NOVA — Your chance to be a deeptech VC

IS THIS YOU? (Credit: NASA)

After my first few weeks at Main Sequence Ventures , it’s very clear we are not going to do this alone.

The opportunity in front of us — and by “us” I mean founders, publicly-funded research agencies (PFRAs), and investors — is at once inspiring and intimidating. On one hand, as you dig in, you can’t help but be inspired by the expertise and achievements — often unheralded — in the universities, CSIRO and other PFRAs across Australia. On the other hand, there are dozens of organisations, thousands of researchers, and an even greater magnitude of projects and early stage companies commercialising deep tech in our ecosystem. Consequently, there is no shortage of huge ideas, grounded in concrete, unique science or insight, championed by passionate founders. In fact, it’s the opposite — the top of the funnel will be enormous, and the challenge will be assessing and closing investments rather than finding them.

Outside of publicly-funded research, our Australian ecosystem has done a great job of starting to educate entrepreneurs about how to approach, engage with and generally think like an investor. CSIRO’s ON! Program, as well as other deep tech accelerators, have also started that work, but given the scale at the top of the funnel, we need to do even more.

So today we’re launching Main Sequence Nova — a unique program to immerse public sector researchers in the world of startups and venture investing.

Nova participants — who need to be affiliated with a university, a PFRA such as CSIRO, or other organisation such as a CRC — will come into Main Sequence Ventures for anywhere from a week to a few weeks — and get an unfiltered view of life at a deeptech venture firm. You’ll join us for pitches, our internal investment review sessions, even our networking sessions and events. And you’ll be asked to do an important piece of research or due diligence that will contribute to a sector review or live investment. The program is unpaid but we believe will pay back many times over in terms of your learnings and experience.

Every Nova participant will gain:

  • Insight into how we assess and decide on investments
  • What makes a founder and opportunity stand out from others
  • How the business of venture capital works
  • Drivers and habits of successful startups.

Ultimately we’re betting that opening up our world to high potential founders will help move the industry forward and improve the quality of the opportunities in the market.

Our first Nova participant is Samy Movassaghi, a distinguished wireless networks researcher and Google Fellow from Data61/CSIRO and ANU who is spending two weeks with us. Samy has been terrific and will be writing about her experience shortly — keep an eye out.

We plan on selecting one Nova participant per quarter (with the next expected to start around October), but may add more depending on interest and how things go.

You can apply and see all the fine print here. Please spread the word!