First investments across the line…
It’s an exciting day for the Optus-Innov8 Seed Program as we’ve just announced our first round of investments in 121cast and Venuemob. We’re very excited to be working with both teams and keen to help them progress to their next stage development.
To recap on how we got to this point, the Seed Program was launched mid-2012 and had its first Pitch Day in August, where 10 shortlisted startups pitched to a group of VCs, angel investors and the Optus-Innov8 Seed Program team at Optus Campus Sydney.
We had more than 25 potential investors at the event, and our intention was for the shortlisted startups to gain from the exposure, irrespective of our decision to make an investment in them individually. A number of the startups we shortlisted have gone on to secure funding from contacts that attended the pitch event, which is a fantastic result.
It’s taken a little longer than we planned, but we are very pleased to have now signed agreements to invest in 121cast alongside Melbourne-based venture capital firm Adventure Capital and Venuemob with a group of investors including some from leading Australian angel group Sydney Angels. There were a range of factors that influenced our decision to invest in both startups, but in summary the key factors related to the founding team, the strategic fit between their respective offerings and our ability to materially impact their growth, both in Australia and across the South East Asia Pacific region.
Now we turn our attention to spending time with both 121cast and Venuemob, as we look to support them in their growth – that support can range from opening doors through our extensive connections across the region, through to more immediate communications support such as the supply of mobile phones and connectivity.
We’re also keeping an open dialog with some of the startups shortlisted in our first round and will continue to help them where we can.
It’s still early stages of the program and we continue to learn and refine our approach – we’re looking forward to the next round, with applications for the Seed Program opening in January 2013, so watch this space.