Investment fund for women-led start-ups celebrates first year milestone

The Alice Anderson Fund, LaunchVic’s investment fund for women-led start-ups, is celebrating a successful first year of helping Victorian women entrepreneurs unlock millions in capital.

The Alice Anderson Fund was launched in July 2021, and has since supported 11 women-led start-ups who overall have received more than $12.5 million of capital by delivering close to $2.5 million in direct investments and helping to attract a further $10 million from private investors.

“LaunchVic is working to close the gender investment gap by backing women-founded businesses at their earliest stages, so they have every opportunity to succeed in entrepreneurship,” LaunchVic CEO Dr Kate Cornick said.

Named after the founder of Australia’s first all-women motor garage in the 1920s, the state-supported $10 million Alice Anderson Fund co-invests between $50,000 and $300,000 in early-stage start-ups founded and led by Victorian women.

To celebrate the occasion of its first anniversary, Victoria’s Minister for Innovation, Medical Research and the Digital Economy Jaala Pulford joined LaunchVic and the recipients of the Alice Anderson Fund overnight to celebrate its achievements so far and help drive forward its goal of backing 60 women-led start-ups by 2024.

Recent recipients of investment supported by the Alice Anderson Fund include Telecare, a HealthTech company co-founded by Lina Xu which recently closed a $2.2 million seed funding round led by Australian Medical Angels and which is building Australia’s largest virtual clinic, and biochemist and beauty entrepreneur Natassia Nicolao who launched Australia’s first waterless beauty brand Conserving Beauty which is now stocked at major cosmetic retailers.

Victoria’s start-up industry is growing rapidly, more than doubling in value in the past year to $23.6 billion, and the state government has made it a priority to increase competitiveness and attract national and international investors, as highlighted in the Labor Government’s Innovation Statement released in November 2021.

“This Fund is about empowering women as they build their own business communities – so they don’t have to feel like they have to fight for their own place in the start-up industry,” Minister Pulford said. “The legacy of Alice Anderson lives on through these 11 ambitious founders, as we mark this special milestone.”