An angel investing group that invests in private companies led by LGBT founders has made its first Australian investment, ahead of the Sydney Mardi Gras this weekend.
Gaingels invested $150,000 in sugar-free beverage company Nexba, which is based in North Sydney.
The group has now directly invested more than $10 million and sourced $25 million in funding from other organisations to support 32 companies and eight venture capital funds. Founders David Beatty and Paul Grossinger connect companies to a global network of LGBT/Ally investors, giving them access to capital, investors' business acumen and contacts.
As an affinity network, it also offers assistance, mentorship and makes introductions to speed companies for further growth and M&A opportunities.
A 2016 study by Startout showed more than a third of LGBT founders were not out to their investors while 17% believed that outing themselves would hurt them.
Gaingels co-founder Paul Grossinger said the group was proud that Nexba, co-founded by Troy Douglas, is to be its first Australian venture.
"We believe in the company's leadership, and that its brand and proprietary product range will continue to translate in Australia and beyond," Grossinger said in a statement.
"Gaingels backs companies with LGBT leadership, such as Troy and Nexba, because we believe that diverse leadership correlates with stronger culture, better opportunities for more LGBT senior leadership at the company and, ultimately, stronger performance. We look forward to helping Nexba scale toward its ultimate potential."
Nexba recently launched in the UK with a deal with supermarket chain Sainsbury. In Australia, it is sold at 3000 outlets and the company says its household penetration increased 202% in the past year. It is expecting gross sales of $12.5 million in this financial year from local operations.
"I'm honoured that Nexba is Gaingels' first Aussie investment. As an openly-gay founder in a family-first business, I'm aware of how fortunate I've been to have the support of my business partner and brother-in-law, Drew Bilbe," Douglas said.
"That said, I will always be thankful to groups like Gaingels who lead the way by encouraging each of us to feel safe and proud of who we are. Capital raising is an intense experience, but it has transitioned Nexba from being a start-up to a scale-up."
Gaingels' $150,000 investment was a part of Nexba's Series A capital raise on Venture Crowd. It closes in three days and has raised $5.4 million of the $6 million close.