Who is Investing in Australian Startups?

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A graph containing circles of different sizes with arrows pointing all around the place, invoking the idea of entrepreneurs investing in startupsRight now, there’s a fantastic “Startup Spring” festival going on across Australia, organised by StartupAUS, with hundreds of great events across 3 weeks. I noticed that veteran US investor Bill Tai did a tour of several major cities last week. Wondering whether he had any Australian connection, I looked up Bill’s credentials and found that he is in fact an investor in high-profile Aussie startups Shoes of Prey and Canva.

That got me wondering: Who else is investing in Australian startups? This would be useful information for some people to know, especially if they’re planning on raising venture capital funding but would prefer to keep the company local. If only there was a database of startup investments that could be queried programmatically…

Why, hello there, Crunchbase API! 🙂

So, without further ado, here is the…

List of Startup Investors (as recorded on Crunchbase) in Companies That Only Have Offices in Australia:

(Note: there is some discussion at the end about why the list is incomplete)

Starfish Ventures

  • Austhink Software
  • BugHerd
  • DesignCrowd
  • Distra
  • Engana Pty
  • MetaCDN
  • Monitoring Division
  • Ofidium
  • Protagonist Therapeutics
  • StyleTread

AngelCube

  • Broccol-e-games
  • CoinJar
  • Dragonfly List
  • Lexim
  • Tablo Publishing
  • Vinspi

Uniseed Pty

  • BT Imaging
  • Hatchtech
  • Manjrasoft
  • OPAL Therapeutics
  • Spinifex Pharmaceuticals

Yuuwa Capital

  • Agworld Pty Ltd
  • Dealised
  • Filter Squad
  • PolyActiva

Square Peg Capital

  • BuyReply
  • Canva
  • biNu
  • goCatch

GBS Ventures

  • Hatchtech
  • OPAL Therapeutics
  • Spinifex Pharmaceuticals
  • Xenome

Commercialisation Australia

  • CriticalArc Pty
  • Liquid State
  • Senath Pty Ltd
  • Tapestry

500 Startups

  • App.io
  • Canva
  • Ninja Blocks
  • biNu

Mike Cannon-Brookes

  • Ninja Blocks
  • Shoes of Prey
  • Tyro Payments

Southern Cross Venture Partners

  • Brisbane Materials Technology
  • Shoes of Prey
  • Wooboard.com

SingTel Innov8

  • 121cast
  • Dealised
  • Venuemob

QIC BioVentures

  • Hatchtech
  • Protagonist Therapeutics
  • Xenome

Kestrel Capital

  • Catapult Genetics
  • SigNav Pty Ltd
  • TGR BioSciences

Allen & Buckeridge

  • BT Imaging
  • Enikos
  • Hitwise

Lars Rasmussen

  • Canva
  • Posse

Pollenizer Ventures

  • Wooboard.com
  • Pygg

Bill Tai

  • Canva
  • Shoes of Prey

Adrian MacKenzie

  • BuyReply
  • biNu

Tiger Global Management

  • Scoopon
  • The Catch Group

Blackbird Ventures (Australia)

  • Canva
  • Ninja Blocks

The University of Melbourne

  • 121cast
  • MetaCDN

Artesian Capital Management

  • Posse
  • Zookal

ATP Innovations

  • Elastagen
  • Endoluminal Sciences

Trevor Folsom

  • Wooboard.com

Tony Faure

  • biNu

Todd Forest

  • DesignCrowd

Tim Howard

  • Pygg

Sydney Angels

  • Ninja Blocks

Su-Ming Wong

  • Tapestry

Shan Mehta

  • Canva

Scott Farquhar

  • Ninja Blocks

Rohan Lund

  • Pygg

Richard Baker

  • Shoes of Prey

Paul Bransby

  • The Naked Song

Mike Knapp

  • Shoes of Prey

Michael Fox

  • Shoes of Prey

Matt Rockman

  • biNu

Mark White

  • Locatrix Communications

Maneesh Arora

  • App.io

Les Szekely

  • DesignCrowd

Leni Mayo

  • Flippa

Ken Goldman

  • Canva

Jodie Fox

  • Shoes of Prey

Jeffrey Tobias

  • DesignCrowd

Jean Sini

  • Canva

Guy King

  • Lexim

Glenn Poswell

  • The Catch Group

Garry Visontay

  • DesignCrowd

David Risher

  • biNu

David Greatorex

  • Tapestry

Brand Hoff

  • Tapestry

Bevan Clark

  • Lexim

Anthony Pascoe

  • biNu

Ankur Pansari

  • App.io

Andrey Shirben

  • Jayride.com

Aayush Phumbhra

  • Canva

Westscheme Pty Limited

  • Hatchtech

Verlinvest

  • THE ICONIC

Valar Ventures

  • BuyReply

University of Melbourne Endowment fund

  • MetaCDN

TomorrowVentures

  • biNu

Tivsco

  • Locatrix Communications

Technology Venture Partners

  • Engana Pty

Symbion Pty Limited

  • Immune System Therapeutics

Sydney Angels Sidecar Fund

  • CriticalArc Pty

Summit Partners

  • THE ICONIC

Squarepeg Capital

  • Ninja Blocks

Sherpalo Ventures

  • Paymate

Scrum Ventures

  • App.io

Savannah Fund

  • biNu

SBI Jefferies Asia Fund

  • Panviva

Quest Venture Partners

  • App.io

PanAfrican Investment Co.

  • biNu

PALgenesis

  • App.io

Optus Innov8

  • Venuemob

New Venture Partners

  • Brisbane Materials Technology

New Energy Fund

  • Oceanlinx

Neo Technology Ventures

  • SigNav Pty Ltd

NIPR

  • Monitoring Division

Medical Research Commercialisation Fund (MRCF)

  • PolyActiva

Mayfield Fund

  • Paymate

Matrix Partners

  • Canva

Lilly Ventures

  • Protagonist Therapeutics

Lakestar

  • StyleTread

Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers

  • Paymate

Kinnevik

  • THE ICONIC

Johnson & Johnson Development Corporation

  • Protagonist Therapeutics

InterWest Partners

  • Canva

Intel Capital

  • Engana Pty

Insight Venture Partners

  • Ozsale

Innovis Investments

  • Xenome

Hunter Angels

  • CriticalArc Pty

Gannet Capital

  • The Catch Group

Fenox Ventre Capital

  • 99dresses

Espírito Santo Tech Ventures

  • Oceanlinx

Emerald Technology Ventures

  • Oceanlinx

CrunchFund

  • Shoes of Prey

CVC Capital Partners

  • Webspy

Brandon Capital Partners

  • Spinifex Pharmaceuticals

Brandon Biosciences Fund 1 (BBF1)

  • PolyActiva

Biocomm Services Pty Ltd

  • Hatchtech

Applied Ventures

  • BT Imaging

Alta Partners

  • OPAL Therapeutics

Alloy Ventures

  • OPAL Therapeutics

Agility Capital

  • cookdinner

Adventure Capital

  • 121cast

AdInvest

  • StyleTread

Accede Capital

  • Engana Pty

AGS Capital Group

  • EnviroMission

The Online Circle Pty

  • Internet Marketing Academy Australia

Telstra

  • HealthEngine

Systemic

  • ShedWorx

StartMate

  • IRL Gaming

Seven West Media

  • HealthEngine

Seaspin Pty Ltd

  • SEE Forge

Pharmstandard

  • Protagonist Therapeutics

Ozbox

  • ArriveBefore

Nine Entertainment

  • StyleTread

Motorola Solutions

  • Storyz

MLC

  • Shoes of Prey

HBO

  • Quickflix

Groupon

  • Jump On It

Global IP Video

  • iconDial

Fortescue Metals

  • Coridon

Filtro Private Equity ( Silicon Valley )

  • Zookal

Extela Pty Ltd

  • 4Less

Elevation Capital

  • Wooboard.com

Consolidated Press Holdings (CPH)

  • The Catch Group

Amylin Pharmaceuticals

  • Xenome

Not the Full Picture

I know this list is incomplete – probably very incomplete – but this is for a couple of reasons out of my control.

Firstly, the Crunchbase API search doesn’t seem to search in office addresses. So, for example, if you search for ‘Sydney’, you won’t get Shoes of Prey, because the word Sydney only appears in their address and nowhere else in their profile.

Secondly, the Crunchbase geo-search doesn’t seem to work. I don’t know what it tries to do when you search for Sydney (does it search Sydney, Australia or Sydney, Nova Scotia?), but you get less results for ‘within 100 miles of Sydney’ than you do for just ‘Sydney’. It also says there are 20 pages of results for Sydney, but any request to get page 8 or higher results in a 500 HTTP response.

Lastly, the Crunchbase data is just not complete. Many companies have either not listed their funding rounds or they’ve listed the funding but not the people and companies who contributed. When that Startup -> Investor link isn’t in Crunchbase, I obviously can’t get it into this list.

Notice also that I’ve excluded any companies that have an office that’s not in Australia. Why would I do that? Well, that’s the best definition I could come up with for an “Australian Startup” given the data that’s available in Crunchbase. Unfortunately, that means there’s probably quite a few successful ventures left out of the list because they have expanded globally or moved their HQ, for example ScriptRock and Grabble. What’s really missing from Crunchbase that would make this query a whole lot easier is a record of “Founded in: City, Country”.

Think You or Your Startup Should be Listed?

If you think you or your startup should be on this list, I’d be happy to update it. First thing you need to do is update your Crunchbase profile so that the relationships are there, then get in touch with me @evolvable and let me know what you added.

Image credit: ‘Socialized Energy (AKA Smart Grid)‘ by Zachary Veach

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5 thoughts on “Who is Investing in Australian Startups?

  1. Hey Graham, Nice summary.
    While I’m a (long time ago) ex-programmer, as a Virtual CFO these days my extraction / analysis tool of choice these days is Excel. I’m interested in whether we could put together a “heat map” kinda view – something to do with Investors, $, time so wanted to extract / have a play with the data.
    Gonna register as a developer etc but wondered whether you’d share the code you used to extract this so we can maybe keep this evolving.
    Thanks
    Remco

    • Hi Remco. I’m glad you found it useful. I’d love to be able to share my code but unfortunately it’s just a bunch of shell commands in my bash history. I originally thought, “I should be able to grep this stuff out in a couple of lines,” and then three nights later I had the info I wanted but no repeatable process.
      I’ve since found that I think angellist.co has a lot of info that’s not on CrunchBase, so I’ll probably do a redux at some point and will be able to share the code I use for that.
      Cheers,
      Graham.

      PS What’s a “*Virtual* CFO”?

  2. Graham, another problem is that a lot of these deals are very old and washed up already. There also is lot more private investment than this list. Tough problem but thanks for the effort. Ian

    • Thanks for the feedback, Ian. You make a good point on the historical front, and in retrospect including the date of the deals would be pretty useful. Re. private investments – yep, the list is incomplete. However, with the purpose of the list partly being to inform those people who might be looking for investment in the future, I’m assuming those who’ve put their startup investments on CrunchBase are more likely to be interested in being getting involved in future funding rounds than those who are keeping their investing habits to themselves.
      Cheers,
      Graham.

  3. This is an impressive list.
    It’s great to see so many startup’s getting attention from abroad.
    Being active in the startup space with our Project Management SaaS – Trigger, we get really positive responses when users see we’re Australian based. It’s definitely an advantage in the competitive field we’re in!

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