Former Startup Victoria CEO, Judy Anderson-Firth, is General Manager at entrepreneur and investor Dominic Pym’s family office, Euphemia. Together with Dom, she is investing in today’s founders and tomorrow’s startup scene, building a diverse, progressive, intelligent, ambitious community – an environment, a movement – that’s going to build the future of Australia.
Judy completed our VC Catalyst investor education program in 2022 during Euphemia’s infancy. The timing meant she could apply best practice principles to the strategy she was developing, and stress-test new ideas with peers in the VC Catalyst cohort.
Having recommended VC Catalyst to others in her role with Startup Victoria, Judy was excited to join the program.
“Stepping into my new role at Euphemia provided a great opportunity to participate in VC Catalyst, after admiring it from afar for some time. I made sure I carved out the time and energy to get the most value from it, and doing so really helped in the early months of setting up Euphemia.”
Judy can now benchmark Euphemia’s performance more effectively.
“I’ve gained a better understanding of market averages and what good and bad performances look like. It means we can effectively benchmark our performance against the rest of the world. Without that kind of context, we would have been working in an echo chamber where we were benchmarking against our own performance from previous years, which ultimately isn’t very informative or useful.”
VC Catalyst helped Judy boost her network.
“I met a lot of new people on the course and established some high-value relationships. In particular, I met someone who heads up another family office, and we continue to catch up and share learnings. The VC network is also influencing my personal portfolio – I made my first direct angel investment thanks to a VC connection! I believe in the power of serendipity, but for magic to happen, you have to show up and when you do, the outcomes can be incredibly rewarding.”
Judy tailors what she learned at VC Catalyst to Euphemia’s ethical investment goals.
“While one of our goals is to be commercially successful, it isn’t the only one. Dom and I are hungry to make an impact. We want to make a positive impact on people, communities, and amplify Australian innovation to create something greater than we could ever imagine. While it’s useful to know venture capital best practice, we don’t need to be bound by it in the same way traditional investors are. For example, we can make decisions on a different time horizon to typical venture capital funds, across multiple decades rather than a fund’s lifecycle. Being able to focus on the founders is a great position to be in. We now know what makes Euphemia special – we are thoughtful capital.”
VC Catalyst helped Judy produce core Euphemia collateral, which she is still using.
“I wrote our investment thesis during my time on VC Catalyst and the feedback I received from peers and mentors pushed me to refine my thinking and include more specifics. I also had to produce a presentation as part of the course, and we still use it all the time – we kick off almost every meeting with it! It’s a key artifact that informs our website build too.”
The collateral Judy developed during VC Catalyst also offers ongoing strategic benefits.
“Having such a specific investment thesis helps us be clear on what we do and don’t say yes to. Moreover, it helps us say “no”, which for ‘yes people’ like Dom and myself, is arguably more helpful as there are so many opportunities out there. It also means we can talk to the market clearly about who we are and what we care about, so founders, other investors, and partners can connect with us on relevant opportunities.”
At Euphemia, Judy is committed to supporting minority founders – especially women.
“We need to see more women and minority founders receiving funding. A report published by Deloitte, commissioned by SBE Australia in 2022 presented approximately 22% of startups in Australia are funded by women, but only 0.7% of funding in FY22 went to these women-led startups. The problem is even deeper if a founder is at the intersection of minorities. These stats are appalling and signal a systemic challenge within our industry. If we can create a step change in the number of women founders attracting investment, we will see more successful exits for women, and our hope is they become our next generation of investors supporting more women-led companies. Success begets success!”