Six months after launching Purpose Ventures with a $37 million war chest to back Western Australian startups, strong support from local investors has seen the VC top up its first fund with another $8 million as it backs its third company.
The Purpose Ventures Fund is committed to investing at least 70% of its capital into WA-founded or operated startups and its success in attracting investors at a time when many similarly-sized funds on the East Coast have struggled is a sign that WA’s high net worths are interested in local innovation.
There’s also been strong demand on the deal side, with more than 160 pitches received – half of them from WA.
Purpose Ventures has already backed edtech startup Paperly and NDIS plan management platform PlanCare. It’s now just led a $1.3 million round, into women-led edtech IDEAcademy.
Perth-based educators Nicole Gazey and Rebecca Loftus launched IDEAcademy in 2021, following the Plus Eight 2020 accelerator program, as an alternative education pathway for students who want to focus more on entrepreneurial, innovation and creative skills.
Since then they’ve educated more than 100 students, built a team of 13, and launched the first version of their online platform. The funding round will support their growth into new locations across Australia
With three investments now in the portfolio, general partner Kylie Gerrard said they have a strong investment pipeline are hoping to close several more before Christmas.
“We’ve been really impressed with the quality of investment applications that have been submitted over the last six months and as a WA-backed and focussed fund, have been encouraged by how many of these have come from WA-founded companies,” she said.
“It’s great to now have IDEAcademy joining our portfolio. With less than 1% of VC funding historically going into 100% female founded and led businesses in Australia, we are particularly excited to have this opportunity to back Nicole and Rebecca, as incredible female founders.
“Both Nicole and Rebecca are pursuing their ‘life cause’ of supporting the next generation of young entrepreneurs, creatives and innovators, by providing an alternative option to mainstream education for senior secondary-aged students and recent school leavers.”
Rebecca Loftus said they’d known the Purpose Ventures team for a number of years and saw a strong alignment.
“We already had great momentum since starting IDEAcademy almost two years ago and after our first investment round 18 months ago, were keen to raise further capital to allow us to accelerate our growth,” she said
“As we open our second location, this capital will enable us to continue scaling and impacting the lives of students by adding capability to our team and expanding our locations.”