Australian start-up incubator Pollenizer has raised $500,000 for a new seed fund it will use to invest in early-stage technology start-ups.
Pollenizer co-founder Mick Liubinskas says he hopes to invest all the money into 10 start-ups by June next year, with investments between $10,000 and $100,000.
Pollenizer operates by joining each start-up as a co-founder, working directly on developing and building the business. It has already built up 16 online businesses including mogeneration, Posse and 99dresses.
Fellow co-founder Phil Morle says Pollenizer will only invest in early-stage ideas with strong commercial growth potential.
“We’re looking for businesses at a very early stage that can be validated quickly. We prefer transactional business models rather than advertising-based [models]. We’ve learnt through solid experience that these are the companies with the best chance of success,” Morle says.
Liubinskas says the fund comes at a time when the Australian technology sector is experiencing unprecedented growth and investment.
“There’s so much uncertainty in other sectors that investing in growth in private companies is very strong. We see the fund as another vote of confidence by the market in the Australian technology sector,” he says.
“We typically target things that people will pay for. We try to get the first version of a product live and to customers within the first four weeks,” he says.
“We have a lot of failures but we celebrate that. We test a product as quickly and as cheaply as we can. If it’s a success and the business requires more capital, we put in larger amounts.”
“Until the business succeeds or fails, we are in it together. Our level of operational interaction will change… but we do whatever it takes to make it a success.”
Liubinskas’s top tips for start-ups looking to attract interest from Pollenizer:
- There are a lot of balances you need to strike. You have to have a big enough vision to be excited enough to get started, but focused on your objective.
- You need a lot of resilience. There’s a lot of failure on the road to success.
- A new start-up is hard. It’s 10 times harder if you don’t have experience in the area you’re entering. If you’ve worked offline for 10 years and now want to work online, fantastic. But don’t expect to be an overnight success.