Tuesday, 15 December 2015 16:54

VentureCrowd opening doors to investment in Israeli startups


Equity funding crowd platform VentureCrowd says Australian investors will get access for the first time to opportunities to fund the best startups in Israel through a new partnership forged with cornerstone investor Kentgrove Capital.

Venture Crowd today announced the partnership following the raising of $2 million at a pre-money valuation of $10 million, in an oversubscribed funding round that the company says “validates the success and potential’ of its platform.

VentureCrowd says the partnership with Kentgrove Capital allows it to bring the best Israeli startup investment opportunities to Australia – opportunities “typically available only to major venture capital firms in Israel and the United States”.

VentureCrowd founder Jeremy Colless said that, 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.

VentureCrowd has raised nearly $10 million in 10 funding rounds since launch, and recently closed a $200,000 investment for local startup Jayride from the crowd, as part of a larger $1.5 million investment in the company.

Colless said that 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.

“Investors and issuers in China and South-East Asia have adopted online financial portals and crowdfunding platforms with great speed and interest.

“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.”

David Lamm, founder and portfolio manager of Kentgrove Capital, and former portfolio manager with the Alter Family Office said he was “very impressed with the early traction and quality of startup deals that VentureCrowd has delivered to wholesale investors.”

“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 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.

“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. Our ambition is to be the leading global alternative assets crowdfunding platform for investors and issuers.”

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired in 2020. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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