How Judy Anderson-Firth turned Dom Pym’s family office into an impact investor

- May 7, 2024 3 MIN READ
Euphemia CEO Judy Anderson-Firth
Euphemia CEO Judy Anderson-Firth
Judy Anderson-Firth is CEO of Euphemia, the family office of serial entrepreneur Dom Pym, founder of UpBank.

She recently sat down with Cheryl Mack from Aussie Angels and Maxine Minter from Co Ventures to talk about her experience as an investor on their podcast, First Cheque.

It’s both an aspirational and practical discussion, where Anderson-Firth shares insights around transparency and accessibility within startups, building relationships, connecting portfolio founders, and creating systems. 

She is recognised pillar of practical leadership within the startup community having been the CEO of Startup Victoria, now The Startup Network.

Anderson-Firth was appointed CEO in 2018 when the biggest startup community in Australia included around 20,000 people and only 1 in 25 of their founders or attendees were women. When she left in 2021 it was on its way to becoming a now-60,000 strong community where 1 in 5 founders are women.

Anderson-Firth joined serial entrepreneur and investor Dom Pyn at Euphemia with the dual goal of making money and an impact. Their portfolio includes fintech, climate tech, women-led startups, diverse founders and startup infrastructure. 

So far, Euphemia – its motto is “We’re making Australia’s startup scene awesome” – has invested in 40-plus companies and 20-plus funds with their ~$70M portfolio.

In the first 12 months, they moved $20 million and were going so fast they didn’t even “have time to pop up for air.” They invest directly into startups from pre-seed to Series A, and cheque sizes range from $5,000 to $1 million and recently launched a syndicate as well.

Here are some of the insights from Mack and Minter conversation with Judy Anderson-Firth on First Cheque.

Easing into failure and its lessons 

“A failed founder is an experienced founder,” Anderson-Firth said.

She emphasises the importance and value of experience building companies. And startups are not always successful. 

Shining a light on the more difficult, but very common times in startups, Anderson-Firth talks about how companies are suffering quietly right now,but with failure comes experience and experience is valuable. 

The discussion explores how celebrating and facilitating the graceful exits of failed startups can help accelerate the growth of the ecosystem. 

Minter, who’s run angel syndicates in Australia and the US, sees some tall poppy culture.

“Australia is not doing a good job at the moment of celebrating and facilitating founders to gracefully exit… If we make failing easier, more respectful, and celebrate the benefits, we’ll move much faster as an ecosystem,” she said. 

Focusing on impact 

Anderson-Firth has become famous for Euphemia’s thorough approach to due diligence (DD) and is championing their ethos for driving disruptive innovation focus areas. 

“Every decision we’ve ever made is on our Miro board,” Anderson-Firth said.

Anderson-Firth talks about also tracking unique DD metrics specific to Euphemia (building on resources from the Giant Leap impact fund).

With a big focus on transparency and open sourcing processes, Euphemia is trying to lead the way for the next generation of family offices created out of tech wealth.

First Cheque brings you a front row seat to the world of early-stage investing with motivated and ambitious guests dedicated to sharing knowledge.

Listen to the First Cheque episode with Judy Anderson-Firth from Euphemia.

Subscribe to the First Cheque podcast to be notified of upcoming episodes.

Others you can listen to now include Jessy Wu from Afterwork VenturesDaniel Gavel from Black Sheep Capital, and Rayn Ong from Archangel Ventures.

First Cheque is presented by DayOne.FM, the podcast network for Australian founders, investors and operators. Day One are best known for their work producing The History of the Startup Ecosystem podcast and documentary featuring 100+ interviews with key startup leaders.

NOW READ: First Cheque, a new podcast by early-stage investors Cheryl Mack and Maxine Minter, explores how founders tackle VC funding

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