The local funding versus overseas funding issue is not going away any time soon, but while venture capitalist Mark Carnegie is hosting a funding event aiming to find local capital for startups, Melbourne-based Snowball group is looking for startups that want access to overseas investors.
Snowball executive director John Dowell says they are taking some companies from their own investment portfolio to New York and San Francisco to meet a number of leading venture capital firms, family offices, angel investors, and high net worth individuals. They are accepting expressions of interest from other companies for a nominal fee of $2500.
The program, called Melbourne Accelerator, is open to those who are prepared to relocate to New York or San Francisco. Most importantly, though, to gain attention in the US, startups need to be ambitious in what they hope to achieve.
“The key requirement from overseas investors is that you have a ‘big audacious goal’,” Dowell says. “Australian startups tend to be on the conservative side, we’re looking for people who have a huge goal in mind – people who want to change the world – true innovators and disruptors.”
Dowell says that Australians have a strong international reputation when it comes to business intelligence and the program had come about at US investors’ requests.
“Investors are keen to hear from Australian startups, who have a great name in the US,” he says.
Dowell says despite a genuine attempt to grow Australia’s investment funds, the local market was tough. A recent report by AVCAL indicated that as few as 350 out of a possible 30,000 companies received private equity or venture capital funding from Australian investors last year.
“I really admire the push to get more Australian venture capital, but the reality is that it’s just not there yet,” Dowell says.
“This is not a slight on anyone in the local funding community, but just the current situation.”
Dowell says the benefit for them is that they’re providing opportunity for their investor group. Snowball helps candidates refine their pitch for US markets.
To be eligible, all you have to have is a startup venture with a product at beta stage that is market ready and has the potential for exceptional growth. They should be prepared to move to New York or San Francisco.
Startups wanting to apply can go here.