Australian government backs 11 VC funds

Divergent Capital and Starfish Ventures are among the firms receiving a combined total of A$64 million for follow-on investments.

Australia’s Ministry for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research has backed 11 venture capital firms with a total commitment of A$64 million ($53 million; €37.4 million), Chris Birch, general manager of the research development and venture capital branch of AusIndustry, said in an interview. 

The venture capital firms will use the money to make follow-on investments in early-stage companies in sectors including clean energy, biotechnology, and information technology. 

It would be a tragedy if these promising companies failed through no fault of their own.

Kim Carr

“It would be a tragedy if these promising companies failed through no fault of their own,” Kim Carr, the country’s minister of innovation, industry, science and research, said in a statement. He added that IIFF is a “temporary, targeted and timely response to address the lack of capital available to the most promising innovative companies during the global financial crisis”.

The chosen firms include Allen & Buckeridge Asset Management, AMWIN Management, Coates Myer and Company, Divergent Capital Partners, GBS Venture Partners, InQbator, In-tellinc, Neo Technology Ventures, Playford Capital, Starfish Ventures and Start-up Australia Ventures.

The commitments were made by the government’s Innovation Investment Follow-on Fund, a revolving fund that has A$83 million in capital interest retained from an earlier Innovation Investment Fund, Birch said.
The 11 fund managers were selected from a total of 20 that had applied for funding, he said, adding that A$19 million now remains in the revolving fund.