Linktree founders back creative startups with new venture fund

Side Stage Ventures linktree

From left to right: Emily Casey, Jaddan Comerford, Anthony Zaccaria, founders of Side Stage Ventures. Source: supplied.

The founders of Aussie tech unicorn Linktree want to grow the field of local creative startups through a new fund that will funnel $10 million in investments by the end of 2022.

The new investment syndicate, Side Stage Ventures, bills itself as a collective of founders, operators and creatives backing entrepreneurs building companies “at the intersection of technology and creativity”.

The fund will back entrepreneurs in the earliest stages of building companies.

Side Stage Ventures says that while global venture capital funding has skyrocketed, particularly for fintechs and crypto companies, the group saw a gap for companies innovating with technology in creative industries.

“Our background in the creative arts means we are used to putting talent in the spotlight,” Linktree co-founder Anthony Zaccaria said in a statement.

The fund will champion early-stage founders disrupting creative industries by either investing directly or guiding them through seed VC funding.

The group officially launched in 2022 and comprises Linktree co-founders Alex and Anthony Zaccaria, along with founder of UNIFIED Music, Jaddan Comerford and Matt Allen of Tractor Ventures.

Other notable entrepreneurial heavyweights include ex-chief financial officer of Aesop and current chief operations officer at housing company Nine Buildings Kieran Rivett; and Ben Grabiner, co-founder of Platoon, a music platform recently acquired by Apple.

London startup Platoon produces and sells musicians’ work on a platform that also uses analytics to source talent and market content.

Anthony Zaccaria said the goal of the project was to create a community of founders championing other founders.

It aims to share advice or make a connection to “go beyond a single cheque, and help build great companies”, Zaccaria said.

“We are all running our own companies right now and understand the highs and lows of growing and scaling global, multi-million-dollar companies,” he said.

“This gives us a unique ability to support founders.”

Records broken

Side Stage Ventures officially launched in 2022 and has already quietly invested in zero alcohol beer startup Heaps Normal, restaurant QR code company Mr Yum, along with Delegate Connect, Qsic and Alternative Assets Club.

The announcement of the new investment group comes at the end of what was a bumper first quarter for Australian startups, which broke the record in the first quarter of 2022 for the most capital raised in a quarter.

March was the seventh-largest funding month ever, according to Cut Through Venture, with the total funding in the first three months of 2022 in line with the entire first half of 2021.

Outlier-sized announcements from Immutable, Linktree and Zeller meant that the top 20% of deals accounted for 85% of total funding volume, and a total of 3.6 billion flew out the door.

Launched just over five years ago, Linktree’s meteoric growth has followed the growth of the creator and gig economies in recent years, as creators and entrepreneurs explored new ways to found their businesses through social media.

The company pioneered the ‘link-in-bio’ model that allows social media users to link out to multiple social accounts and platforms through a single platform.

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