StartupWeek Sydney brings together people with ideas – entrepreneurs, innovators and disrupters. A collaborative festival, it hosts 150 speakers, 60 events at 22 venues across Sydney to teach startups how to commercialise their ideas.

On Monday evening, LegalVision’s Surry Hills Head Office held a free capital-raising seminar. Over 50 attendees gathered to consume 16 pizzas and drink wine while listening to LegalVision’s two co-founders step them through capital raising’s commercial realities and its often overlooked legals.

LegalVision CEO, Lachlan McKnight and General Counsel, Ursula Hogben have raised over $2 million in venture capital and so were in a unique position to provide the audience with first-hand tips and tricks. So what were the key takeaways?

1. Are You in a Business that Someone Would Want to Invest In?

If you are the start-up’s CEO, capital raising is your full-time job. And the job description requires somebody ambitious, commercially savvy and committed to investing their time and energy to secure investors. Growing your start-up then requires raising money or generating revenue.

McKnight pointed out that it is almost impossible in Australia to raise money without a business generating revenue. Silicon Valley success stories, including user sharing apps Uber and Airbnb, would not be profitable in Australia’s current conservative start-up climate.

In describing his role as LegalVision’s CEO, McKnight said he was responsible for making sure that the business is “making enough money” and “growing at the desired rate”. He also acknowledged the necessity of a strong team. Ensuring that there are other people in your business that can do whatever else needs doing allows you to concentrate your energy on raising capital.

2. Ask Yourself Uncomfortable Questions, and Answer Honestly.

McKnight went on to encourage his audience to ask themselves questions when they are fine-tuning their pitch. Would someone else want to invest in the business? Is the business the type that would raise venture capital? Are you undervaluing your start-up? It is not uncommon that new start-ups adopt the mentality that their business is not worth anything. And resultantly, give away entire chunks. This mentality will not scale your start-up. Investors owning too much of your business provides few incentives for founders and employees to stay and continue growing it. When seeking equity, it can be difficult, however, straddling the line between recognising your start-up’s potential for growth and not being too greedy.

You should also ask whether your personal capital raising ambitions reconcile with that of your potential investors? Raising $10 million may be personally satisfying. Investors, however, view their investments as a portfolio. They knowingly sink millions of dollars in start-ups that fail so the rare success needs to provide a sizeable return.

3. How Do you Obtain Investment?

Hogben took to the floor later in the evening and discussed obtaining investment for start-ups. She quickly dismissed as unworkable reliance on marrying Beyoncé to secure finance. Reportedly, the Queen Bee is rather happily married to Jay Z. Hogben asked in lieu of this, what could attendees actually do to raise capital.

Crowdfunding is, contrary to popular belief, illegal in Australia. Start-ups cannot receive small amounts of money from hundreds of people, or sell small numbers of shares to people across the country. In Australia, start-ups can raise up to $2 million from 20 investors in a 12-month period. That’s it. You cannot publically advertise your offer, and you cannot spam people.

You can, however, obtain investment from Angel Investors (also known as ‘sophisticated investors’) or Professional Investors. The term ‘angel investors’ gained notoriety through Channel Ten’s Shark Tank. They are sophisticated investors with net assets of $2.5 million or have had an annual income of $250,000 for several years.

But what do these investors want to know about your start-up? And how can you craft a successful pitch? Investors want to know your story. They want to know why is your product or service needed, what problem are you helping to solve and who is on your team.

They also want to know what is your exit strategy. An investor is not your spouse. And they will not stick around for better or worse. They want to invest, make a profit, and then get out. You will need to be able to clearly and succinctly explain who you will your start-up to and how – will it be to another business or will you list on the stock exchange?


There is, however, no rulebook or guaranteed route to successfully raising capital.It’s a real job. And you need to commit to selling. Your idea, your business, your brand and yourself.

COVID-19 Business Survey
LegalVision is conducting a survey on the impact of COVID-19 for businesses across Australia. The survey takes 2 minutes to complete and all responses are anonymous. We would appreciate your input. Take the survey now.

About LegalVision: LegalVision is a tech-driven, full-service commercial law firm that uses technology to deliver a faster, better quality and more cost-effective client experience.

The majority of our clients are LVConnect members. By becoming a member, you can stay ahead of legal issues while staying on top of costs. For just $199 per month, membership unlocks unlimited lawyer consultations, faster turnaround times, free legal templates and members-only discounts.

Learn more about LVConnect

Claudette Yazbek
Need Legal Help? Get a Free Fixed-Fee Quote

If you would like to receive a free fixed-fee quote or get in touch with our team, fill out the form below.

  • By submitting this form, you agree to receive emails from LegalVision and can unsubscribe at any time. See our full Privacy Policy.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Our Awards
  • 2019 Top 25 Startups - LinkedIn 2019 Top 25 Startups - LinkedIn
  • 2019 NewLaw Firm of the Year - Australian Law Awards 2019 NewLaw Firm of the Year - Australian Law Awards
  • 2020 Fastest Growing Law Firm - Financial Times APAC 500 2020 Fastest Growing Law Firm - Financial Times APAC 500
  • 2020 AFR Fast 100 List - Australian Financial Review 2020 AFR Fast 100 List - Australian Financial Review
  • 2020 Law Firm of the Year Finalist - Australasian Law Awards 2020 Law Firm of the Year Finalist - Australasian Law Awards
  • Most Innovative Law Firm - 2019 Australasian Lawyer 2019 Most Innovative Firm - Australasian Lawyer
Privacy Policy Snapshot

We collect and store information about you. Let us explain why we do this.

What information do you collect?

We collect a range of data about you, including your contact details, legal issues and data on how you use our website.

How do you collect information?

We collect information over the phone, by email and through our website.

What do you do with this information?

We store and use your information to deliver you better legal services. This mostly involves communicating with you, marketing to you and occasionally sharing your information with our partners.

How do I contact you?

You can always see what data you’ve stored with us.

Questions, comments or complaints? Reach out on 1300 544 755 or email us at

View Privacy Policy