Image Credit: Airtree blog
February 1, 2022
AirTree Ventures has announced the launch of three new investment vehicles after securing $700 million in fresh capital, offering a major boost to Australia’s startup ecosystem.
The funds will be divided among three investment vehicles, focusing on a specific type of startup investment. AirTree Growth will receive the largest portion of the $450 million, which will be used to fund expansion in existing portfolio companies.
It has also set aside $200 million for AirTree Seed, which will partner with founders in their initial funding rounds from the start. Meanwhile, $50 million has been set aside for the first Web3-specific fund, which will target crypto-related businesses.
AirTree Seed is Australia and New Zealand’s largest pool of capital dedicated to early-stage founders. AirTree stated that it is just as comfortable writing a $100-$250K check alongside others as leading a seed round of $1-5 million.
AirTree partner James Cameron explained what AirTree Seed means to those who matter the most – founders at the beginning of their journey.
“We aim to take the true seed-stage risk, which requires believing in founders long before they have any external validation from customers, other investors or even team members,” James said.
“The majority of our investments made last year were into companies before they made a single dollar of revenue – and in many cases before even hiring their first team members.”
Read more about the fund here.
AirTree also announced the creation of AirTree Web3, a $50 million fund to assist project and company builders in developing the next generation of crypto companies and protocols.
According to John Henderson, General Partner at AirTree Ventures, cryptocurrency is finally gaining real-world acceptance.
“Until early 2020, we didn’t feel that crypto was investible for an institutional fund like ours. We experimented personally – snagged a few whitelists. But with our fund hats on, our view was that crypto was still in the installation phase; the infrastructure was still being built out, with real usage yet to come,” John said.
“We didn’t invest in Bitcoin in the early days because we were interested in technology platforms rather than stores of wealth. We didn’t invest in the Ethereum ecosystem earlier because we were worried about ICO mania’s regulatory and reputational consequences.
“It wasn’t until DeFi Summer (May-Oct 2020) that we truly grokked the fact that crypto had transitioned into “real world” use cases and adoption.
“We’re interested in Web3 because taking the internet back to its decentralised roots is a very disruptive idea. Web3 is all about open, permissionless innovation.
“It runs on the currency of tokens – digitally native assets which confer property rights – giving builders and users the ability to “own” a piece of the new internet.”
Read more about the fund here.
Australia’s fast-growing technology start-up sector is set to expand further in 2022. With a yearly contribution of $167 billion, the technology sector employs over 861,000 people and is the third-largest contributor to the Australian economy after mining and finance.
Craig Blair co-founded AirTree in 2014 with Daniel Petre, and the firm now has three other partners: John Henderson, James Cameron, and Helen Norton. With the new funding, AirTree will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of alumni Canva, A Cloud Guru, Linktree and Employment Hero.
The fundraise follows on the heels of AirTree’s successful 2021, which saw the firm invest and partner with startups like Mr Yum and MILKRUN.
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Yajush is a journalist at Dynamic Business. He previously worked with Reuters as a business correspondent and holds a postgrad degree in print journalism.
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