Galileo First Year in Review 2021

Galileo has had a wild 2021, investing over $3.5m into first-time founders
By
James Alexander
December 16, 2021

Galileo’s first year has been a wild ride! 

We did an initial close of $10m for Galileo’s first fund in December 2020, during the middle of a pandemic (pandemic-founded venture fund!). Since then have invested in 14 companies across Australia and the world. 

The first 8 investments we made were all made – and continue to be made – via zoom. It took us 7 months before we even met some of our founders In Real Life at our first Galileo Founder Retreat (we luckily managed to fit it in between lockdowns). 

Galileo founders are doing incredible work across multiple industries from construction, artificial intelligence, disability support to creator and metaverse marketplaces. We couldn't be prouder of their various achievements over this year. 

We’ve expanded the Galileo team (hi Luddy) and are happy to announce we’re hiring more roles in 2022 too (sign up to be the first to know). 

Galileo’s year(ish) by the numbers

  • Invested in 14 new seed-stage companies (averaging 1 new investment per month)
  • Our portfolio have attracted over $12m in investment in under 12 months 
  • Galileo has invested over A$3.5 million into first-time and diverse founders! 
  • We are the first VC investor in over 90% of our companies – being the first investor is the rule, not the exception for us, and we’re often the first investor, ever.
  • Our first follow-on investment into a portfolio company, Relevance AI, led by Insight Partners
  • Our portfolio have already created over 72 jobs in high-growth companies

Galileo does things differently. 

We’ve started to better define what makes us truly different from other VC funds as well, including:

1. FIRST-TIME FOUNDER FOCUS 

We back emerging founders who are building their first high-growth tech business. We invest before most VCs are comfortable – despite everyone saying they invest right at the start, we literally do. Being the first investor is the rule, not the exception.  

2. Mo' Money, Mo' support

We run an anti-accelerator (or maybe not even one at all?). We invest more money at pre-seed and support founders for life – with a special focus on the first 12 months post investment. Our model is the opposite to programs like YC as we dont’ believe in the model of building FOMO for 12 weeks only to try to raise huge dollars with no real business traction. 

We’re more like a VC fund who actually invest right at the start of your journey, and support our portfolio just as deeply as a series A/B/C fund – through our programming, mentors and coaches.

3. NO BULLSH*T, NO ROWGS

We’re openly-gay and under 35 year old VC partners. And we’re building a diverse team. We want to be upfront and real with our founders we meet and work with. We give feedback to everyone that applies online. We don’t need warm intros from founders. We don’t want to build a team or community full of rich old white guys (ROWGs) – our focus is to work with anyone who builds a great startup.


Lessons and looking ahead from the team 


Luddy, Head of Platform: 

“Lesson for me this year has been learning about the best type of founders we like to back and support – these are founders that are strategic, no fluff or hand holding required and just get down to business to build towards a big impact.

For next year I’m also interested in blockchain/NFT consumer companies redefining how we think about value and money.”


James, Co-founder/Partner

“For me an important lesson has been working out where we can make the most impact as a first-time VC funding first-time entrepreneurs. This means saying ‘no’ to lots of great companies that we’ve seen this year, and saying yes to the crazy new ideas and founders that no other VC is willing to back (yet)! 

Being one of the youngest (and gay-identifying) VC partner has been personally interesting for me, in a wold that is still dominated by ROWGs (Rich Old White Guys). I think Australia needs to build its confidence to back our next generation in a big way and take WAY MORE risks and talk ourselves up on the global stage.

For 2022 I’m super excited to invest in more AI/ML companies revolutionising old industries like agriculture, crypto and Web3,  and more emerging founders wherever they are!”


Hugh, Co-founder/Partner

“I’ve learned a lot over the last year about the things I didn’t expect to learn about, like a lot of the operational side of VC. It’s a startup in itself in many ways, as there are your own processes and systems to build and you start from practically nothing.

As the portfolio grows, it’s fascinating to chart the next stage of our portfolio’s lives as our first investments go on to raise more capital and we welcome more founders into the Galileo fold. It has been incredible to start to see the network effect of founders helping founders within our community.

I’ve also been disappointed by some of the behaviours I’ve seen from sitting on the VC side of the table, whether that’s a lack of diversity within the [VC and to some degree wider startup] sector as James mentioned, or even the way that people within the ecosystem (from all roles and parts) can and do treat people who don’t fit the usual mould. That’s actually been a real eye-opener for me, as it wasn’t something I saw nearly as much from the founder side of the table. While I can’t solve this at all, this is something I want to think about a bit further in 2022, and definitely play whatever part I can in addressing bad behaviour.

For 2022, I want to see Australian founders run toward ambition. I feel like the last two years have made it hard to pitch companies that are just totally out there and people discount their vision. As the world economy accelerates out of COVID (and learns to live with it), I hope that we’re going to see more exciting founders wanting to change the way everyone lives, and be there as their first investor for the journey.”

About the Author
Co-founder of Galileo Ventures. Newbie VC creating the leading global VC-accelerator for emerging founders.
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