AfterWork Ventures: Our Values

AfterWork's six values are our attempt to verbalise what matters most to us, how we hope to operate, and what kind of dent we want to make in the universe.

Values codify the fundamental beliefs that orient a group of people around a shared mission,  guiding action and decision making when no one is looking. Some iconic and memorable company values include Google’s  ‘you can be serious without a suit’, Atlassian’sdon’t #@!%the customer’, and Blackbird Ventures’we will make our kids proud’.

At AfterWork, our community values are a distillation of the behaviours and rituals which led to our improbable existence, and which continue to make the magic happen.

With the help of the formidable Sue Steel, who has built and run People and Culture functions at startups such as SocietyOne, Nearmap, Slyp, Deputy, and most recently Bizpay, we set aside time to reflect on the critical behaviours that embody AfterWork, and form words around the patterns which emerged.

These values are our attempt to verbalise what matters most to us, how we hope to operate, and what kind of dent we want to make in the universe.

1: All crew; no passengers.

We’re here by choice. We own outcomes; we do what it takes to get the job done.

AfterWork exists because 5 people started turning up every Sunday evening to discuss investing in startups. In time, more people started turning up - by choice. Today, our Sunday calls are ritualistic, and a staple in the calendars of our community members. We are where we are today because we kept showing up, pitching in, doing what we said we were going to do, and taking ownership of outcomes.

As crew members, we don’t wait for someone else to plug a hole, or repair a ripped sail. We’re sailing this ship together: bound together by trust and respect for one another, and excitement for the voyage ahead.

2: The more we give, the more there is.

We give generously, without keeping score. We leave things better than when we found them.

As a community, we recognise our good fortune: to be riding a wave of unprecedented startup innovation in Australia and New Zealand. We want to pay it forward, and grow the pie by helping the next generation of founders and operators. We’re obsessed with treating founders with sincerity and respect, and work hard to ensure our investment process gives back to founders, no matter what the outcome. Our community is also generous in sharing their knowledge, experience, and feedback with one another: every ‘ask’ shared in our Slack is met with a deluge of ‘offers’.

3: Open up!

We’re welcoming, sincere, straight-talking, and run on old school integrity.

We aspire to be door openers, not gate-keepers. Whenever we can, we try to ‘lift the lid’ on venture capital investing - sharing our detailed and transparent investment thinking with founders in our investment process, on our Sunday calls, and via the investment notes and think-pieces we publish on Substack. Our community members are warm and inclusive; new members in Slack are always enthusiastically welcomed, and become part of the furniture in no time.

4: Learn fast and forever.

We have an insatiable appetite to learn and grow together, at pace!

As a young startup, comprising early and mid-career operators, we know there’s a lot we don’t know. But boy are we keen to learn! We drink from the firehose; every day we’re deliberating the evolution of the meta-verse or soaking up the latest trends in performance marketing. Most importantly, we’re open-minded to what founders and operators have to teach us; we make investment decisions collaboratively, climbing steep learning curves together.

5: Fly your freak flag.

We’re an impressive, unsuspecting, and unironically enthusiastic bunch… and we’re not afraid to get our freak on!

Oscar Wilde’s words, “Be yourself, everyone else is taken”, really struck home. Everybody who joins AfterWork introduces themselves by sharing ‘something they believe, which few others do’, and ‘something they love to nerd out about’. We love the eccentric opinions, musings, and hobbies represented in our community of unironic nerds: from rare number-plate collections, to doomsday predictions, to Sleep Racing enthusiasts. Our Slack is an open invitation to fall down a giant vortex of esoteric niches, and we hope it never changes.

6: Dream diligently.

The only thing that matches our ambition is our meticulousness. We earn the right to dream big; we hold ourselves to the highest standards, and hunt for conviction.

As a startup, our ambition outstrips our resources… considerably! To compensate, we imbue our dreams with diligence. We log prodigiously, interrogate every pitch deck, and run our meetings with clockwork precision. We’re fastidious about the truth, and we’ll leave no stone unturned and no expert opinion unsought in our quest to sharpen and deepen our understanding. At the same time, we’re scrappy and hungry, and not throwing away our shot.