potential fund managers in Australia who are held back only by the administrative and technological burden of building a cost-effective back-office,” says VentureCrowd CEO Steve Maarbani.
“Having Johnny and Campbell join us to develop this innovative new offering expands VentureCrowd’s venture capital capability by giving the hottest new fund managers in the market a platform from which to build and operate their new fund.
“In effect it democratises startup fund management in the same way that crowdfunding democratises startup and property investment.”
Maarbani says that as portfolio companies grow, they will have access to the entire VentureCrowd ecosystem including a channel to new investors across Australia and South-East Asia, helping them to raise follow-on funding faster.
“The effective commercialisation of innovation requires the most efficient private capital market possible,” he says.
“One way to improve efficiency is to increase participation at every level, thus diversifying decision making and increasing the volume of capital available.
“VentureCrowd's current investment technology grants access to countless new investors, offering opportunities previously unavailable to them. This new platform is designed to continue that theme by removing the barriers to entry to as many talented new fund managers as possible.”
Quattro adds: “We believe that Australia holds an exceptional line up of new venture capital fund managers ready to step up and run their own show, it is clear that the future of venture capital will not be centralised.”
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