The Future Fund – Australia’s sovereign wealth fund launched by John Howard in 2006 – has backed Niki Scevak’s Blackbird Ventures.
The investment is the first time the fund has backed an Australian venture capital fund, previously aligning itself with private and global equity assets.
Dr Raphael Arndt, Chief Investment Officer at the Future Fund, told Startup Daily the fund previously had found it “challenging” to find an efficient way to invest in startups given its large size and model, which involves a relatively small investment team.
“There is no shortage of growing small and medium Australian businesses requiring capital. Their success is important to the development and diversification of the Australian economy, including ultimately our listed market should they go on to IPO,” he said.
“We believe there are attractive investment opportunities in this sector in which the Future Fund can invest. This will have the added benefit of supporting small and medium Australian businesses to realise their growth potential.”
The Future fund oversees about $163 billion in investments.
Blackbird Ventures announced its third fund totalling $225 million on Tuesday, led by Hostplus, First State Super, and 100 existing investors.
Founder Niki Scevak says the fund’s investment focus will now turn to “pre-revenue, pre-product companies”.
The startup community and the federal Labor opposition have been calling on the Future Fund to offer more support to local VCs since it launched 12 years ago.
Many now see the investment as a win for the VC industry and startup community in Australia.
Blackbird launched its first fund of $29 million in 2012, followed by its second $200 million raise in 2015.
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