Ex-Francisco partner seeks A$400m for debut Oz tech fund – exclusive

Potentia Capital is expecting to hold an H1 close on Australia’s first dedicated mid-market technology vehicle.

A private equity firm launched by a former partner at Francisco Partners has launched its debut blind-pool fund, Private Equity International has learned.

Sydney-based Potentia Capital is seeking between A$300 million ($215 million; €189 million) and A$400 million for a mid-market technology fund and is expected to hold a close in the first half of this year, according to a source with knowledge of the fund.

Potentia previously completed two investments on a deal-by-deal basis.

The firm was launched in 2014 by managing director Andrew Gray, who spent five years at tech giant Francisco Partners, according to his LinkedIn. He was most recently a managing director at Archer Capital, an Australian buyout house with A$1.2 billion in capital under management.

Potentia provides growth and acquisition capital for software, tech-enabled services and technology businesses headquartered in Australia and New Zealand with enterprise values of A$50 million to A$300 million, according to its website. It has completed a number of bolt-on acquisitions and has several deals under exclusivity, the source added.

Potentia declined to comment.

Only 12 Australian tech funds have been raised since 2008, all of which are seed or venture capital vehicles, according to PEI data. The largest of these was AirTree Ventures Fund II, a A$250 million 2016-vintage.

Australia and New Zealand-based firms raised $8.5 billion across 11 funds last year, more than double the $3.6 billion collected by 14 vehicles in 2017. Firms raised $3.6 billion to invest in the two countries in 2018, compared with $2.7 billion the previous year.