Over the past few weeks M8 Venture’s blog and social media accounts have spurred into action, leading to speculation that the fund may be on the precipice of announcing that they are open for business.
Alan Jones, EiR at BlueChilli, Mentor at StartMate and widely known supporter of the Australian startup community first mentioned the M8 Venture Fund in a blog post on 9 July 2017 where he stated that “We’re currently setting up the fund structure and seeking expressions of interest from qualified investors with a goal of closing the fund and beginning to invest in 2018.”
This date coincides with the whois data for the m8ventures.com domain which shows that it was first registered in June of 2017 by Angry Monkeys Pty Ltd, a software development agency, that would create BugHerd and participate in the first Startmate program.
While Alan Jones was an early investor in BugHerd and works alongside BugHerd CEO and Founder Alan Dowie as a Partner/Mentor at StartMate, it does not appear as though Alan Dowie is a partner in the new M8 Venture Fund, with the M8 Ventures Twitter profile only listing Emily Rich and Alan Jones as partners.
Looking at the social media profiles of M8 Ventures provides further evidence that the fund may be about to step out from the shadows and have a more public launch. The M8 Ventures Twitter account was originally created back in June 2017. However, it wasn’t until 2 January this year that the first tweet was posted, stating “small cheques, loosely held”. They also updated their Facebook profile and cover image on 22 February 2018.
Small cheques, loosely held
— M8 Ventures (@M8Ventures) January 2, 2018
The final piece of the puzzle is the m8ventures website itself. The WayBack Machine shows that up until January of this year it was essentially a one page landing site with a general description of the fund and a link to a Medium blog.
More recently however the website has been fleshed out with additional sections of “what we do” and past investments. These investments refer to angel investments made by the partners of M8 Ventures, not investments of the fund itself. Some of the more notable investments in this list include UpGuard, Bugcrowd, WorkYard, Propeller Aero and Elevio.
In terms of the focus of the fund their website states that “M8 Ventures is an early-stage tech startup venture fund with a singular purpose: use our product and technical experience to invest in the right companies, earlier than the rest, at pre-seed stage.”
In particular the partners will “get to know the team, observe how productively they work together, how they plan for future requirements while making good progress in the short-term, how they resolve disagreements, how they recruit, how they onboard, and how (and why) they fire.”
Given the recent increase in activity by the M8 Ventures social media profiles and changes to the website it would appear that they have, or are close to, closing their fund. This would suggest that startups who meet their investment criteria may find that now is an ideal time to reach out and introduce yourself, while the rest of the Australian startup community waits to see what their first publicly announced investment will be.