Chapter 2

We’re pleased to announce the next chapter of Blackbird Ventures with a further $200 million of capital to invest in Australian technology startups.

Like Blackbird’s first fund, the new funds are based around “founders helping founders”. Most of our investors are successful technology entrepreneurs who as well as providing their capital, provide advice and networks to the companies we back.

What’s different this time is that the funds have been supercharged by First State Super, along with HostPLUS to provide a larger pool of capital and allow us to continue investing into our successful companies longer.

We will still invest in the same amount of companies per year (8–10), and we’re committed to backing founders who strive to be the best in the world, not just the best in Australia, and will only invest in companies that are attacking global markets day one.

We’ll still be looking for companies from the idea stage in our Startmate program, through to seed and series A investments from our core Blackbird funds. What does change with the additional capital is that we will now have the ability to follow our early seed and series A investments through to much later into a company’s life.

Rick, Bill and I formed Blackbird three years ago inspired by the great feats of business achieved by the likes of Atlassian, Campaign Monitor and Envato on zero capital and very little help. With some capital and the help of a network of successful founders, the rate of production of the next generation of successful startups might go way up.

Even more curious was the paradox that Australia had plentiful startup successes yet very few successful venture investors. We’ve built each aspect of Blackbird carefully with the intention to partner with our great technology entrepreneurs at the earliest stages and then follow them as they build the next great businesses of our time.

The prize at the end of the rainbow is enormous: Apple and Google are the world’s two largest companies, with Microsoft in the top five and Facebook in the top ten. Technology is not a little corner of the world anymore, it is everywhere. As Marc Andreessen described perfectly: “Software has eaten the world”.

We also feel great excitement in now serving the nearly two million Australians part of First State Super and HostPLUS and enabling them to partner with Australia’s best technology startups.

The mission of venture capital has changed very little since its inception in 1946. This, from the founder of JH Whitney & Co, one of the first venture firms in the United States, perfectly states our purpose:

“We are here to invest in companies that we believe can succeed, companies with management teams and purposes that we can wholeheartedly embrace, companies that it will be fun to work with as we build and companies of which we will be justly proud when we succeed” John Hay (Jock) Whitney, February 1946