Association launches VC initiative for members

Association launches VC initiative for members

A Venture Capital (VC) committee has been established by Proptech Association Australia to help member companies unlock their investment potential and better understand the institutional investment landscape.

The initial focus will be to provide information resources on VC funding, highlighting the different types of funding available and the varied priorities of individual VC companies. Committee chairman, former New Yorker now based in Sydney since 2022, Ari Ginsburg, said proptechs in Australia and New Zealand are no different than startups in the U.S. and elsewhere with imperfect access to information about how VC investments work.

“We want to provide members with a better understanding of institutional investment opportunities particularly from VC’s, how it can help a start-up determine the right decision for their specific needs and prepare them for future growth,” said Mr Ginsburg, a former insurance and real estate executive now consultant and advisor. “With this knowledge, companies will be able to make better financial decisions about the appropriate path to take for their business.”

Joining Ari are seasoned VC specialists Tom Ellis of Pebble Ventures and Jason Risorto, Managing Partner of Greenfield Ventures and former executive at The Durst Organization. The three-person committee would identify key players in the local VC market, provide insight into how to attract VC support and explain the role of a VC firm. They would also help the association to “build a bridge to VC companies”.

Mr Ginsburg said the association wanted to “help members with the really hard stuff”.

“There are three main pillars that are top of mind for founders – product, addressable market, and capital. We want to focus on the third pillar – capital. We want to help founders better understand potential investment opportunities to manage their capital planning process”.

Understanding how VCs make their investments is critical in the current environment of higher interest rates, which may have contributed to a negative impact on the desirability of proptech investments. Mr Ginsburg said: “It is a different or more complicated market than two to three years ago because of higher rates. VCs have return hurdles they need to achieve, so their sector focus is always changing. However, if the idea or product/service is compelling enough, there should be access.”

He also observed that, while higher interest rates may affect some startup’s ability to execute as efficiently as they may have in the past, it had little to no bearing on the products or services of many other proptech start-ups, “so I think it’s unfair to generalise about the entire sector without more context”.

Mr Ginsburg welcomed the opportunity to work with Mr Risorto and Mr Ellis to achieve this goal.

“They have worked extensively with the VC community and are well-known in the industry,” he said. “They both understand the landscape. My experience has been on the pitching side. Jason and Tom have been on the other side as investors.”

“I’m excited to help members position their businesses for future investment. We’ll cover the ABCs of VC’s. We’ll be a resource because pitching for investment does not come naturally to most folks.” Together, the committee will aim to demystify the complexities of VC and empower member companies to position themselves strategically for future investments.