Pollenizer set to roll out $1.2 million start-up fund

Start-up incubator Pollenizer is close to sealing a new $1.2 million investment round that it will use to back ventures which can quickly get their ideas off the ground.


The Sydney-based business, which focuses on the tech and web sector, says that it is “about 70%” of the way to its target after receiving funds from a number of existing investors.


Pollenizer’s latest funding effort follows the incubator’s raising of $500,000 for Pollenizer Ventures, a scheme that will only invest in early stage businesses.


The seed fund, which will make investments of between $10,000 and $100,000 for each start-up, was backed by a number of Australia’s leading tech entrepreneurs, including Atlassian founders Scott Farquhar and Mike Cannon-Brookes, serial entrepreneur Domenic Carosa and former NineMSN CEO Tony Faure.


Faure, who is chairman at Pollenizer, has also pitched into this latest funding round, along with several other investors who backed the seed fund.


The $1.2 million fund will provide $60,000 to start-ups, matched by the same amount from the fledgling businesses.


Pollenizer provides funding to entrepreneurs under a “co-founder” arrangement where it works closely with businesses to make them sustainable.


Several Pollenizer graduates have gone on to receive funding from other sources, most notably Spreets, which was purchased by Yahoo!7 for a reported $40 million, and Dealised, which raised $5 million.


Mick Liubinskas, co-founder of Pollenizer, tells StartupSmart the money will give the incubator “another 12 months runway” to back promising ventures.


“The goal is to start another 20 businesses with the money,” he says. “It will be a little easier due to the Dealised and Spreets successes but it is still a very tough market out there.


“Tony Faure as chairman has been working in the trenches to help the process. We have had contact with some serious angel investors who want to put in $50,000 to $100,000.


“We want investors who are passionate about being co-founders. They should have knowledge of the industry and not just be concerned about a financial return.”


Liubinskas says Pollenizer will look at a range of businesses to invest in, citing Wooboard and Unrenovated.com as good examples of “big opportunity in a huge market” and “very strong within a niche” types of ventures.


“We want to balance high and low risk investments,” he says. “We don’t have a mandate of a VC. It’s about having a balanced portfolio that scores home runs while giving a regular return to investors.


“We look mainly to consumer-facing businesses and B2B businesses that don’t have long sales cycles. We want businesses that have the ability to launch quickly.


“If you take nine or even three months to build your product that is too long. We want them launched within four to six weeks and then start learning from it.”


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