Australian private investment firm Future Now Ventures is partnering with Microsoft Australia to accelerate the pace at which independent software vendors (“ISVs”) can grow and succeed. Future Now Ventures has launched its first Fund open to external investors and will raise up to $100 million.

The four-year old Future Now Ventures strategy invests in and helps commercialise selected ISVs that are built on, or can be migrated to, Microsoft’s market leading cloud platforms and the Microsoft ecosystem.   The Fund will focus particularly on those ISVs that are selected for, or can take advantage of, Microsoft’s own accelerated growth programs.

Future Now Ventures was established in 2013 by Australians John Orrock and Chris Lee who have a successful track record growing and monetising cloud related businesses across the world.

John Orrock sold OKERE Consulting to Fujitsu USA in 2007 after achieving over 100 per cent year-on-year growth and attracting investment from Salesforce. Mr Orrock then formed GlobalOne which, through the assistance of partners Columbia Capital, acquired Cloud Sherpas before it was sold to Accenture for greater than US$350 million in 2015.

Mr Orrock said of the partnership with Microsoft that underpins the Fund, “Building on the right digital platform and having the right level of support can be the difference between having a mediocre software company and becoming a global leader.

“After leaving Cloud Sherpas I had the opportunity to take a step back and assess the different offerings from the major cloud providers. Microsoft immediately stood out from the crowd with the level of commitment and resources they provide to support their partners,” said Mr Orrock.

The Fund’s key focus will be helping selected Microsoft ISVs successfully navigate cloud ecosystems while providing them with commercial, operational and strategic support aimed at increasing the value of their offerings and accelerating their growth.

“We are very honoured to be the first external investment firm selected to have this level of access and are looking forward to working with Microsoft partners to help them grow and commercialise their businesses to the benefit of all stakeholders,” said Mr Orrock.

ISVs have increasingly targeted the cloud as a vehicle for delivering software by offering products on a SaaS basis where recurring revenue is achieved. In this delivery method, an ISV may sell its software through a public cloud or cloud marketplace, such as Microsoft marketplaces.

Software providers that attain Microsoft ‘co-sell’ status can benefit from collaborative selling initiatives with over 100 million businesses in Microsoft’s ever growing ecosystem. A key focus of the Fund will be to help suitable ISVs achieve this status.

Steven Worrall, managing director of Microsoft Australia, welcomed Future Now Venture’s initiative and the business amplification that it promised for independent software vendors by providing access to both funding and expert business advice.

“Microsoft Azure is designed to be the world’s computer, more open than any other public cloud, the only cloud with limitless data and analytics capabilities, and with AI infused and available for every deployment. With 54 data centres around the world we have invested deeply in Azure’s capability, resilience, security and trust.

“We are delighted that Future Now Ventures is focussing this $100 million fund on the forward-facing ISVs that leverage our Business Applications stack including Dynamics 365 and Power Platform, and the Microsoft ecosystem to deliver game changing solutions for their clients. Together we will be able to bring our technical capabilities, our business understanding and expertise to help accelerate the growth of Australian ISVs and help them and their customers work toward global success.”

The Fund’s investors will also gain exposure to a number of previous investments made by Future Now Ventures which include Barhead and Reekoh.

Last year, Barhead was named the winner of both the CRN Fast 50 and Deloitte Fast 50 Rising Star, achieving revenue growth of 16,330 per cent. Reekoh won Best IoT  Startup at the 2018 ACOMM Awards and was named as an Emerging Innovator at the CRN Impact Awards.

The Fund expects to close the current capital raise in September, 2019.

Read article from AFR, Chanticleer - Aug 23, 2019

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