Went along to Venture Capital Design, a panel discussion hosted by Anthill. It was OK, although the lack of microphones and chairs was a little wearing. I found a couple of interesting things :-
1) Convertable notes are a good way of raising finance as debt and then converting it into equity. Not sure of the details, but it sounds like a good way of getting investment without being tied to interest rates and repayments for ever. For a startup the chance of getting debt investment is looking close to zero, but for second round it could be interesting.
2) It's easier (apparently) or as easy to raise big money - ie AU$108M for redbubble as it is to raise small money. I guess there's some kind of clue there about how much a first time entrepreneur is trusted.
Overall though the evening fell between two (non existent) stools. When it comes down to it, there really isn't much common ground between VC and Design. Yes designers need VC, and startups need good design - but they're not part of the same continuum.