Australia’s Blackbird raises $225m third vehicle from Hostplus, Future Fund, others

The Blackbird Team: Rick, Sam, Oscar, Joel, Nick, Justina, James, Niki. Source: Medium

Sydney-based venture capital firm Blackbird Ventures, which invests in tech startups, has raised $225 million for its third fund, it announced on April 3.

The funding was led by Melbourne-based superannuation fund Hostplus and the firm’s existing community of 100 individuals (mainly technology founders) along with First State Super, it said in a blog post. The Australian government’s Future Fund and clients of Cambridge Associates also took part in the financing.

Established in late 2012, Blackbird backs Australian and New Zealand startup founders, irrespective of where they are based. Its portfolio companies include Canva, the Sydney-based online design software firm that recently attained unicorn status, and Zoox, the driverless taxi company valued at $1.5 billion.

In Canva, the company first invested $250,000 into its seed round and has invested nearly $50 million in the years since. In Zoox, it first invested $500,000 and a total of nearly $70 million. The company hopes to add to these investments over time, it said.

From the fresh financing, Blackbird is looking to invest in earlier stages of startups. “We want to continue to invest earlier and earlier,” it said in the post.

“In fact, in our second fund, we invested more in pre-product, pre-revenue companies than in our first fund. The strategy of Blackbird is to be part of the first capital raised. And then, for the iconic companies, to invest hundreds of millions of dollars into each of them over their lifetime.”

The firm raised $200 million for the second fund in September 2015. It raised its first fund of $29 million in 2013, backed by 97 investors, most of them tech founders. The company has since invested in more than 41 companies and 73 more through Startmate.

As per a November 2017 report of Australian Private Equity and Venture Capital Association, venture capital fundraising hit a record high by more than doubling to $1.32 billion in FY17, up from $568 million in FY16. A total of 19 funds were raised with various investment focus areas.

Some of the most active VC firms include Telstra Ventures, GBS Venture Partners, Artesian, SquarePeg, H2 Ventures, among others.

Also Read:

Australian VCs to tap ASEAN for deals in coming years: Yasser El-Ansary, AVCAL

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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.