Silicon Valley billionaire Tim Draper is looking to back Australian startups with the high-profile investor welcoming Right Click Capital as the first Australian firm to join his illustrious network.
Right Click Capital has officially joined the Draper Venture Network, a “one-of-a-kind” alliance of investor firms from around the world, encompassing 450 investments and collective assets of $2.1 billion ($US1.6 billion).
The partnership will be two-sided, with Right Click Capital investors given co-investment opportunities while the firm’s portfolio companies being presented with international funding options.
Through the Draper Venture Network the various VC firms “share strategies, source opportunities and create greater value”, with the organisation now spanning more than 60 cities around the world.
Right Click Capital partner Benjamin Chong says Draper’s move is a testament to the recent growth and development of the Australian startup ecosystem.
“It is a vote of confidence and it’s about the rising tide,” Chong tells StartupSmart.
“We want for there to be more successful startups in Australia- that is going to beget more success.
“For us being able to have gone through the due diligence process and to have been vouched for by other funds has been really cool.”
The groundwork for the partnership was laid at the SXSW conference this year when Right Click Capital partner Ari Klinger met with Draper.
“Tim expressed interest in expanding his network to this part of the world and the conversation started from there,” Chong says.
“It has been a journey and it’s been great learning more about the network and the breadth of their investors. We’re glad to be part of the network.”
Chong says it’s all about helping Right Click Capital’s portfolio startups and giving them access to global networks.
“For our portfolio it allows them access to additional capital and to be part of a network of 500 portfolio companies,” he says.
“We think it adds to the already global network that we have and allows us to offer more to our portfolio companies.”
It will also mean that Australian startups won’t need to relocate entirely or spend long amounts of time overseas in search of large funding rounds, he says.
“With the businesses that we are investing in we have the opportunity to build the technology here to prove it out and then sell to international markets,” Chong says.
“We want these companies to be successful and employ lots of Australians but be selling to people overseas.”
Draper recently raised $190 million in April for the Draper Associates seed fund and has backed the likes of Skype, Baidu and Tesla.
He told the Australian Financial Review that he is “very interested” in investing in Australian startups.
“There have been some great companies started down under,” Draper told the AFR.
“We’re looking to back entrepreneurs who are building globally scalable companies regardless of where they are based and I see Australian founders as having great potential.”