New checklist puts online safety front of mind for investors and venture capitalists

Investors and venture capitalists can play an important part in ensuring online platforms and services are safe for users before they invest in a company, by using eSafety’s new Investment Checklist.

The Investment Checklist, released today, is part of eSafety’s ‘Safety by Design’ initiative. Safety by Design is about embedding safety principles at the very initial stages of development of an online platform, service or product – and not as a bolt-on afterward.

“As Australia’s eSafety Commissioner, I have been told on many occasions by tech companies that they have learned safety lessons the hard way – by damage done to their reputation, revenue and customer trust. They wish they would have had a better steer early on how critical user safety would become for their future success,” said eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant.

The 12-point checklist sets out some simple questions to ask start-up tech companies around safety before an investment is made.

“We want to make it as easy as possible for companies to adopt and implement Safety by Design. Investors and venture capitalists are shaping the business model at the start and can play a big part in helping start-ups achieve this,” said Ms Inman Grant.

“Investors and the venture capital community can be the stewards who ensure that safety considerations are embedded into the culture, values, and strategies of those companies with inspired ideas and promising technology. This community brings with them a wealth of experience, knowledge and insight.

“We have developed this checklist for investors to use when considering whether to invest in tech companies – thereby potentially avoiding a ‘tech wreck’ moment down the line.

“Building a culture of safety has to come from the top and trickle down from the C-suite with accountability measures. This is not a natural inclination of an Internet founder, and investors need to play their part in being responsible stewards in this regard. Now there are some resources to help them do just that.”

Also released today are template Model clauses: some simple model clauses for due diligence and pre-conditions to funding for stakeholders to implement into agreements before investing. Binding rules as a condition for investment help ensure that safety considerations aren’t swept under the carpet but are addressed at the design and deployment stage – not after something has gone wrong.


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