Four years ago, we founded Skalata with a clear vision of helping founders build the next generation of great companies – the ones that create the jobs, the industries, and the strong, diversified economies of the future.
In 2023, the world is a very different place, but despite ongoing macro challenges, the Australian venture ecosystem is in a strong position:
- There’s more funding available, thanks to more VCs investing at the seed stage and the rise of new angel syndicates. The pot available to early-stage companies has increased significantly in the last four years, and the infamous “seed funding gap” has been (at least partially) plugged.
- Post-pandemic, as the world looks to work more flexibly, there is an increased interest from both founders and operators in forming and working in startups.
- Interest and accessibility to venture capital as an asset class from investors is growing steadily.
This is all great news. But more money and interest in the sector doesn’t fill the real gap that still exists – support. Early-stage founders need support. And lots of it.
Today, capital is a commodity and everyone has a network, but the highest leverage investment anyone can make in a company is helping its founders build long-term capability.
More support, more often
Skalata’s four years in business has been four years at the heart of the startup experience. It’s been a commitment to continual learning, evaluating, and improving.
There’s a lot we’re proud of, a lot of great results, and a lot of strong founder feedback that makes us confident we’re getting things right.
But getting comfortable is kind of the opposite of what we ask our founders to do. And we wanted to make sure this ever-evolving knowledge is baked into our daily operations.
So after four incredibly rewarding years supporting over 50 companies and hundreds of exceptional founders, we’ve evolved our model – to one that supports startups as fiercely as ever, while keeping pace with the continuous evolution of the ecosystem.
1. We’ve ditched the program (and we’re investing all year round)
Previously, we made a batch of new investments twice per year. We then ran our 5-month seed investment program to provide intensive support to these new portfolio companies.
But we’re doing away with application deadlines and arbitrary timelines.
We’re now on the lookout for exceptional companies all year round. And we’ll be supporting those companies through the entire seed stage (we already did this, but now it’s official!).
2. We’ve increased our range of initial investment
This allows us to offer our Founder Support model to a wider range of founders – namely those leading more advanced companies (often with higher burn rates) and those at an earlier stage, where founders require additional support around product-market-fit.
3. We’re following on up to $1m (and beyond)
We’re offering frequent, smaller rounds of capital to help founders prove certain assumptions which either de-risk their company or increase its long-term prospects. This allows founders to raise larger amounts on better terms in the future, so they can hold onto more equity and grow sustainably.
We have the privilege of working with Australia’s top investors who are passionate about investing in and supporting exceptional early-stage companies. They trust Skalata to find, work with, and de-risk their investment. So when it's time to follow-on, they want to join, too.
We haven’t reinvented the wheel, and we aren’t forgetting what has worked previously. But in the name of consistently raising the bar, we have a new model - one that’s more agile, and that permits pace, responsiveness, and tailoring.
Bolstering our team
In the past year, we’ve added tremendous strength and depth to our team by welcoming Paul Mann, former CFO of the Future Fund, and Shahirah Gardner, one of Australia’s leading names in fintech and founder of fintech scale-up, Finch, as a Venture Partner.
We’ve also welcomed three exceptional Investment Associates to our Founder Support team – former PwC consultant and design studio founder Tuong Tran, former Monash lecturer Claire Bristow, and lawyer turned startup operator, Rob Greco.
In doing so, we’ve added new experience, skill-sets, opinions and personalities to our ever-growing team.
Building the capabilities for long-term success
We quietly knew we’d been offering this for a few years, but can now confidently say that we provide more time, support and know-how to founders than any seed-stage VC in Australia.
We help founders build a company, not just a runway, via:
- Dedicated, one-on-one Venture Partner support
- Day-to-day strategic and tactical support
- Our partnerships and expert advisory network
- Our flexible investment structure
The key for any startup is building the right capability to support sustained growth for today and tomorrow. Ours is a different type of VC relationship.
Growing significant and sustainable companies
Our first fund continues to perform strongly, and less than halfway in, has already achieved an unrealised multiple of 2.89x.
Two of our earlier investments, Explorate and Preezie, have been named among Australias’ fastest-growing tech companies, have raised Series A rounds and are expanding beyond Australian shores.
In the past few months, we’ve added some exceptional operators to our portfolio – Lochie and Afonso from NetNada, Vic and Victor from Nola, and Murad and Sabina from Optomni – who all epitomise the vision, insight, potential, and the capacity of founders to change Australia for the better.
We’ve also made investments in, and are working with 8 new companies who we’re excited to announce over the coming months.
A fresh coat of paint
We wanted to ensure our learnings from the last four years were reflected in everything we do – and that includes our brand.
New year, new look
Skalata is all about relationships – individuals coming together to grow and assist one another. We’re an eclectic mix of unique skill-sets and personalities. Never static, energetic and always in motion.
We’re pushing all of our resources, know-how, and connections into the ring, to ensure our founders succeed. And we wanted an identity that represented that.
Our new logo mark features the five C’s we believe are the key ingredients for long-term success:
- Capability (we help founders build the personal and professional skills needed to succeed)
- Commitment (we commit to long-term support for the life of a company)
- Capital (we provide flexible initial and follow-on investments)
- Coaching (we provide dedicated, full-time support from our Venture Team)
- Community (from our board, team and investors to our university and corporate partners)
At the mark’s centre is the founder. The (literal) star of this show. Because when founders succeed, we all succeed.
As with all design, it’s never just a design. It’s about openness, being unafraid of change, committing to constant course correction, and taking bold steps into new territory.
We hope you like the new Skalata.
We’re doing what we do best, at the stage we know best, all year round.