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Grow VC eyes Aussie start-ups with new funding platform

Monday, 7 November 2011 | By Oliver Milman

Grow VC, the start-up funding platform that calls itself a “virtual Silicon Valley”, is looking to ramp up its presence in the Australian market with the launch of a system that will allow entrepreneurs to create their own crowd funding networks.

 

The online venture capital community already has 11,000 registered entrepreneurs and investors on board, across 200 countries.

 

It is now asking start-ups to test out its Network Model, which is in beta phase.

 

The service will allow business owners to create their own start-up communities and groups to attract investors or mentors.

 

Markus Lampinen, chief operating officer of the US-based Grow VC, tells StartupSmart that the platform is looking to gain greater traction in Australia.

 

“The Australian start-up market is exciting, because there are many real problems to be solved not just in Australia, but also in the surrounding region, for example in South East Asia,” he says.

 

“Australia has a great ecosystem to be able to cater for these challenges and come up with real innovations that are lucrative, but more importantly that have a real impact on people’s lives.”

 

“Australia is also an interesting ecosystem from an investor’s point of view. However it requires some market education for people to get buzzing about start-up companies and start realising the importance of them for the economy.”

 

Grow VC’s platform is open to businesses looking for less than $2 million in funding, with Grow VC taking a 2.5% cut on raised funds.

 

Lampinen says that “hundreds” of Australian start-ups have already signed up, pointing to the success of an Australian business, CINTEP, which raised $100,000 through the platform last year. CINTEP produces a shower that recycles both water and energy.

 

“With entrepreneurs being a driving force of start-ups, they do require the support of investors and also other parts of the ecosystem,” Lampinen says.

 

“It's developing and we've seen a lot of positive evidence in Australia for development in the more entrepreneurial direction, both through our own users from Australia as well as our partners there.”