Seek co-founder Paul Bassat sets up new private equity venture

Seek co-founder Paul Bassat has flagged his intention to do private equity deals in the media and technology sectors, having already set up an early stage investment fund earlier this year.


Bassat, who is best known for co-founding job search website Seek, has ramped up his presence in the Australian start-up scene after resigning from the company in 2010.


He is the principal of Avalon Place, an active investor in early stage and growth companies, which has joined forces with Jagen; the family business of Bori and Justin Liberman.


Together they form Square Peg Ventures, an early stage investment fund, which typically invests no more than $250,000 in pre-profit and pre-revenue ventures.


Square Peg has invested in the likes of BiNu – also backed by Google’s executive chairman Eric Schmidt – and ScriptRock, which counts PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel as a co-investor.


Now it’s been reported Bassat is looking to do private equity deals alongside longtime friend Tony Holt, a former senior managing director of Macquarie Group.


While this new venture is yet to be named, Bassat told The Australian he and Holt will “look for opportunities with a technology, internet and media flavour”.


“The businesses will be generating a profit, so we want to put our own capital in, work with the teams and help them grow their businesses,” he said.


“We’re not going to raise a fund but we’ll syndicate deals to people in our networks, which will give us a lot more flexibility to do larger deals.”


Last week, Bassat was named one of several high profile entrepreneurs who will attend technology showcase Tech23 next month.


After starting his career as a lawyer, and working on a range of corporate transactions, Bassat co-founded Seek in 1997. He served as chief executive from 1997 to 2006 and as joint chief executive from 2006 to 2011.


Bassat transformed Seek from a start-up into one of Australia’s top 100 companies, with a market capitalisation of $2.5 billion.


Bassat is also a board member of the Faculty of Business and Economics at the University of Melbourne, and a member of the Melbourne Leadership Council of Social Ventures Australia.


In 2009, he was appointed as a young global leader of the World Economic Forum. He is also a director of the P&S Bassat Foundation.


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