The co-director of the Founder Institute in Sydney has partnered with two other serial entrepreneurs to launch the Sydney Seed Fund, offering tech start-ups up to $100,000 each.
Benjamin Chong, who heads up the Sydney branch of the Founder Institute, is also a partner at investment firm Right Click Capital and a director at global online travel agency Jetabroad.
He has partnered with Ari Klinger and Garry Visontay to launch the Sydney Seed Fund, an early stage investment fund aimed at “Sydney’s most passionate tech founders”.
The fund aims to invest between $50,000 and $100,000 in 20 start-ups. In addition to funding, start-ups will receive access to next-round funders in Australia and overseas.
They will also receive access to customers, service partners, strategic advisers and experienced mentors.
To be eligible, start-ups should be pre-revenue and no older than 18 months, be internet-based or internet-related, demonstrate the potential for global scalability and have a clear exit strategy.
“They don’t need to have launched or tested the market but they do need to have some sort of prototype,” Chong told StartupSmart.
“What we will be doing is subscribing for shares in the business – we’ll be an investor and equity holder in the business.
“We want to link the founder with our partners, our advisors, our investors, etc, and also link them with other sources of investment – the angels, angel groups, [etc].”
Chong says the Sydney Seed Fund will only make early stage investments.
“Really how this came about is in my day job I’m a partner at Right Click Capital, and Right Click Capital tends to do later stage investments – Series A-type stuff,” he says.
“As someone who is really passionate about the whole start-up scene, having been involved in the Founder Institute, [I saw an opportunity].
“I got to know Gary through Sydney Angels. What we’ve seen is an opportunity to provide start-up [funding] or seed capital, if you like, to early stage businesses.
“We make decisions in weeks, not months, so we can really help supercharge the progress, if you like, of these start-ups.”
According to Chong, the fund will aim to form close relationships with its portfolio companies.
“Companies we invest in will become part of our ecosystem and we want to leverage the relationships that the partners have,” he says.
“We’re trying to encourage and promote this sharing of [ideas].
“As part of that, we will be holding, for instance, a monthly dinner where we get founders together… so we break bread, share stories but so we can also encourage each other to make things happen to get to the next stage.
“As part of these dinners – not every dinner – we will be inviting some of our investors or advisors we have, or prominent people from overseas.”
Chong says the fund will focus on start-ups located on the eastern seaboard.
“The reason is if we want to have dinners and times where we gather people together, if you’re from Perth it’s going to be much harder,” he says.