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The Hugh Victor McKay Fund is a new sidecar fund for Victorian AgTech startups run by LaunchVic with funding from Agriculture Victoria.
The fund will co-invest between $100,000-$200,000 into at least five early-stage AgTech startups over the next 12 months.
With every dollar of funding to be matched by two dollars of private investment, this will activate more than $3 million in total capital for founders building the future of on-farm productivity and sustainability.
The fund is named after pioneering Victorian inventor Hugh Victor McKay, who patented the original combine harvester in the 1880s – widely credited as one of the most important agricultural innovations in recent history.
Applications for co-investment are open to local and international investors with promising AgTech startups in their pipeline.
Our Investment Committee meets bi-monthly to assess applications. The next cut off dates are 19/9, 21/11, 23/1, 19/3, 21/05.
Prior to applying, please ensure you have reviewed the application guidelines below to fastrack your submission. You can also jump to our FAQs here.
Founding Chairman, Scale Investors
Susan Oliver AM (Chair)
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CEO & Co-Founder, shilo.people | CEO & Founder, pivotnow
– Ms Ilona Charles is an experienced executive with an extensive career in human resources, transformation and change across a range of industries.
Ilona has held executive roles with the CSIRO, Aconex, Telstra, Medibank and NAB and is currently the CEO and co-founder of ShiloPeople (shilo.), providing world-class on-demand HR talent and consulting solutions across Australia.
She also founded pivotnow, providing strategic people advice to Founders, CEO’s and Boards of organisations going through significant transition or scaling up.
– Chair of the People Sub-Committee
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ADVISOR, INVESTOR AND DIRECTOR, AULTMORE PTY LTD
Co-Founder, Tenacious Ventures and Partner, AgThentic
Co-Founder, Tenacious Ventures and Partner, AgThentic
AgTech is the collection of technologies that provide the agricultural industry with the tools, data and knowledge to make more informed, timely on-farm decisions and improve productivity and sustainability. Applications of these technologies can include: plant or animal science, crop protection & input management, precision agriculture, indoor agriculture, sensors & smart farm equipment, imagery, animal technologies, processing & packaging, supply chain and hardware.
*FoodTech (food production) is generally not included in this definition, unless the business idea is technology based with high impact potential, using innovation and/or addressing scalable markets
LaunchVic defines startups as young technology-based businesses that use innovation to scale rapidly and capture global markets. Examples of technology include: software / app, artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, advanced manufacturing & robotics, Internet of Things (IoT), big data analytics, augmented / virtual reality, 3D printing, advanced materials, genomics & life sciences (including BioTech & MedTech) and autonomous vehicles.
LaunchVic defines Victorian-based as the startup must have at least 50% of its assets and employees located in Victoria and the business must be registered in Victoria. The founder(s) that meet the criteria for “agtech” are persons that have a primary residence in Victoria.
Only investors can apply to the Fund on behalf of the startup they are investing in. It does not need to be the lead investor who applies to the Fund, however, the application form does require investors to detail their experience investing in early-stage startups. The fund is open to local and international Angel Networks, Early-Stage VCs and individual investors who must meet the criteria of a sophisticated investor or hold a valid AFSL license, and operate independently from the startup.
The following applicants are ineligible to apply:
Applications from funds utilising only public funding. The Hugh Victor McKay Fund may co-invest in rounds that include funding from public funds but the application must be made by a private sector investor and the Hugh Victor McKay Fund will only leverage investment provided by private investors.
The Hugh Victor McKay Fund will not co-invest on the following:
The Hugh Victor McKay Fund may still participate in rounds that include funding from related parties, public funds or grants, but the application must be made by a private sector investor and Hugh Victor McKay Fund will only co-invest on the investments provided by private investors.
Related Parties include spouse, child, parent, grandparent, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece, lineal descendent or adopted child. If a relationship exists where services are provided in lieu of equity this is also considered to be a related party. Any funding provided by a public fund or grant also must be declared. The Hugh Victor McKay Fund will not co-invest on the funding provided by related parties or by public funds or grants.
The Hugh Victor McKay Fund will co-invest with private investors in priced rounds or via a SAFE Note or Convertible Note
Funding that founders put into the business is not considered by the Investment Committee. The Hugh Victor McKay Fund will also not co-invest with related party investors. This means, the Fund will not co-invest with any spouse, child, parent, grandparent, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece, lineal descendent or adopted child (or spouse of the aforementioned) of the founders. If the investment round includes co-investment from both related and non related investors, the Hugh Victor McKay Fund will only co-invest on the amount raised from the non-related investors.
No. Applicants need to decide whether to apply for funding from the Hugh Victor McKay Fund or the Alice Anderson Fund, as funding from both entities is not possible in the same investment round.
The Hugh Victor McKay Fund will deem ESOP to be on a fully diluted basis (as if the ESOP is diluted at the time of the application).
Investors apply on a founder’s behalf for this opportunity, so we recommend engaging with an angel group or VC Fund to access the fund. LaunchVic has funded the establishment of a number of angel groups in Victoria, which you can find at launchvic.org. You can find a full list of investors over at dealroom.launchvic.org.
No. Applications must be for a current investment opportunity. We won’t take into consideration amounts that have already been raised and banked with the startup.
Yes. If you have previously applied and are submitting an application for a new Investee Company from the same Investing Entity please email email@example.com to let us know and we will send you a shorter application form, for Investee Company and Deal Information only.
Due diligence must be provided in the form of a deal memo outlining the investor’s due diligence findings in relation to the Startup. At a minimum the deal memo must include the following: An assessment of the market opportunity, an overview of the traction the startup has had so far, the reasons for investing, an overview of the competitive landscape, use of funds (and runway the funds will provide), key risks and opportunities that have been identified. As the Hugh Victor McKay Fund operates as a side car structure, the Investment Committee are relying on leveraging thorough due diligence process of private investors to inform their investment decision. If you are not the lead investor and you are relying on the due diligence conducted by the lead investor, please upload the deal memo outlining findings of the due diligence conducted by the lead investor. The Investment Committee will not be able to make a decision on any application without a thorough deal memo being provided.
The investment round does not need to have been completely finalised before an application is submitted. The application form asks for the minimum and maximum round size to be provided. In order for eligible applications to be approved, startups need to have raised the minimum required for the Hugh Victor McKay Fund investment ($200k) and an indication must be provided of what has been raised to date. The terms of the investment must be included in the application. If an application is successful, at a minimum, the Hugh Victor McKay Fund will co-invest at a 2:1 ratio on the amount raised at the point of application. The final investment amount is at the discretion of the IC. Typically, investments need to be finalised within three – six months from the date of application.
The Investment Committee meets monthly to assess applications. The meetings are scheduled for:
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis with applications required to be submitted by the following dates to be reviewed at the following month’s Investment Committee meeting:
Once the Investment Committee meeting is complete, LaunchVic will contact you with an outcome within 48 hours. If you have any questions about this timeframe, please reach out to our team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Once the investment is approved by the Investment Committee, LaunchVic will need to see evidence of all investment documentation and co-investment amounts from all investors in the round prior to finalising the investment. LaunchVic will also require a grant agreement be signed for the non-dilutive grant component of the investment.