Endeavour targets $300m for venture fund

The New Zealand private equity firm expects a first close in early 2009 on the fund, which will invest in early stage science and technology companies.

Endeavour Capital is raising $300 million for its Endeavour Growth Fund, which will make investments in cleantech, life sciences, information and communications, Neville Jordan, executive chief chairman of Endeavour Capital, said in an interview. 

Launched in August, the fund has attracted an undislcosed number of commitments from Asian Pacific institutions and anticipates a first close in the first quarter of next year. It projects a final close in the third quarter of 2009.

In the fund's first transaction, it will invest $50 million into a $100 million partnership with Hubei-based Wuhan Huagong Venture Capital, which will contribute the same amount.

The partnership will in turn, invest in cleantech, life sciences and information and communication companies, in New Zealand and Wuhan, which will then work together in a collaborative and complimentary way. “For example, New Zealand expertise in nanoscience, coupled with China’s skill at developing products, can be combined to produce new superconductors or solar cells,” Jordan said.

The deal will give New Zealand intellectual property access to the large China market, while Wuhan enterprises can employ New Zealand intellectual property knowledge and expertise in expanding their businesses, stated Jordan.

The partnership was facilitated by the fact that Wuhan and Christchurch are sister cities. Sister cities have cooperative relationships, which includes the sharing of culture, tourist opportunities and knowledge of government. It is also one of the first deals to be struck after New Zealand’s free trade agreement with China was signed in June, Jordan noted.

Founded in 2000, Wuhan Huagong Venture Capital Company targets companies in the information technology, biomedical and advanced materials sectors. In 2006, it closed its Optics Venture Fund on CNY 1 billion ($147 million; €115 million).

Endeavour Capital’s previous two funds, Endeavour Capital and Endeavour i-cap, are both fully invested. Endeavour Capital has made one investment, while Endeavour i-cap, which closed on $40 million, has made 11. Both funds had an IRR of above 20 percent.

Established in 1999, Endeavour Capital invests in companies based on science and technological innovations. It has made transactions across biotechnology, software and medical sectors.