Late last week the inaugural National Australian Angel Awards 2018 were announced at the 2018 Angels of Australia Conference, recognising those active in the angel investment community. The awards formed part of the Angels of Australia conference, are a joint initiative between Techboard based in Western Australia and Angels of Australia based in Queensland and are part of Techboard's ongoing collaboration with Australian Investors and Investment Groups.
The conference was held during a four day cruise travelling up and down the Queensland coast between Brisbane and Airlie Beach, which provided investors with educational content and the ability to share war stories and network in a social setting. The cruise also included an opportunity to visit the Airlie Beach area and explore the Great Barrier Reef.
Awards were presented for four different categories, Angel Investor of the Year, Most Active Angel Group, Most Active Individual Angel, and Best Angel Exit. The judging panel for the awards was led by Jordan Green, founder of the Australian Association of Angel Investors and Melbourne Angels. The panel included representatives from leading angel investor groups, with Sandrina Postorino (Sydney Angels), Ruth Drinkwater (Brisbane Angels), Ian Gardiner (Innovation Bay) and Co0founder of Techboard's Rafael Kimberley-Bowen (Perth Angels).
The Awards were presented by Rafael Kimberley-Bowen, following a presentation by Raf on the Techboard Australian Startup and Young Technology Funding Report 17/18 released earlier in the week.
Rafael Kimberley-Bowen presenting the Annual Funding Report
John Mactaggart was awarded Angel of the Year, in recognition of his contribution to angel investment, both through his investment activity and overall positive impact on the community. Mactaggart founded the Brisbane Angels in 2006 and was a co-founder of the Australian Association of Angel Investors which he chaired for five years.
“I created Brisbane Angels over ten years ago to develop my passion - to support and grow an investor base for angel-backed companies,” Mactaggart said. “Brisbane Angels has now grown to 80+ active members and continues to develop strategies and tools, and deliver member education to support our members and our investee companies. Thank you to all our members, our support staff, sponsors, the growing Angel community and the talented entrepreneurs in which we invest. I look forward to the next ten years of investing and the challenges of an ever changing angel community.”
Sydney Angels took out the award for Best Angel Exit of the Year, following the group’s impressive run with Sydney-based startup Jayride. The transport booking marketplace provided Sydney Angels investors with a 8.4x return six years after their initial investment, when it listed on the ASX earlier this year at a $37.75m valuation.
Sydney Angels members Sam Saxton and Andrey Shirben were the lead investors of the group’s syndicate in Jayride. Saxton, who subsequently took a board seat with the company, recalls: “Back in 2012, there was a lot of heat in the transport space with Jayride being one of three Sydney based startups seeking funding that were all investment ready. Along with an impressive tech stack and business model, the syndicate was impressed by the founders ability to meet their commitments and deliver to very tight deadlines. Remarkably this insight has held true ever since with Jayride setting and achieving its targets year on year. This also made it a very easy decision for follow up investments in subsequent rounds.”
While the company last month announced the launch of its services in Europe, its share price is currently sitting at 44 cents, down on its IPO price of 50 cents.
Speaking with Raf after hearing of the win in the Awards, Rod Bishop, co-founder and managing director of Jayride, highlighted the importance of following through on commitments made to investors. “As a founder the most important thing is to make those people who believe in you proud to have done so. In that way, you all support each other to your fullest extent. Achieving this only requires one thing; to 'do what you say you're going to do'. I'm happy today that Jayride.com is recognised as having delivered as promised for those people who backed us in the early days, and for the six years from that initial deal meeting to now."
Bill Grierson was awarded Most Active Angel Investor. The Melbourne based investor made 22 investments over the year into 16 companies, with 19 of these rounds qualifying for the award’s criteria.
Raf presenting the Award for Most Active Angel Group to Jordan Green from the Melbourne Angels
Grierson splits his investment activity between Australia and New Zealand, with just over half of the 16 companies founded in Australia, and another seven in New Zealand. Grierson credits angel groups with providing a lot of the deal flow: “First involvement with the 16 companies were sourced from a wide range of six different angel groups (Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth in Australia, and Ice Angels, Flying Kiwis, Enterprise Angels in New Zealand), as well as co-Investment opportunities offered to limited partners by Tuhua Fund, EA Fund, and GD1 Fund. So there has been a lot of schmoozing involved over a number of years to get on to the right deals - and obviously on to a few of the wrong ones as well!”.
According to Grierson’s tally, these latest deals now form part of a portfolio of 79 separate direct round investments in 48 different companies, accumulated in a little less than five years.
Melbourne Angels won the Most Active Angel Group award, with 23 qualifying investments into 19 companies recorded over the 12 months. The Award was accepted by Jordan Green, Co-founder and President of the Melbourne Angels.
Speaking after the awards Rafael Kimberley-Bowen said: “We were impressed by the quality and range of nominations and collected some great funding data, but the challenge with these types of awards is that angel investors typically shun the spotlight. They don’t tend to self-promote. We remain hopefully however that the range and quality of nominations continues in future years, as the community sees the benefit in celebrating its members’ impact and successes.”
The Awards also operated as a data capture mechanism for Techboard and funding events confirmed in time were included the Australian Startup and Young Technology Funding Report 17/18 and will be accessible to subscribers in Company Profiles on Techboard.