Blackbird’s USD 640M fund to boost Australia and New Zealand ventures

Blackbird, an Australian venture capital firm, reportedly closed a fund on Wednesday for over AUD $1 billion ($640 million). The firm claims this is the largest fund ever raised in Australia.

This sixth fund from Blackbird is twice as big as the last one, which closed in August 2020. Superannuation funds such as Hostplus, AustralianSuper, the sovereign wealth fund of Australia, the sovereign wealth funds of New Zealand, the Future Fund, as well as the government-backed New Zealand Growth Capital Partners Elevate fund were among the institutional investors that participated in this round.

Ten years ago, most institutional investors in Australia and particularly those based in New Zealand didn't want to invest any funds near tech businesses. Their support today denotes the growth of the venture capital market in both countries.

Sam Wong, one of the partners at Blackbird, claims that superannuation funds should support the software industry since they have long time horizons and have the money to be patient.

More than 270 individual investors have also contributed to the fund. Many of them are digital entrepreneurs and founders who have previously received funding from Blackbird through other funds, the company claims. According to Wong, those founders will help the fund not just with their own money but also with their skills, connections, as well as knowledge.

The AUD $1 billion ($640 million) is divided into three funds: A$284 million ($182 million) core capital for seed stage and pre-seed Australian firms, a A$668 million ($472 million) follow-on investment to aid Blackbird portfolio firms from Series A through the final round at Canva, as well as a NZ $75 million ($44 million) specialized New Zealand fund, which is also primarily for seed stage and pre-seed startups.

The fund has already invested in 18 firms across a variety of sectors, including artificial intelligence, manufacturing, and e-commerce. In the last month, Blackbird made investments in Sonder, which focuses on student and employee welfare, and Spice AI, a system for AI-driven infrastructure and data.

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