A team of former Investec executives has kicked off Stride equity an equity crowdfunding (CSF) platform backed by a venture capital fund, Stride Lead, in a model that seeks to rethink how startups raise funds.
Stride Equity will evaluate each investment opportunity with experienced investors to choose the companies to crowdfund.
Startups seeking capital receive up to 20% co-investment from Stride Lead, with the remaining amount raised through the CSF platform. It is the country’s first combined equity crowdfunding and VC investment platform.
The platform offers mentoring and industry connections to budding founders in addition to endowments private and institutional investors to back a curated list of companies.
The co-founders, chairman Jon Brett, director Alan Chonowitz and CEO Maria Halasz, previously worked together at the Sydney arm of South African investment bank Investec, which announced it would withdraw from the Australian market in 2021.
The trio has made more than 30 investments in startups and scale-ups, such as Vocus, Airtasker, Goanna Ag, MediPay and MadeComfy.
Halasz, founder of ASX-listed Anagenics, said that while local crowdfunding campaigns have raised about $220 million since 2018, investors have seen only a few successful exits.
“Unlike our model where we pre-qualify companies we invest in, crowdfunding is normally transactional and companies are not routinely vetted by professional investors,” she said.
“Our goal is to close the funding gap for emerging companies by combining our experience as successful venture investors with the power of equity crowdfunding. We support these companies with our money, our expertise and our connections.”
Stride enters a crowded market for CSF, with market leader Birchal recently running its 200th successful campaign, along with the likes of VentureCrowd, Equitise and female founder-focused Microwd (formerly PledgeMe)
Chonowitz said the Stride model is unique in the crowdfunding market and makes the deals more attractive to both investors and investee companies.
Stride Equity launches today on the Sydney Startup Hub.