Australian startups share tips on how to raise early stage funding

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Office workers are seen at Southern Cross train station in Melbourne May 10, 2010.
Office workers are seen at Southern Cross train station in Melbourne May 10, 2010. Reuters/Mick Tsikas

Early stage funding could be challenging for several startups, including those from Australia. Some startups admitted they did not have the expertise or knowledge on how to raise funds, a new survey has found.

The new Startup Muster, a poll of the Australian startup ecosystem, shows that 12.9 percent said they did not possess the expertise to raise funds. SafetyCulture CEO and founder Luke Anear offered an advice, saying that startups must not go to an investor meeting and ask for cash.

Anear said the approach should be like dating. A startup needs to know the investor first before accepting an investment. “You don’t get married on your first date, you don’t take investment on your first investor meeting,” Business Insider Australia quotes him as saying.

SBE Australia general manager Julie Demsey also shared some tips. She said that founders need to do their own homework. It is going to be a long partnership, so it is important to understand all the details. Demsey suggested knowing everything about the investors. Both camps must be aligned with values and ideas on how to push the business forward. It also pays to be ready to ensure that the numbers are well understood.

Demsey also mentioned anticipating questions that could be asked. “Know that you will need to continue to refine your pitch deck again and again and be aware of the key things a specific investor might be interested in knowing and address those.” SBE Australia runs Springboard Enterprises Accelerator and E3 programs for women.

Despite the challenge of raising funds, a KPMG study shows that Australian fintech investment is strong. Australia-based fintech startup Airwallex has recently secured a $6 million investment prior to a Series B round planned for Q2 2018, Deal Street Asia reports. The expansion of its staff and its Shanghai-based R&D team could be possible through future funding.

Tencent, MasterCard, Gobi Ventures and Sequoia China are current investors of the firm. Tencent is said to be well-positioned to assist in Airwallex’s growth in the region, given that the fintech firm can leverage on prospective integration with WeChat to launch itself in Malaysia, a key market of Southeast Asia.

Airwallex was founded in 2015. It offers integrated solutions that allow enterprises to conduct cross-border transactions. It also assists in international money transfers through local payment collection, distribution and foreign exchange.

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