AirTree Ventures

AirTree Announces Early Close of $60m Venture Fund

New fund targets growth-stage technology companies with the potential to succeed in the Australian market

Sydney, [17 July 2014] – Seasoned venture capital executives Craig Blair and Daniel Petre are pleased to announce the launch and early close of their AirTree Ventures Fund.

“We received such significant interest from investors that we decided to extend the fund to $60m and close our fundraising early” said Mr Blair, noting that, “We have had to turn away some investors who were keen to invest in AirTree”.

Daniel Petre and Craig Blair previously ran the Netus investment fund along with former eBay Australia managing director Alison Deans.  Netus invested in and exited nine companies over a six-year period, delivering a 4x cash-on-cash return to investors. This followed a similar performance of Mr. Petre’s initial investment vehicle, Ecorp (which was a subsidiary of PBL), known for founding eBay Australia and ninemsn amongst other investments.

The AirTree Ventures Fund will be one of the largest venture capital funds in Australia focusing on technology-based growth-stage businesses that are disrupting traditional markets.   The fund will invest between $2 million and $5 million in local businesses with proven revenues and business models.

“We expect to back up to 15 great businesses over the next 3-4 years and believe that there is a wealth of great startups that have come through their initial development phase and are now looking for growth capital from experienced venture partners” added Mr Petre.

Mr Petre and Mr Blair have been active catalysts in the development of a maturing entrepreneurship ecosystem in Australia for many years.  This is the third investment fund for former Microsoft executive Petre, who has been working with Mr Blair – previously principal at netus, CEO of social TV startup zeebox (now Beamly) and Director of online travel pioneer Travelselect/Lastminute.com.for 7 years.

“The Australian startup space is expanding significantly with a wide variety of accelerators and incubators helping bring more companies on stream than ever in the past. AirTree will complement this effort by being able to commit growth capital to the best of this new class of ventures. Great startups, once they have worked out what their product or service offering is, need the capital to fuel growth but they also need investors who can bring proven experience in helping to build successful companies. We feel this combination of funding and expertise is something that AirTree can provide” added Mr Blair.

In addition to providing capital and hands-on expertise, AirTree will give ambitious entrepreneurs the benefit of its founders’ unique experience in creating high-value exit strategies for Australian companies.