Tech-focused venture capital fund Tank Stream Ventures recently announced the first close of their $20 million fund and that they now have a full war chest ready to invest in hot new Australian tech start-ups – with new pathways to take them into Chinese market.
They want entrepreneurs out there to reach out to them. TSV managing partner Rui Rodrigues (pictured) says he is now scouring the country for investments, particularly early stage tech businesses that have proven traction and product-market fit.
He says they will use the new funds to explore game-changing opportunities in online and mobile technology, with a strong interest in local start-ups with ambitions to go global.
TSV is now one of the only funds in Australia to bridge the gap between Australia and China, with a cornerstone investor based in mainland China. The connection with China has boosted TSV’s already very strong tech and finance networks in China.
Rui believes Australia is full of smart, innovative entrepreneurs and that TSV has the network to take them to the world, opening up Chinese opportunities for its existing and future investments.
What is the story behind Tank Stream Ventures?
TSV was founded by BRW rich lister Markus Kahlbetzer with Airtasker’s Tim Fung and Jonathan Lui and former Renault F1 engineer Rui Rodrigues who manages the fund’s investments.
The group started TSV after recognising that, despite the trend of increased venture capital for new tech companies globally, Australia was lagging behind.
TSV is also affiliated with Tank Stream Labs – one of Sydney’s most vibrant and successful co-working spaces and entrepreneurial communities. Launched in 2012, Tank Stream Labs is now home to 30 start-ups and more than 150 tech entrepreneurs.
By co-occupying the space, TSV has exclusive access to some of the best start-ups in the Australian tech scene and a steady pipeline of venture capital investment opportunities.
It has already invested in several hot start-ups including goCatch, SchoolPlaces, BugHerd, Spring.me, PocketBook and equity crowdfunding company Equitise, one of their most recent targets.
Rui explained the decision to invest in Equitise saying, “Equitise’s biggest opportunity is the fact that they are democratising access to capital by opening to retail and wholesale investors the possibility of investing in private companies.”
“If you think about how the ASX allows retails investors to invest in publicly listed companies, Equitise is doing the same thing for private companies and this is what got us excited in the first place: this is a company that lets everyone become an angel investor,” he explained.
What exactly is Tank Stream Ventures looking for?
As far as what kind of entrepreneur TSV is looking to work with, Rui told Anthill, “Ambitious, tenacious, determined and almost obsessed about solving a specific problem.”
“We like to see a relevant background and relationship with their specific industry and ideally the teams will be composed of two to three founders with complementary technical and business skills.”
And then when it comes to the start-up itself, he says they will need to have a strong business capability, solve a large problem, and have revenue potential.
“At a macro level, we are looking for ambitious teams that are solving global problems by leveraging technology,” Rui stated. “More specifically we have a few sectors of interest in the digital space that we feel have a strong potential for growth.”
“We are interested in fintech, more specifically in blockchain businesses and what the second and third waves of these businesses will look like. We are also interested in edtech, mobile commerce, SaaS businesses and marketplaces,” he added.
“These sectors don’t come as a random choice but mostly are a result of our team’s expertise in these fields,” Rui pointed out.