Sydney Angels

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Venuemob secures $530,000 in second angel investment round

8:01AM | Monday, 18 August

Australian event-led startup Venuemob has announced additional funding from investment group Sydney Angels, raising $530,000.   It’s the second round of funding for the startup, having already raised $450,000 in 2012, led by Optus Innov8. Venuemob will use the funding to fuel their growth in the corporate events sector along with platform improvements.   Venuemob allows users to search and filter available event, function and meeting venues from an extensive database and secure promotional offerings and discounts. The platform serves as a two-way portal, with profiled venues able to promote their offerings to Venuemob’s user base.   Sydney Angels members and the Sydney Angels Sidecar Fund provided the majority investment for this round, further backed by Optus Innov8 who led the previous fundraising round.   Since the initial launch in 2012, Venuemob has demonstrated solid growth with $5 million worth of event budget now processed through the platform each month. This positive performance inspired re-investment from the original backers to encourage further growth and expansion.   Angel investor Adrian Bunter said that Venuemob’s model was of interest to Sydney Angels due to its positioning in an unsaturated marketplace.   “The digital space for venue sourcing is relatively untapped, leaving the door wide open for a brand such as Venuemob to structure an industry-defining platform,” he said.   “Sydney Angels exists to provide funding and investor expertise to exciting Australian startups. It is clear that a number of our members strongly believe in the future prospects of Venuemob, who have already documented solid results from the first round of investment and are poised for rapid growth.”   A new version of Venuemob’s technology platform launched this month, based on extensive feedback from the events community. The upgrade incorporates industry-leading tools to enhance user experience, with a new algorithm improving the ‘matching’ mechanisms of the site along with a unique data function offering a cost comparison price guide.   Venuemob cofounder Ying Wang said the second round of funding will help the rollout of the platform’s corporate events phase, which is key to the long-term mission of the brand.   “We’re thrilled that astute investors such as the Sydney Angels team have such faith in our product. The Sydney Angels support goes well beyond the financial side of our business, with specialist advice and a powerful network to help us maximise our potential,” he said.   Follow StartupSmart on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Entrepreneur election watch: Early stage venture capital limited partnerships update

7:02AM | Monday, 1 July

Two legislative changes entrepreneurs have been calling for are on the cards, but might be months or possibly years away from being implemented.   With a discussion paper for employee share schemes review due in December this year, entrepreneurial focus has turned to proposed changes to venture capital fund registration requirements.   The main development that could boost the start-up sector is changes to the Early Stage Venture Capital Limited Partnerships (ESVCLP) program. An update was announced on February 17 this year, as part of the government’s Venture Australia package.   Under current legislation, early stage venture capital groups must have more than $10 million and less than $100 million to be eligible for ESVCLP registration.   The change proposed in the Venture Australia package is to drop the minimum from $10 million to $5 million.   Registration entitles a fund’s investors to receive a series of tax concessions. A registered fund receives flow-through tax treatment and the investors receive complete tax exemption on their share of the fund's revenue and capital.   This would make it more likely for high-net worth individuals and networks to create venture capital funding programs.   Steven Maarbani, director of legal services at accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers and board member of Sydney Angels, told StartupSmart the decision isn’t necessarily a win for Australian start-ups.   “I’m confused why the number has been reduced. More money for start-ups is always a good thing, but I’m more aligned with the original vision that required $10 million and was about building a world-class funds management sector,” Maarbani says.   Maarbani attributes the decision to the lobbying of angel investors, who help the entrepreneurial sector but have previously received no tax breaks for their activities.   “I’m a big believer that angels make a big difference to start-ups. But I’m not sure it’s really a good idea for the industry to have a whole lot of tiny funds out there,” Maarbani says.   Maarbani says he’s not sure if it will open up new opportunities for start-ups, but says the funds already listed on the AusIndustry ESVCLP list as “conditionally registered” may be able to fully register and start funding start-ups.   “Many of them are conditionally registered because they haven’t raised the 10 million bucks yet, so it’s possible when it’s reduced to five million, they may have that and will be able to get them going,” Maarbani says.   Robert Jones, a founder of the Australian Clean Tech Innovation Partnership, which is conditionally registered on the list, says the lowered minimum is good news for angel investors who play a key role in the entrepreneurial eco system.   “This is about fair funding for start-ups. There is a gap in the market place as the venture capital community doesn’t seem to want to fund start-ups without a promised 10-to-1 return or the advantage of tax breaks. ESVCLP is therefore to take advantage of the profitability before exit,” Jones says.   “It’s a good idea because it’s a bit difficult to achieve the higher amount with the conditions of the spread,” Jones says.   “There will be more people in the market and it’ll be more attractive. I don’t necessarily think there will be more money available, but it’ll be easier to achieve the minimum.”   The legislation to enable this change has not yet been introduced to Parliament. StartupSmart understands it is due to be implemented and passed by July 1, 2014.

Start-up gathering TiECON Sydney launches “25 words or less” comp

9:54AM | Monday, 24 September

Entrepreneurial convention TiECon Sydney has launched a “25 words or less” competition, offering the winner a two-hour timeslot at its conference, as Australian start-ups vie for prizes in increasingly unusual ways.

TiECON Sydney to dole out $50,000 through start-up pitch contest

9:34PM | Tuesday, 4 September

Start-ups have been given an 'open door' chance at the TiECON Sydney event to land $50,000 from angel investors, with organisers claiming that the initiative is an opportunity for new ventures to hone their pitches.

Start-up accelerators set to specialise and differentiate as market grows

5:43AM | Thursday, 31 May

Start-up accelerators will need to specialise and differentiate themselves in order to succeed in the future, an expert says, but local players say some accelerators are already doing this.

ATP Innovations to launch clean tech accelerator

3:40AM | Thursday, 29 March

Sydney-based business incubator ATP Innovations is preparing to launch Ignition Labs, an accelerator program inspired by Startmate, which will be aimed solely at clean tech companies.

Seven funding options to get you to the next level

7:55PM | Tuesday, 12 July

We've bootstrapped Shoes of Prey to date but we've been exploring the possibility of raising capital to help accelerate our growth.

MEGA opportunity for tech start-ups

3:11AM | Thursday, 24 March

Tech start-ups have been offered the chance to pitch for investment through the three-month MEGA program, which kicks off in April.

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