The Folklore Journey


Alister Coleman

March 23, 2021

Introducing Folklore

Since 2014, our firm has been known as Tempus Partners. And from 2021, we are now Folklore Ventures. Yes, Folklore. 

Our new name and identity matches our values and beliefs, our strengths as investors and the journey we are on with our companies and as a firm. 

We're incredibly proud of what we have achieved, the people we have worked with, the founders we've supported, and the companies we've invested in. Our new identity matches our values and beliefs, our strengths as investors and the journey we are on with our companies and as a firm.

By embracing the name Folklore as our public identity, we catch up to our long held ambition: to be one of the great investment firms, and a partner to founders establishing legendary companies and business folklore of their own.

Our mission is to become a long-range ambition machine for the great success stories of our time. 

What do we value and believe as a team?

  • We believe in long-range ambition
  • We believe diversity makes us whole
  • We believe in founder vision
  • We value the catalytic power of teams
  • We believe greatness is born from uncertainty
  • We are eyes wide open, not fingers crossed

Investments led by builders

We believe investors in startups should have experience building startups themselves - especially at an early stage. As former founders and operators, we have lived the ups and downs of the startup journey. We understand what it takes to move mountains, put out fires and do it day after day, year after year. Our ambition is to be the investors we wish we had, to be a tight-knit team with our founders, a coach in the corner and a long-term investor. That’s what we offer early-stage founders, and that’s why we invest first. 

However, for many founders who have been fortunate to scale their dream past seed, a philosophical misalignment currently awaits them when looking for late stage investment. Some investors believe they are permanently entitled to ‘deal flow’ because they have capital, and readily sit on their hands waiting for the returns delivered by talented founders who are shouldering all the effort and risk. 

We believe Australian and Kiwi founders deserve better than a tweet, a cheque-book and request for financials every month. We believe founders need long-term partners from the start. We don’t believe a monopoly exists for the skills to invest at later stages, and so Folklore’s ambition is to upset this status quo and build a capital base from the bottom up to fix this imbalance.  

Investing early

Lots of VCs say they invest ‘early’ - they rarely do - they are more proof before belief. Ironically a lot of emphasis is placed on words on websites, that are not backed by action in real life. The vast majority of investments have been at seed stage or earlier, right at the start - some have been pre-product, many pre-revenue and some even on company incorporation.

For us, 'early stage' doesn't mean we're 'land-locked' - we invest in founders not stages. We can invest post-seed, but being early into a company is our ticket to working with the most talented founders, and our desire for longtail outcomes and generational investment returns that comes from doing venture capital well, not safely.

Investing with discipline

Whilst we invest we’re known for getting in the detail of the companies and founders we want to back; we call it being eyes wide open, not fingers crossed. We’re proud to be known as a disciplined investor with an uncanny ability to invest in companies that survive the turbulent early stages.

We’re fast, but we're not the fastest VC to write a cheque, and we’ll never make excuses for that. We believe in “fast no’s”, but also “smart yes’s”. However, every founder we work with knows that on day one, we get their business, we believe in their vision, and we are on their side - there is no disconnect between what they want to build and what we want them to achieve. 

Being disciplined, and having little portfolio failure is not a signal that we don’t take risks. In our second fund, over 90% of our investments were at seed (mostly pre-revenue), and 50% are now worth over $100M+. It’s a global top-decile fund, and that comes down to not just being lucky, but also being thoughtful and having a capital allocation mindset which anchors to the long game. Not bad for a 'small' Aussie VC.

First Cheque to Forever

Today, we are taking the wraps off our ambition to invest first and to keep investing forever. 

Way back in 2014 when we started our firm, it didn’t make sense to us that VCs were designed as crusty partnerships centered around a select few. We wanted to build a technology investment firm, multigenerational in nature, as a company - and a company we are.

This approach provided us the ability to build a firm that would be durable, that could attract the right talent, with the right incentives for the right outcomes for our investors and founders. And so from day one, we wanted to share the carry on our funds with our team, and to this day, no matter what you do and where you start at Folklore, you receive carry on what we achieve as a collective.

Our vision is to be one of the world's great investment firms, and to make folklore ourselves. We always had the ambition of building a firm with a permanent capital mindset, investing at every stage, as a stable long term partner for founders. This ambition was in our original blueprint, and it remains today as the essence of what we want to achieve - to back founders and companies on their full journey, to be an exceptional investment firm.

We are proud to be taking the wraps off Folklore and Fund 3, from which we are already investing. We're growing to 20+ people this coming year. If you dream of a role in VC helping hundreds of companies and building your own Folklore, we'd love for you to get in touch.

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