Telstra Ventures has closed its third fund having raised $500 million to invest in what it calls “all the Cs”: cloud, cyber, crypto (including blockchain), carbon and climate, coders, creators and consumers.
The corporate VC arm of Australia’s largest telco is based in San Francisco and primarily invests in tech firms, having made 88 investments in its first decade, with 33 liquidity events including Auth0, BigCommerce, Box, Cloopen, CrowdStrike, DocuSign, Rancher, Skillz, Snap, and Whispir.
In 2018, Telstra Ventures transformed into a VC firm backed by LPs, including private equity investment platform HarbourVest and Telstra. The VC now has around $1.3 billion in funds under management.
Sydney-based joint managing director Matthew Koertge said that in the past 10 years, they had returned more than A$800 million to the fund’s existing LPs.
“The fact that we were able to raise these funds from a range of existing and more than 35 new limited partners, across the globe when there is considerable volatility in finance markets and pandemic issues to navigate, speaks to the high reputation that our team, our portfolio company entrepreneurs and the quality returns they have delivered from our first two funds,” he said.
His San Francisco-based co-MD Mark Sherman said they’d already been busy backing tech startups with the new fund.
“We’ve developed a world class reputation for identifying, investing and serving extraordinary entrepreneurs,” he said.
“From our Fund III using our unique investment strategies from our team on the ground and incorporating our data science analysis we have already made investments in 15 startups including Cequence, ClosedLoop, Enable, Forage, FTX, LambdaTest, Lively, Pandion, Sleeper and Strata.”
Among the previous 88 investments by Telstra Ventures, 17 of the companies have reached a unicorn valuation of more than US$1 billion, with five achieving decacorns status – a valuation above US $10 billion.
Telstra’s head of corporate finance Guy Wylie said they had contributed to all three funds.
“We recognise that our contribution to Telstra Ventures is about more than money,” he said.
“Through its smart investing, identification of new tech, and support for partners and companies in driving revenue as well as the great returns to investors, Telstra Ventures is a truly different venture capital company.”
Koertge said the VC had driven A$640 million in revenue for portfolio companies since its inception.
“With our expertise in applying data science to the investment strategy we bring the world’s smartest technology to a global audience as well as the millions of customers who use Telstra’s services,” he said.
“From helping our portfolio companies generate revenue, leveraging data science and raising capital, we are working hard to help our portfolio companies and our limited partners at every stage of the journey.”