MAP x One Roof Melbourne: The Franklins – Capital Raising Recap

There is an art to the capital raising process, as we learnt at The Franklins dinner on Monday the 13th of November.

Twenty-one female founders nestled into a cosy and intimate setting at Trunk restaurant in Melbourne’s CBD for a 3 course dinner. The Franklins dinners are MAP’s Female Founders’ Leadership Series. They provide an invite-only opportunity to connect like-minded female founders and to engage in a frank and insightful conversation about a particular topic that is relevant to founders and startups.

At The Franklins dinner on November 13th, co-hosted by MAP and One Roof, the issue in focus was capital raising. Each woman in the room had either been through the process (whether successfully or unsuccessfully), is currently raising funds, or is thinking about it in the near future.

We heard from two guest speakers.

Kate Morris, Founder and CEO of Adore Beauty, started Australia’s first beauty e-commerce site in 1999 from a garage in Melbourne at the age of 21. Starting with just $12,000 and two little known cosmetic companies on board, Adore Beauty has since grown to more than 160 brands, 12,000 products, and hundreds of thousands of customers.

Kerri Lee Sinclair is a successful founder many times over. Having sold her startup to Microsoft in 2007, Kerri Lee now works as the Chief Investment Office: Technology and Innovation for the Kin Group family office. Kerri Lee is a Founding Member of Springboard Enterprises Australia, a non-for-profit that runs an accelerator program focused on accelerating high growth women-led tech companies. Kerri Lee has a strong passion for supporting female founders and is a mentor and advisor to many Australian startups.


With ‘Chatham House Rules’ in place, we were able to have a very honest conversation which took many different twists and turns. While the rules dictate we cannot share the exact content discussed (#topsecret), we have shared some of our key take-aways in the video and post below:

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  • It always takes longer than expected. Capital raising is a long, slow process, (often longer than 6 months), and will undoubtedly take you away from the core of your business. You need to be prepared for this kind of distraction.
  • Planning, preparation and strategy are paramount. So many people go into the process with their eyes closed. it’s imperative to know why you want investment and who your ideal investors are. There is no value in pitching to everyone and anyone you meet. Men have pitched to Scale Investors even though Scale is an angel investor network that invests in women-led businesses! Learn from these mistakes. Know who you are pitching to – and why.
  • Do you get along with your potential investor to the point that you can enjoy going for a drink with them? Does your potential investor truly understand the industry and market you are in? What does the potential investor bring to the table beyond $$? These are important questions to ask.
  • Know what type of investor and opportunity suits you. We delved into the different types of investors and investment opportunities – comparing venture capitalists to family offices and corporate funding. There were lots of different opinions and experiences to share on this topic. Do your homework.
  • Do you want someone to lead the round? We discussed the benefits of having an investor lead the round, but we also recognised the challenges, particularly in Australia, of finding that lead investor.
  • Know who has your back. A strong supporter that is, literally someone sitting by your side in the negotiations, seemed to be a great tip from those who had been through the process. Kate Morris had her lawyer at every single negotiation with her and she found this invaluable. Who can support you (particularly if you are a solo founder)? A board of advisors can be really helpful in this process.

There is no doubt the process of raising capital is challenging for everyone, but there are sometimes added challenges faced by female founders.

We have no doubt that each and every woman in the room at The Franklins dinner is paving the way to make it easier for other women starting and growing businesses in Australia. There was such a buzz in the room, many important connections were made, and at the end of the night no-one wanted to leave. A clear sign of the success of the night!


If you would like further information about The Franklins, or MAP’s other initiatives, sign up to our newsletter here. For more information on One Roof, visit


Contributing content from this post was created by Sheree Rubinstein, CEO and Founder of One Roof Melbourne. Learn more about One Roof and see the original version of the post on the One Roof blog here.


Meet the judges of our Social Impact Showcase

We’re very excited for the upcoming MAP & Compass Social Impact Showcase.

This event marks the culmination of our first ever social impact pre-accelerator, Social Velocity. Join us on Monday 27 February to see our founders compete for the chance to win trips to the UK and Italy to advance their social impact startup dreams. We’ve put together a panel of esteemed judges from across the startup, business and social impact space, who will share their wisdom with the teams and announce the winners on the night.


Anna Ross, Founder & CEO, Kester Black

2Anna is a New Zealand-born, Melbourne-based creative and entrepreneur, and the founder and CEO of Kester Black – the ethical, sustainable nail polish and skincare company she launched in 2012 and quickly built into one of the fastest-growing and most innovative beauty brands.

Proudly Australian made, Kester Black now sells to Asia, America, Europe and also the Middle East, where its water-permeable products appeal to Muslim women.

A rule breaker by nature, Anna’s on a mission to initiate global change in the beauty industry by setting new standards for cosmetics with a positive social and environmental impact. Anna’s products are certified vegan, sustainable and cruelty-free. These accreditations have attracted a cult-like following from customers across the world who love her beautiful products with an ethical edge.

Being values-led is central, but Anna’s also a commercial powerhouse, a self-made success, and the prestigious Telstra Young Business Woman of the Year. Anna is passing on her success and knowledge. Kester Black donates 15% of its revenue to charities, Anna is an engaging public speaker and is establishing a financial literacy program, ‘More Cents’, to help schoolgirls become money-smart.

Fashion designer, jewellery maker, yoga fiend, cosmetics queen; Anna’s proving that ethically, socially and environmentally-minded businesses can also be ground-breaking and highly successful.


John Cameron, Founder & Director, The Cameron Foundation


John is one of the pioneers of electronic trading. He was a member of the team (of 6) that wrote one of the world’s first fully automated trading systems (SEATS) for the Australian Stock Exchange (replacing the trading floor). It went live in 1987 and ran continuously for almost 20 years (it was finally replaced in 2006). On the broker side, John wrote a pioneering market data distribution system which was used to distribute real time price data to virtually the entire broking community in Australia.

After an illustrious career in Europe, in 2013 founded FromTheProducer, an Australian organisation that supports local food producers. As the name implies, FromTheProducer removes the middle man to help customers purchase produce directly. Cultivating a thriving community of local businesses, FromTheProducer makes it possible for even the smallest producer to distribute their goods online.

John is also the Founder and a Director of the Cameron Foundation. The Cameron Foundation supports initiatives in the areas of health, education, human rights and disaster relief. Established using the proceeds of the sale of Cameron Systems to Orc Software in 2006, the Foundation is closely associated with Cameron Edge – a computer software and services company also run by John. Cameron Edge has a dual for-profit and for-purpose mission, as it generates income for the Cameron Foundation and uses technology to support worthwhile causes in society.


Fiona Wynn, Head of Innovation and Intrapreneurship, Australia Post

4Fiona is passionate about creating opportunities for talented people to create value. At Australia Post, Fiona and the team are drawing in insights from the startup world to create programs and platforms that support innovation for the benefit of customers and workforce alike.

Fiona has worked across a range of industries and companies in Australia and London. Her experience is predominantly across HR and organisational development, in companies such as Curve Group, Bosch Australia and OPM, the UK’s first employee-owned public interest company. These diverse experiences introduced Fiona to life in a startup, the application of Lean Thinking in manufacturing, and delivering social impact, all of which contribute to Fiona’s passion for creating new opportunities for the people of Australia Post to innovate from within.

Fiona is a psychologist and holds a Masters in Organisational Psychology from Monash University and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Melbourne.

Rohan Workman, Director, MAP

8Rohan’s passion is exploring the intersection of creativity and business to
create new and sustainable ventures. Rohan is the Director of Melbourne Accelerator Program and Director of Entrepreneurial Programs at the University of Melbourne’s LAB-14, The Carlton Connect Initiative.
Prior to MAP Rohan co-founded RosterCloud, whichprovides HR management software to events companies in Australia. Rohan was a Director of RosterCloud until 2016 when it was acquired by Rision Limited (ASX:RNL).

Rohan began his career at a boutique corporate advisory firm where he gained experience across many sectors including communications, agriculture, transport, logistics and property. He is a graduate of the University of Melbourne, the Australian American Young Leadership Dialogue, is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia and was nominated for the US Visitors Program.

Rohan has contributed guest columns to the Australian Financial Review, the Australian and The Age, and has appeared on the BBC World Service, Business Matters segment and Bloomberg Technology for Bloomberg TV.

SOCIAL IMPACT SHOWCASE, MON 27 FEB: This will be a night not to be missed. Register now to save your spot and be inspired!

MAP Silicon Valley 2016

In November 2016 MAP returned to Silicon Valley for its annual trade mission. Over the course of the trip, we spent time with some of the best minds and biggest names across the startup and corporate sectors seeking to uncover insights and lessons they have learned from their own journeys.

Stanford University, California

Each session delivered a wealth of information and a richness of detail that merits its own post, but for the purpose of review, we have provided a summary of the lessons covered each day.

Startup Survival Tips by Prof Galai

The great thing about being part of the MAP community is having access to a large pool of mentors. These range from academics to corporate experts, including all manners of entrepreneurs in between. Professor Dan Galai is a successful entrepreneur and visiting professor at the Melbourne School of Business. He was invited by MAP last week to host a DICE (Dialogues on Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship) presentation. Prof. Galai drew on his wealth of experience in academia and industry to offer insights into the startup space in Israel, and the lessons that Melbourne can learn from it. Below are some key points that might be of interest to the MAP audience.

 1.     Foster a failing culture

That’s not to say that we should aim to fail. Rather, it involves consciously building an environment that values failing as a learning process. This includes the environment that you build around yourself, the one created in teams, and that which surrounds the broader MAP and entrepreneurial communities of Melbourne. Prof. Galai argued that where there is not a culture of appreciating and allowing failing, it is difficult for individuals to engage in innovation. This may seem like an obvious point, but acceptance of failure is difficult to put into practice because cultural change is always gradual. He suggested that more could be done by institutions, including the University, to actively foster a culture of experimentation. The same could be said of individuals.

2.     Train yourself in relevant skills

Young adults in Israel enter mandatory army service upon high school graduation. As such, they delay entrance into tertiary education by at least two years. During this intervening period, they are taught technical knowledge and trained in creative problem solving skills. Prof. Galai believes this arrangement contributes directly to Israel’s success as startup nation, because the creative problem solving skills taught in military training is the kind of thinking that results in innovation.

The point to take away from this example is not necessarily to drop out of uni, but rather that it is worthwhile to look for opportunities that cultivate different modes of thinking. Entrepreneurship involves the identification of gaps, needs and pain in a current situation, and then creating a solution to fulfill that need. This requires both lateral and analytical thinking, both of which can be developed through training. It may be inadequate to expect your formal education to give you everything you need.

3.     Diversify

Prof Galai believed diversification of industries in a small economy is important. He illustrated his point with Finland, a country in which Nokia has such expansive reach that much of the economy is now reliant on its success. Any shocks suffered by Nokia would reverberate throughout the economy, potentially causing widespread pain.

Among startup founders, diversification of skills and personalities acts as an insurance policy for the team’s longevity. Prof. Galai suggested that founders should have only two things in common – loyalty and dedication. All must believe in their ideal and in each other, but beyond that, founders should be different so as to absorb setbacks felt by one another. If one founder is having a bad day, it’s important that he or she has somebody there who will keep the team afloat. It may be tempting to form a founding team with your best mate, but friendship alone isn’t enough to carry a business.

4.     Can entrepreneurship be taught?


While it is both possible and desirable to instill certain principles in aspiring entrepreneurs, Prof. Galai believes successful entrepreneurs share common traits. He described this as people who have a spark that can be ignited with guidance.

The nature versus nurture debate is an age old one, but is of strong interest to MAP and the University. If we are trying to create a culture of entrepreneurship, and it is a natural trait, then should we not target our efforts at those who show potential? On the other hand, if we don’t provide opportunities for people to discover their ‘spark’, other than the self-identified, we won’t know who will benefit most from our resources.

For the purpose of fostering entrepreneurship, we should continue to enhance the opportunities available to aspiring entrepreneurs, while also expanding our reach to connect with those who may not yet know what we provide. To this end, MAP, with the support of the University, regularly hosts public events. Like us on Facebook to receive updates.

 Professor Dan Galai will be holding a Master Class on Friday 30 August. For more information, please click here.

This post was contributed by Wen XiHer views do not necessarily reflect those of the Melbourne Accelerator Program or the University of Melbourne.  

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