VC Catalyst started here - LaunchVic

VC Catalyst started here

Case Studies

30 Mar 2023 by Holly Clark

The ripple effect: VC Catalyst is supporting investors to start up

Nick Kaye, VC Catalyst

While the next generation of Victorian founders are tinkering away at their ideas, investor education program VC Catalyst is ensuring there are the investors to back them.

Delivered by the Wade Institute of Entrepreneurship at the University of Melbourne, the Australia-first course provides venture investors with the knowledge, skills, and confidence to back the next Tixel or Mr Yum.

Wade Institute Director Nick Kaye said that while Victoria has no shortage of ideas and innovation, a shortfall in early-stage investment prevents founders from accessing the capital they need to grow.

“Early-stage investment is a key element holding back development in many major startup ecosystems,” he said.

“A lack of access to capital is the highest cited reason for early-stage startup failure.”

VC Catalyst addresses the capital gap by encouraging sophisticated investors to look to early-stage startups as the next big asset class. Its success is evident in the cool $59.2 million alumni have tipped into Victorian startups since 2019.

Prominent alumni include Adore Beauty and Glow Capital Partners Co-Founder Kate Morris, who recently invested in Victorian breast pump startup Milkdrop and was an early backer of alternative funding provider Tractor Ventures, founded by fellow VC Catalyst graduates Aprill Allen and Jodie Imam.

Giving back

Morris is one of a growing number of Victorian founders giving back to the ecosystem through early-stage investments, including Paul Bassat, a co-founder of SEEK who now leads venture capital firm Square Peg, Aconex co-founder Leigh Jasper who heads Second Quarter Ventures and Up Bank founder Dominic Pym who recently entered the space with family office Euphemia.

Kaye said investor education would be crucial to ensuring more successful founders can ‘pay it forward’ to the ecosystem in future.

“The investment landscape can be a bit of a black box, and this is where the opportunity for high-quality education exists,” he said.

“VC Catalyst equips new to early-stage investors with the skills, strategies and networks to build high-yield diversified portfolios and new connections to generate future deal flow.”

The ripple effect

Apart from the obvious benefit of increasing the pool of available capital for early-stage startups, when investors are more educated about the world of founders, it creates greater dialogue and increased opportunities for collaboration and mentorship.

And, with smart capital, Kaye says Founders can be supported beyond an injection of funds, increasing the returns for the entire startup ecosystem.

“Deploying venture-backed cash to technologies can boost productivity and dramatically increase Australia and Victoria’s competitive capabilities. It positions the state to be able to export high-value products and services to the world – rather than buying and importing them,’ he said.

“In doing so, this can have a ripple effect leading to investment into other industries, all underpinned by technology, and therefore create more job opportunities.”

Learn more about Victoria’s investment landscape here.

VC Catalyst is a featured ecosystem leader in LaunchVic’s Startups Start Here campaign.