National Australia Bank says it’s putting its money where its mouth is by allocating $2 billion to boost high-growth tech companies over the next five years.
The lender said the pledge – which is in addition to its existing NAB Ventures seed funding program – will provide tech innovators with ongoing financial support via loans, advice, and assistance with capital raising.
NAB also added Thursday’s announcement was a meaningful commitment in shoring up Australia’s long-term prosperity.
NAB’s chief customer officer business and private banking Andrew Healy said companies the bank was targeting were often already profitable, but may need further capital and banking expertise to become the ASX100 players of tomorrow.
“The life cycle of a tech company from startup through to Atlassian, for instance … they need different solutions along the way,” Mr Healy said.
“And we want to make sure we are leading the way in what will hopefully be a game-changing growth sector for Australia over the next few years.”
Ideal candidates for the funding would have technologically enabled business models and debt funding needs of between $5 million and $200 million.
Eligible companies would also need a demonstrable strategic advantage over competitors and disruptors, along with strong management and backing from credible investors.
Mr Healy said the pledge was in direct response to the economic challenges identified this week by the Australian National Outlook 2019, a collaboration with CSIRO, NAB and 20 other non-government organisations.
The report recommended five key shifts that Australia should make to secure a prosperous future, including innovation and investment in growth sectors such as technology.
“It was important in the wake of the report we made some really meaningful commitments,” Mr Healy said.
“Because it’s all good to do the report, but it can’t just sit on the desk – you need to take it use it and we’re encouraging the private sector to do this.”
NAB’s investment in the tech and innovation space already includes its $100 million ventures fund, which has made 14 equity investments in companies since launching in 2016.
The Ventures program last week scored its first exit with the $583 million sale of Wave Financial.