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We
invest
in
every
type
of
technology
at
every
stage,
unified
by
the
biggest
of
ambitions

Why Blackbird

We’re generational owners. That means we’ll back you all the way from when your business is just an idea, to many decades after it has become a large publicly listed corporation.

Here’s how we’ll live up to that ownership.

01

We’ve started and worked for startups ourselves and know what it’s like to survive the early stage rollercoaster. If we back you, we believe in you, and we believe in you from the very beginning. Our belief in you means we put our egos aside to help you in any way we can.

Your Companion in Courage
02

The majority of capital from our first fund came from successful technology founders, who invested their capital and time to help the next generation. Today, our portfolio of 100+ companies share advice, learnings and resources - from salary benchmarking to profit margins.

Founders Helping Founders
03

We invest in companies, not rounds. We invested in Canva when it was an idea, in Zoox before there was a product. 67% of our investments in 2021 were pre-revenue. We will invest from the beginning and every subsequent round.

Day 1 to Day 10,000
04

Our Founder Success team is here to help you reach your wildest ambition. From levelling up your leadership capabilities, to telling your story with communications support and surrounding you with knowledge and connections through our five-week Founder Academy, we’ll help you grow from founder to great CEO.

From Founder to CEO
05

Startups are the people they hire, and we know nearly every dollar of capital a startup raises goes to building that team. We’ll introduce you to vetted talent through our Lilypad platform and Startmate’s Fellowship programs. And we will run programs to upskill portfolio operators, and nurture your journey from founder to CEO with coaching and mentoring.  

Supercharging your team
Previous
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How We Work For You

Everything we do at Blackbird is built around being useful to founders. Money is part of that, but so is hiring, leadership, product and customers. We want to have a system-wide impact and that starts by helping our portfolio succeed.

Drag Me!
01

Our whole team works for you, not just your lead investor. From specialist advice to 1:1 support and introductions, you can count on any Blackbird to lend a hand on your journey.

1:1 and 1:many
02

We create products to get thousands more people to find their way into startups. 

From connecting you to board advisors to finding your next executive hire, we combine our ecosystem programs and 1:1 support to bring the best people into your orbit.

Helping you build your team
03

Our community of founders come together with special programs, events and content. Get advice from the group in real-time, spend quality time together at our Founder Retreat, and join special programming tackling your thorniest questions.

A flock of founders

Our Investment Process

We move fast - typically between a couple of days to a couple of weeks from first conversation to term sheet. We work for our founders’ timelines and every time we make an investment it’s slightly different, but this is generally what happens in that time.

First Contact

A purple and pink bird vision rocket taking off
01

You might be introduced to us directly, or you share your initial pitch deck directly with us here - no warm intro required! Either way, we’ll take a look at your deck and let you know what we thought within a week.

Tip: Not sure what an initial pitch deck should include? Here’s an example from Nick.

An Initial Conversation

A purple and pink bird vision river water flowing
02

If we’d like to hear more, one of our investment team members who is most passionate about what you’re doing will get in touch. The conversation is always friendly, but you should expect you'll be challenged on a few things, usually related to what we look for in founders. This is your chance to interview Blackbird as well. Ask any questions you have - don’t be shy about pushing us either!

We move forward

A purple and pink bird vision cityscape
03

Whether we are keen to move forward or not, the investor you met will be in touch with you pretty quickly. You’ll have a second meeting with this lead investor to dive deeper into your vision, metrics, team and how you plan to use the capital you are raising. This is also when our version of due diligence starts, and your lead investor will start helping you prepare to pitch to more of our investing team.

Tip: Not sure what this longer pitch deck should include? Sam has a handy guide here. 

Pitching to the investment team

A purple and pink bird vision trickle of water
04

You’ll pitch 4 people from our investments team, including two of our partners. They’ll come prepared with context from your lead investor, who will be by your side through this process and helping give you the best chance of success. The prep for these pitches generally includes why the lead investor believes your startup will become a generational company. So our team will come excited, curious and ready to learn from you!

Tip: You’ll pitch virtually as our investment team is split across Australia and New Zealand. The session usually includes an introduction to everyone, your pitch presentation of your company deck, and some questions from the Investment Team.

We make a decision

A purple and pink bird vision submarine
05

You will hear back from us the same day with a ‘no’, a ‘yes’, or a request for more info to help us make a final decision. We will always give you feedback on your pitch and your company. If we are not going to invest, we want to tell you no quickly and also tell you the key reasons that contributed to our choice.

Tip: The best fundraisers often create a ‘data room’ so that investors can preemptively answer key questions about your business - LegalVision have a good explainer here.

Term sheet time

A purple and pink bird vision rocky cliff face
06

The opposite of a no is a yes! We work on a term sheet for you - we work from standard docs as much as we can to make it quick for you and minimise pain, time and lawyers in the future. If you accept the term sheet, we move forward with the information we need to wire the money.

Once this is complete, you’ll receive a money transfer soon after with the agreed capital. We can also introduce you to like-minded investors locally and around the world if it’s something you need.

Welcome to the community!

A purple and pink bird vision mushroom cluster
07

Once the docs are done we begin onboarding you and your team into our Blackbird community and the magic really starts happening. You’ll meet other founders, get support from our Founder Success team on common startup challenges, and be invited to take part in our Founder Academy, an 8-week program to help you build your business and learn alongside other Blackbird founders.

Generational Ownership

We first invested $250k in Canva when it was an idea in the heads of Mel, Cliff and Cam. We have invested $270M since. We are similarly the largest investor shareholders in prospective generational companies like Culture Amp, Propeller, Dovetail, Baraja and Eucalyptus.

Portfolio Company

Financing Round Participation

Blackbird Ownership

Seed 2012 Funds

Series A 2012/2015 Funds

SeriesA1
2015 Funds

SeriesA2
2018 Funds

Investment 2015/2018 Funds

Series A3-A4 2018 Funds

SeriesA5 2020 Funds

Investment 2020 Funds

15%
Rick and niki watching mel perkins present canva to a small room
Employees
3 (Mel, Cliff and Cam)
First Blackbird Investment
US$250k
Valuation
US$8m
8 Rounds later
A crowd of people from the canva team on a street
Employees
>2,000
Total Blackbird Investment
>US$150m
Valuation
US$40b

Seed 2012 Funds

Series A 2012 Funds

Series B 2015 Funds

Series C 2015 Funds

Series C 2018/2020 Funds

Secondary 2020 Funds

Series C2 2020 Funds

14%
A carport set up to be a small office
Employees
7
First Blackbird Investment
A$1m
Valuation
A$5m
7 Rounds later
A large team of people sitting together on a grassy oval
Employees
>500
Total Blackbird Investment
A$116m*
Valuation
A$2.2b

*Includes co-investment

Series A 2012 Fund

Series B 2012/2015 F

Series C 2015 Funds

Series D 2018 Funds

Secondary 2018 Funds

Series E 2018 Funds

Series F 2020 Funds

15%
Four men who are the founders of culture amp sitting together
Employees
20+
First Blackbird Investment
A$1.3m
Valuation
A$25m
7 Rounds later
A large group of people in culture amp t-shirts standing together
Employees
>600
Total Blackbird Investment
A$76m*
Valuation
A$2b

*Includes co-investment

Seed 2012 Fund

Series A 2012/2018 Funds

Series B 2020 Funds

Secondary 2020 Funds

26%
Four men who are the founding team at propeller sitting at desks
Employees
4
First Blackbird Investment
A$750k
4 Rounds later
A large group of propeller team members in active wear
Employees
>170
Total Blackbird Investment
A$28m

Seed 2018 Funds

Seed extension 2018 Funds

Series A 2018 Funds

Series B 2020 Funds

23%
Three men at a messy desk when eucalyptus was founded
Employees
4
First Blackbird Investment
A$1.5m
4 Rounds later
A crowded room of people at a bar celebrating eucalyptus today
Employees
~200
Total Blackbird Investment
A$16m

Seed 2015 Funds

Seed extension 2018 Funds

Series A 2015 Funds

Secondary 2018 Funds

Series A extension 2018 Funds

Series B 2020 Funds

33%
Federico Collarte and Cibby Pulikkaseril sitting in a garage with laptops
Employees
4
First Blackbird Investment
A$1.5m
6 Rounds later
A large group of people standing in the Baraja office
Employees
>120
Total Blackbird Investment
A$48m

Series A 2015 Funds

Series B 2018 Funds

Series C 2020 Funds

22%
Adam Gilmour standing next to a small rocket model
Employees
20
First Blackbird Investment
A$3m
3 Rounds later
A large group of gilmour space technologies employees
Employees
~80
Total Blackbird Investment
A$45m

Ranking Our Process

For every founder we meet and say no to, we send them an NPS survey ranking us on a score of 1 to 10 on how likely they would be to recommend Blackbird to other founders. The possible scores range from -100 to +100.

Here’s how we have scored over the past 12 months:

A NPS graph showing an average of 62

FAQ

What is your process for making investments?

We've covered that above, but keep an eye out for a blog on this soon.

What will I need to provide for due diligence?

We love to see how your team is thinking about the product roadmap, a financial model that underpins your strategy and a cap table with any existing investors, as well as evidence from your customers, previous investors and other stakeholders.

How can I get in touch with Blackbird?

For investment? Share your vision here and we’ll let you know what we think within a week. For everything else, you can contact us. 

You can also get involved with our community - you might get mentoring from our Giants program, attend our Sunrise festival or join Startmate’s next accelerator.

What industries or areas will you invest in?

We pride ourselves on not being rigid investors. The very definition of novel is "not like anything before". We get excited when something doesn't easily fit a category or seems strange.

We invest broadly from software to space and have invested repeatedly in deep tech areas such as healthcare technology, robotics, autonomous vehicles and alternative protein. We also update our investment thesis with every fund - read our current thesis here as well as previous ones.

What happens in the investment pitch meeting?

You'll pitch most or all of our investing team, who will have heard a bit about you from the lead investor in advance in the form of our investment writeup. These writeups generally include why the lead investor believes your startup will become a generational company. So our team will come excited, curious and ready to learn from you!

You can pitch virtually or come into one of our offices to present, but as our investment team is split across Australia and New Zealand, some of us will be dialling in regardless. You’ll present your deck first, followed by some questions from the Investment Team. Keep an eye out for a blog with more info on this coming soon.

What do you look for in a founding team?

How convenient - we recently wrote a blog on the qualities we look for in founding teams! Read it here.

I am pre-product and pre-revenue. Will you invest?

We love to invest pre-product and pre-revenue and most of our first cheque investments fit this bill (pun intended).

I’m raising a later round. Will you invest?

We prefer to make our first investment into a company at the pre-seed, seed or Series A round, but we will invest in later rounds too.

Do you invest in companies located outside of Australia or New Zealand?

We invest in founders that have a strong connection to Australia or New Zealand. Maybe you’re based here? Perhaps you lived in New Zealand for a certain time? Maybe one of your co-founders is Australian?

Whether you are geographically placed in Australia or New Zealand is far less important to us.

We invest in Australians and New Zealanders because everything we have done at Blackbird has been about building a community of founders here that give us a chance to meet tomorrow’s great founders.

At what stage do you invest?

Our goal is to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars right at the beginning of a company’s life before there is product or revenue, earn a courtside seat to the best companies by building a great relationship with them and then invest hundreds of millions over their lifetimes.

We have invested as little as $30,000 in a seed and in some cases $5M in a Series A.

Do you have a set of standard terms?

Every deal is different, but we prefer to draw as much as possible from the Australian Investment Council Open Source Funding docs. We prefer clean industry standard terms.

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Pink and purple bird vision mountains in the desert