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New program backs early-stage startups in Victoria

LaunchVic, the startup development agency backed by the Victorian state government, has introduced a new grant program to bolster expert angel investment networks supporting early-stage startups.

These grants, totaling up to $300,000, aim to facilitate the establishment of angel groups focusing on specific industry verticals or technological innovations within the pre-seed and seed investment domain.

LaunchVic CEO Dr Kate Cornick said the new grant round would work to inject more capital into the market when early-stage funding in Victoria remained low.

“We’re inviting individuals with deep subject matter expertise to formalise their networks and invest,” Dr Cornick said.

“Having specialist angel networks will help to connect quality founders with capital. It will  provide the deep sectoral advice and access to specialised networks – essential in the growth stages for startups.”

Since its inception, LaunchVic has supported the formation of nine angel networks, leading to the introduction of 587 new angel investors and channeling a total of $25.9 million into local startups. Among these networks are Ecotone Ventures, Flying Fox Ventures, and Archangel.

Archangel, a recipient of LaunchVic’s 2020 grant, initially aimed to transition into an early-stage venture capital fund. Today, with 150 investors and over $20 million in deployable funds, it stands as a testament to the success of LaunchVic’s support.

Archangel Founder Ben Armstrong said being a part of an angel network provided a supportive environment for investors new to angel investing to get comfortable with the terminology, understand potential risks and rewards and learn from experts while making their first bets.

“I think it would be fair to say we would never be where we are today if we hadn’t taken the leap to apply for funding from LaunchVic,” he added.

“The funding was a big benefit of course and helped us cover all our formation costs and most of our operational costs. Another benefit was forcing us to be more thoughtful about how we’d go about building the business and hitting milestones.”

Applications for the grants are open to local, national and international investors looking to establish and invest in Victoria.

More on the angel grants program at launchvic.org/grants/

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Yajush Gupta

Yajush Gupta

Yajush is a journalist at Dynamic Business. He previously worked with Reuters as a business correspondent and holds a postgrad degree in print journalism.

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