Early-stage B2B-focused software startups will now be able to seek investment from Sydney-based venture capital firm Tempus Partners, which is looking to invest in globally scaleable startups with a new $40 million fund.
The early stage venture capital limited partnership (ESVCLP) fund will focus on startups undertaking Series A or seed funding rounds, and is Tempus Partners’ second fund since the venture capital firm was founded in 2013.
Its first fund, launched in 2015, contributed to a $1.6 million Uptick raise and invested in sports media startup Forever Network, bill analysing platform ExpenseCheck, feature management startup Feature Flow and the “Rotten Tomatoes for financial planners”, AdviserRatings.
Tempus Partners, which was founded by entrepreneur-turned-investor Alister Coleman, has also previously contributed to a $15 million funding round in freelancing marketplace Freelancer and a $1.5 million funding round for mobile payments app Clipp.
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Coleman also co-founded Software-as-a-Service startup ShippingEasy, which was later sold to Stamps.com for $80 million in 2016, and says his past experience as an entrepreneur has helped him become a more empathetic investor.
“Any investor who has been a founder has a lot of empathy for the journey, and is able to identify the founders and founding teams that are going to crawl over gravel for years in order to succeed,” he tells StartupSmart.
Coleman is not the only startup founder now on the Tempus Partners investment team: Conrad Yiu, who co-founded former Smart50 finalists Temple & Webster and Fluent Retail, as well as logistics startup Parcel Point, is also part of the team.
Andrew Larsen, an investor in HealthEngine, which recently raised $26 million from Sequoia India, and Connie Lee, a former Macquarie Capital investment associate, join Yiu and Coleman.
Coleman says the fund will be used to continue Tempus Partners’ involvement and support for Australia’s startup ecosystem by “invest[ing] in Australia’s brightest tech talent and most promising B2B [business-to-business] and globally scalable software companies.”
Coleman says that these types of startups have over the last eight years created $14 billion of shareholder value, yet are often overlooked by many people outside the startup sector.
“Australia is building a terrific track record launching and growing companies that cater to enterprise and SME customers,” Coleman says, adding that Tempus Partners hopes to support these startups by “investing in the next wave of talent”.
Investing in early stage ventures is something Coleman believes VC firms need to do more of, observing that “there are a lot of firms that have launched funds, but there are still not enough funds that are closed and investing [in startups]”.
Despite record-high levels of venture capital investment in Australian startups, a recent report from the Australian Private Equity and Venture Capital Association noted that Australia is still struggling to keep pace with world standards. Coleman believes that directing more VC funding towards early-stage Australian startups is a crucial way for the startup ecosystem to grow.
“As the capital flows into the sector, more companies will be founded, and ultimately we are investing in that growth.” he says.