Blackbird’s Rick Baker tips coronavirus innovation boom

“I have this thesis that what we’re going through now will make people more acceptable to change over the next few years with more acceptance of new technology, new ways of working and new ways of living your life,” he says. “I think there’s a really great opportunity.”

Founded in 2012, Blackbird counts some of Australia’s most successful startups, including technology ‘unicorns’ Canva, SafetyCulture and Culture Amp amongst its investments and Baker says the pandemic has meant investments are “definitely slowing down” and venture capital funds are rationing money out to protect some of their best investments over the next year.

“There is a degree of reserving some more capital for those existing investments.”

Most startups are loss making and dependent on being able to raise funds every 18 to 24 months so Baker says while startups that have recently raised funds have a buffer of sorts, those looking for fresh funding will struggle.

“Our prognosis is it’s going to be difficult to raise funds for at least the next 12 months, probably the next 18 months,” he says. “So it’s really important to make sure those companies (short of funding) survive.”