Super funds invest in tech

Elizabeth Barry 13 September 2016

startup funding

Two leading super funds have contributed to AirTree Ventures latest $250 million capital raising.

Australia is upping its tech investment game and even superannuation funds are looking to take a bite of the pie. AirTree ventures, Australia's largest venture capital fund, has raised $250 million from investors, which included two of the country's leading superannuation funds.

While AirTree declined to say which super funds contributed, it's not the first time super funds have invested in Australia's burgeoning tech startup scene. Super funds have expressed interest in investing in H2Ocean, Australia's first listed fintech investment fund. The co-founders, Ben and Tony Heap, are also marketing its first public offering to various super funds.

The investment of larger companies and investment groups in tech startups is a good sign for the industry and on par with the government's increased regulatory support. While Venture Capital (VC) funds are common in the US, and have contributed significantly to its large tech scene, investment has been slower to take off in Australia. Speaking to the Australian Financial Review, managing director of Telstra Ventures Matthew Koertge said the tech scene has been waiting for the VC market to catch up.

"The Australian (VC) market has been anaemic for a very long time, and getting some capital into the market is incredibly overdue and incredibly important," he said.

"There is a ton of talented entrepreneurs in Australia and (people from) companies like Atlassian creating spin-outs, and I don't think there is too much money at all."

For AirTree Ventures, the $250 million of capital will be split evenly between an early stage fund, which focuses on Series A and B round investments, and an opportunity fund that will offer investments of up to $25 million to more established companies.

High-profile companies the fund has invested in include Prospa, Canva and Xplor.

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