Is Atlassian Ventures building the Atlassian ecosystem?

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Is Atlassian Ventures investing in SaaS startups to build the Atlassian ecosystem rather than a diverse one?

Atlassian Ventures, the venture capital arm of Atlassian Corporation hasn’t been around for long. With a modest initial investment of $50 million, Atlassian Ventures made its debut in late 2020. And yet in such a short period, Atlassian Ventures invested over $110 million in funding and now supports over 30 enterprise SaaS startups like Slack, JumpCloud, Rewind, Productiv, and more.

Most of these startups have one commanlity that pretty much connects them to Atlassian in the collaboration and productivity software space. That gives enough hint of what Atlassian is attempting to do through its funding arm Atlassian Ventures.

What Atlassian Ventures offers to SaaS startups

One of the key reasons, why Atlassian Ventures came into existence in late 2020 was that the collaboration software company Atlassian wanted to provide an opportunity for SaaS startups looking to work with its cloud products and platform.

In fact, the Australian software company has been so attracted to India’s flourishing SaaS startup ecosystem and local talent pool that it went ahead to open its global R&D centre in Bengaluru in 2019. Since then, the R&D facility has employed more than 1,000 people, working across engineering, design and product management functions.

Building ecosystem through Atlassian

Unlike, most VC fundings, Atlassian Ventures invests in those companies, where it sees scope to drive growth through Atlassian. Basically, Atlassian with its VC arm is aiming to build an ecosystem having roots connected to it.

And that remains the bottom line for Atlassian Ventures and even among many tech products and services companies that entered into this startup funding arena directly or through their funding arms.

“We measure our success by how well we help founders grow their companies through Atlassian, and we’re excited about supporting awesome companies that are driving collaboration for teams on the cloud,” says Matt Sonefeldt, Head of Atlassian Ventures.

“This year we’ve built a dedicated team inside Atlassian to support ventures and our portfolio founders as we set our sights on a much bigger goal, several times larger than the $110 million invested today,” adds Sonefeldt.

It invests in early-stage startups that are building apps for Atlassian’s cloud products. Secondly, in larger, growth-stage startups that want to deepen their partnerships with Atlassian. And third — its channel partners that are creating new cloud products and services that are aligning with collaboration products of the future.

Regular mentoring and global exposure

Besides, the funding, Atlassian Ventures portfolio companies are mentored by the Atlassian team and are given global exposure at its events. The mentor meets them regularly to check in on progress, give advice based on their experience in the ecosystem, and help with any roadblocks they may be facing.

In a way, Atlassian Ventures is investing in SaaS startups to build an ecosystem that may appear more like Atlassian rather than a diverse SaaS startup ecosystem that offers unique products and services. However, this argument probably may become a hot topic of discussion among startups and VC firms some years from now.

Impact of the funding

Having said that, Atlassian India’s Site Lead and Head of Engineering, Dineh Ajmera claims to have seen the first-hand impact of the funding on the global ecosystem.

“We’ve seen wonderful growth across the portfolio whether its partners seeing more integrated users, teams hiring talent or growing revenue, and developers turning side projects into full-time jobs,” says Ajmera.

“With the increasing focus on cloud and India being one of the biggest startup hubs in the world, we’re committed to doing our part to ensure a vibrant ecosystem. We’ve been amazed at how our ecosystem has innovated on top of Atlassian products and we want to continue enabling their success and growth,” comments Ajmera.

And the usual Atlassian stuff

Atlassian Ventures’ three core focus areas are agile development, work management and IT service management. Outside of these fields, the corporate VC would also consider investing in startups playing in spaces such as product-led growth, and diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI).

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