Venture Capital

Susan Oliver & Carol Schwartz hand over women-focused angel startup fund Scale Investors to the next generation

- May 12, 2023 2 MIN READ
Scale Investors co-CEOs Chelsea Newell and Samar Mcheileh
Scale Investors co-CEOs Chelsea Newell and Samar Mcheileh. Photo: Supplied
There’s been a changing of the guard at Australia’s first angel investor network for women-led startups, Scale Investors, with the founding team selling the business to the current management team

Scale was created a decade ago by Susan Oliver, Carol Schwartz, Annette Kimmitt and Laura McKenzie. Over that period the angel investors backed 47 women-led startups investing more than $20 million across a portfolio of currently valued at $260 million, with a NASDAQ listing for Cognition Therapeutics and a 30x exit for Trademark Vision.

Co-CEOs Samar Mcheileh and Chelsea Newell, and Chief Investment Officer, Roo Harris have bought Scale from the founders for an undisclosed sum.

Schwartz said the buyout is “a natural progression” for her cofounders, who are “always on the hunt for exceptional women innovators and leader”.

“We have every confidence that the new owners will continue to evolve the business, while also ensuring continuity and stability,” she said.

“I am looking forward to the next chapter, and will continue to support Scale Investors as an active angel investor.”

Speaking on behalf of the new ownership team, Co-CEO Chelsea Newell thanked the outgoing owners for their service and support, noting that their pioneering approach has led to the carving out of an entire niche in the start-up ecosystem. She also extended her gratitude to the Scale Investors Board, with special mention to Chair Catherine Robson and Scale’s founding sponsor partner, PwC, led by Sean Gregory and more recently Adam Pascoe.

Her successor, Chelsea Newell, said they’re conscious that there’s still plenty of work to be done with 97% of venture capital funding going to men running startups.

“Samar, Roo and I are honoured to be the new owners of Scale Investors, having each worked in the business for several years now, we uniquely understand its legacy, its DNA, and how we can build on the incredible success of the last 10 years,” she said.

“We have a strong vision for the future, which includes evolving into funds management, following the example of Golden Seeds in the US. With the recent launch of the Scaling Women’s Fund – a highly differentiated and rolling fund product, we’re accelerating that mission.”

Newell reiterated that investing in women in simply good business.

“‘Gender diverse teams outperform, and with valuations much more attractive and the barriers to entry lower than ever for women founders as a result of broadly distributed AI, the time is now to close the entrepreneurial investment gender-gap,” she said.

Susan Oliver, who remains chair of Scale as well as chairing LaunchVic’s female founders-focused Alice Anderson Fund, said they had helped catalyse a movement in Australia to support more women in business.

“We are incredibly proud of the capital we ourselves have invested in women founders and also the many other investors who have joined us in our mission,” she said

More on the Scale Investors fund and angel network here.