QUT Creative Enterprise Australia (CEA) recently revealed its initiative to invest $500,000 in five to six seed-stage creative start-ups from around Australia.
The CEA Startup Fund – established by QUT Creative Enterprise Australia in 2013 – is the first and only dedicated investment fund specialising in accelerating the growth of companies in the creative industries. The fund, which offers between $25,000 for pre-seed stage and $150,000 for early-stage businesses, is available for commercial investment in high-growth, scalable businesses in Australia.
Since launching in 2013, the CEA Startup Fund has invested in a number of successful startups including Fame & Partners, TrademarkVision, Metaverse Makeovers, Handkrafted, Like A Photon Creative and GiggedIn.
They have a recent success story
An early recipient of CEA capital, online custom dressmaker Fame & Partners has made significant inroads into the US market and announced this week that they closed a $US7.6 million Series A round.
CEO of QUT Creative Enterprise Australia, Anna Rooke, said the success of Fame & Partners is a great indication of the potential for Australia’s homegrown creative ventures, with Australia’s creative industries valued at more than AU$35 billion.
“This fund was established to nurture creative tech here in Australia. There are so many opportunities for tech-based startups in the sector, but so little for creative tech,” Ms Rooke said. “The existence of such a fund speaks to the importance and positive reception of creative tech and its relevance for the future of innovation. The huge success and interest generated through Fame & Partners’ Series A round is testament to this.
“The QUT CEA fund will give startups from across Australia, not just Queensland, the ability to gain investment previously challenging or not available to creative tech entrepreneurs,” added Ms Rooke.
What CEA funding can do for your start-up
Commenting on the CEA Startup Fund, Fame & Partners founder & CEO, Nyree Corby, said: “QUT Creative Enterprise Australia invested in Fame & Partners at a pivotal time in the business when investor confidence in our hybrid technology and fashion business model was absolutely key to securing future funding.
“CEA’s backing added weight to our story. Their belief and support of our business model provided unparalleled confidence amongst the Australian investment community because of CEA’s unique understanding of both creative businesses and technology. Australia is a rich ground for entrepreneurial talent in this area and there are limited options for early stage funding in the category. CEA fills a unique gap where there is substantial business opportunity and deal flow opportunity to leverage,” added Ms Corby.
CEA Startup Fund Investment Manager, Colin Kinner, said: “We’ve seen a lot of interesting opportunities and made six investments to date. We’re keen to ramp up our investment activity and are actively looking for great companies in the intersection of technology and creative industries – which includes music, fashion, design and games.
“The companies in our investment sweet spot have founders with deep domain expertise. They’re tackling global markets and have unique insights about how to disrupt industries that are dominated by slow-moving, established companies,” added Mr Kinner.
CEA offers access to business mentoring programs, special events, research expertise and capital to foster the growth of the creative industries in Australia. Since 2008, it has helped with the establishing of over 50 start-ups, raising over $60 million in capital.