News & Analysis

Start Mesh raising $20 million venture fund focused on helping startups achieve profitability

- May 12, 2016 2 MIN READ

Start Mesh, an Australian organisation helping mid-stage startups along the path to global commercialisation, has announced it is raising its first venture capital investment fund, looking to raise $20 million.

To be structured as an early stage venture capital limited partnership (ESVCLP), the fund will be focused on helping startups achieve profitability, and operated according to criteria that allows for foreign investors to come to Australia through a Significant Investor Visa.

Founded in 2014, Start Mesh now provides startups with advisory, delivery, and operations services in nine cities around the world. It looks to help startups navigate the stage between validated idea and sustainability profitability.

Richard Webb, cofounder and CEO of Start Mesh, said that the new fund will help the organisation accelerate its work in developing the Australian startup ecosystem.

“We at StartMesh have been a strong enabler and investor of technology companies globally for the last decade. The Australian government has taken an enlightened position on the future of technology and innovation in Australia by introducing incentives for investors in this very important asset class,” Webb said.

As an ESVCLP, the fund will invest in early stage startups and aim to “form a diverse and balanced portfolio” of opportunities, with a focus on startups with validated ideas, a defensible business model, and global application.

In terms of industry sectors, the fund will look towards health, fitness, education, and safety; consumer profiling and insights; crowd services enablement; asset sharing and utilisation; and digital privacy and security.

Start Mesh is launching the fund with the help of global law firm Norton Rose Fulbright, itself no stranger to the startup landscape, having partnered with legal startup LawPath last month to offer startups and small businesses fixed-price legal packages.

Fadi Khoury, partner at the firm, noted that the launch of the fund comes hand in hand with growing interest in investment opportunities in the tech and innovation spaces.

“Investors may also benefit from enhancements to regulatory and tax reforms flagged by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s Innovation Statement and recently legislated in Parliament,” Khoury said.

The tax incentive for early stage startups, passed with bipartisan support in the Senate last week, will give tax concessions to eligible early stage investors who invest in qualifying companies. The concessions include a capped 20 percent, non-refundable tax offset, and a 10 year capital gains tax exemption on investments that are held for 12 months or more.

The news comes just a day after Australian fund management firm Aura Group announced the launch of its new $30 million Aura Venture Fund, through which it aims to “harness the power of the ideas boom.”

Like Start Mesh, in announcing the fund Aura Group brought attention to benefits for investors thanks to the tax incentives passed last week.

Image: Richard Webb.