Updated: Dec 21, 2020
What a year 2020 has been. It started rough, with one of the worst bush fire seasons Australia has ever seen and then quickly became even crazier with the onset of the Covid-19 global pandemic.
Whilst it has been a challenging year for so many people around the world, including here at IAG and within our Ventures Team, one thing I think we can all be proud of is how we have banded together, adapted and then responded to the changing macro and micro conditions which have impacted how we go about our work.
Despite all the challenges or 2020, Firemark Ventures has had one of its strongest and most productive years ever and in this short blog post, I want to take some time to recap what we have done in 2020 and what we are looking forward to as we move into 2021.
New Investment Activity
2020 saw us make four new investments. Our first investment for the year was into Arturo, an advanced computer vision platform that analyses aerial images to help us better understand the built environment (specifically, residential properties).
Our investment into Arturo is a perfect example of what we mean when we describe ourselves as a 'strategic' investor for IAG - Australia's largest general insurance company.
Through our investment into Arturo, we are now leveraging a radically new technology capability that is giving us better insight into the properties we insure, whilst enhancing the customer experience of those who are looking to get a home insurance quote.
As well as Arturo delivering this new strategic capability to IAG, the company itself is going from strength to strength and is growing at a rapid rate. The end result is a win, both strategically and financially, which is exactly the kind of investment we like!
While our other three investments have not yet been publicly announced, we can't wait to tell the world about them and you will be hearing from us very soon.
Follow-on Investment Activity
2020 also saw us make three follow-on investments into our existing portfolio of companies. As a strategic corporate venture capital fund, we are along the journey with our start-ups for the long haul. This means being there for our portfolio companies as they continue to grow and doubling down on our investments, when it makes sense to accelerate things even further.
Each of these companies have demonstrated incredible growth and we are excited about where they are headed in 2021.
Forward Looking Focus For 2021
2020 was not just a busy year getting deals done, it was also a year of planning and laying the ground work for an even more successful 2021.
There are already a number of new investments looking likely to be completed in early 2021, including another computer vision investment which will nicely complement our existing investment into Arturo.
As well, several of our portfolio companies have big plans to support their rapid growth in 2021 with equally big capital raises, which we are very excited about and can't wait to dive into further as those opportunities emerge.
Finally, as we move into 2021 we will continue to refine our investment thesis to ensure we match the changing needs and requirements of IAG. One of the areas of exploration we are particularly excited about is our focus on climate change data/analytics opportunities.
Now more then ever, we are seeing incredibly smart entrepreneurs who are developing new technologies and solutions that capture unique data and then deliver clearer and more actionable insights into the effects that climate change is having on our country.
Given the terrible start we had to 2020 with the bush fires and the increasing risk Australia faces from more damaging weather events, we are passionate about supporting these smart founders who are using innovation and technology to help create and deliver actionable solutions.
Stay tuned to this newsletter and we will keep you updated throughout 2021 with how we proceed in this space!
The Firemark team would like to wish you and your family a happy and safe festive season!