What is the Venture Growth Fund?

The Venture Growth Fund is an initiative that will focus on boosting innovation in Victoria by co-investing in local startups over a four-year period.

 

Background

The Victorian government will launch a $25 million venture growth fund in an effort to keep startups in the state, a significant policy shift on tech for the state government. The announcement follows the launch of the $250 million Victorian Business Growth Fund back in June.

The Venture Growth Fund, which is set to be formally unveiled as part of the state government’s budget on Tuesday, will see the government co-invest in local startups. It comes after the state government launched the Victorian Business Growth Fund earlier this year, which is focusing on “long-term growth opportunities”.

The fund seems to be a continuation of this strategy. However, when it comes to the innovation ecosystem, it could mark something of a strategy change.

Previously, the government has focused its innovation funding on startup agency LaunchVic, which funds accelerators, events and research into the ecosystem, and issues government grant funding.

LaunchVic also heads up CivVic Labs, a procurement program designed to give startups easier access to government contracts.

t’s not clear, as it stands, whether the new program will run hand-in-hand with LaunchVic, whether the two schemes will be combined, or whether the new approach will replace the old one.

The budget is also expected to include additional ‘access-to-capital’ initiatives directed at startups and complementing the Victorian Business Growth Fund.

 

Objective

The Venture Growth Fund is intended to keep high-growth-potential businesses in Victoria, offering an alternative to seeking funding offshore.  It could also prevent those startups from approaching the private equity market too soon, and getting burnt.

The fund was designed to help give small- and medium-sized businesses access to equity funding, in order to help them manage the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Funding

A $25.7 million anchor investment is intended to encourage additional investment from private investors, addressing the challenge startups face in accessing capital.

However, it appears the funding will be structured as a loan, rather than an equity investment, meaning founders won’t have to surrender equity.

 

Eligibility

The Venture Growth Fund will be available to high-growth, revenue-generating startups across all industries. So far, no further information on eligibility has been released.

 

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