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The investor resources

The Safety by Design ecosystem

Watch the Australian eSafety Commissioner talk about the importance of nurturing tech ventures, and the investor resources that have been developed to support financial entities and investors in assessing whether a technology company has user safety and rights at its centre.

Financial entities and investors

Financial entities and investors can help to ensure that early-stage technology companies put online safety at the heart of their online product/service design, development and release processes.

Investors and venture capitalists play a pivotal role in nurturing tech ventures and enabling real change as they are often much more experienced about what leads to success. They are well-positioned to help make sure online safety and ethical considerations are at the heart of the businesses they invest in, through their ability to ask detailed questions, set expectations of companies, and selectively fund those who meet their criteria.

The safety measures of a tech company that an investor is considering should be contemplated from the outset of the design and development of products and services. Safety is not something that is hastily bolted on after users have experienced online harms. Proactive and upfront management of these types of risks can stimulate investment and innovation into better customer experiences and help to mitigate both the financial and reputational costs associated with online harms and incidents.

For these reasons, eSafety has worked with investors, venture capitalists and start-up incubator communities to develop a suite of practical resources for investors and financial entities.

Resources

Let’s examine the investor resources provided by the eSafety Commissioner.

Safety by Design principles

The Safety by Design principles provide the foundational principles for the technology community to strengthen online safety.

Financial entities and investors can refer to these principles to enhance their understanding of the ways in which technology companies should build user safety and rights into their online products and services.

More information about the Safety by Design principles can be found on eSafety’s website: https://www.esafety.gov.au/industry/safety-by-design/principles-and-background

Assessment tool for start-ups

The assessment tool for start-ups works to guide companies through a series of questions and resources designed to help them improve and innovate online safety in their operations and their online products and services.

Financial entities and investors can refer to the assessment tool to enhance their knowledge of the ways in which start-ups can build user safety into their online product or service design, development and release processes. Additionally, as part of the due diligence process, the potential investor may question the technology company as to whether they have completed the assessment tool and the results of this assessment.

Investment checklist and model clauses

The investment checklist allows the financial entity/investor to initiate conversations with potential technology companies they seek to invest in that will help assess the technology company’s capacity for effectively managing online safety risks.

Key questions include:

  1. Is there a team or individual responsible for user safety?
  2. Do you provide users with tools and features that allow them to manage their own safety?
  3. Does the company publicly share information relating to user safety?

The model clauses for due diligence arrangements and funding agreements available from eSafety’s website can be used as presented or adapted to ensure that online safety considerations are built into the investment in the technology company.

More information about the investment checklist and model clauses and downloadable resources can be found on eSafety’s website: https://www.esafety.gov.au/industry/safety-by-design/investors

Start-up tech company representatives and online product and service developers will find it useful to consider these investor resources and to reflect on what investors are looking for in terms of good design and development processes that have online safety at their core. This can help start-up technology companies set themselves apart from others in the market, and potentially improve their chances of securing funding from investors.

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Safety By Design

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