Venture capital has become an increasingly important source of funding for startups in Australia.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the role of VCs in the country’s startup ecosystem, including how they provide funding, support, and guidance to early-stage companies.

What is venture capital and how does it work?

Venture capital is a type of private equity financing that is provided to early-stage companies with high growth potential. Unlike traditional bank loans, venture capital investments are made in exchange for equity in the company.

This means that the VC firm becomes a part owner of the company and shares in its success. In addition to providing funding, VCs also offer guidance and support to help startups grow and succeed.

This can include everything from strategic advice to introductions to potential customers and partners.

The state of venture capital in Australia

Venture capital has become an increasingly important source of funding for startups in Australia in recent years. According to the Australian Investment Council, VC investment in Australia reached a record high of $1.5 billion in 2020, despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

This represents a significant increase from just a few years ago when VC investment in Australia was relatively low compared to other countries like the United States and China.

Today, there are a growing number of VC firms operating in Australia, as well as a range of government initiatives aimed at supporting the growth of the startup ecosystem.

The benefits and challenges of VC funding for startups

While venture capital can provide startups with the funding they need to grow and scale their businesses, it also comes with its own set of challenges. For example, VC firms often require a significant equity stake in the company in exchange for their investment, which can dilute the ownership and control of the founders.

Additionally, VC funding can put pressure on startups to achieve rapid growth and profitability, which can be difficult to sustain in the long term.

However, for startups that are able to navigate these challenges, VC funding can provide a valuable source of support and resources to help them achieve their goals.

Successful Australian startups that have received VC funding

There are many successful Australian startups that have received VC funding, including Canva, Atlassian, and SafetyCulture. Canva, a graphic design platform, has raised over $300 million in funding from investors such as Sequoia Capital and Blackbird Ventures. Atlassian, a software company, raised $60 million in funding from Accel Partners and T. Rowe Price before going public in 2015.

SafetyCulture, a workplace safety and compliance platform, has raised over $150 million in funding from investors such as Index Ventures and Blackbird Ventures.

These companies are just a few examples of the many Australian startups that have been able to leverage VC funding to achieve success and growth.

The future of venture capital in Australia’s startup ecosystem

The future of venture capital in Australia’s startup ecosystem looks promising. According to the Australian Investment Council, VC investment in Australia has grown significantly in recent years, with over $1.5 billion invested in 2019 alone.

This growth is expected to continue, as more investors recognize the potential of Australia’s startup scene.

Additionally, the Australian government has implemented several initiatives to support startups, including tax incentives for investors and funding for early-stage companies.

With these factors in place, it’s likely that venture capital will continue to play a crucial role in the growth and success of Australia’s startup ecosystem.

VC Access to Capital for Indigenous entrepreneurs

Access to capital is the biggest challenge for Indigenous entrepreneurs and while venture capital (VC) firms continue to raise record amounts of cash for their billion-dollar funds, the median funding invested in Indigenous ventures remains $0.

More than $1.6 billion was raised by Aussie VCs in 2020 

Call to Action – Venture Capital

We’re calling on VCs to stop talking about diversity and put their money where their mouth is and commit to investing 3% of their billion-dollar funds towards Indigenous ventures.

Indigenous people have been innovating for thousands of years from being the world’s first bakers to building one of the world’s most comprehensive and oldest aquaculture systems which are older than Egypt’s pyramids. 

And despite only making up 5% of the world’s population, Indigenous people protect 80% of the world’s biodiversity – the results from supporting Indigenous Entrepreneurship goes without saying.

NameTotal Fund Size (millions)Total Number of InvestmentsTotal Amount Invested (millions)# of Indigenous InvestmentsTotal amount invested in Indigenous entrepreneursDoes this firm support Indigenous Entrepreneurship?

(Western vs Indigenous Entrepreneurship)
Ask VCs to support Indigenous Entrepreneurship (Tweet)
Blackbird Ventures$791.7148$5360$0No
Square Peg Capital $1,00082$6800$0No
Telstra Ventures $5088-0$0No
GBS Venture Partners$292.960$239.50$0No
Brandon Capital Partners $404.529$2400$0No
Carthona Capital $22065$1200$0No
Reinventure $137.348$1000$0No
Ellerston Capital -18-0$0No
M. H. Carnegie & Co. $1324-0$0No
GV (Google Ventures)$100809-0$0No
Main Sequence Ventures (CSIRO Innovation)$23228-0$0No
Grok Ventures$50015-0$0No
Skip Capital$50020-0$0No
Sequoia Capital$19,0001,442-0$0No
Techstars Ventures$179.8352$179.80$0No
NAB Ventures$10016-0$0No
Artesian VC$65.5182-0$0No


  • Data is collated directly from venture capital firms (monthly survey email + tweet), however, when they don’t bother (which is unfortunately 80% at this stage) we utilise information from Crunchbase and other sources.
    • Where needed, we calculate the approximate funds invested through (known) total amount raised minus the latest raise (VCs normally raise more money after exhausting their previous funds).
  • We’ve added a couple of global VCs but they all have one thing in common – they don’t care about First Nations people/entrepreneurship.

How you can help

Feel free to share, like and join the conversation e.g. email/tweet to VCs about supporting First Nations Entrepreneurship.

Venture Capital firms talk a big game (they have a good PR team) when it comes to diversity but let’s keep them accountable and get them to “put one’s money where one’s mouth is”.