The Startup Playbook Podcast

Insights and lessons from the world's best entrepreneurs and investors

Ep169 – Jax Vullinghs (Partner – AirTree) on valuations, IC and moats

My guest for Ep169 of The Startup Playbook Podcast was Jax Vullinghs, Partner at AirTree Ventures.

Jax has had a fascinating career to date.

She studied History at University before making the non-obvious leap into the world of investment banking at Merrill Lynch.

After 2.5 years she decided to join an early stage startup called Listable (before rebranding to Kalo). Kalo went on to raise significant funding rounds by some of the world’s biggest VC funds.

In 2018 she moved to Australia and joined AirTree Ventures, one of the leading VCs in Australia, as a Partner of the fund.

In this jam packed episode, you will see why I’m personally over the moon about having Jax join The Playbook Angel Network, our new angel investment syndicate, as an advisor. We will be investing in early stage, high growth tech companies and we’re stoked to have Jax’s in our corner.

In this episode we covered a variety of topics including;

  • How Jax and AirTree assess seed stage opportunities and determine a valuation
  • What makes companies valuable over the long term
  • AirTree’s investment committee process
  • Jax and AirTree’s bet on Milkrun
  • The important role of angel investors
  • & much more


  • 03:50 – Jax’s background
  • 08:34 – Why Jax made the decision to leave banking for the startup world
  • 09:14 – Lessons from raising $25 million at Listable
  • 11:14 – Advice for founders raising capital in the current financial market
  • 12:12 – How AirTree approaches evaluating potential seed stage investments
  • 13:24 – How Jax approaches understanding analytics, spreadsheets and models
  • 16:10 – How founders can present their analytics to best tell their story
  • 17:36 – What Jax looks for in a seed stage investment
  • 19:57 – How to effectively tell the story of a company when pitching to investors
  • 22:26 – AirTree’s Investment Committee process for deciding whether or not to invest
  • 25:38 – How Jax thinks about building founder/investor relationships
  • 28:00 – Supporting women and other underrepresented founders within the startup ecosystem
  • 31:03 – What made AirTree invest in Milkrun
  • 34:14 – The Playbook Angel Network, and the importance of angel investors in the startup ecosystem

Playbook Angel Network

The Playbook Angel Network is a syndicate comprised of “friends and guests” of the podcast who invest in early stage, high growth tech startups.

Find out more at

Our partners

A big thank you to Maxine Minter and Matt Keeley for their help with this interview. Also a big thank you to our partners for this episode.


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We’re Scendar, an accounting and advisory practice better described as Finance as a Service (FaaS). We’re focused on founders, funders and startups. Clients that are ever-changing and adapting. We like fast movers. And as you might have guessed, we’re not your basic accountancy. We can take care of tax and the books whilst building a syndicate fund and a multimillion dollar exit strategy.  At Scendar, we’re empowered by our client’s potential. Find out more at

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Dovetail Studios operates a venture studio and VC to transform ambitious ideas into unstoppable businesses. On top of being a renowned product development partner for startups like Afterpay, they also operate a VC fund to invest in early-stage companies that go through their venture studio program. So if you’re a non-technical, early-stage founder looking for a talented team to help supercharge your success, check out

Links Mentioned 

Jax’s Links

People mentioned

Companies mentioned

Feedback/connect/say hello:

[email protected]
@RohitBhargava7 (Twitter)
/rohbhargava (LinkedIn)
@rohit_bhargava (Instagram)
My Youtube Channel


Music: Paycheck

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