The co-founders of Sydney early-stage venture capital fund AfterWork Ventures have made the prestigious Forbes 30 under 30 as first-time fund managers.
Alexander Khor, 27, and Adrian Petersen, 28, were named in the Forbes 30 under 30 for Asia in the Finance and Venture Capital category. Previous honourees include Canva founder Mel Perkins and Bumble founder Whitney Wolfe Herd.
AfterWork Ventures invests in early-stage tech companies in Australia and New Zealand, and kicked off as an informal group back in 2017 as a “micro” VC fund, with 30-somethings David Insull and Mike Forster also as founders.
The VC raised $10 million in a first close by August last year and is looking to close out the fund 12 months on. Who Gives a Crap founder Simon Griffiths is among the fund’s investors.
Afterwork has made 30 investments, including ‘live now, buy later’ fintech OwnHome, direct-to-consumer pet food company Lyka, and ‘Strava for ball sports’ app Swing Vision.
Khor and Petersen are the youngest VC partners in the region and attribute their success to date down to hustle, good timing, and the support of the fund’s community.
“Our community is our edge. In the last year, we’ve grown our community to over 100 seasoned and diverse operators – including Ivan Lim (CEO of Brosa), Sam Kothari (Head of Growth at Airwallex), Cheryl Mack (founder of Aussie Angels), and senior operators from local scale ups such as Canva, Eucalyptus, and Linktree,” Khor said.
“In pooling our collective networks, talent, and knowledge, we’ve been able to punch above our weight in sourcing deals, selecting great opportunities, and supporting our portfolio companies post-investment.”
A majority of the AfterWork community are also limited partners (LPs) in the fund, including Alice Williams, founder of Ovira, who was also named as a Forbes 30 under 30 in the Retail and eCommerce category.
Jessy Wu, Head of Community at AfterWork, and an investment principal, said Australia lacks the strong alumni networks or clubs for high-achieving and entrepreneurial young people found elsewhere around the world.
“At AfterWork, we’re building a strong network of ambitious operators, who are learning, growing, and excelling together,” she said.
Among other locals featured on the Forbes 30 under 30 Asia list are Max Shand, founder of music NFT marketplace Serenade; Rong Deng, a postdoctoral research fellow UNSW, exploring how to make solar energy more sustainable; Alex and Chris Naoumidis, founders of hypnotherapy app startup Mindset Health; Luke Harrington, a senior research fellow at the New Zealand Climate Change Research Institute; Jack Graham, and Elia and Isaac Honor. co-founders of AusAir; Genevieve Mora and Jazz Thornton, co-founders of New Zealand’s Voices of Hope; Justin Truong and Sandy Li, founders of sneaker reseller marketplace Pushas; and Iris Smit, founder of eyeliner venture The Quick Flick.
Lauren Fong, investment principal at Auckland-based VC Icehouse Ventures, was also named in VC category in 30 under 30.
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