Angel Investing on Up-Swing Down-Under

By Linda Smith, ACA Chair

Sydney Angels celebrated a 50th anniversary, of sorts—since their founding in 2008 they have invested in over 50 start-ups.  I had the opportunity to meet with several of their Management Committee members including Richard Dale, Karen Farley, and Adrian Bunter while in the exciting city of Sydney, Australia.

During our conversations, Sydney Angels (SA) credited Tech Coast Angels and the Kauffman Foundation as reference models and trusted sources of information and educational content that was helpful to SA in its formative years.  They also praised the work of Rob Wiltbank and would welcome sharing data about angel investing, including the new ACA data strategies report being developed by Rick Timmins and the Data Strategies Task Force led by Steve Flaim.

Linda Smith (far right) talks with Sydney Angels

During our meeting I learned that the Sydney Angels Sidecar Fund of $10 million AUS allows passive money from institutions and individuals to invest alongside SA members in the deals they do.  It is a 10-year closed end fund using a tax advantaged structure (ESVCLP) legislated by the Australian government to encourage the growth of seed and VC funds in the country. The first fund is now fully invested with five years to run, and a second fund has been successfully raised without needed the first fund to have demonstrated an exit. 

I also learned that Sydney’s challenge to angel groups and ACA in the USA is to consider how we can help establish “landing pads” for Australian firms that want to penetrate the US market. (Australia has a total population of only 24 million spread over a huge continent). They are also actively interested in cross-border later stage investment, particularly for some of their medtech and biotech start-ups that will require larger sums than are readily available within Australia.

I encourage any of you who have thoughts on these two issues to share them with me.  And by all means, if you are down-under consider visiting the Sydney Angels.  G’day, mates!


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Public Policy Quarterly Newsletter Issue 2 by Angel Capital Association  on  February 16