Venture Invest conference put on ice amid sea of startup events

A Melbourne conference slated to solve key issues around investing in early stage businesses and featuring speakers including the head of LaunchVic has been postponed due to lack of interest.

Venture Invest, organised by Startup Foundation's Daniel Mumby, had billed itself as an event to ensure the billions set to be invested in the "next wave" of Australian startups and early-stage businesses in coming years is used well.

Venture Invest Melbourne conference postponed.

Photo: Venture Invest website.

Mumby says it's "disappointing" that the investment in the project, which he says is around $80,000 in resources and time, will not be immediately realised.

"What's happened though is that people who were interested are still coming forward saying, we still want to talk [about these topics]," he says.

The event was set to kick off on Thursday at NAB's Arena venue in Mlebourne, but failed to get off the ground due to a lack of interest from attendees which pushed the operation far from breaking even.

Its Eventbrite page listed tickets starting at $1,247 each.

Topics for discussion were to include the difficulty many angel and early stage investors have exiting investments once they take stakes in early stage businesses, Mumby says.

LaunchVic chief executive Kate Cornick had been pencilled in to attend and the state government startup body says it is "disappointing" the event didn't work out.

"The reason LauchVic agreed to speak was to talk more about investor education and the importance of it in our local startup landscape," a LaunchVic spokesperson says.

LaunchVic chief executive Kate Cornick was billed to speak at the event.

Photo: Pat Scala

Those in the startup and small business space had plenty on their plates this week, however, with a slew of conferences and events hitting in late August.

These include the Yeah Nah 2018 event last week, the 'Above All Human' conference on Wednesday, and the Council of Small Business Australia national conference, which launched on Thursday morning.

Mumby says he can't fault other startup groups for holding events at similar times to his, but says even so you have to admit "there is a lot of noise going on" at the moment in the business conference space.

Meanwhile, discussions about the attractiveness of new forms of business investment, like equity crowdfunding, still need to happen, he says.

"It’s also important to recognise that crowdfunding hasn’t seemed to have captured the public’s imagination."

Founder of equity crowdfunding platform Billfolda, Matthew Pinter, says he was keen to attend the event as a speaker and particupant.

"These kind of conferences are much harder to organise than they should be - sometimes it's just hard to convince people of the value," Pinter says.

However, he says Australia does need to have conversations about business investment, particularly the future of equity crowdfunding and legitimising this fundraising option for investors.

"This model is a change, a power shift. And it's about unpacking that conceptual change."

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