Tech Webinar Session #3 Recap: The state of Australia's VC Market | BetaShares

Tech Webinar Session #3 Recap: The state of Australia’s VC Market

BY BetaShares ETFs | 16 December 2020
Technology webcast

The environment for venture capital has changed dramatically in the past decade.

Not only has the cost of a start-up reduced dramatically, with more money than ever before flowing into the tech sector, but Australia’s best and brightest talent – who used to flock towards investment banking, management consulting and law careers – are now either starting their own companies or joining early-stage businesses.

That’s according to the panellists from our recent Tech Leaders event:

  • Daniel Petre AO, Founder and Partner, AirTree Ventures
  • Paul Bassat, Co-Founder and Partner, Square Peg Capital
  • Tim Fung, CEO and Co-Founder, Airtasker
  • Manuri Gunawardena, CEO and Founder, HealthMatch
  • Nathan Walsh, CEO and Co-Founder, Athena Home Loans

The panel discussed the state of the Australian technology scene, the Australian environment for venture capital, and what it takes to make the transition from promising start-up to successful Australian tech business, to successful global tech business.

The Australian VC market is very different today compared to even four years ago, according to Daniel Petre. Now, U.S. firms are happy to invest in local companies, and are avoiding the ‘overfished’ U.S. market. Further, many global VC firms are happy to invest just $3 or $4 million – they don’t need to be investing $25 million.

For Airtasker CEO and Co-Founder, Tim Fung, founding his business in 2012 as a primarily local platform with Australian customers only, it was hard to raise money from international investors in the early stages.

“On the flip side, what’s been really good for us is that building a local marketplace in a smaller country has enabled us to build up a good network effect in local areas. That’s been a powerful part of our marketplace,” he said.

In considering the advancements in the sector over the past decade, BetaShares Co-Founder and Head of Strategy and Marketing, Ilan Israelstam, questioned how Australia’s growth now stands compared to overseas.

“Australia produces outstanding software developers – as good as anywhere in the world, if not better,” Daniel Petre said. With this natural pool of outstanding engineers combined with strong entrepreneurs, Australia is positioned as well as anywhere in the world, he added.

In terms of particular areas of strength, Daniel Petre said that health and financial services are the key sectors where Australians have a natural advantage to build successful tech businesses.

But what are some of the barriers that Australian entrepreneurs and VCs face today in getting a tech business off the ground – and going global?

“If you have a clear story, finance is not the issue,” according to Athena Home Loans CEO and Co-Founder, Nathan Walsh. “The question is talent – how do you make sure you can attract the right people at each stage of the journey.”

HealthMatch CEO and Co-Founder, Manuri Gunawardena agreed, saying that her firm’s biggest challenge has not been raising capital, but finding the right people/talent for the team.

In terms of making the transition to global, for Daniel Petre, it’s not important to be global from day dot.

“Forcing entrepreneurs to have to think globally is wrong,” he said. “Your aim should be to be the best provider of that product/service in the world, but don’t feel compelled to look overseas too soon.”

Watch the full discussion now.


anthony eisen_300px circle.png Richard White Daniel Petre
Anthony Eisen
CEO and Co-founder,
Richard White
CEO and Founder,
WiseTech Global
Daniel Petre AO
Founder and Partner,
AirTree Ventures
Paul bassat Manuri G tim fung_300px circle.png
Paul Bassat
Co-founder and Partner,
Square Peg Capital

Manuri Gunawardena
CEO and Founder,
Tim Fung
CEO and Co-founder,

Nathan Walsh Daphne van der Oord Max Cunningham
Nathan Walsh
CEO and Co-founder,
Athena Home Loans

Daphne van der Oord
Head of Australia and New Zealand,
S&P Dow Jones Indices
Max Cunningham
Executive General Manager, Issuer Services and Investment Products, ASX
alex vynokur_300px circle.png Ilan Israelstam Peter Harper
Alex Vynokur
CEO and Founder,

Ilan Israelstam
Co-founder, Head of Strategy and Marketing,
Peter Harper
Executive Director – Capital Markets and Institutional Business,

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