Canva-backer Blackbird raises Australia's biggest VC fund at $640m

Canva-backer Blackbird raises Australia's biggest VC fund at $640m

The Blackbird Ventures team

Australian venture capital firm Blackbird announced that it raised A$1 billion (about $640 million) for a new fund that will invest in general companies in Australia and New Zealand.

The venture investor, which counts Canva and robotics firm Zoox in its portfolio, said the fifth fund is Australia’s largest fund to date and doubles the size of the fourth fund that closed in August 2020.

The Sydney-based firm said the fund received commitments from superannuation funds such as AustralianSuper, Hostplus, Australia’s sovereign wealth fund, the Future Fund, New Zealand’s sovereign wealth funds, and New Zealand Growth Capital Partners Elevate fund.

Over 270 individual investors, mostly tech founders and operators, also supported the fund, according to the firm.

Blackbird, which was founded in 2012, will allocate A$284 million for early-stage investments in Australia, A$668 million for follow-on investments, and NZ$75 million for New Zealand-based investments.

“The vast majority of Blackbird’s capital is in service of the underlying 4.5 million members of our seven superannuation fund investors and each of our sovereign wealth funds. Ultimately, it is the citizens of Australia and New Zealand who will enjoy the spoils of startup progress,” the firm said.

On its website, the firm said it has backed over 100 startups, more than 150 founders, and about 6,800 operators since inception.

Blackbird is a key investor in Australian design unicorn Canva. Blackbird first invested $250,000 in Canva’s very first round before there was a product. Another company that Blackbird backed, Zoox, was sold to Amazon in June 2020 for a reported $1.3 billion.

In an interview with DealStreetAsia in 2020, general partner Nick Crocker said COVID-19 did not change Blackbird’s strategy.

The firm continued to invest anywhere from A$100,000 to A$10 million primarily in global SaaS, frontier technologies, alternative protein companies, and AI-enabled healthcare.

Blackbird’s announcement comes a week after Square Peg, Australia’s largest pensions-backed VC firm, announced that it has raised $550 million for its fifth fund, which will focus on tech founders in Australia, Southeast Asia, and Israel.

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