Atlassian launches $70 million venture fund to foster “a robust ecosystem” for cloud-based startups

Atlassian_rich list

Atlassian co-founders Scott Farquhar and Mike Cannon-Brookes. Source: supplied.

Aussie tech stalwart Atlassian will pump $70 million back into the startup ecosystem through its new Atlassian Ventures fund.

The fund is set to fuel partnerships with complementary startups, and to provide investment to up-and-coming startups, too.

In a blog post announcing Atlassian Ventures, head of corporate development Chris Hecht said the fund is focused on “strengthening our ecosystem”.

The cash is pegged for investment into early-stage startups that are building apps for any of Atlassian’s cloud products.

“We are focused on ensuring these teams have an opportunity to access funding, and hope to include both existing developers and those that are brand new to the Atlassian ecosystem in this category,” Hecht said.

In fact, two startups have already scored funding under this arm of the program: Hipporello, a helpdesk tool for Trello, and Atlassian marketplace app Meetical.

The fund is also geared towards investment in members of the Atlassian Partner Program, which sees the tech giant working with other businesses around the world to augment their cloud products into Atlassian’s operations, or to help them create new products.

And finally, Atlassian will also be investing in larger partners. For example, it’s invested in the likes of Zoom, Slack and InVision in the past. These investments will likely be made in partnership with more traditional venture capital firms, Hecht said in the blog post.

As COVID-19 has driven a move to remote work, and an uptick in use of cloud-based technology, the program is focused on “fostering a robust ecosystem of cloud-based apps” to improve user experience, Hecht wrote.

Some 4,200 apps are already available in the Atlassian marketplace, he added.

“But this is no time to rest on our laurels.”

Advancing the ecosystem

The new fund marks an intersection of two trends in the Aussie startup scene.

First, even during the COVID-19 economic crisis, we’re seeing more funding become available for startups.

Earlier this week, investment fund manager Impact Investment Group announced it was launching its latest $70 million fund, part of which will be directed to social impact startups.

This week we also saw the unveiling of brand new VC firm Galileo, co-founded by millennials James Alexander and Sked Social founder Hugh Stephens.

Elsewhere, OneVentures recently raised an $80 million fund and Tidal bagged $30 million to invest in seed-stage startups.

Paul Bassat’s Square Peg has recently raised $350 million, and VC firm Blackbird raised a massive $500 million.

Speaking to SmartCompany last month, Blackbird co-founder Niki Scevak called this “a strange Jekyll and Hyde economic environment”.

Amid the health crisis, there are opportunities in some areas of technology, and the mass move to remote work means cloud technology is one of those areas.

“There was no choice to be a laggard. You had to adopt this new online environment,” Scevak said.

At the same time, the Atlassian Ventures fund is just another way in which big startup success stories can boost the innovation ecosystem in Australia.

Already, we’ve seen several former Atlassian employees break away to launch their own startups.

And, earlier this month Atlassian alumni Ben Mackie joined fast-growing startup Qwilr as its new head of engineering.

“There’s a lot that’s said about increasing the knowledge economy for Australia and really building that as a muscle for our country,” Mackie told SmartCompany at the time.

NOW READ: Aussie VC firms are racking up millions, and it’s social impact startups that could reap the rewards

NOW READ: Blackbird has $500 million to invest in the “most ambitious and the most courageous” Aussie startup founders


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