Rampersand is a new firm looking to invest in Australian startups and provide them with advice on sales, marketing, and PR.
The firm is announcing that it has raised a $6 million fund for that purpose. Managing partner Paul Naphtali described the fund size as “tiny by Silicon Valley standards, but a start.” Although Naphtali has been working in the San Francisco Bay Area (at least for the few years that I’ve known him), he said Rampersand will be based in Australia.
“I’m a native of Australia and over the past few years have spent more and more time there,” Naphtali told me via email. “One of the things I’ve noticed is the development of a very high quality startup ecosystem, but there’s a few holes: 1) a lack of early-stage capital and 2) a lack of sales/marketing/PR community that understands startups and success.”
Naphtali certainly has some relevant experience, having handled PR or communications for Snaptu (which was acquired by Facebook), Amobee (acquired by Singtel), and TokBox (acquired by Telefonica). Rampersand’s other managing partner is Jim Cassidy, whose résumé includes marketing roles at StepStone, BEA Systems, and IBM.
The firm will make investments of up to $500,000, Naphtali said; in fact, it has already made two but it isn’t announcing them yet. He added that the plan is to invest in “companies that started/are headquartered in Australia but have global plans.”
Update: I emailed Naphtali to clarify the role of Michael Naphtali and Martin Casey, who he said are partners (but not managing partners). I also asked him about the firm’s name:
Ah, the name. It has several meanings. We help companies “ramp” AND we do more… “Ramp” as in bridge, such as between aus and the rest of the world… “sand” as in Australian and Californian beaches and Silicon… And the ampersand is all about additional, additional care, services etc…