VC raise a record $1.4 billion while the median funding invested in Indigenous ventures remains $0

By Dean Foley. Published at Apr 15, 2021, in Features

According to Dean Foley, founder of the world’s first Indigenous Accelerator, who reached out to venture capital firms operating in Australia to conduct research into how much or more accurately, "how little" VC firms were investing in Indigenous ventures, the feedback he got was very disturbing though not unexpected.

The push for diversity in venture capital is long overdue but like a lot of diversity campaigns, First Nations people are being overlooked by investors in Australia.

When I first started Barayamal a few years ago, I would hear things from the leaders of the startup space like they didn’t even know Indigenous entrepreneurs actually exist, or helping Indigenous people was definitely not high on their priority. I wasn’t expecting VC firms to outright not invest anything in Indigenous ventures.

VC firms do have a fiduciary duty to their investors to deliver healthy returns, but I wonder if the large institutions who invest in these funds would be interested in receiving smaller return ventures if given the opportunity to support First Nations people by VC firms.

First Nations people in Australia have been innovating for thousands of years, from being the world’s first bakers to building one of the world's most comprehensive and oldest aquaculture systems - older than Egypt's pyramids.

In addition, despite only making up 5% of the world’s population, Indigenous people protect 80% of the world's biodiversity - the results from supporting Indigenous Entrepreneurship goes without saying.

It's time to consider indigenous ventures as legitimate

Despite VC firms in Australia raising a record $1.4 billion this year and billions in total, zero percentage has been invested in Indigenous ventures.

During my research I was told VC firms don’t collect sensitive information, however I knew they were collecting demographic data on people, they just didn't bother with adding First Nations people to their surveys because it’s not high on their priority.

Unfortunately in the lucky country, the most unlucky people are the Traditional Owners which is a bit ironic.

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