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News & Analysis

Meet Black Nova, the new Sydney VC fund that’s backed 23 startups in stealth mode and already had an exit

- September 29, 2021 2 MIN READ
Black Nova VC co-founders Darcy Naunton and Matthew Browne
Sydney venture capital fund Black Nova has emerged from the shadows to launch officially this week with $10 million in its kitty and 23 companies already in its portfolio.

The VC was co-founded by Matt Browne and Darcy Naunton following their successful exit from workplace health, and safety software platform Donesafe in 2020.

Black Nova‘s fund has already closed a $10 million initial round and is now looking to hit $20 million by the end of 2021.

Browne has committed to spending half of his capital gain from the sale of Donesafe into other startups and the duo are keen to see other founders join them in backing the next generation of founders

They see Black Nova as a hands-on fund “for founders, by founders” with investment strategy is to back early and growth-stage companies at pre-seed, seed and Series A stage. They have a focus on technologies and solutions in enterprise and software applications. The VC also plans to setting aside 25% of the fund ethical impact investments matching the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

With initial cheque sizes ranging from $100,000 to $1 million, and among the nearly two dozen companies already in the portfolio, several Antler Australia startups have attracted investment, including workplace culture building platform Remote Social, where Black Nova led a $1 million seed round.

The venture also has Hudled, which took on a $640,000 seed round in March, Ian Yip’s cybersecurity firm Avertro, location scout company Skoutli and carbon emissions software startup Pathzero, which raised $1 million in a seed round late last year, on its books.

It’s even landed an exit with the recent announcement that Brisbane startup Notiv is being acquired by ASX-listed voice data company Dubber for $6.6 million.

Matt Browne said Black Nova embraces a ‘boring is better’ mentality when it comes to investing.

“Our focus is on taking what is traditionally considered ‘un-sexy’ and ‘boring’ enterprise-focussed startups, and moulding these opportunities into returns that are out of this world,” he said

“The majority of our portfolio companies are faced with the arduous task of having to sell into big enterprises with long sales cycles. As a genuine founder-first VC we see tremendous value in embedding ourselves into their business, where they can lean into our strengths – from GTM, brand, product advice to hiring, business strategy and operations.

“No other VC fund of our size and stage has so many experienced venture partners.”

Browne also said the fund is already on track to see strong returns.

“It’s testament to the fact we have a successful operator-heavy VC model that is primed for growth,” he said.

“We intend to continue to raise over the course of next year and look forward to seeing more incredible Australian startups get the funding they deserve.”