Australia’s Telstra Ventures raises $350m for third VC fund

Telstra. Photo: Bloomberg

Telstra Ventures, the venture capital arm of Australian telecom company Telstra, has announced the final close of its third VC fund at $350 million to invest in pre-growth and early growth companies.

The fund, Telstra Ventures Fund III, will seek opportunities in various sectors, including cloud, cyber, crypto, carbon and climate, coders, creators, and consumers, as well as other fast-growing software and digital sectors.

The VC firm has so far invested in 15 startups through Fund III. These include API startup Cequence, healthcare data science platform ClosedLoop ClosedLoop, cryptocurrency firm FTX, cloud testing platform LambdaTest, and ecommerce logistics startup Pandion, among others.

To date, Telstra Ventures said it has made a total of 88 investments resulting in more than 33 liquidity events, with 17 of those achieving unicorn and five decacorn status.

“We’ve developed a world class reputation for identifying, investing and serving extraordinary entrepreneurs,” said managing director Mark Sherman.

The previous fund, Telstra Ventures Fund II, raised $515 million in 2018 and has overseen 26 company exits, including the US cybersecurity platform CrowdStrike, which exited via IPO on the New York Stock Exchange at a $6.08bn valuation.

“The fact that we were able to raise these funds from a range of existing and more than 35 new limited partners, across the globe when there is considerable volatility in finance markets and pandemic issues to navigate, speaks to the high reputation that our team, our portfolio company entrepreneurs and the quality returns they have delivered from our first two funds,” said managing director Matthew Koertge.

Telstra Ventures now joins a list of Australian VCs that have recently closed or are raising new funds. These include Investible, which closed its second vehicle at about $36.8 million in December and is planning to launch a $200-million growth stage fund later this year.

Square Peg is also raising $500 million to expand its commitment to back startups in its key markets of Australia and Israel, with a growing focus on Southeast Asia’s booming tech markets.

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