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New Victorian fund offers $10m for female-led startups

LaunchVic’s Alice Anderson Fund has backed its first five female entrepreneurs, co-investing $10 million in early-stage capital. The companies chosen tackle ideas that range from recycled clothing to children’s toys and fitness.

Alice Anderson Fund

The Fund, named in honour of the founder of Australia’s first all-woman motor garage and repair workshop, is helping Victorian women with an entrepreneurial spirit to access funding. 

The Alice Anderson Fund co-invests between $50,000 and $300,000 – on a ratio of 1:3 with private investors – in early-stage deals to increase the funding pool available to Victorian women looking to grow their business.

The Alice Anderson Fund will run over three years as a sidecar investment fund committing substantial funding to between 40 and 60 startups led by women.

The first five portfolio ventures are:

  • Milkdrop: an ultra-soft breast cushion set to change the pumping experience forever 
  • TalkiPlay: bringing kids toys to life through talking and singing games to reinforce speech and language 
  • Team Timbuktu: a sustainable outdoor clothing brand using recycled fabrics 
  • Steppen: a social fitness network for Generation Z backed by Afterpay Co-Founder Anthony Eisen
  • mtime: matching parents with vetted and trained ‘Moncierges’ for errands, chores, cleaning and babysitting

The Fund’s inaugural round delivered $727,167 indirect investments, along with more than $2.3 million in co-contributions from private investors to businesses established by female entrepreneurs.

LaunchVic CEO Dr Kate Cornick said, “The Alice Anderson Fund’s inaugural investments showcase the calibre of women-led startups in Victoria and the investors backing them.”

Funding Difficulty 

The initiative is helping women-led businesses overcome funding hurdles. A 2019 study revealed only 19 of 104 Victorian startups that received angel or venture capital investment had a woman as a founder.

However, the difficulty in finding funding is no reflection on the quality of ideas coming out of female-founded startups.

Minister for Innovation, Medical Research and the Digital Economy Jaala Pulford said, “I’m blown away by the ideas these women have and am beyond excited to support them by removing barriers in accessing early-stage capital to scale up.

“This fund will ensure women entrepreneurs have every opportunity they need to succeed.”

The Fund is hoped to provide vital support to female-led early-stage companies that are often under-represented in early-stage investment. 

In recent years, funding for companies started by women has grown in both the public and private sectors. From the Federal Government’s Boosting Female Founders Initiative to UNSW’s New Wave Program, the value of women in entrepreneurship is finally being recognised. 

By building targeted capital funds and raising the visibility of female entrepreneurs, more women will have access to the startup ecosystem. This ensures female entrepreneurs can add their share of value and insight to the Australian economy. 

Applications remain open to early-stage investors looking to back women-led startups. An Investment Committee chaired by Susan Oliver AM meets monthly to review deals.

For more information, and to apply, visit www.launchvic.org/general/angel-sidecar.

Read more:Female entrepreneurs lead startup sector

Read more:Applications open for the second round of funding under the Supply Chain Resilience initiative

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Heidi Heck

Heidi Heck

Heidi Heck is a Journalist at Dynamic Business. She is a student at the University of Queensland where she studies Journalism and Economics. Heidi has a passion for the stories of small business, as well as the bigger picture of economics.

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