The Hugh Victor McKay Fund - LaunchVic


LaunchVic Fund

The Hugh Victor McKay Fund is a new angel sidecar fund for Victorian AgTech startups run by LaunchVic with funding from Agriculture Victoria.

The fund will co-invest between $100,000-$200,000 into at least five early-stage AgTech startups over the next 12 months.

With every dollar of funding to be matched by two dollars of private investment, the Hugh Victor McKay Fund will activate more than $3 million in total capital for founders building the future of on-farm productivity and sustainability.

The fund is named after pioneering Victorian inventor Hugh Victor McKay, who patented the original combine harvester in the 1880s – widely credited as one of the most important agricultural innovations in recent history.


CEO & Co-Founder, shilo.people | CEO & Founder, pivotnow

Ilona Charles

CEO & Co-Founder, shilo.people | CEO & Founder, pivotnow

Ilona Charles

Ms Ilona Charles is Chair of LaunchVic’s People Committee.

Ms Ilona Charles is an experienced executive with an extensive career in human resources, transformation and change across a range of industries. She has worked in global and complex organisations ranging from entrepreneurial start-ups, scale-ups and multi-national corporations. Industries include digital and technology, financial services, health, telecommunications and government.

Ilona has held executive roles with the CSIRO, Aconex, Telstra, Medibank and NAB. She commenced her career as an Occupational Therapist and has a Master of Business Administration. Ilona is the CEO and co-founder of ShiloPeople (shilo.), providing world class on-demand HR talent and consulting solutions across Australia. She also founded pivotnow, providing strategic people advice to Founders, CEO’s and Boards of organisations going through significant transition or scaling up.

Ilona is a Director & Board member of Goulburn Valley Health (GVH), Chair of the GVH Workforce Committee; Non-Executive Director, intelliHR, Chair of the People Committee (intelliHR) and a Member of the People & Culture Committee, Burnet Institute. She is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a Certified member of the Australian Human Resources Institute.

Ilona joined the LaunchVic Board on 1 July 2020.

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Co-Founder, Tenacious Ventures and Partner, AgThentic

Matthew Pryor

Co-Founder, Tenacious Ventures and Partner, AgThentic

Matthew Pryor

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Advisor, Investor and Director, Aultmore Pty Ltd

Amanda Derham

Advisor, Investor and Director, Aultmore Pty Ltd

Amanda Derham

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Application Guidelines

Application Guidelines



How do you define a woman-led business?

Ownership of a startup can exist in many different forms.

Recognising this, the eligibility criteria for startups follows two pathways.

  • The startup is 50 per cent owned by at least one woman, prior to any investment;  OR
  • There is a 30 per cent ownership stake by women; including one woman in an executive role such as the CEO or CTO, and if there is a Board, it must have representation of at least 30 per cent women.

How do you define a startup?

LaunchVic defines startups as young technology-based businesses that use innovation to scale rapidly and capture global markets. Examples of technology include: software / app, artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, advanced manufacturing & robotics, Internet of Things (IoT), big data analytics, augmented / virtual reality, 3D printing, advanced materials, genomics & life sciences (including BioTech & MedTech) and autonomous vehicles.

How do you define Victoran-based?

LaunchVic defines Victorian-based as the startup must have at least 50% of its assets and employees located in Victoria. The founder that meets the criteria for ‘woman-owned and led’ must be a person that has a primary residence in Victoria.

Who can apply?

Only investors can apply to the Fund on behalf of the startup they are investing in. It does not need to be the lead investor who applies to the Fund, however the application form does require investors to detail their experience investing in early stage startups. The fund is open to local and international Angel Networks, Early-Stage VCs and individual investors who must meet the criteria of a sophisticated investor or hold a valid AFSL license, and operate independently from the startup.


If the women founder’s shares are held in a Trust structure, the Founder Trust and the Company will be required to make representations and warranties through a side letter to ensure the eligibility criteria are clearly met.

What type of investments will be ineligible for the Alice Anderson Fund co-investment?

Grant funding, in-kind service contributions, funding provided as part of an entry to an accelerator program, and related party investments are not eligible for The Alice Anderson Fund co-investment.

What type of investment instruments do you accept?

The Alice Anderson Fund will co-invest with private investors in priced rounds or via a SAFE Note or Convertible note

Can the founder personally invest in the startup?

Funding that founders put into the business is not considered by the Investment Committee. The Alice Anderson Fund will also not co-invest with related party investors. This means, the Fund will not co-invest with any spouse, child, parent, grandparent, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece, lineal descendent or adopted child (or spouse of the aforementioned) of the founders. If the investment round includes co-investment from both related and non related investors, the Alice Anderson Fund will only co-invest on the amount raised from the non-related investors.

Applying for funding


Investors apply on a founder’s behalf for this opportunity, so we recommend engaging with an angel group or VC Fund to access the fund. You can find a full list of investors over at

What terms does the Alice Anderson Fund look for in investment documentation?

We have outlined some of the key terms we look out for in our investment playbook linked above.

Can Retrospective funding be included in the application?

No. Applications must be for a current investment opportunity. We won’t take into consideration amounts that have already been raised and banked with the startup.


Yes. If you have previously applied and are submitting an application for a new Investee Company from the same Investing Entity please email to let us know and we will send you a shorter application form, for Investee Company and Deal Information only.

The application form asks for due diligence to be provided. What due diligence is required?

At a minimum due diligence must include the following: An assessment of the market opportunity, an overview of the traction the startup has had so far, the reasons for investing, an overview of the competitive landscape, use of funds (and runway the funds will provide), key risks and opportunities that have been identified, As the Alice Anderson Fund operates as a side car structure, the Investment Committee are relying on leveraging thorough due diligence of private investors to inform their investment decision. If you are not the lead investor and you are relying on the due diligence conducted by the lead investor, please upload the findings of the due diligence conducted by the lead investor. The Investment Committee will not be able to make a decision on any application without thorough due diligence being provided.


Does the investment round need to have been finalised before an application is submitted?

The investment round does not need to have been completely finalised before an application is submitted. The Alice Anderson Fund is able to pre-approve eligible applications prior to the investment round being finalised. This will enable founders to leverage Alice Anderson Fund support in conversations with other investors. In order for eligible applications to be pre-approved, they need to: – Have raised the minimum required for Alice Anderson Fund Investment ($150,000) – Give an indication of the expected size of the round – Complete the round within a six-month period of applying for Alice Anderson Fund and terms of investment pre-approved must stay the same.

If the investment is approved, what are next steps?

Once the investment is approved by the Investment Committee, LaunchVic will need to see evidence of all investment documentation and co-investment amounts from all investors in the round prior to finalising the investment. LaunchVic will also require a grant agreement be signed for the non-dilutive grant component of the investment.

How long does it take to assess my application?

The Investment Committee meets monthly to assess applications. The next meeting dates are December 13th, February 21st and March 21st. Please ensure you have submitted your application 10 business days prior to these dates to be considered. Once the Investment Committee meeting is complete, LaunchVic will contact you with an outcome within 48 hours. If you have any questions about this timeframe, please reach out to our team at