Victorian startups will soon be able to pitch themselves to one of Australia’s leading VC firms as part of a $30 million government initiative

Victorian startups will soon be able to pitch themselves to one of Australia’s leading VC firms as part of a $30 million government initiative
Victorian state Treasurer Tim Pallas. Photo: Getty Images
  • The Victorian government has launched a $30 million startup fund in partnership with one of Australia’s leading venture capital firms, OneVentures.
  • OneVentures has been tasked with investment selection and administration of the fund, which is set to cast its focus on tech startups ready to scale.
  • The Victorian government hopes to add to an already thriving Melbourne startup ecosystem, which ranks among the top 25 globally in terms of connectedness and talent.
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The Victorian government will move on an early Budget promise to the state’s start-up ecosystem that will see high-growth start-ups ready to scale eligible for their share in a $30 million venture fund. 

Announced late on Tuesday, the Andrews government said that it had agreed to a partnership with Australian venture capital firm, OneVentures, who will be responsible for the investment selection and administration of its Venture Growth Fund announced in May. 

The fund’s $30 million cash pool will be jointly funded by the Andrews government and OneVentures, after the VC firm matched the Andrews’ government initial $15 investment. 

Victorian Treasurer and Minister for economic development, Tim Pallas, said the fund will play a major role in the potential growth of the state’s start-up economy. 

“We’re committed to supporting high-potential startups as they look to expand — driving economic growth and creating new and exciting jobs,” Pallas said.

“Access to this kind of capital will play a critical role in accelerating the growth of startups into medium and large companies.”

Led by founding partner and managing director, Michelle Deaker, OneVentures has been tasked with making all investment decisions related to the Venture Growth Fund, from investment selection through to portfolio management and exit. 

It will cast a focus on getting loans to high-growth tech companies ready to scale up their businesses. 

OneVentures, one of Australia’s largest, manages more than $600 million in capital and has taken claim to the rise of companies like Employment Hero, which the firm sold 50% of its stake in earlier in the year; vaccine micro-patch biotech start-up Vaxxas; and data analytics company Phocas. 

More recently, the firm has backed Sydney-based logistics tech startup Shippit, which is in the midst of a $50 million raise, and healthcare management platform Lumary, which in March raised $17 million.

The Andrews government hopes the fund will add to Melbourne’s already thriving startup ecosystem, which is home to the likes of Afterpay, Airwallex, Judo Bank, MYOB and PEXA, who are collectively valued at more than $30 billion. 

The total value of Melbourne’s startup economy has swelled more than $3 billion over the last year to $10.5 billion, according to the 2021 Global Startup Ecosystem report, and is among the top 25 ecosystems in the world in terms of “connectedness” and “talent”. 

Deaker welcomed the initiative, which she said was an “important” one. 

Jaala Pulford, Minister for Innovation, Medical Research and the Digital Economy, said the fund will offer benefits to the state’s workers, too.

“This fund supports the powerhouse of founders, investors and the startup community, to create exciting opportunities and upskill the Victorian workforce,” she said.

Victoria’s Venture Growth Fund emerges off the back of similar initiatives across the country in recent years. 

New South Wales in June announced a $24 million small business grant for companies interested in working on five of the state’s key focus areas, after it brought its startup fund to an end last year.

Among them were how to manage the flood of used personal protective equipment (PPE) manufactured throughout the pandemic; cleaning up waste water in the state’s health system; and counting the state’s koala population.

By comparison, Victoria’s Fund has a much broader remit, and will focus solely on commercialised businesses ready to scale. Details related to eligibility have yet to be released.