This is our process for making investments.
Inspired by this blog post by Charlie O'Donnell at Brooklyn Bridge VC, we've decided to publish our process for investing in companies.
How should you pitch us?
Like many investors, we really prefer a warm intro. This is because it shows that you have the nous and networks to get to us. We're really not that hard to find. A great way to meet us, and more importantly check us out, is to find someone who works at one of our portfolio companies. We also speak at lots of events and many accelerators and co-working spaces know us well.
If you really can't find someone to introduce you to us, then we can also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. We try to reply to all emails that we receive, and do so on a first in, first served basis. Sometimes our inbox gets clogged and it takes us a while to get back to cold emails. We apologise for this.
However you get to us, please send us a pitch deck and a brief intro email. We don’t sign NDAs before hearing about your idea and we don't have time to read 60 page business plans.
If we want to learn more about your company, we’ll reply by email to set up a time for a Google hangout/Skype call or an in-person meeting, usually with one partner. Then, if that meeting was positive, we’ll invite you to meet the team at a partners' investment meeting.
How do we make decisions?
There are 3 partners at Blackbird, Niki Scevak, Rick Baker and Bill Bartee. Investment decisions require at least 2 partners to be in favour, but we mainly aim for consensus. We aim to make decisions very quickly, generally 2-3 weeks from the first meeting. If it's a no we will tell you straight away.
We like to lead investment rounds but we also co-invest with other VCs and angels. We invest from seed stage ($250k-$1m) through to series A ($2-5m) and growth stages ($5-15m).
On rare occasions we'll invest pre-product, but our usual entry point is when the product is released and in the hands of a core set of happy users.
What is the status of the Fund?
Blackbird manages 3 funds in total. The 2012 fund is a $30 million fund that is 75.4% committed and the rest is completely reserved for the 21 existing investments.
The second 2015 fund of approx $70 million was launched in August 2015 and is 10.5% committed so far and making new investments. Both 2012 and 2015 funds are both ESVCLPs.
The third fund of approx $130 million was also launched in August 2015 and is for making follow-on investments in existing companies, or investments in companies that the 2012 and 2015 funds are excluded from investing in.
We also run the Startmate accelerator for very early stage founders. Applications for Startmate open in August and September each year and the program runs from January to May (first three months in Sydney and the remaining two months in SF)
Who should pitch us?
We have a very specific focus at Blackbird. You can read about what we like to invest in in the following blog posts:
We invest in businesses that are "global day one". The number one reason we say no is because the company isn’t global (yet). We won't invest in Australia only business models. And we often hear from founders that they will go global after attacking the Australian market first. Unfortunately we really only invest in businesses that are global from day one. If you’re interested in the reasons why, we’ve blogged about why this is our preference.
When is it official?
When we give you a signed term sheet, then we’ve agreed to invest pending legal due diligence (which we like to keep to the bare minimum).
We like to use standard docs (either the AVCAL docs for Australian companies or SAFE note or Series Seed for US companies) wherever possible. We are happy to introduce you to startup lawyers in Australia or the US who regularly act for companies we invest in.
That's it for now. We look forward to hearing from you, through our trusted network. :-)
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