Hostplus backs Aus-China venture fund

The superannuation fund has made a $40m commitment to venture firm Artesian's China fund.

Hostplus, the Australian superannuation fund for workers in hospitality, tourism, recreation and sports, has committed A$50 million ($40 million; €33 million) to Artesian as it looks to back more Chinese start-ups.

Melbourne-based Hostplus is the anchor investor in Artesian’s debut China fund, which is targeting up to $100 million, a spokesperson for Artesian told Private Equity International.

Hostplus’s follow-on investment comes six months after it contributed A$85 million to the Australian early stage venture capital firm earlier this year.

Artesian managing partner Felix Zhang, who has been running the firm’s Shanghai office, will work with Hostplus in identifying and investing in Chinese start-ups, according to an earlier statement.

Hostplus’s latest move is in line with its early stage venture strategy, which has a target to invest up to 4 percent of its total assets in the sector.

Artesian is an early stage VC firm which has been operating in Australia and China since 2008. It has a target to reach 500 to 1,000 start-up investments by 2018. The firm’s current China portfolio includes game developer Dr Panda, data provider Rechaos and ride sharing platform Aidaijia.

The superannuation fund is no stranger to venture capital, having teamed up with First State Super and local tech entrepreneurs to set up a A$200 million venture capital fund to support the local start-up scene in 2015.

Hostplus then injected A$400 million into the Australian venture space via investments in Square Peg Capital, IP Group, Brandon Capital, Blackbird Ventures, MH Carnegie most recently Carthona Capital.

As of end-June 2016, Hostplus allocated a total of A$1.3 billion or 6.7 percent of its assets under management in private equity strategies such as buyouts, venture capital, expansion, special situations and co-investments, the fund said in its 2016 annual report.