TEN13, the early-stage technology investment syndicate co-founded in 2019 by Steve Baxter, says it’s on track to deploy more than $100 million in its first three years of operation.
The Queensland venture fund, which has a deal-by-deal model, has already raised and invested $30 million into 14 break-out technology companies across the globe including Australia’s most recent unicorn, Go1, Chipper Cash, Carted, Mr Yum, Delegate Connect, with more deals unannounced.
Co-founder and managing partner, Stew Glynn, says there are more unannounced deals in the pipeline and they’re aiming to be one of the most active players in the venture capital ecosystem in Australia.
Within 18 months, TEN13 has already had its first exit, with Clipchamp, being acquired by global tech giant, Microsoft, while another portfolio company Go1 landed a US$200 million investment from the world’s largest venture fund Softbank Vision Fund.
Yesterday, another exit emerged when ASX-listed Dubber announced it was acquiring Brisbane startup Notiv for $6.6 million.
Glynn said TEN13 defies the accepted wisdom that getting exposure to hyper-growth global tech companies is restricted to top-tier VC funds.
“TEN13 has developed a new model of investing on a deal-by-deal basis rather than pooling investors into a closed fund giving their investors the chance to build their own portfolios through curated deal flow,” he said.
“The typical fund structure of parking capital with a fund and passively hoping for returns 10 years later is a dated model. The deal-by-deal model provides investors with the ability to learn about the tech category, make their own investment decisions, support the companies that they believe in, and provides more transparency and assistance to the underlying company founders.”
Referring to the nine-year-Sydney VC Blackbird Ventures, which counts Canva, Culture Amp, Eucalyptus, Red Bubble and Safety Culture among its portfolio, now worth more than $1 billion, Glynn said: “the next Blackbird coming out of Australia will be a syndicate and we hope it is us”.
Baxter and Glynn have been building out the team as it continues to ramp up the deal flow, with An Vo promoted to Partner and Lachlan Duffy to Investment Associate.
Vo was previously part of the investment team at Baxter’s family office, Transition Level Investments and has been the primary lead on the firm’s investments in companies including Forage (recent Series B led by Blackbird), LA-based Vurbl and Maxwell Plus. He is also leading TEN13’s soon-to-be launched new product supporting emerging fund managers.
Former Credit Suisse director Sophie Robertson has signed on as Head of Investor Relations, with leading family offices now approaching TEN13 to back companies past their Seed stage and into Series A and beyond.
One consequence is a growing cheque size, with TEN13 moving from an average of $500,000 to $1 million per at Seed stage to now closing three deals at more than $4 million each, including Go1, Chipper Cash, and Mr Yum, in recent months.
Stew Glynn said they’re excited by what they’ve already achieved in just 18 months.
“It shows that our deal-by-deal model is working and that there is true value being created from our network of almost 300 investors for the founders and companies that we support,” he said.
Steve Baxter, who is Executive Chairman of TEN13, said those 300 investors contribute an extraordinary range of experience to the startups they back, from technology co founders to corporate executives, scale-up company employees from the likes of Canva, Afterpay, Cloud Conformity, and other entrepreneurs.
“The real value behind TEN13 lies in the depth of the network as we improves our ability to source, diligence, and support the founding teams once they have invested,” he said.
“We’ve created TEN13 to provide investors with access to vetted, high-quality deals without having to invest in the infrastructure, legal and staffing costs that I had to incur with my family office over the past decade.
“TEN13 is a better model; investors get access to VC-grade deals but aren’t required to do all the work”.
Baxter personally backs the companies shared on the network with a substantial level own capital, which he says results in much stronger alignment than some traditional VC funds, where General Partners may commit as little as 1% of the capital.