FOUNDERS

FAQs

Questions? They're the start of great things.

Eligibility

Does Skalata invest in a particular industry?

The truth is, we don’t want to box ourselves in to a certain industry because we believe growth can come from anywhere. So, whether you’re changing the world with technology or just looking at an old problem in a new way, we’d love to hear from you. We currently have portfolio companies in agriculture, logistics, healthcare, SaaS, construction, blockchain...you name it. There's innovation everywhere and we don't discriminate.

What characteristics does Skalata look for in founders?

We look to partner with founders who are honest, determined, and purpose driven. They also tend to embrace the unknown like it’s a long-lost friend! They’re entrepreneurs who know what they want to accomplish and why they want to do it.  

At Skalata, we champion all different backgrounds, languages and abilities – the more different we are, the fresher our thinking can be.

What is your investment mandate?

We’re looking for companies at the seed stage that have built momentum in their business. You’ll need to be innovative, capital efficient and market ready (see below).

What do you mean by "innovative"?

Innovative means:

  • Your company has a solution, infrastructure or process that is in some way unique to anything else that is on the market.
  • Your company should have invented something by way of a technology solution. This invention should create defensible intellectual property, barriers to entry or a competitive advantage for the company.
  • Another consideration in assessing innovation will be the stage of product development. As detailed above, your company should have a product offering in market or ready to go to market. Many companies begin life as a services or consulting business which can be valuable in gaining an understanding of their customers and market. However, we are best positioned to support companies with a scalable, technology product, rather than a solution which requires significant human capital, labour or manual processes in order to deliver value.
What do you mean by "market ready"?

Market Ready means:

  • Your company must have a product ready to go to market. Ideally the company should already have some form traction (e.g. users or revenue – the more the better with particular focus on recent growth). However, there is no one-size-fits-all assessment of traction for every type of business model or company.
  • For a traditional B2B SaaS company with a recurring transactional or subscription revenue model, we would expect the company to be generating revenue or to demonstrate recent user growth. Similar criteria would be applied to a marketplace business.
  • For a B2C, B2B2C or consumer mobile app business, we would have higher expectations for the number of users/customers using the product. If the business wasn’t generating revenue, we would then look for clear user engagement a clear business model or path to monetisation.
  • Companies focused on large enterprise clients will naturally have longer sales cycles once their product is market ready. In this case, evidence of traction would include pilots or contracts signed, or even LOIs or POCs (with an assessment of their terms). It is also helpful to know if the company is working with any notable or prominent enterprises that gives it a unique growth or partnership opportunity.
  • For companies that require significant time, capital or resources (e.g. hardware businesses that require research, trials or testing) in order to bring their product to market, these activities will need to be completed prior to the program, such that they are ready (or close to ready) to commercialise their product.
What do you mean by "capital efficient"?

Capital efficient means:

  • The funding provided by Skalata Ventures should have a material impact on your company. You should be able to describe how you will hit a milestone or proof point that enables you to get closer to cash flow positive or attract further funding.
  • The funding should meaningfully extend your company's runway.

Investment Terms

What is Skalata’s investment structure?
  1. Entry Deal
    If a company is selected for investment by Skalata Ventures, they receive:

    i) venture development support and;
    ii) $100k - $200k investment funding.

    In return, Skalata Ventures receives 5-10% equity in that company. Initial investment is determined on a case-by-case basis.
  2. Exit Deal
    Within 18 months from initial investment, Skalata may elect to make further investment up to a $1m total investment cap, provided companies:

    i) successfully complete the program and;
    ii) achieve a traction milestone (like a monthly recurring gross margin)
What if I’ve already raised funding from angels – is it too late to talk to you?

Of course not. While we’re usually the first money in, we’ve worked with a number of teams that have raised a small ‘friends and family’ round before coming to us. That said, if you’ve already raised more than a few million dollars, we’re probably not a fit. Great work, though!

Do you take board seats?

No. We’re a small but focused team. We’d rather help you appoint independent board members with deep domain expertise to our brilliant portfolio companies, than have us sit on multiple boards and not give you the time and effort you deserve.

How does Skalata’s investment work if we have SAFE (or other convertible) notes?

There are two paths to go forward, keeping in mind that Skalata receives 5-10% equity, on a fully diluted basis, in exchange for providing venture development and financial support ($100k-$200k) for the initial investment deal

  1. Convert the outstanding notes prior to Skalata’s investment. This is generally by agreement with the note holders. You would need to agree on a valuation for the company, as Skalata’s entry deal ($100k-$200k + access to venture development support) does not value the business in and of itself.

  2. Leave the notes outstanding. Skalata makes its investment on the basis of the then issued shares. As the outstanding notes form part of the fully diluted shareholding, Skalata would be issued additional shares when those notes convert. This preserves Skalata’s equity holding as if those notes converted at the time of the Skalata’s initial investment.

Either way, Skalata ends up with 5-10% equity effective at the time of its investment and is thereafter diluted alongside all other shareholders.

Do you invest outside of Australia?

Australia is where our heart (and wallet) is because that’s where we have the most experience and can be the most valuable partners. Having said that, we’re open to making exceptions for companies headquartered across the ditch in New Zealand and companies whose management is located in Australia but has overseas development teams.

Can other investors co-invest with Skalata?

Unfortunately not for the initial investment deal of $100-200k. You are free to raise capital from other investors – either before or after Skalata invests. The reason for this is that we provide capital and a high level of venture development support as a package. In exchange, we receive equity.

To take a little dip into the support we provide, all selected companies receive hands-on coaching from a lead venture partner, as well as the resources to develop their business infrastructure for growth. Our venture partners are employees who work week-in and week-out with the founders. Time and time again we hear that the biggest benefit to companies actually comes from this support (i.e. if we do our jobs right, the least valuable thing is the capital!).

We do work with other investors for the follow-on investment deal of up to a $1m investment cap.


Contacting us & applying

Is it ever too early to approach Skalata? 

It’s never too early to reach out to us. Even if you're only a few people and an idea, we’d still like to get to know you. Maybe we can even help in the meantime, before you’re eligible to apply for our program. Don't hesitate to get in touch.

Will you sign my NDA?

Unfortunately not. We could go into all the ins and outs, but we think Michael Tefula does a great job summing everything up in this blog post.

How do I apply?

Leading up to each program, you’ll be able to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI).

If your company meets our investment mandate and eligibility criteria, we’ll happily invite you to submit a full application.

Venture Development

How often does Skalata make investments?

Skalata invests on a rolling monthly basis, so you can apply at any time. Submit an EOI now.

How much time do I spend on my business?

You’re in the driver’s seat - so you manage our own time! Each founder’s journey is unique and nothing that we do is prescribed - no group-based classes or workshops, no cookie-cutter solutions or recommendations. 


We appreciate that running a business is all-consuming, but we do encourage founders to take a step back from time to time to evaluate where you’re going and to ensure that you’re spending time working on the business (rather than just in the business).

How has the venture development process been designed?

We’ve refined our venture development process significantly to get to where we are today (and it's involved a lot of trial and error!) Here are the three main ingredients that went into designing it. 

The team

  • The Skalata Ventures team and board have created, built, advised or exited successful companies across Australia and in the US.   
  • We’ve also funded and worked with hundreds of companies at the seed stage both within Skalata Ventures (our portfolio companies) and prior to Skalata Ventures (e.g. Aktana, Allume, Brosa, Carbar, Design Crowd, Mobilkamu, Nitro Software, Nura, Omny, Palette, Parkhound, Relectrify and Venuemob.)
  • Our team has worked with early-stage founders for over a decade. Our CEO, Rohan Workman, founded the first university-based accelerator (Melbourne Accelerator Program) back in 2012. One of its first employees was Maxine Lee, our incredible COO, growing MAP's portfolio to 60+ companies.

International best practice

  • The way that we provide support to companies incorporates insights from people who run the world’s leading accelerators, seed funds, universities and venture capital firms. These include Y-Combinator, StartX Stanford, Accel Partners, Kleiner Perkins, Techstars, Oxford, Cambridge and Right Side Capital Management amongst others. 

Extensive local research

Prior to launching Skalata, we conducted five intensive months of customer discovery in Australia. We interviewed 50+ people including:

  • Pre-seed/Seed-stage founders
  • Founders at a later stage (post series A)
  • People who invest in or work with early-stage companies.

Through these interviews, we uncovered:

  • What early-stage founders need (and know they need) help with.
  • What later-stage founders wish they had done earlier to prevent obstacles down the line (but either didn’t know or didn’t realise was important at the time).
  • What investors need to see in companies in order to invest in them.
Is Skalata a one-size fits all for companies?

No, the experience is unique to you and your business. 


Of course there are business fundamentals and best practices that companies need to implement to become significant and sustainable. However, we recognise that each company and team has a unique set of goals and challenges.

How do you help companies?

Coaching

Founders are matched with a dedicated venture partner with deep seed-stage expertise (they’ve been investors, operators or founders themselves!). Our venture partners provide coaching week-in and week-out to help you work on the business to achieve your goals.

Growth Funding

When you join the Skalata family, you’ll receive $100k-$200k of initial funding for approximately 5-10% equity in your business. In terms of follow-on funding, we invest up to a $1 million total investment cap (including the initial funding provided) based on company progress.

Advisory Network

Each company also gets access to a helpful network of experienced business leaders, operators, and entrepreneurs who are passionate about helping early-stage companies succeed.

How much support do I get?

Each company is assigned a venture partner and access to the broader venture team. This includes experts and Skalata’s network of advisors, prospective investors and customers. You can call us anytime (well not necessarily at 3am, but know that we’ve got your back!)

Our venture partners will help you work on the business but they won’t work in your business. Their sole purpose is to help you get your company to the next level. 

The venture partners on our team are very reachable and work week-in and week-out to help you:

  • achieve your goals as a business
  • understand your strengths and weaknesses as a founder
  • work through any specific challenges, issues or risks 
  • develop and maintain a powerful operational cadence in your business
  • build and improve your business infrastructure (through our Skalata Stack)
  • wherever you need additional support (i.e. hiring, negotiating a major contract, going through a business pivot, helping you with a sales call)

What are the objectives of Skalata's venture development process?

There’s no better feeling than seeing our founders succeed. Because of that, we’ve set clear objectives that lead to great things. These include:

Develop a growth engine Helping founders to achieve (and in some cases, exceed) their growth targets and build the team, systems and business infrastructure required to scale customers.
Achieve product-market fit Helping founders measure where they stand in respect of product-market fit and what actions are required to obtain it.
Build a sustainable business model Helping founders develop a viable business model with healthy margins and unit economics to ensure consistent growth.

We want you under our wing.

By deploying maximum resources, we create an unfair winning advantage for every company in our portfolio.

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