2022 has been a tough year for many, but difficult times reveal our true characters.
I was inspired by Ben Armstrong’s message to reflect on and celebrate the growth and collaborative nature of startup Aus/NZ, especially what I witnessed last year.
Australia is the lucky country and our luck is not over.
For the first time in a generation (or ever), we have a growing community of highly ambitious, world-class founders, along with a real venture capital industry with risk appetite and dry powder, a culture that now sees startups as commercially and socially acceptable, and a really strong culture of capital efficiency and the ability to survive and thrive in capital constrained environments.
Founders in Aus/NZ have access to quality venture capital funds and investors who (generally) really care about the entrepreneurs they support and their long-term success and well-being.
I’m not saying everything is perfect. There’s a lot more to do here, but the trajectory of the early tech startup ecosystem is promising and we have a lot to celebrate.
Last year, Rampersand co-invested with over 20 Australian investors (plus a plethora of internationals).
We’ve had two investments that we’re trying to complete over the summer break and in 2022 we’ve added six new businesses and seven follow-on investments to the Rampersand portfolio.
We also had the opportunity to partner with over 100 funds through the Giant Warm Intro, which enabled over 200 underrepresented founder intros for the most active investors in Aus/NZ. To see the ecosystem come together for the greater good reinforces our optimism for the future of startup funding in the region.
In times like these, community and connections are crucial. For Rampersand, the collective and individual wisdom and experience in our network are critical to our success. The founders we support are so driven and inspiring, and it’s a real pleasure to work with them all. And, of course, like any good partnership, it lasts through good times and bad.
Rampersand started investing in and supporting startups at a time when very few people in Australia were doing it. We believed in the power of entrepreneurs and the potential for Australia to become a hotbed of innovation. Since we started Rampersand, we’ve focused on our three fundamental pillars: Founders as the heroes on whom all success depends, building a sustainable and inclusive ecosystem, and delivering returns to our investors.
The core of this was ensuring alignment between our investors, the founders we support, and ourselves as the trustee. We focused on supporting inspiring, visionary and execution-oriented founders and gave them more than just capital. We believed in sharing our network, our experience, insights, battle scars, a deep and passionate belief and our commitment to solving new problems, and we did everything we could to support the companies to Series A and beyond.
This has resulted in Rampersand consistently supporting 4 to 6 companies a year, each with care and conviction. And everyone knows that if a founder gets support from Rampersand, it’s because we believe (which we’re willing to fight for) that the team of founders has the ability and ambition to build a meaningful business and solve a problem. unloading what they – and we – care about. deep about.
Of course, as is the nature of early technology investments, we haven’t always gotten it right, but we’ve never gone down without a fight.
As the markets change, we will make changes too, but we will continue to do things the Rampersand way: by being judicious, patient, commercial and decisive. For our new fund, the Future Tech Fund, we have key focus areas.
These include enterprise software and automation, data-driven intelligence, and disruptive digital marketplaces. We also invest in an area that we call emerging frontiers, which is an opportunity for our investment team to continually explore new technology. These boundaries are endless, and as a startup fund, we are always curious and committed to supporting founders who relentlessly solve big problems.
Our fund and team are structured to invest in the seed and pre-seed rounds. We continue to invest in those founders who command further investment, alone or together with leading Australian and international funds. We typically reserve 40-50% of a fund for follow-ons and have over 150 engaged and influential investors who often co-invest with the fund.
Over time, the Rampersand portfolio has created thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in value, all of which have adapted to the new market with incredible creativity and resilience. I am amazed at the entrepreneurial spirit and how change creates opportunity, a constant reminder of why we started Rampersand in the first place.
This year will be different again, no doubt in ways none of us can predict right now. We see the cost of talent fall as availability increases.
The number of new startups in Australia and New Zealand is growing exponentially. The adoption of technology, especially software, continues to grow.
We continue to explore new markets, technologies, structures and boundaries. We will continue to open up the VC ecosystem to emerging founders, of all backgrounds, through The Giant Warm Intro.
Looking ahead to the year ahead, we will continue to work as a team to invest in Australia’s best and brightest ideas at an early stage. We will continue to support founders on their journey and we will continue to support the growing ANZ startup ecosystem.