Founders tip in cash for upsized OIF

OIF Ventures
JULY 12 2021
Published in the Australian Financial Review

Hot and getting hotter: there’s no stopping the investor appetite in the local technology sector.

Early Go1-backer, Our Innovation Fund, has scaled up the size of its newest fund, now targeting $100 million rather than $75 million.

It is the second fund for the OIF team, which counts Jerry Stesel, Geoff Levy, David Shein, Laurence Schwartz and (as of earlier this year) former AWS Australia and New Zealand boss Paul Migliorini, as partners.

Originally expected to close at the end of the year, the up-sized OIF fund is now slated to close this month.

As well as Go1 - OIF’s first unicorn - OIF has backed companies including cyber security platform Kasada (which has Malcolm Turnbull on its capital table), open-source-as-a-service start-up Instaclustr, automated penetration testing software start-up XM Cyber and navigational tech company Advanced Navigation.

The local venture capitalists announced the first close of its latest fund in August last year, when it had locked in $50 million. By February this year, it had banked another $30 million.

It has already deployed $20 million of the new fund into 12 start-ups such as international student marketplace, direct-to-consumer cremation company Bare and creator economy fintech Paperchain.

Unlike the largest VC funds in the country, such as SquarePeg, Blackbird and AirTree, OIF has chosen not to take on any capital from the superannuation funds.

Instead, the funds have predominantly been raised from successful entrepreneurs, with the majority of founders of its own portfolio companies tipping in their own cash.

OIF invests purely in Australian businesses, not backing any offshore companies, and specifically targets those wanting to expand to the US, where it helps them set up networks with potential customers and new investors.