Australia’s Square Peg raises $180m for debut fund, beats target of $154m

Australian venture capital (VC) firm Square Peg Capital, that is among the early investors in ride-hailing app Uber, has closed its debut fund at A$234 million ($180 million), beating its original target of A$200 million.

The Australian superannuation fund Hostplus is the largest limited partner (LP) in the fund, with a contribution of $50 million, with other LPs being entrepreneurs and HNI (high net worth individuals).

Square Peg was established by Paul Bassat in 2012, who co-founded online employment advertising firm SEEK in 1997, and its other co-founders are Barry Brott and Tony Holt.

Brott’s experience lies in early-stage investments gained through working across the venture portfolio of Jagen Pty Ltd, a Melbourne-based family office, as well as a background in corporate strategy and corporate development. Holt’s background is in investment banking and corporate finance.

The VC firm was formerly structured as a collective rather than a fund, which will be targeting investments in Australia, Israel and Southeast Asia. According to media reports, the decision to become a venture fund was due to its deal-by-deal approach becoming more complex as demand for deals rose.

It will be targeting investment in technology businesses, with a concentration on those in the consumer and mobile internet space. It will also consider investments in online marketplaces, Internet of Things (IoT), enterprise software and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS).

Current portfolio ventures include US-based payment processing enterprise Stripe and the Sydney-based online design firm Canva.

“We are really happy with the size of the fund, and we think it gives us good firepower to have a nice spread of investments. We don’t see raising a fund as an achievement in itself, but it obviously gives us capacity to back some great founders and deliver great returns for our investors,” Bassat explained in a statement to the Australian Financial Review.

Australia VC sector has experienced a resurgence in recent years, recovering from the Internet bubble bursting in the early 2000’s. In recent years, Australia has seen the establishment of a $250 million fund by Airtree Ventures in 2016 and a $200 million fund by Blackbird Ventures in 2015.

Also Read:

Australia’s Downer launches $1b bid for struggling Spotless Group

Australian Senate approves equity crowdfunding legislation

Australia: SproutX closes $7.6m agritech fund backed by Artesian, Hostplus

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.