Fireside Chat with Flying Fox Founders: Empowering Early-Stage Startups in Australia

Jun 26, 2023

On July 22nd, an insightful Fireside Chat took place, featuring Kylie Frazer and Rachael Neumann, the founders of Flying Fox. This breakfast event brought together entrepreneurs, investors, and industry enthusiasts to discuss the pressing need for early-stage funding in Australia’s startup ecosystem. Hosted in partnership with Spacecubed and VICI Ventures, the event provided a platform for valuable discussions and networking opportunities.

The Fireside Chat touched upon several vital highlights that shed light on the challenges faced by startups and angel investors, as well as the mission of Flying Fox. One of the prevailing themes was the desperate need for increased early-stage funding in Australia. Both venture capitalists (VCs) and angel investors were identified as crucial players in bridging this funding gap. Flying Fox, as a venture capital firm, focuses specifically on investing in very early-stage companies, aiming to address this need.

Drawing from their backgrounds in finance and law, Rachael and Kylie emphasized that the quality of the founder is the true differentiator in the early-stage game. They explained that it takes several months to truly understand and evaluate founders before making investment decisions. Additionally, they challenged the common assumption that startup founders are predominantly young entrepreneurs, pointing out that the average age of founders is around 40, and some even enter the startup world in their 60s. Experience, they noted, holds tremendous value in the startup ecosystem.

One of the key takeaways from the Fireside Chat was the importance of embracing failure as a valuable learning opportunity. Rachael and Kylie encouraged attendees to let go of the fear of failure and instead be afraid of never learning from those failures. In the pursuit of success, setbacks are inevitable, and viewing them as stepping stones to growth and knowledge is essential.

The discussion also stressed the significance of diversification in angel investing. Flying Fox, for instance, meticulously examines approximately 1000 deals before selecting just 10 for investment. To facilitate greater diversification across sectors and trends, they recommended Rolling Funds, similar to their own, which allow angel investors to achieve broader exposure and mitigate risk.

Transparency and clear communication emerged as vital aspects of the investor-founder relationship. Founders should be upfront about their investment capacity, ensuring that expectations align and neither party invests excessive time or resources into a partnership that may not materialize.

In conclusion, the Fireside Chat with Kylie Frazer and Rachael Neumann provided a wealth of insights for entrepreneurs and investors alike. The event highlighted the urgent need for increased early-stage funding in Australia, along with the importance of diversification, experience, and transparent communication. Flying Fox’s mission to empower early-stage startups and their dedication to effecting change in underinvested regions like Western Australia reflect their commitment to fostering innovation and growth. Ultimately, the chat served as a reminder to embrace failures, have fun, and continually learn in the dynamic world of startups.