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What does Artesian Venture’s new strategic partnership with KPMG mean for startups?

- November 18, 2014 3 MIN READ

It was announced this morning that a new, exclusive strategic partnership between Artesian Venture Partners and KPMG Australia, will allow up to 1,000 high-growth startup founders to benefit from a new structure of support and capital to assist in scaling their ventures over the next five years.

It’s a data play from KPMG’s side of the fence, with only KMPG clients being eligible and that data being gathered from the program, used to enable the company to help understand via research what is needed to grow and commercialise the startup ecosystem in Australia.

According to a media release distributed this morning, ‘the collaboration brings together alternative investment manager, Artesian Venture Partners; professional services firm, KPMG Australia; Australian universities, incubators, accelerators, technology startups; and sophisticated investors (corporates, institutions, family offices and high net worths) in a way never seen before’.

The partnership between KPMG and Artesian will:

  • offer Australian corporates, superannuation funds, and industry bodies a unique opportunity to be exposed to, and engaged with the Australian startup ecosystem and innovation
  • enhance KPMG’s own innovation, integration and advisory services
  • increase M&A activity with Australian entrepreneurs
  • actively engage with a large pipeline of scalable, high growth businesses, as well as leading accelerators, incubators and universities
  • offer bespoke services to the startups with KPMG as the exclusive professional services provider to Artesian
  • host regular events to foster and promote the local startup industry
  • analyse data and develop research models to better understand the growing sector and its future direction
  • take advantage of existing networks to put Australian entrepreneurs on the map globally

“To date the Australian technology sector has been finding its feet and growing rapidly. Where we are today is a testament to local entrepreneurs and their ability and determination to punch above their weight,” said Artesian Partner and COO, Tim Heasley.

“But, it’s time for the startup industry to mature, to operate with a new level of professionalism without losing its edge. We need to mobilise, professionalise, and build a cohesive structure around the industry to take it to the next level. The alliance with KPMG will allow the engagement of corporates in the startup ecosystem as customers, partners or potential acquirers and will help startups and technology become a substantial industry, as we move away from a reliance on mining and resources.” he said.

Part of what makes these strategic partnerships work so well for Artesian Venture Partners is the firm’s unique co-investment model. This allows investments within the Artesian portfolio to scale quickly by outsourcing the selection, mentoring and due diligence of startups to partners that specialise in particular skill sets. This includes accelerators, incubators, university programs, angel groups, research institutes and digital agencies. According to this mornings press release, Artesian currently manages co-investment funds for Sydney Angels, BlueChilli, iLab (University of Queensland), iAccelerate (University of Wollongong) and Slingshot (Newcastle).

Heasley said the partnership with KPMG is the result of a competitive process; he also thinks that the partnership will allow Artesian to identify and introduce corporate partners to opportunities within the startup space.

Martin Sheppard, the Head of Innovation for KPMG Australia, said that the partnership is critical to KPMG’s innovation strategy, exposing clients to new growth opportunities.

“Proactively engaging with Australia’s startup ecosystem is critical to our innovation strategy. It will expose us and our clients to new growth opportunities; provide early insights into emerging and disruptive technologies, and help us and our clients stay ahead of the curve. Combined with our Fintech work and other initiatives to be announced over coming months, it will position KPMG as an authority in this dynamic sector,” he said.

It has been estimated that current activities in the startup space within Australia have the potential to contribute more than $100 billion to the Australian economy by 2040. This type of growth was also reflected in the PwC, Google commissioned Startup Economy report from 2013.

“Although there is a lot of buzz around startups, including strong corporate interest, little actual research has been done on the sector. Our data has the potential to play an important role in unlocking entrepreneurial potential in Australia. This alliance is an incredibly exciting opportunity,” said Sheppard.