Former Salesforce and Twitter engineering boss Chris Fry is showing particular interest in the Australian tech scene, joining venture capital firm Adventure Capital as an adviser.
This week it was also revealed he joined Australian online retailing platform Bigcommerce’s board as an adviser.
Adventure Capital founder and managing partner Stuart Richardson told Business Insider Fry will be available to both the fund and its portfolio of companies to provide advice on scaling tech startups globally.
“We’ve been working with Chris for a while now and we’ve just publicly brought him on board,” Richardson said.
Securing Fry is a win for the firm because of the access he can provide to what’s going on in Silicon Valley, Richardson said.
“He’s coming to Australia because he sees more significant opportunities with more significant value,” he said.
“That value can be created far greater in Australia because it’s a far less noisy and uncontested market compared to Silicon Valley where there’s too much capital chasing too few quality deals.”
Fry will be based in Berkeley, San Francisco where Adventure’s chairman and Doubleclick co-founder David Scott Carlick is also located. He has had a formidable career in the tech world, has been involved in more than 75 M&A deals and played a significant role firming up the sale of payments company BrainTree to eBay.
“Chris has obviously been extremely successful in helping companies scale,” Richardson said, adding: “He’ll work closely with us and also advise our companies on establishing the foundations they need as they scale extremely fast.”
Adventure is currently setting up a second fund after its first one, which so far has invested in about 10 tech companies, closed in 2013.
Investments into the second fund, which is looking at raising between $40 million and $60 million to invest in around 30 startups, will be accepted until the first half of 2015.
Richardson said he’s seeing “an uplift in activity” in the Australian investment market – especially from overseas investors – who he says are recognising the opportunity and quality of talent from Down Under.
Adventure Capital is also based in Melbourne co-working space York Butter Factory and is looking at investing in tech companies that it sees have the ability to scale. Richardson said he isn’t fussy about what industry they’re targeting as long as they have depth across SaaS, fintech, hard-tech and digital. He also said he has a strong bias to B2B and enterprise.
“It’s really where our partner group can play to its strengths and make a significant uplift in value beyond the money alone,” he said.
“It always depends on the company and how they’re performing in the market.
“We look carefully at the DNA of the founding team and the disruption they can achieve in their target industry. The world has more than enough mobile apps with short half-lives.”
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