VentureCrowd, Australia’s leading multi-asset class equity crowdfunding platform, has smashed through its fundraising goals, recently raising $2 million at a pre-money valuation of $10 million, in an oversubscribed funding round that validates both the success and potential of the platform.
And in a major step to opening up global investment opportunities, VentureCrowd has partnered with cornerstone investor Kentgrove Capital to bring the best Israeli start-up investment opportunities to Australia.
The deal will open huge opportunities to existing sophisticated investors, as well as mums and dads, who will soon be able to invest in start-ups in exchange for equity, under new federal laws.
What does this VentureCrowd-Kentgrove deal mean?
The partnership with Kentgrove Capital, a Melbourne-based fund focused on small caps, will see Australian investors get access for the first time to opportunities to fund the best start-ups in Israel, typically available only to major venture capital firms in Israel and the US.
“I am very impressed with the early traction and quality of startup deals that VentureCrowd has delivered to wholesale investors,” said David Lamm, founder and portfolio manager of Kentgrove Capital, and former portfolio manager with the Alter Family Office.
“VentureCrowd is easily the most active Australian equity crowdfunding platform. VentureCrowd’s ambition to be the leading online platform for alternative investment opportunities is compelling as alternatives are the fastest growing investment sector and yet also one of the most fragmented in terms of access and distribution.”
VentureCrowd founder Jeremy Colless said the partnership with Kentgrove Capital was the first of several international agreements to provide alternative asset deal flow for the crowd.
“Investors and issuers in China and South-East Asia have adopted online financial portals and crowdfunding platforms with great speed and interest,” he said.
“In time, we expect to see two-way dealflow, with Asian investors gaining access to Australian alternative assets via VentureCrowd as well as local investors gaining access to international opportunities.”
The crowd at VentureCrowd is growing bigger
Though initially looking to raise $1.5 million to accelerate growth, VentureCrowd closed its funding round at $2 million in two tranches after it received significant interest from wholesale investors.
The funding included $1 million sourced from a small group of cornerstone investors, and a further $1 million raised through VentureCrowd’s own equity crowdfunding platform. In total, more than 30 wholesale investors participated in the capital raise.
With the new capital injection, VentureCrowd intends to accelerate its plans to provide the crowd with access to alternative assets which have previously had high barriers of entry, including private equity and venture capital, alternative credit (venture funding and invoice financing), and real assets such as property, agriculture and commodities.
CEO Rob Nankivell said the $2 million funding would help VentureCrowd prepare the platform to expand to retail investors when the federal government passes equity crowdfunding legislation.
“We will be investing heavily in our technology platform to develop syndication-as-a-service capabilities for venture capital, credit and property deals as well as secondary market trading for alternative assets. Our ambition is to be the leading global alternative assets crowdfunding platform for investors and issuers,” he said.
“We currently have eight full-time staff and will grow to more than 20 employees within 12 months. We are actively looking for talented engineers and developers as well as designers and business development candidates who want to participate in the socialisation of finance.”
VentureCrowd has raised nearly $10 million in ten funding rounds since launch, and recently closed a $200,000 investment for local start-up Jayride from the crowd, as part of a larger $1.5 million investment in the company.
“VentureCrowd, and equity crowdfunding generally, provides a new and complementary source of capital in the Australian angel and VC industry,” said Jayride founder and CEO, Rod Bishop.
“We felt strongly that we wanted to support this new and potentially game-changing avenue of capital. The speed at which VentureCrowd was able to raise the capital, and the fact that their platform wraps the investors into a unit trust so that we have only one new shareholder, were critical motivations in our decision to raise capital from the crowd.”