Skalata Ventures is seeking applications from early-stage businesses with proven traction to join its seed investment program. The six-month program, customised for each company, will offer operational support and up to $250,000 in funding to early-stage businesses to become significant and sustainable.
Backed by noted business leaders Paul Little and Carol Schwartz, the seed investment program helps founders post-startup but pre-venture capital obtain product-market fit, build a growth engine and develop the infrastructure to scale.
Companies in the program will also have access to the Skalata network of investors, prospective customers and advisors.
Co-Founder and CEO, Rohan Workman said Skalata Ventures is playing an important role in supporting Australia’s transition to a knowledge economy.
“Our vision is to see Australia transition to a knowledge economy and some of the biggest impediments to this are the challenges faced by seed-stage founders in accessing the capital, education and networks to successfully navigate this stage.
“Over the past 10 years, the startup community has matured significantly but this is one area where we can improve.
“We’re delighted that a diverse range of stakeholders including business leaders, universities, corporations, investors and government share our vision and are working together for the first time to provide considerable resources to address these issues,” said Rohan.
Through the program, companies will not only have access to advice from the Skalata Ventures team and program coaches but also the resources to help implement that advice. These program coaches have either successfully navigated this stage of growth as a founder or as an early-stage employee.
Chief Operating Officer Maxine Lee, who designed the program framework, said no two companies will have the same experience with Skalata Ventures.
“At the start of the program, we will identify their unique goals, challenges and the success metrics for their specific business; we then create a 6-month customised plan based on this information.”
The program methodology is based on the team’s experience working with companies and building entrepreneurial programs, as well as five months of market research in 2018 which included speaking to investors, founders at the seed stage, and founders at the growth stage (post-Series A).
Maxine said the research identified a number of challenges facing early-stage companies.
“One of the most commonly cited issues from founders was customer growth. To address this, we’ve developed a specific module in the program which includes hands-on sales coaching, the development of customer personas and user journeys to inform communications and ensure customer experience is managed, as well as systems to manage these customers at scale,” she said.
In 2018, Skalata Ventures was successful in obtaining a $3 million grant from LaunchVic as part of its ‘world-class accelerator’ funding round.
The 2019 seed program will commence in June and run through to November. Applications will close on April 22, with up to 10 successful businesses notified in May.