Australian equity crowdfunding platform launches with 36 start-ups and 200 investors

Artesian Ventures has launched its VentureCrowd platform with over 200 registered investors and 36 start-ups.

The start-ups were sourced and pre-screened from accelerators, incubators and angel groups including Startmate in Sydney, AngelCube in Melbourne, Slingshot in Newcastle, iAccelerate in Wollongong and iLab in Brisbane.

Artesian managing partner Jeremy Colless told StartupSmart they have ambitious targets to grow beyond the initial batch but this collaborative model was fundamental to their approach.

“It’s early days and we’re very excited to be launching and to keep working in a collaborative way with the wider community,” he says.

Start-ups will be able to raise from as many of the listed investors they choose, but will only have to manage the Artesian Ventures trust rather than all the investors individually.

Investors can invest as little as $1000 per start-up. VentureCrowd is urging investors to develop a portfolio of around 15 start-ups to spread their risk and increase the likelihood of a return.

“The wholesale investor market in Australia is large with 207,000 wealthy individuals in Australia sitting on $US625 billion ($684 billion) worth of assets. Until now there have been major barriers to entry for investors in startups,” Colless says.

The federal government is midway through a review of the regulatory challenges for the uptake of crowdsourced equity.

“Regulation is about trying to find the right balance. Australia will need to balance the regulatory protection for the investors versus new businesses sourcing new capital. The dilemma is where you draw the line,” Colless says.

Colless adds it’s too early to declare crowdsourced equity a game changer, as it will need to be used alongside raising from venture capital funds and private equity investors.

“In the future we hope the equity crowdfunding would get to the level where it can close rounds but that’s an aspiration rather than an expectation at this stage,” he says.

This article first appeared on StartupSmart.

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