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Innovation Bay hopes to tap rich seam of potential investors in Perth

Thursday, 18 December 2014 | By Kye White

There’s money and an appetite for risk amongst investors in Perth but it’s mining ventures, not startups, that are benefiting.


Entrepreneurship network Innovation Bay hopes to change that when it launches in Perth early next year.


The organisation has been running in Sydney for the past 10 years and has helped startups like Spreets.com.au, Posse, goCatch, and Expert 360 over $10 million in seed funding. It holds events that link entrepreneurs with angel investors and venture capitalists.


Directors of Western Australian corporate advisory firm Go Capital, Geoff Pritchard and Derek Gerrard, are bringing Innovation Bay to Perth and are keen to replicate the success of the Sydney network.


“In Perth there’s money around, and a good appetite for risk, but the culture here means that it might go into a junior mining entity, rather than a startup,” Gerrard says.


“That’s a different process to investing in an early stage tech startups. We want to educate those investors.”


Gerrard is familiar with startups; Go Capital advises companies on capital raising and he founded his own startup Green Sense in 2008. He’s still a shareholder, but is no longer actively involved.


“We want to help create a long-term pipeline of startups coming out of Perth,” he says.


“What we’ve seen over the last couple of years is lots of companies are able to get seed funding to begin with, but the problem is the next step.


“There’s limited options for startups that don’t have their own high net-worth connections. Innovation Bay Perth will help fill that gap and provide another path for startups to get funding.”


Deloitte and Applabs have joined as the founding sponsors of Perth’s Innovation Bay. Deloitte R&D leader, Western Australia, Ron van Beek says innovation and entrepreneurship is essential for business growth and will play a vital role in the development of the Western Australian economy.


“Deloitte has a deep commitment to design thinking, innovation and celebrating the power of new ideas, which is why we are delighted to partner with Innovation Bay,” he says.


To become involved in Innovation Bay, whether as a startup founder or investor, apply to become a member.


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