Launch of Playbook Ventures & Investor Connect — Bridging the gap between startups and capital

Rohit Bhargava
Jul 3 · 6 min read

TLDR:

- Launching Playbook Ventures to help bridge the gap between startups and capital
- First initiative is to launch our “Investor Connect” event on the 15th of August, bringing together 20 of the leading funds and investors in the region representing over $1Bn in active funds under management. Some of these funds include; Blackbird VC, Airtree, Square Peg Capital, Rampersand VC, Grok Ventures, Reinventure & many more.
- Focus of the event is on relationship building through a curated event. Each investor will be matched with 2–3 startups that meet their stage, vertical and areas of interest
- Applications for startups are now open (until 1st August). Details available at playbookventures.com.au

There are many variables and inputs that go into building a thriving ecosystem. Two critical factors are having startups run by exceptional founders solving big problems and the other is having investors find and back these great founders by giving them the resources and help they need to succeed.

The last few years has seen a dramatic shift in the startup landscape in Australia.

As reported by Blackbird VC partner, Nick Crocker in his Twitter thread, 52 companies founded by Australians since 2011 are worth more than AUD$100M, with fourteen of those companies being valued at more than AUD$500M and 6 (Canva, 10XGenomics, ZipMoney, Zoox, Afterpay & Airwallex) are worth more than $1Bn.

This growth is further demonstrated through the graph below from AirTree VC, utilising Pitchbook and Airtree data.

A large portion of that growth has been fuelled by the VC community.

According to the TechboardAU 2017/18 Annual funding report, VCs provided $915M in funding across 118 funding events.

Many of the funds have gone on to raise significantly larger second and third funds allowing them to make more follow on deals and also back startups at earlier stages and just last week, Square Peg announced they had closed a $340M fund — the largest VC fund in Australian history.

There’s never been a better moment to be a founder in Australia. There’s hundreds of millions of dollars of venture capital looking for wonderful, high-growth businesses to supercharge. The founder community is maturing. 60 companies have been started by Australian founders since 2011 that are now worth more than $100M. 6 are now worth more than $1B. What a time to be alive.” — Nick Crocker, Partner @ Blackbird VC

I have been fortunate to have many of the VC community on my podcast and the one consistent message that all investors mention is the need to build relationships with founders and to do that early in the process.

However, speaking to many founders, especially those with limited networks or new to the space, trying to get a warm intro, hoping relevant investors are in the room or trying to capture 2mins of their time after hearing a VC speak at a meetup event or conference does not provide the right opportunity to create these relationships…And that’s why I am launching Playbook Ventures & our very first event, Investor Connect.

One often misunderstood fact about VCs is that they have to report back to their Limited Partners (the investors into their funds) as well. Their business model relies on finding, backing and supporting founders solving big problems.

The simple mission behind Playbook Ventures is to connect startups to capital and resources to help them grow and our first event (Investor Connect) aims to do that by helping to bridge the gap between founders and investors.

At AirTree we love to meet ambitious founders as early as possible. We often spend months and sometimes even years getting to know a founder before we make an investment. Events like this are a great starting point to building a longer term relationship. It’s a huge decision to bring someone onto your cap table and you don’t want to realise too late that you got it wrong. In the same way investors will do diligence on a founder and a potential investment, founders should do their diligence on a VC and invest the time to test whether the investor is the right fit for them.” — Elicia McDonald, Investor @ Airtree Ventures

At the Investor Connect event in August, we will have 20 of the best VCs and Angels in the region attending. Each investor will be matched with 2–3 startups that match the investment profile and themes/industries they are interested in.

The startups will meet with their matched investor in a small group setting with the focus being on relationship building so they can better understand the founders and their business and the founders can get to know the investors and their fund in a casual and informal setting to determine if they will be a good fit and partner for their business.

Forming relationships with potential investors early is incredibly important. It is far better to get to know someone over time and observe progress, rather than forcing a relationship in just a few weeks — especially if you’re going to partner with them for 10+ years! And sometimes you don’t need capital — you just need a different perspective or advice. We are keen to provide that from the early days.” — Ben Hensman, Investor @ Square Peg Capital

Who’s involved

We have some of the leading funds and investors in the country attending the event including: Airtree VC, Blackbird VC, Square Peg Capital, Rampersand VC, Reinventure, Trimantium Capital and many more representing over $1Bn in active funds under management.

Some of the investors we have attending this event include:

  • Nick Crocker(General Partner Blackbird VC & Exec. Chair at StartMate) — previously sold 2 x companies, We are Hunted (acquired by Twitter) & Sessions (acquired by MyFitnessPal)
  • Elicia McDonald (Investor at AirTree Ventures) — Previously worked in Enterprise Sales at LinkedIn and a B2B SaaS start-up in Sydney
  • paul naphtali(Co-founder & Managing Partner at Rampersand VC) — previously spent years living and working in Silicon Valley including: VP Global Marketing at Jajah (acquired by Telefonica), head of PR for Snaptu (acquired by Facebook), head of PR for TokBox (acquired by Telefónica) etc.
  • Chris Ridd (Angel Investor) — Previously the Managing Director for Xero Australia
  • Philipp Kingston (Co-founder & Managing Director at Trimantium Capital)
  • Sheona Devin & Kylie Frazer (Co-founder & Partners at Eleanor Ventures)

You can find the full list of Investors here. More investors will be announced in the coming weeks!

Event Details:

The inaugural Investor Connect event will take place in Melbourne on the evening of 15th August 2019. Details of venue will be shared with attending participants!

This event is completely FREE for startups. There are no application, attendance or commission fees. We are just looking for the best startups that match the investment profile of our investors :)

“At Rampersand, we love meeting with startups early so that we can better understand them and their business when they are ready for investment. Events like this help bridge the gap and form these relationships early in the process” — Paul Napthali, Managing Partner @ Rampersand VC

How to get involved:

If you would like to apply to be part of this event, you can apply to through our website (playbookventures.com.au) or fill out the application form which you can find here. Applications are open until 1st August, 2019.

Interested in attending as an investor? Get in touch here!

If you have any further questions about the event, feel free to contact me here.

Thanks to Kaushi Kogar

Rohit Bhargava

Written by

I help launch, grow and scale startups through content & sales funnel optimisation. Host @ The Startup Playbook Podcast & Founder/Director @ Playbook Media.

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