Frequently asked questions
We’re all about transparency, and making it easier for founders to find the right investor-fit.
So we’ve shared some responses to the questions we get asked the most by founders.
Now we can use our first meeting to really get to know each other.
What stage we invest
Is it ever too early to contact AirTree about funding?
We love to meet ambitious founders as early as possible. If your idea is going to change the world, we want to hear from you. Roughly 1/4 of our investments are pre-revenue, so we'd love the opportunity to hear from you at the idea phase.
Is it ever too late to contact AirTree about funding?
No at all. We’re often the first institutional investor a team gets on board, but we can partner right across the funding journey. We’re seed to Series B. We can write cheques from $200k up to $20m+.
Beyond Series B, we have strong relationships with later stage investors and we’re very happy to make intros at the right time.
How should I get in touch with you if I’m looking for funding?
We know that world-changing ideas can come from anywhere. And that ambitious founders do things completely differently to what’s been done before.
We review every opportunity (warm or cold). The best ways to reach us are:
What we look for when we invest
Does AirTree only invest in particular sectors?
First and foremost. We focus on backing exceptional people going after world-changing market opportunities. We invest across sectors.
We start with the founding team:
- Do you have deep domain expertise?
- A visceral connection to the problem?
- Are you making it your life’s work to try and solve it?
- Is your vision changing the game?
- Can you evangelise your vision to attract future capital and exceptional hires?
- Do you have the commercial hustle and resiliency to pivot if needed?
- And the self-awareness to constantly adapt?
Then we look at the problem being solved:
- Is it a big problem for a large customer market?
- Are your execution processes (growth, distribution) scalable?
- Can you build a category defining business?
- Does your market have near unlimited potential?
Are there any industries that AirTree won’t invest in?
Tobacco, drugs, alcohol, porn, gambling or weapons - they aren’t for us.
Does AirTree invest in crypto?
Yes we do. Blockchain is one of the most fundamental innovations we’ve seen in recent years.
What qualities do you look for in a founding team?
We invest in strengths, not the absence of weaknesses. We love meeting founders with:
Deep domain expertise. A visceral connection to the problem. Making it their life’s work to solve. As a student Mel Perkins was frustrated by how long it took to learn how to use mainstream design software. Canva now has 15 million users, across 190+ countries, and more than 1 billion designs have been created.
The ability to evangelise their vision to attract future capital and exceptional hires. Nathan and Michael at Athena started with a vision to give Australian’s access to more affordable home loans. Before the product had even launched they’d secured $40m in funding.
The commercial hustle and resiliency to pivot if needed.
The self-awareness to constantly adapt in a rapidly changing environment.
How we run our investment processes
What does a typical investment process look like at AirTree?
First thing to know. We love to meet founders well in advance of an investment process. That way we can get to know each other better and build a relationship over time. You can decide for yourself if we can offer more than just money.
Second thing to know - we’ve written a blog post on this. A brief summary below:
Once the actual fund raise process commences you can expect:
- A deeper dive: We try out your product. Talk to you about the opportunity and challenges ahead. Meet your team. Possibly talk to some customers. Conduct some of our own analysis. This usually takes a week or two.
- Partner meeting: If the deep dive goes well. We invite you in to present to our partnership. You’ll have an hour to tell your story, field questions from the partners and ask some questions of your own.
Final decision: If that goes well we offer you a term sheet. This is usually within 1-2 days of the Partner meeting.
Does AirTree invest in companies located outside of Australia or New Zealand?
The majority of our partnerships are with Australian and New Zealand entrepreneurs as that’s where we can add the most value - helping build your team, connecting you with other founders, and providing access to expertise.
However, from time to time we come across companies that have proven themselves as market leaders globally and they’re looking for our help to expand into the Australian market.
When those companies are also in a space that’s particularly relevant to Australia (like DroneDeploy) - then it’s a no-brainer for us to get involved.
What terms to expect from us
How much do you usually invest in a new company?
For an initial investment in an early stage company we typically invest somewhere between $200k to $5m. For later stage rounds we can invest up to $20m+.
We also reserve a large part of our funds to support our companies in subsequent funding rounds.
We are one of the only Australian VCs that has the scale to support you through each stage of your funding journey.
Do you target a certain ownership stake in the business?
For the right business we can be as flexible as you need us to be. But we need to have enough of an ownership stake to dedicate meaningful time to your business when you need us to the most. All of our investments are minority stakes. We want you to be in control.
Do you always need to be the lead on a new investment?
No. We’re happy to co-invest with other great investors who can bring value to the table and have a strong track record of doing so.
Do AirTree partners take board seats?
If we are writing a large cheque and/or leading your round, it’s likely that we will ask to be involved at the board level. Founders typically want to use our experience and track record to help them anticipate the challenges to come.
Though we don’t leave our impact just for the formal meetings - we’re always available to work through challenges when you need us.
Some other points to know about us
Is AirTree hiring for any internal roles?
We have the largest investment and portfolio services team in Australia and we’re still growing! Check out our AirTree People page to see what roles we have open.
Where is your office?
We’re based in Paddington in Sydney, but we’re just a Zoom call away from anywhere