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Judy Anderson-Firth, the Group CEO of Euphemia, shares insights into their investment strategy, including their focus on supporting diverse founders and making a positive impact on the Australian startup ecosystem. She emphasizes the importance of transparency and accessibility in the family office world and discusses the value of building a strong network and connecting founders within their portfolio. Judy also explores the concept of gracefully exiting failed startups and the potential for an “anti-accelerator” that rewards founders for pivoting and trying new ideas. She concludes by introducing the Euphemia Syndicate, a platform that provides access to unique deal flow and lowers the minimum check size for angel investors.
About The Guest(s)
Judy Anderson-Firth is the Group CEO of Euphemia, a family office that invests in fintech, climate tech, and women-led startups. She has extensive experience in the startup ecosystem, having previously served as the CEO of Startup Victoria, Australia’s largest startup community for entrepreneurs.
- Euphemia invests in fintech, climate tech, and women-led startups, prioritizing founders from disadvantaged backgrounds.
- Transparency and accessibility are crucial in the family office world.
- Building a strong network and connecting founders within their portfolio is highly valuable.
- Celebrating and facilitating the graceful exit of failed startups can accelerate the growth of the ecosystem.
- The Euphemia Syndicate offers access to unique deal flow and lowers the minimum check size for angel investors.
- “A failed founder is an experienced founder.” – Judy Anderson-Firth
- “Australia is not doing a good job at the moment of celebrating and facilitating founders to gracefully exit.” – Maxine Minter
- “If we make failing easier, more respectful, and celebrate the benefits, we’ll move much faster as an ecosystem.” – Maxine Minter
- “We’ve now built the Euphemia Syndicate… to share some of those deals and lower the minimum check size and share the love.” – Judy Anderson-Firth
- “Cheryl, you’re building an incredible platform, a piece of financial infrastructure for the startup ecosystem to unlock capital.” – Judy Anderson-Firth
This transcript has been A.I. generated.
0:00:00 – (Cheryl Mack): Okay.
0:00:00 – (Cheryl Mack): Three, two, one.
0:00:03 – (Cheryl Mack): Hey, I’m Cheryl.
0:00:04 – (Maxine Minter): I’m maxine.
0:00:05 – (Cheryl Mack): This is first check part of day one, the network dedicated to founders, operators, and investors.
0:00:09 – (Maxine Minter): If you want to be a better early stage investor, this is the show for you.
0:00:12 – (Cheryl Mack): So, TLDR, if you don’t want to suck at investing, listen up. We have judy on the show today, and I’m really excited about the fact that we get to talk to judy, because when I met judy, it was three or four years ago, and maxine, judy and I were both in the very first cohort of the AirTree explorers, which is a fantastic angel investor on ramp. And we got to know each other through that program. And then in the last year or so, both maxine and judy invested in my company, ozzy angel. So I feel like this is just such a perfect trio coming together, and I’m really excited to talk to judy today. What about you, maxine?
0:00:57 – (Maxine Minter): Yeah, I can’t wait. I am just, like, bursting at the seams with so many questions. I feel like everything I’ve watched judy do has just been so impressive. It’s so thoughtful. It has all of the threads kind of perfectly tied up together. And one of the topics we’re going to talk about today is her DDE list. And I feel like that is a physical manifestation of the way that her brain works. Like, all of the threads tied off, it’s all kind of compounding on each other. It’s like a beautiful synthesis of really great just it blows me away every time I kind of lift the lid on any of the things that she does. So really jazzed to dive in there and learn more about kind of how she’s thought about building euphemia alongside don pym, how she thinks about DD and how she thinks about kind of leading from the front and also just, like, so down to earth. I had the enormous privilege of listening to her present about what euphemia is building recently, and it’s just like, oh, we’re just low key changing the world. But, like, no biggie. This is more about you guys than it is about us. And it’s just incredible.
0:01:53 – (Cheryl Mack): That is so totally her personality. It’s very low key. Like, we’re doing this amazing thing, but I’m not bragging about it. I’m just out there trying to improve the world one investment at a time, and I absolutely love that about her.
0:02:07 – (Maxine Minter): Yeah, just a factual statement. I’m changing the world. Moving on to the next topic.
0:02:12 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): How embarrassing.
0:02:14 – (Maxine Minter): It’s awesome.
0:02:15 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): I’ll try to live up to those expectations for anyone listening who doesn’t know me today. But thank you both so much for having me. It’s such an honor. I’m joining from the wawandri people of the kulan nations land where I’m living at home and just want to extend that respect to anyone who’s listening, wherever this content may be reaching. I don’t want to date this podcast too much, but we’re coming up to a referendum, and I just think it’s a really great time to just think a little differently about the meaning of place. And a big part. Of Euphemia’s thesis is to go big and grow home. And we’re just so passionate about the Australian startup ecosystem and making it a place where anyone can be know, like speaking of like in our preamble, I was just saying how I would say this is a room of three of the most ambitious women in the Australian startup ecosystem, all working tirelessly. Like, if I got the chance to do a reverse intro of each of you, it would probably be three times as long and three times as impressive for each of you. So I’m just too kind. Yeah, grateful to be here. I love the work that you’re both doing for our ecosystem. So thank you so much for having me.
0:03:21 – (Maxine Minter): Wow, it’s very mutual.
0:03:23 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): Yeah, we’ll have to come back to that at some yes.
0:03:26 – (Maxine Minter): Yeah. I do want to take this moment. I’m coming from Gattigal land today and do think it’s a very important political moment in Australian history as we come up to the yes vote, or Hobot will hopefully be the yes vote. One of the topics I’m really excited to dive in with you is about this idea of leading from the front and kind of how do you think about influencing change in the ecosystems that you’re in? But before we dive in, there a question we ask at the beginning of all of these conversations because first check is about us as investors and thinking about how we level up.
0:03:59 – (Maxine Minter): What was the first thing that you ever invested in?
0:04:02 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): The first thing I ever invested in, I’ll start with my personal one and then I’ll talk about the first deal that Euphemia did. So my first ever personal investment was at the local hardware store in the Blue Mountains. When I was about seven years old, I went down and I bought a whole bunch of little pot plants, like little plastic pot pants. My parents would give us like $2 pocket money a week and my sister and I could spend it on whatever we want. And I was like, I’m going to go down to the hardware store and buy this little plastic pot pants and then I’m going to go into my mum’s back garden and I’m going to take out some soil and clip some little flowers and I’m going to plant them. And then I’m going to pay my sister twenty cents a pot to paint them. Because she was quite the talented artist at nine years old.
0:04:44 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): And then I went door knocking around the neighborhood selling these pot plants for $2 each. So I’m making like a dollar 70 profit. I was pretty impressed with myself on every that was my first investment to try and ten X my pocket money.
0:04:59 – (Maxine Minter): Bottle air and I would say what.
0:05:01 – (Cheryl Mack): Was the ROI on that, Judy?
0:05:03 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): I think I wasn’t really passionate about it. It probably lasted like two weeks. I don’t remember it being a very long running business. I think it got me to the next couple of weeks.
0:05:13 – (Cheryl Mack): Seven year old, two weeks. That’s like an eternity.
0:05:16 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): Yeah, exactly. Time is relative. But Euphemia, to be honest, we did so many deals in our first year as Euphemia, so it’s kind of hard to pinpoint exactly which one the first one is. I’d have to look back at our database. But Dom’s been an active angel for over a decade. And so the first investment of Euphemia is well before my time, because Euphemia’s portfolio includes all of those companies that Dom backed really early in his day as an entrepreneur, when he was living and working in Silicon Valley, in London and in Singapore.
0:05:46 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): So I’m not quite sure which one was first of mean, but a really early one is Spreeley. So that’s now like a US unicorn fintech company who Dom invested in early days. I think our first one together was in one of the funds, so Possible Ventures, which is a sort of early stage fund that focuses on new science and new innovation and new technology, both hardware and software anywhere in the world. And also Galileo Ventures, which is a new emerging seed fund managed by Hugh and James.
0:06:21 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): And we just love the work that they were doing. Hugh was one of my members at Startup Victoria in my previous role, and I had the joy of observing him as an operator from a membership point of view. And I was like, Yep. Hugh is obsessed with success. I think he’s a good one to back as an emerging fund manager. And one of our first directs was actually into a company called Kite.
0:06:43 – (Maxine Minter): Great investment.
0:06:44 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): Yeah. So Bill Kite yeah, software company serving software companies. They’re awesome. Becoming very quickly an aussie startup darling. And Bill Kite was actually built from one of Dom’s earlier companies. Keith used to work for Dom and then he’s like, I have this idea for this product, can I just drop to part time and start building that? And Dom was, you know, have to support entrepreneurs as long as you invest.
0:07:11 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): Exactly. But he had a conflict, he couldn’t invest from day one. But then Don went on to build a different company and he was no longer Keith’s employer. And then he did invest at that point. He did a small secondary round and then as Euphemia, we did a significant check into their Series B that was happening last year and we ended up introducing Keith to Edry and then went on to lead the round. Wow. Awesome.
0:07:40 – (Maxine Minter): Very cool. Wow, what a selection of firsts.
0:07:42 – (Cheryl Mack): That is actually a really cool selection. You’re right. For those of you listening at home, euphemia is Dom Pim’s family office and Judy manages that. So just context around what we’re talking.
0:07:54 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): Ah, yes, maybe I should do I’m going backwards. Quishfield. Yes. Euphemia is the family office for Dom Pimp, who, if you haven’t come across him before, he’s an Aussie fintech, entrepreneur and investor. He’s most well known for building up, which is Australia’s most loved digital bank. He’s Fintech Leader of the Year three times in a row last year from three different peak bodies and C Suite Leader of the Year at the Pause Awards. He’s a great guy.
0:08:17 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): 20 years of hard knocks as a founder and entrepreneur, has built several businesses before Up, Pin, Payments and Clear, just to name a couple. And prior to teaming up at Dharma, was the CEO of Startup Victoria, which is now known as the Startup Network. That’s Australia’s largest startup community for entrepreneurs. Got over 60,000 people in the network. So my job for many years has been to help founders go from I’ve got a great new idea, to an exit and everything in between. Whether you’re bootstrapped, venture backed, you’re growing slow, you’re growing fast, you’re serving a local market, you’re serving a global market.
0:08:45 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): It is the place to go if you need to get support as a founder. Growing your company so good. So, yeah, a new femium. We invest in fintech to try and help fix money, climate tech to try and help fix the planet women led startups. Or really any founder from a disadvantaged background who hasn’t had equal access to opportunity and startup infrastructure, which for us is like a niche corner of the B, two B SaaS market.
0:09:08 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): It’s like companies like build kite. You’re a high growth tech company whose customer is a high growth tech company. There’s more, but I won’t bore you with it. That’s the highlights. Real.
0:09:16 – (Maxine Minter): Very cool. Honestly, that’s a master class in how to pitch complex concepts or complex businesses. You just nailed two there. Totally get it. 100% know exactly what you guys are chasing and we’re chasing at the Startup Network.
0:09:28 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): Awesome.
0:09:29 – (Maxine Minter): So I do want to double click on the family office piece. I think we’re stepping into an era of the Australian ecosystem where we’re starting to see lots of exited founders and people kind of early team members that join them on that journey, that now have significant capital that they took off the table along the journey or got through an exit. And my observation of the way that you and Dom have been building Euphemia is, as I mentioned, at the top, just so thoughtful. There’s all of these elements of it that are compounding on each other and also influencing the ecosystem to be more advantageous for everyone as well as the portfolio that you’re working with. So I just love to kind of understand, from your perspective, how did you start that journey to work out? What should your strategy be, what should your positioning be?
0:10:15 – (Maxine Minter): Where is the kind of dent you’re looking to make in the world? And how did you determine what that would be and what your strategies would be behind it.
0:10:22 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): Yeah, I’m going to try and sneakily bring up my mirror board because every decision we’ve ever made lives in our Miro board.
0:10:30 – (Maxine Minter): Wow. Incredible. Truly incredible.
0:10:33 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): But a lot of strategy sessions, a lot of time spent in the early months just thinking, asking questions, reflecting, challenging each other, like any sort of normal strategy process. There will be like a dozen questions in this mirror board, which it’s not loading, so I’m going to have to use my memory. But things like, what do we love about the family office world? Like, this part of an industry that exists. What do we love about it?
0:11:00 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): What do we think we could do differently, that’s better? Why would that be awesome? What’s our purpose? What’s our timeline here? What should we do, what shouldn’t we do? All of the normal things. When you’re setting a strategy where it’s really just about deciding not just what you are going to be, but more importantly, what you’re not going to be. And for us, one of the main things, like both of our experience, like Dom as a founder, raising capital in his previous ventures and me sort of like acting as a representative for the founder community.
0:11:28 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): Something that we both experienced and observed was that typically a family office was a little bit more opaque, harder to find, sometimes by design, and sometimes just because they’re intergenerational beasts, that they have more bloat than an enterprise in terms of how much red tape they can be. And privacy for good reason for the individuals within that family. But for us, we wanted to build something that was kind of the opposite of that. Something super accessible, super transparent. Like you knew where the front door was and it was open and you could walk in. And even if we didn’t write a check, we’d hopefully deliver some value in some way for you.
0:12:09 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): So that was sort of more around our vision and our mission and where we wanted to play and why Australia became really obvious. It’s where we live, it’s where we work. There are more mature ecosystems elsewhere. We’ve both had friends and colleagues, know, like Maxine, you spent a lot of time in the know. Cheryl, like, you’re the exception where you’ve come to Australia from a more mature ecosystem.
0:12:32 – (Cheryl Mack): I came to help.
0:12:34 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): Yeah, it’s great that you’re here, but we need more people coming to Australia to help mature the ecosystem. But Australia was an obvious choice. We think our proximity to Asia has a geopolitical advantage in the decades to come. We think our greatest export should be our ideas, our ingenuity, our innovation. We can lead stage. And I think Jax has mentioned this in a previous session that we’ve recorded with her, like, we’re uniquely positioned to be leaders in climate, but we’re not yet, and we should be.
0:13:06 – (Cheryl Mack): That is so true.
0:13:07 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): See, Australia became obvious and then the thesis was easy. It’s what are we good at and what do we care know? Dom is really good at money. Like he’s a fintech guru so he has an unfair advantage when it comes to access to deal flow. He knows everyone and he can do exceptional DD very quickly because he just knows everything in fintech. So it becomes a no brainer that we want to invest in fintech. Climate tech is like there’s a real sense of duty there.
0:13:37 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): I think if you have wealth you have a responsibility to be solving some of the biggest problems in the world with that wealth and how you do it is up to you. But for us, investing in climate tech is one way we can do that again. Investing in diverse founders and trying to balance the ledger for women, it’s a no brainer and I think we make a pretty decent pair.
0:13:56 – (Cheryl Mack): Being like you definitely do.
0:13:57 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): Dom is like a middle aged white guy with a beard working in Tech for 20 years and then me being like a slightly younger queer woman in Tech, we can kind of go into any room in this industry. And so it gives us a position of privilege to be able to do some more strategic work, to try and try and balance the ledger and then startup infrastructure. That’s just such a passion play for me. It’s been my whole life’s work and so anything that can help our ecosystem go through those maturity loops a little bit faster.
0:14:31 – (Maxine Minter): That’s super interesting.
0:14:32 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): That’s so interesting.
0:14:33 – (Cheryl Mack): I love the questions that you asked there. What are we good at and what do we care about you just distilled it down to two questions that are so valuable for any investor to ask themselves. I’d really love to understand a bit more about like because you invest in both funds and companies directly and that strategy I think is super interesting because you could get just as much diversification and achieve the same goals just by investing in funds but you obviously invest in both. How do you think about that split and can you share with us what the split is?
0:15:02 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): For sure. So if you go and speak to a normal wealth advisor like a LGT Crestone or a Goldman Sachs or a KKR, they would tell you that we’re crazy. So if you picture, like, a normal pie chart and you have all of your different asset classes in that pie chart, you’ve got some cash, you’ve got some property, you’ve got some listed equities, like shares on various stock exchanges, you’ve got bonds, you’ve got what they would call alternatives and within alternatives, private equity venture and maybe some direct investments.
0:15:38 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): Normally that sort of alternatives little slice of the pie chart is like maximum 20%. That’s if you’ve got a really high risk appetite. Our pie chart for alternatives is like above 80%. It’s pretty wild, but it’s where we’re comfortable. That is our risk appetite. But we also feel like that risk is somewhat curtailed because of our careers working in this space. I think if you were someone who had come from wealth in property or in another space and you just weren’t familiar, there’s just a slightly steeper learning curve to get into venture. And so going into funds as a starting point before going into directs if you have a low risk appetite, makes sense.
0:16:21 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): That’s good diverse financial advice from financial advisors. But for us we’re happy to go direct because we have an unfair advantage. We have exceptional networks of founders and we know what a great deal looks like when we see it. So why wouldn’t we play to that strength our asset allocation across the group. So for Euphemia, that pie chart is broader than venture. It is a significant portion of our strategy. So at the moment we have about 50 direct investments in the portfolio across those themes that I mentioned.
0:16:49 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): We have over 20 funds that we’ve invested in both here and abroad across precede up to private equity. And then we also have a property portfolio which is sort of half commercial, half residential. We have a share portfolio which is mostly US tech stocks and we do have a foundation as well, which is to help people in need. So sort of think about it as venture is the biggest followed by property, followed by shares and then the foundation kind of underpins the whole thing.
0:17:18 – (Maxine Minter): Very cool when you were kind of building that and maybe drawing back to.
0:17:22 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): That mirror board which it’s open now. So if you want to know the questions, I do have them.
0:17:26 – (Maxine Minter): I just am so impressed that you even recorded each of the questions. Most people do that strategy day and don’t. To what extent did your kind of strategy session influence kind of which groups that you allocate in? Because I think for a lot of folks that are listening to this podcast they’re thinking about investing or scaling their investing activities in early stage as well as other groups. And I’m wondering if you have any kind of tips or tricks to how to think about what your segment of the pie chart mix should be.
0:17:58 – (Maxine Minter): Should you kind of be thinking about, yeah, what am I really good at, what do I love? I think were the two kind of foundational questions you asked or is anything else that you found really helpful as an elucidating question as you were exploring that for yourself?
0:18:13 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): Yeah, the only new question I would add is like what do you want to learn? That’s one, it doesn’t play a huge role in our thesis but it’s something that it really struck me when I was speaking to other family offices. So part of our early strategy work was also to talk to other family office peers who we admire, who are a few steps ahead of us and understand what process did they go through. We don’t need to reinvent the wheel. There’s some stuff we can do on first principles. Like Dom and I have said a lot of strategies before we know what we’re doing but it’s know there’ll be other strategies out there like let’s just do some research before we just build our own. And Adam Milgram from the Triple family Office was someone that we reached out to and that was one of his key things. It’s like they invest not just for impact, they’re really like an impact focused family office. But what do they want to learn? Like it’s three know what kind of technologies do they find really curious and interesting.
0:19:03 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): And I’d say that’s the one part of our thesis. Like if I look back on some of the exceptions to the thesis because there are always those in a family office because we’re not managing other people’s money. At the end of the day it’s dumb dollars. So sometimes there’ll be things that just don’t match the strategy. No matter how much work we’ve put into it. The things that they have in common are things that I would say Dom is very curious about like space, you know, fascinating, interesting.
0:19:32 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): Like so futuristic. You know, sometimes things come like he just sent me something today in Slack that was like oh I hope you don’t mind, I just accidentally invested in this Kickstarter. That’s like building Mars Rover tires for bicycles.
0:19:45 – (Cheryl Mack): Accidentally is the best word that I heard right there.
0:19:50 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): And then the other one is just like it’s just really awesome. Like either the person or the project is just so good we couldn’t really say no. An example of that would have been just Fund which actually was a startmate cohort company and so we’re indirectly invested in them anyway as startmate investors. But we’d end up doing a direct check as well because Just Fund provide finance for people who are going through family court. So typically it’s like a divorce scenario and typically it’s representation for the person who doesn’t have an asset base to pay for lawyers and all the solicitor fees that come with going through court systems and then that loan is then repaid from the settlement.
0:20:35 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): So how awesome is that? That’s typically women who are in a disadvantaged position.
0:20:41 – (Maxine Minter): So good.
0:20:41 – (Cheryl Mack): Yeah, for sure. I think that question is so important because for angels who are just starting, learning is a huge piece. You have to learn so much when you get started in angel investing. Why not pick things to learn about that you’re actually really interested in? That just makes sense. So I really love that you brought that question and even if it’s not as important for you, I think that’s really important for angels. And I’ve gotten to learn so much just by maxine and I actually call them the first checks. You writer learning checks?
0:21:08 – (Maxine Minter): Yeah, absolutely. Like the first year to year and a half of angel investing. The advice I often give is to invest through something like Aussie Angels, invest through syndicates or invest the smallest possible check you can while you’re learning, so that you can kind of get those reps out, build that touch point effectively as you’re kind of learning, okay, this is how I make that decision. This is how I get excited. These are the kinds of founders I really want to back, especially while you are out in market kind of public. As an angel investor, you start to see a lot more decks, obviously, and meet a lot more founders than you can invest in. And so it’s just the best learning journey to go on and I think really valuable as a way to kind of learn how to be a great investor as do one of the things I’ve observed Euphemia, and also you do really, really well is kind of compound the strategy and compound the impact for the founders that you work for. So little things like or actually not that little things like thinking about how you can connect people in your portfolio who can sell to each other or lift each other up. Kind of find those strategic synergies across your portfolio there’s. Obviously Dom right, like you’ve done a wonderful job of building strategic synergies with the things that he is excellent at and the unique access that he gets in the ecosystem.
0:22:23 – (Maxine Minter): I’d be interested to know kind of how you thought about that kind of cross synergy piece almost like the connective tissue across your entire synergy as opposed to just the kind of linear strategy.
0:22:33 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): Yeah.
0:22:33 – (Maxine Minter): How did you identify those and how do you think about building them?
0:22:36 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): This is a topic I could talk about for months. Yeah. So I would talk about this as like the network effect. And I would say we are like a network powered family office. As an investor, there’s a lot of overlap and it’s definitely in my wheelhouse of what I know how to do really well in terms of building communities. Right. I was part of building Australia’s largest startup community. And so so much of that is just about knowing where the interconnectedness is across that ecosystem and then firing off people to the right information or the right person or the right answer at the right time.
0:23:10 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): So we’re definitely looking at bringing a lot of that into what we would just call like portfolio success. I would say a lot of our plans aren’t yet live, but we have a few cool things that are in the works. So, for example, the position that we’re in as a family office is quite unique in terms of the amount, just the sheer volume of investor updates that we get. So we get investor updates from all of the funds, from all of the direct investments and then not just from the funds, but then we’re also learning about each of the companies within the funds. So the indirect portfolio is like hundreds, if not thousands of companies.
0:23:47 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): And so from a data point of view, we’ve actually got a really interesting insight into like, what’s the average TVPI, like total value to paid in of all of the funds from year one to their current vintage? And how do different funds compare based on their focus or their stage or the team or how big the fund is? We can just pull really interesting things from that data.
0:24:09 – (Cheryl Mack): I would love to learn more about that data, in particular, if you’re willing to share.
0:24:13 – (Maxine Minter): Yeah, well, I think Cheryl’s eyes immediately sparkled.
0:24:17 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): Yeah, I do think there’s a way that we can de identify some of that information and start sharing. Like the project that we’re actually working on right now is how do we use a lot of the AI tools that are being developed now around knowledge models, LLM tools, et cetera, to then basically scan all of that information, whether it’s an email or a document or a link to a registry, direct portal, whatever it is. How do we scan that information for the things that really matter?
0:24:47 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): Pull that into a working memory system, and then from that working memory system, query it, or have it send us things that we’ve told it are interesting to us. So it just takes the admin out of it. And the good news is we’re not the only people in the world trying to solve this. Like everyone in the world wants what we’re calling a femia brain. Everyone wants one for their own data. We’ve actually invested in a company that’s building this as well, so once that’s ready, we’re building just an MVP version, which is just a shitty Airtable, but when it’s ready, perfect, we’ll plug the.
0:25:20 – (Cheryl Mack): Model in Dawzy Angels because we’ve got tons of data as well.
0:25:22 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): We will share it for sure, but in terms of connecting founders, there’s so much we could be doing. I think the balance is we don’t want to recreate what already exists, like the peer to peer models, et cetera. There’s so many of them and if we were going to build one for all of our founders in the portfolio, it would just have to be significantly better or different than everything that’s out there. Like if you’re a founder, you can sign up for a membership with a startup network and connect with founders at a similar stage to you and talk shop on a monthly basis and get access to education, mentors, advisors, et.
0:25:58 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): You know, you can do that in any subcommunity. Like AirTree has one, Blackbird has one, startmate has one innovation, bay has one, so everyone has one. So if we were going to build something at Euphemia, it would have to be better than all of those. And I think I’m still not sure whether we want to just direct founders to the best of what exists and help uplift everything that already exists rather. Than recreate our own? I’m not decided yet.
0:26:25 – (Cheryl Mack): I think the cool thing about what you do though, is around compounding the value across the portfolio. So when you think about an investment and think about the value that you can add, it’s not just like, what can you and Dom add? It’s about, well, how can we derisk this investment by connecting something within the portfolio? As a portfolio company, I feel like I’ve been exposed to that, but I would really love to understand how do you think about that when you’re looking at a new investment? How do you bring in what value can compound in order to derisk that potential new one?
0:26:57 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): Yeah, I think just knowing who’s in our Rolodex as well, I think because Dom and I have both built businesses before, we know who we go to whenever there’s a problem that we can’t solve. And so we have a go to list of like if you’re doing M and A, here are the four different people that you have to work with. You can pick which one, any of them are good, whatever your preference is, but just talk to these four people.
0:27:20 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): Same for talent, right? Like, okay, you’re going down the talent pathway. Here’s some self service stuff if you just need talent pools and resources. But if you actually want a recruiter, here are the best three that we recommend. So we’ve always got those go to’s in our back pocket. But one thing that is important is we never want to be the type of investor. And I think this is important for angels as well, because you see a lot of it go really badly and sometimes it can be awesome, but where you are doing just more like ad hoc mentoring and advice and I think you do have to be really careful. Even though Dom and I are experienced people, we’re not an expert at everything.
0:27:58 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): I’m more of a bit of a generalist. I know a little about a lot, and Dom knows a lot about a lot.
0:28:03 – (Cheryl Mack): Enough to be yeah, yeah, definitely.
0:28:06 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): But we are very conscious of when the answer comes from us versus when the answer comes from someone else who is actually the expert in that field. And not just that we never force our presence on any founder. It’s very much opt in. So when we’ve just invested with a founder, we sort of have an informal kind of kickoff where we just talk about what kind of cadence of support do they want from us, what are their expectations, how can we deliver on that? Sort of just setting some unofficial rules.
0:28:34 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): I remember, Cheryl, when we sort of first did the investments, like, cool. Do you want a board? Do you not want a board? Do you want a regular catch up? Do you not want a regular catch up? It’s very much decided by the founder. What do you want from us? We can do anything on the spectrum from we’ll sit on the board as an advisor all the way to just text us when there’s something wrong. And I would say most founders sit somewhere in the middle of either a quarterly or a bi monthly regular catch up in the calendar with either Dom or myself.
0:29:03 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): But we have had the midnight text from time to time.
0:29:06 – (Cheryl Mack): Yeah, I think I text you all the time.
0:29:09 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): It’s good.
0:29:10 – (Cheryl Mack): I’m definitely in that bucket.
0:29:12 – (Maxine Minter): I think it is really valuable as investor who’s not investing other people’s money. So, like, as angel investor or as a family office, recognizing that there are these kind of ranges of support you can provide, and being aware of the fact that of the informational asymmetry between you and the founder and being careful not to kind of be too heavy handed as we kind of lean in on support.
0:29:36 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): Totally.
0:29:36 – (Maxine Minter): I see a lot of people navigating that line unsuccessfully and recognizing having some empathy. As a founder, it’s really hard to say no when your angel investor is like, hey, can I intro you to this person? Or Can I do this thing for you? Or you kind of have to feel there’s a moral obligation, or sometimes perceived to be a moral obligation to say yes and recognizing that that power dynamic might not actually serve the founder. So I love that as a methodology, just like an open catch up saying, how would you like me to support or ask to support, depending on how you’re investing.
0:30:07 – (Maxine Minter): Here’s a menu. Feel free to point here, here, and here, and then we will deliver on those things.
0:30:12 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): Yeah. And also just like, it’s not set and forget for sure. One of the founders in our portfolio, it’s like we had a quarterly catch up in the diary and then that worked, I think, for the first year. And then their business just took a total right turn in the right direction. And they’re so crazy busy with their US expansion that it’s just not even feasible to be having a quarterly catch up. But rather than you can just tell, you always know because you have to have that in the back of your head, that no matter what, as an investor, there’s always an element of impression managing going on, whether it’s conscious or unconscious.
0:30:49 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): And so to be the one to always offer the off ramp every time, even if it’s just casual like, hey, just checking in. Does this cadence still work for you? Do you want to change it? Do we need to? Can it? Is it still useful just always checking in? And so we ended up canceling those ones, but then we just catch up, like ad hoc when it’s needed.
0:31:10 – (Maxine Minter): That’s so cool. So I’d like to take a little Pivot here and talk a little bit more about your DD checklist and how you think about saying yes to a founder. Another kind of really thoughtful place I’ve heard a lot about from folks both delivery of your checklist, but what it looks like on the back end.
0:31:28 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): Cheryl’s laughing because she’s seen it.
0:31:31 – (Cheryl Mack): I know, and I’m like, I’m going to add some more color there because I had the pleasure of supporting Judy in one of their investments that they ran and she shared their DD checklist with me. And at first I was like, holy crap, wow, there’s some really great insights here. And then I was like, wait, the structure of this is just absolutely like such good content. But it just gave me this little insight into the way that Judy’s brain.
0:32:00 – (Maxine Minter): Works and I was just so glad.
0:32:02 – (Cheryl Mack): And then the best part about it was I was like, your checklist is amazing. Structure is just baffling. And she’s like, well, I didn’t think.
0:32:08 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): Anybody else would see it.
0:32:09 – (Cheryl Mack): I made it for me. It’s only my brain that had to read it and then proceeded to share it with all of the syndicate members.
0:32:15 – (Maxine Minter): And I was like, I love you.
0:32:17 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): Yeah, I mean, people can figure it out. It’s not that complicated.
0:32:20 – (Maxine Minter): But it’s basically also dee dee should.
0:32:23 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): Just be relative to the stage of deal, right? Like that’s obvious, right? There’s only so much data you can assess when you’re at a precede or a seed stage deal. And so all you’re really assessing is have they got the sort of basics covered, that they know what they’re doing, they’re responsible, there’s good governance, there’s the right things there in terms of setting themselves up to success. Things have been set up for the best chance if everything goes well and if everything goes badly, they’re protected, investors are protected. So you kind of just at the early stages, you’re really just looking for the guardrails there, right?
0:32:59 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): And then from there, it’s really just your belief in the founder and the founding team, in their ability to execute. And then also you have to believe that the market or the opportunity or the timing is like they’ve got tailwinds rather than headwinds. So at a high level, that’s really all we’re looking for. The structure is good, the founder and the people are good. The timing of the market is good.
0:33:23 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): You just kind of want to set them up for success in the early like, there’s nothing else to do. You can’t really look at historical spreadsheets of before. You don’t want to be interviewing their customers because they’re early adopters and you might risk them lose. You just want to overkill and over engineer and also over resource. Like, we are a small team. It’s just myself, Dom, and a bunch of outsourced lawyers and advisors and accountants. So we don’t have time to do a huge amount of DD on early stage deals. When they’re later stage deals, it’s a different thing. Like if you’re doing sort of Series A and above, there’s a lot of.
0:33:57 – (Maxine Minter): Data to look through.
0:33:58 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): There’s information you can pour through, you can run different tests and blah, blah, blah. But a quick summary of what’s in it. I do have it opening. So, yeah, look at the opportunity. So, market analysis, competitor analysis, their forecast, financial model, customer pipeline, any comparable information on capital raises, including revenue multiples from similar companies. And of course, like, the pitch deck, the Im, you know, what’s their cost of customer acquisition, lifetime value, if they’ve got that data, anything on churn, et cetera.
0:34:27 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): We look at corporate records, so constitution, articles of incorporation, shareholders agreement, subscription agreements, the cap table, the corporate structure, if there’s any asset certificates, if there’s board meetings, like the minutes of them, just like sort of that corporate section under the team category, like chart, who’s who, who’s doing what, where the responsibilities lie. And is their equity position reflective of that? Appropriately, roles and responsibilities of folks, employment agreements, IP assignments.
0:34:57 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): Does the company own all the things that it needs to own? Are the employment agreements correct? Like, is everything sort of hunky dory there making sure it’s all legal and incentives are set up correctly and then any proposed increases on line items under people, like, for the other side of the cap raise and just checking that’s fine. And also details of any ESOP, making sure that those option schemes are in line. Like with best practice on the financials, like financial statements for the company, tax filings, if there are some, depending on how early they are. Details of like, R D credits or financing any loans to the organization.
0:35:29 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): I could go on. Like, there’s a commercial section, a technical section, looking at product infrastructure, IP, insurance, legal. I won’t go through this whole thing. But if you’re curious to learn more, so good, and you want to see more, you can just reach me on socials. I’ll be happy to share.
0:35:46 – (Maxine Minter): Even just that. Right. For anyone that’s kind of stepping into the investing world for the first time or where their investing needs some polish on the way that they’re doing DD, I hope they were taking those then you can just keep replaying that section till you get the list of all of the open questions to make sure you tick off. Super valuable. Yeah. So what kind of investments at the moment are you getting super excited about using this DD checklist? What kind of stuff that comes across your table that you just almost can’t help yourself?
0:36:13 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): Yes, I would be remiss before I move on from the DD checklist if I didn’t give a shout out to Giant Leap. So, again, like, building on the shoulders of giants. When it came time to create a DD checklist, I was like, Cool. We can have our own variables and they’re in here, like, things that are unique to Euphemia that only we would really care about. So, for example, one of those variables, it’s a softer variable, but when we’re investing in people, it’s not explicit. But with the way that we’re running the family office and the way that we’ve chosen to do it, we’re hoping to inspire the next generation of family officers that are created out of tech wealth to follow in our footsteps and to be transparent and to invest back into the Australian startup ecosystem.
0:36:56 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): So that’s important. So when we look at the founders and who’s in the teams, what do we think the likelihood is that they’re someone who likes to give back? Like when they make it rich and they sell their company and they can go buy an island or they can never work again in their lives, what are the chances that they’re going to invest some of that money back into the Australian startup ecosystem? That’s something that’s kind of unique know euphemia.
0:37:26 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): But so much of this DD Checklist actually comes from Giant Leaps DD Checklist, which it’s an investment fund of ours that we’ve supported. And Rachel Yang, who’s a friend and she was the former chair at Startup Victoria during my time there, she’s again, one of those friendly phone calls you make to appear be like, hey, I’m building our checklist. What’s yours? Look, know what’s in there and just being able to sort of just see what other people are doing, take the bits that resonate for you and leave behind what doesn’t.
0:37:52 – (Maxine Minter): So cool. Yeah, really cool.
0:37:54 – (Cheryl Mack): I love that. So thank you, Giant Leap, for supporting Duty to get here, to then share it all with us.
0:37:59 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): Exactly.
0:38:01 – (Maxine Minter): I just think it’s where progress is made for humans, right. It’s like standing on the shoulders of the people that have done it before. And that goes two ways. I love the fact that you actually actively soft filter but still filter for the probability that someone is going to going to give back into the Australian ecosystem. Because I think that both peer level acceleration and then intergenerational acceleration is so valuable if we are going to increase the pace of growth, innovation, the impact that we can create as an ecosystem. If everyone is doing that, it just keeps speeding up and speeding up in a really super exciting way.
0:38:35 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): And that was an easy one for Aussie angels. It was like built into your business model.
0:38:41 – (Cheryl Mack): I was just thinking that.
0:38:42 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): I was like, we must have gotten.
0:38:43 – (Cheryl Mack): Like a ten out of ten score on that one.
0:38:45 – (Maxine Minter): Yeah.
0:38:46 – (Cheryl Mack): Actually though, I’ve decided I think I like the island option.
0:38:50 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): Yes, you could do both.
0:38:52 – (Cheryl Mack): Okay, all right, fair enough. I will buy an island for somebody else that’s giving you know, technically Australia.
0:38:58 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): Is an island, I’m just right, right.
0:38:59 – (Cheryl Mack): I could buy all of Australia and just fix all of the ecosystem challenges in one go.
0:39:05 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): Oh my gosh.
0:39:06 – (Cheryl Mack): Speaking of ecosystem stuff, Judy, you spent quite a while at Startup Vic, which is now the startup network. And actually you were there when we met. Yeah. Would love to understand a bit more about your time there. What were some of the trends that you saw and where do you think we are going in the future?
0:39:22 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): Yeah, what an amazing chapter of my career. I would say that my time at Startup Vic changed my life completely and it was just freaking amazing to be a part of a community where everyone is just trying to help everyone succeed. An interesting trend I saw was the change in the gender ratio of founders. So when I first joined the organization in 2018, we would track metrics on attendance at events and member metrics.
0:39:53 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): It was about one in 25 of our founders were women in 2018, and when I wrapped at the end of 2021, it was one in five. Wow.
0:40:03 – (Cheryl Mack): Huge congrats.
0:40:04 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): Well, it has nothing to do with me. It’s just like a reflection of the ecosystem.
0:40:08 – (Cheryl Mack): I’m sure it had something to do with you, Judy.
0:40:10 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): No, we just had so many awesome new people entering the market, particularly during COVID We had so many people at home who had either been made redundant, dropped a part time, and the startup community has never been louder, has never been more accessible, has never been this cool for the next gen to come into, and it’s a viable career path. So we just had so many new people rocking up and willing to take a risk. It’s like, what have I got to lose? The world’s burning.
0:40:38 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): Why don’t I just try that idea?
0:40:41 – (Cheryl Mack): It quite literally was at the time.
0:40:44 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): Yeah. So we saw a huge spike in new startups coming into the ecosystem. So that was awesome. Another big spike was just the general maturity of the ecosystem. So, Joe, my tenure, Victoria, was named as one of the fastest growing startup ecosystems in the world. Top ten ecosystems in the world. So we’re growing really quickly compared to other cities and ecosystems of our size. And I would say that’s also reflective across the country.
0:41:10 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): Another big trend was just how many accelerators now exist. It has never been easier to start a company, and not just from accelerators, I’m talking from no and low code tools. Ten years ago, if you wanted to start a tech company, you either need to have some money to hire a developer or you need to know how to write code. Whereas now the barrier to entry is significantly lower. So that’s another awesome trend.
0:41:38 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): I could go on. I don’t want to bore everyone with all the trends, but there’s lots no.
0:41:42 – (Maxine Minter): This is not boring at all. I would be interested to kind of draw those trend lines right. The things that you watched happening at now, the startup network and kind of project out to where do you think those trends intersect? Kind of where does that take us as an ecosystem? In Australia? If you feel like you have some views on where we’re going next, let’s say in the next kind of two 4510 years. Yeah.
0:42:08 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): I think from a venture point of view, the landscape is getting more competitive. I feel like every other month I talk to another American or Singaporean or Indian or someone from European, like someone from another part of the world that is from a much more mature ecosystem where it is much more saturated. Capital is cheap, it’s flowing freely, and there’s a great source of deal flow as well. But there’s now almost, like more, if you just think about it like a scale, there’s more coins on one side of the scale than there are founders and companies to invest in that look like sort of like venture return style companies. And so these funds are now looking elsewhere in the world for like, where else can we find great talent? And Australia so far has been a relatively underestimated market, but we have some of the best technical talent in the world. Like, if we just take Jack Dorsey as an know, like, founded Twitter, founded Square when it came time to set up Square’s, APAC office, scoured the region, where can we find the best technical talent? And it was in Melbourne and he chose to set up the office in Melbourne. And a lot of the things that are built in terms of fintech infrastructure behind, like, these are tools that serve the rest of the world that aren’t even available in Australia. And they’re built in Melbourne with Melbourne technical talent.
0:43:24 – (Maxine Minter): Wow. I had no idea.
0:43:25 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): Yeah, and that’s just one example. Like, there are so many others of where funds and companies who are looking to expand. Yeah, they’re looking at Australia and it’s been relatively underserved. And they look at the maturity of our market and they look at the size of our funds and they go, ha, we can nail it. It’ll be so easy to just come in. And so what that’s going to do? I’m talking like the A World, a 16 silhouette, et cetera.
0:43:49 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): Your tigers, they’re all coming here to scout talent. And what that’s going to do for our local ecosystem is breed more competition. So we’re going to see all of the like, we’re going to have to see check sizes get bigger. We’re going to have to see more institutional capital come out of the super funds and into the funds. We’re going to have to see more high net worth directing their capital into venture and changing their pie charts. We’re going to have to see more angels investing in seed and pre seed deals. Like to remain competitive on the global stage and not see those companies be forced to flip up and go into other regions and remain Australian companies.
0:44:25 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): We’re going to have to see that competition increase. And also in terms of the portfolio success that’s provided all the value adds, that should be coming with getting a check that has to improve as well over time with competition. So it’s a good thing yeah, that’s very exciting.
0:44:39 – (Cheryl Mack): That’s a very good thing. I also see that as well.
0:44:42 – (Maxine Minter): Oh, absolutely. 100%. Like, I think with the competition coming, I think it also the other kind of element I’d add there. I think it adds to the innovation of the kinds of funding models and the kinds of value add that I think we’ll see in the ecosystem, kind of with that competition, which is super exciting, I think, kind of rebaselining the entire ecosystem on. It’s all about serving the founders, right. It’s all about how can we best serve them as our customers, as investors, and the more competition drives better value to the customers. So I’m super excited for that day.
0:45:13 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): Totally. We’re so lucky to be a part of these companies journey. The power dynamics are weird with investing, honestly, because there’s this weird power that’s held in writing a check. Right. But we’re not the ones that are changing the world. No, the founders are. It’s the entrepreneurs and the people working there, and we’re not the ones really.
0:45:35 – (Cheryl Mack): Generating the big return. The founders generate the big return for us.
0:45:39 – (Maxine Minter): Right, absolutely. Yeah.
0:45:41 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): We’re just lucky to be along for the ride. And I think that’s an important message to keep remembering. Without the founders, there’s no business here.
0:45:48 – (Maxine Minter): 100%.
0:45:49 – (Cheryl Mack): There’s no ROI.
0:45:50 – (Maxine Minter): Yeah. No ROI. Yeah. And I think that as an ecosystem, globally, we’ve kind of collectively, selectively, kind of forgotten that for the last year and a half. And it’s been really sad to see how quickly we let that kind of vision fall away a little bit and saw some behavior that didn’t reflect those dynamics. But I must say, I’m seeing lots of green shoes coming through the ecosystem. Kind of a return and a reminder that that is actually what matters. That is our jobs. We work for the companies that we invest in. We are a way to give them leverage and support, if at all. If there’s anything we can do, that’s our job. And so I’m excited we’re heading back in that direction.
0:46:32 – (Cheryl Mack): Yeah, 100%. So as we start to wrap up, Judy, one of the questions that we ask every guest that comes on our show is, what is your biggest big cajonas moment? So something that you did was outsized in a brave way, I think stepping.
0:46:47 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): Into this role, honestly, like, stepping into the investment landscape, especially in the family office world, I have no right to be the group CEO of a $70 million investment global portfolio. I am not an investment banker. I’m not an accountant. I am a startup founder. Community diehard. Like, I know how to run a company, and I know how to grow ecosystems, and I know how to work with I know this space and this sector inside and out. But running an investment portfolio is not something that I have the credentials to be doing.
0:47:25 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): I’m so grateful to be working with someone like Dom, who that’s not the thing that matters when it comes to building. Like, we can get wealth advice, we have great accountants and we can make sure that they give us all of the right things to make sure we’re protecting the assets and the people that matter the most. But that was pretty much yeah, that was a big cajones moment because I really had to back myself and I am learning oriented and I am growth oriented. And so I was like it was almost like, I don’t deserve this opportunity, is how it felt.
0:48:01 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): It’s like, holy shit, this is an incredible learning opportunity, an incredible impact opportunity. Like, Dom and I were so aligned on the mission, the vision, the values, what we could do, but then sort of like backing yourself to be good enough to do a good job. That’s probably the scary part because a huge part of our portfolio, like the direct investment portfolio venture, is a little bit de risked. But the huge part of the venture portfolio, like, I won’t actually know. And I’ve spoken to Jax about this before at a trip. I won’t actually know if I’m any good for a long time.
0:48:35 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): And that’s pretty scary. But that’s okay. That’s just part of the job.
0:48:40 – (Maxine Minter): Yeah. I’m so glad you took the job. You’re absolutely nailing it and taking a really fresh approach, approach that is not common in the ecosystem. And just doing it so well. So I think that kind of bingo owners moment, taking that risk and kind of being leaning into the way that you are different and now building that into a strategic strength, it’s just poetry in motion. I’m loving watching it from the sidelines.
0:49:04 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): Thank you. There’s lots of little micro cajones moments with the job, right? There are lots of hard things about I think a lot of this conversation has been pretty positively focused and aspirationally focused, but there are some really hard parts for this job. When a founder is calling you in tears because they can’t make pay run and they have to decide which staff to fire, and they don’t want to fire any of it. That’s a really hard conversation to have when you’re talking with founders about the fact that they have to put their company into liquidation and that’s what has to be done. And there’s no light at the end of the tunnel here. This is like, now we’re having a conversation about the art of a graceful dismount and protecting your fiduciary responsibility.
0:49:53 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): Those are difficult conversations to have, and they do require grit and courage. Again, you’re still in a service mindset. You’re in service of that founder doing the right thing by themselves, doing the right thing by their employees, doing the right thing by their investors, doing the right thing by everyone involved, particularly in a regulated environment, because we are doing a lot of fintech. It’s a heavily regulated environment. And so you have to know your shit and that can be pretty tough. But again, just lucky to work with so many great founders who on the hardest of days, they just wake up and they’re like, okay, game time.
0:50:30 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): And they just get it done. And it’s incredibly impressive. And even when companies fail, like, the founders are still people that we would happily back again to go on their next journey with them. And I think that’s an important message for this time in the market because I’m seeing a lot of companies dying quietly, and I just wonder how much of that is driven by the fact that they want to save face and no one wants to fail and all that kind of stuff. But for me, a failed founder is an experienced founder.
0:51:04 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): And that’s someone that, in terms of DD checklists, have they built companies before? I don’t care if they’ve had exits before. If they’ve had exits before, they probably don’t need us. If there’s a chance that any founders are listening, like yeah, experience and know sort of hand in hand, if you can make sure that you navigate it on the way down with grace.
0:51:27 – (Maxine Minter): 100%, I would. Plus one. Or maybe plus 100 to that statement.
0:51:31 – (Cheryl Mack): Plus a thousand.
0:51:32 – (Maxine Minter): Like, I think Australia yeah, Australia is not doing a good job at the moment of celebrating and facilitating founders to love that phrasing.
0:51:41 – (Cheryl Mack): The graceful, gracefully exit.
0:51:43 – (Maxine Minter): Yeah. The graceful dismount is so good. It’s so important because a big part of this of success in this category is the ability to find it fast or fail fast and then try again and move on to the next idea. And so if we make that easier, more respectful, more allowed, and even better, kind of celebrate the benefits of that process, I think we’ll move much faster as an ecosystem. So plus 1000 to that point.
0:52:10 – (Maxine Minter): Yeah.
0:52:11 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): I’ve had thoughts of the anti accelerator. What if we built an accelerator? That the whole goal was to try and kill the company as fast as you could. Not in bad ways. But success. Yeah, success was measured by we were trying to get to these targets, but the sooner we realized that those targets aren’t achievable, we’ve tried every Pivot you’re actually rewarded with another check to do your next idea. And if that is the next idea, wondered what that might look like.
0:52:37 – (Maxine Minter): That’s so cool.
0:52:38 – (Cheryl Mack): We could model that out at some point, for sure.
0:52:41 – (Maxine Minter): I love it. Yeah. Well, thank you so much for this chat. True to form, I feel like I’ve learned so much and I’ve just loved catching up and hearing about how you think about this ecosystem, how to build, how to show up as a leader. It’s been awesome.
0:52:55 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): Yeah. Can I sneak in one quick plug for our syndicate?
0:52:59 – (Maxine Minter): Oh, of course.
0:53:00 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): Yeah.
0:53:01 – (Maxine Minter): Plug.
0:53:01 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): So, in the journey of Euphemia, over the last year and a half or so, we’ve had a lot of people, like, other investors, other family. Officers, other fund managers, angels, et cetera, sort of ask us along the way, what deal are you doing next? What have you invested in the last few months? What’s in your pipeline? Like, how do we get involved? Can we co invest alongside you? What does that look like? And last year we were running so fast, like, we shipped over $20 million in our first twelve months that we were spinning so quickly that we didn’t even have time to pop up for air and invite other people to come along for the journey and to share some of those deals. And so we’ve now taken a breath, slowed down a little bit, and we’ve now built the Euphemia Syndicate. So if you like our know, fintech, climate tech, women led startups, diverse founders and startup infrastructure, you can join our Syndicate on the Aussie Angels platform, which of course Cheryl runs. And we’ll share our deal flow.
0:53:54 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): Not all of the deals, because some deals might just be Dom getting really excited about space bikes, but the deals that we think are really awesome, that match our thesis that we’re happy to sort of put our name to as a lead, if you will. Those will go out through the Syndicate. It’s opt in. You don’t have to participate once you sign up, but that will give access to the deal flow. We had our first deal go through the platform last month, which was future Super Series C round, so we led a small allocation into that. And the types of deals like we’re trying to bring there are the ones that you wouldn’t typically have access to otherwise. Like, because we’re in a relatively privileged position as a family office, we kind of get some unique deal flow, like some interesting secondaries or around where the minimum check size is not really accessible for an angel investor. And so we can bring those deals, lower the minimum check size and share the love. So please check that out.
0:54:43 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): I’m sure there’ll be a link somewhere on the Internet.
0:54:46 – (Cheryl Mack): Absolutely, yeah.
0:54:47 – (Maxine Minter): We will include a link in the show notes and maybe to your DD checklist if you’re willing to share it publicly.
0:54:52 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): Yeah, I’ll create a better structured version.
0:54:57 – (Maxine Minter): Wonderful, thank you so much. And check out the Euphemia Syndicate, I think a really differentiated opportunity to get some access to stuff that most people in the ecosystem don’t get to see. So, yeah, super exciting.
0:55:12 – (Cheryl Mack): Plus 1000 on that.
0:55:13 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): So good. Thank you for having me. And obviously I know this is getting too long now, and you may cut this out if you want, but I just think the world needs to I don’t know how many of your guests will reverse spruk like the work that you’re both doing, but it is absolutely incredible. Cheryl, you’re building an incredible platform, like a piece of financial infrastructure for the startup ecosystem to unlock capital that would otherwise not be going into deals to educate aspiring angel investors to get into the startup ecosystem to help founders fill their rounds and get some really interesting people and a diverse set of investors on their cap.
0:55:47 – (Judy Anderson-Firth): Like, that is just freaking awesome. And I’m so excited about the prospect in the future of what Aussie Angels is going to and Maxine like with coventures so awesome. Truly leading the way in the precede market in Australia. Just a very thoughtful fund. The caliber is very high. In terms of your relentless focus on it must be the best. Your pursuit of excellence is something that’s really impressive. And if you’re interested in early stage pre seat deals like yeah, Maxine’s fund is the place to go at Co Ventures. So thank you so much for having me.
0:56:21 – (Cheryl Mack): Thank you, Judy.
0:56:22 – (Maxine Minter): Thank you so much for coming on.