It’s four and a half years since we embarked on the Blackbird Ventures journey. We’re proud of what the Blackbird logo has come to stand for, and now being a team of six, we decided to sit down and lay out our mission and values.
Our set of cultural values guide our investment decisions and the way we interact with everyone along the way.
Supercharge Australia’s most ambitious founders ?
“Supercharge”: Supercharging is not just providing capital but completely believing in the mission, helping surround the company with great people and doing whatever it takes to increase the chance of success. We know it’s the founders who make great companies, not their investors. Our job is to back great founders and help them succeed.
“Australia’s”: We debated whether we should specifically call out our Australian-ness. As you know we’re all about global businesses. But Australia is fundamental to who we are and what we do. It’s part of our competitive advantage and it’s where we want to remain focussed.
“most ambitious”: We are striving to find, back and support the few companies formed each year that change the way we live and work. This is how we will generate excellent returns for our investors.
“founders”: Founders always come first (see below).
? “To the moon”: The rocket emoji nicely symbolises both the mission and our personality. It’s also a reminder not to take ourselves too seriously.
The mission statement equally encompasses our investment business and our community work. Our investment business is focussed on generating excellent returns for our investors. Our community work aims to boost the Australian startup ecosystem, helping to build the next group of founders we will back (and hence reinforcing our investment business).
We wear t-shirts
Blackbird is a startup and will always be run as a startup. Our style, our office, our events and our communications should relate to the founders we back.
We are true believers in founders
Founders come first, they are our reason for being. We work for our founders, they don’t work for us. We believe in founder-led businesses. If there are grey areas, we will side with the founders, as we believe this will maximise our returns in the long term. Our reputation with founders is everything and we will guard it relentlessly.
We believe in love at first sight
We make high conviction decisions after careful research and debate, but also trust our instincts built up over years of pattern matching. We understand all startups are messy and will invest through the mess where we love the mission. We back founders for their exceptional strengths, not their lack of weaknesses. And, we need to fall in love with the businesses we back. It’s 100% conviction or nothing.
We are comfortable with the misunderstood
We don’t need to know all the answers to make an investment decision. We’ll look to maximise the upside, rather than minimise the risks. We’d rather back the hungry founder than the proven one. We understand that the next great business will probably not look like the last one and we will push ourselves to invest in emerging areas. Sometimes people will think we’re crazy to make an investment — we’re happy with that. And we’re comfortable with the fact that we’ll often be wrong.
We think in decades not days
We invest for the long term. Building iconic businesses takes the best part of a decade — or longer. We don’t plan for exits. We want to back founders who are doing their life’s work, who say no to the $30m acquisition offer and then say no to the $300m offer. You can’t get to be a billion dollar company if you sell at $300m. We know the difficult thing is building a great business, not selling our stake in a great business.
We will make our kids proud
Everything we do, we will do with integrity, in a way that we’d be happy tell our kids about. It’s also a reference to the responsibility we feel for our investors’ capital. We will take care and strive to deliver excellent returns in a fair and transparent manner. We will always put our investors ahead of our personal interests. We will comply with regulations and pay our taxes. And finally, our kids and our spouses are an important part of the Blackbird family. We’ll work hard, but we’ll not let Blackbird get in the way of spending enough time with them.