Salesforce Ventures announced this week that it is launching its fourth country-specific fund, this time to boost its involvement within Australia’s startup community. The aptly-named Australian Trailblazer Fund will invest $50 million into the early-stage space. 1
This fund tops off Australia-specific efforts Salesforce has been making since 2012, when it first started investing in the space. The company has invested in Australia’s Arxxus, and Sqware Peg, and Bugcrowd, to name a few.
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Bugcrowd founder Casey Ellis said in a release that “the establishment of Salesforce Ventures in Australia speaks volumes of the calibre of Australian entrepreneurs, as well as their forward-looking attitude.”
We haven’t written too much about Australian startups, but we’d love to change that (shoot me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Let me give you some background on the startup scene Down Under. About half of Australian startups are actively trying to raise funds, according to Startup Muster. So far in 2019, top deals include Lendi, a mortgage lending startup raising $40 million in a venture round led by ANZ, and Baraja, a 3D machine vision systems manufacturer that raised a $32 million Series A.
Salesforce’s bet on Australia’s early-stage tech market makes sense as other groups are already investing into the region. Like government initiative Jobs for New South Wales (NSW), which says on its website that it will offer $57 million in funding to “help start-ups and small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in regional NSW succeed and create more local jobs in regional communities across the State.”
Part of its efforts are visible in its relatively new startup incubator, the Sydney Startup Hub. Last month it celebrated its first anniversary and shared that its 480 startups raised over $182 million in the past year. NSW plans to invest $35 million in the hub over the next 5 years, according to BusinessInsider.
In short, Salesforce Ventures’ new fund has an audience.
Also notable: the fund is comparatively less than the other international launches Salesforce Ventures has made in the past two years: in December it launched a $100 million fund for Japan and in May it launched a $100 million fund for Canada.
Here’s the vintage, and size of the known Salesforce Ventures Funds:
Update, 3/08/2019: Salesforce reached out to Crunchbase News with a comment explaining the discrepancy in fund sizes between Australia, and previous international venture funds. Here is a statement from Matt Garratt, managing partner at Salesforce Ventures:
At Salesforce Ventures, we have made some great investments in Australia, but the Australia Trailblazer Fund is really kick starting our focused investment in the country. In EMEA, Canada and Japan, we had already made several investments in those countries and had an established presence. For instance we had been investing in Japan for seven years before launching a fund. We sized the fund to reflect this.We are excited to support Australian entrepreneurs, and continue our investment in the country, and beyond in the broader APAC region. Salesforce Ventures is one of the only U.S. VCs with a dedicated Australian-specific fund — a $50m USD fund is in the top 25 VC funds for Australia. We also believe that relocating one of our most tenured team members, Rob Keith, reflects our commitment to the region
Illustration: Li-Anne Dias
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