Six months after raising $37 million to help support Western Australian startups, VC firm Purpose Ventures has boosted its coffers by an additional $8 million while adding a third company to its investment portfolio.
Founded by husband-and-wife duo Derek and Kylie Gerrard, Purpose Ventures has committed to investing at least 70 per cent of its fund into WA-founded or operated companies, with the capital fully managed by investors based within the state
Since the fund started in March, it received more than 160 investment applications, of which more than half came from WA-based companies.
Current startups in its portfolio include edtech Paperly, healthtech company Plancare and IDEAcademy – a female-led startup that recently secured $1.3 million in an investment round led by the WA firm.
“We’ve been really impressed with the quality of investment applications that have been submitted over the last six months and, as a WA-backed and focussed fund, have been encouraged by how many of these have come from WA-founded companies. Following on from our first two investments into Paperly and PlanCare earlier this year, it’s great to now have IDEAcademy joining our portfolio,” Derek Gerrard says.
Founded in 2020 by Nicole Gazey and Rebecca Loftus, IDEAcademy offers an alternative education pathway for WA students in Years 11 and 12 that focuses on entrepreneurial, innovation and creative skills. In the last two years, the company has educated more than 100 students, grown to a team of 13, and launched its own online platform.
“With less than 1 per cent of VC funding historically going into 100 per cent female-founded and led businesses in Australia, we are particularly excited to have this opportunity to back Nicole and Rebecca, as incredible female founders,” Gerrard says.
“Both Nicole and Rebecca are pursuing their ‘life cause’ of supporting the next generation of young entrepreneurs, creatives and innovators, by providing an alternative option to mainstream education for senior secondary-aged students and recent school leavers.”
The latest funding round will support the program’s growth into new locations across Australia, starting with Peel in WA.
“We’ve known the Purpose Ventures team for a number of years and knew there was great alignment with the impact each of us are looking to achieve in the broader innovation ecosystem,” Loftus says.
“We already had great momentum since starting IDEAcademy almost two years ago and, after our first investment round 18 months ago, were keen to raise further capital to allow us to accelerate our growth.
“As we open our second location, this capital will enable us to continue scaling and impacting the lives of students by adding capability to our team and expanding our locations.”
Gerrard says that the founders have demonstrated passion and tenacity while building IDEAcademy over the last two years.
“We are excited to help accelerate IDEAcademy’s capacity to provide their individualised project-based education to more students, utilising the capital and support of the Purpose Ventures team,” he says.
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