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Monday, 29 March 2010 11:34

New venture capital fund with $40m to spend

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A new Australian venture capital fund, OneVentures, has been launched to offer companies in the New Media, IT&T, clean technologies and life sciences sectors access to $40 million in funding.

OneVentures is backed by $20 million raised from stock broker BBY Limited as lead investor and underwriter, high net worth investors and family offices (investment firms set up to represent, collectively members of wealth families) and $20 million from the Australian Government's Innovation Investment Fund programme.

OneVentures is managed by a team of former successful entrepreneurs and business builders: Dr Michelle Deaker; Dr Paul Kelly and Anne-Marie Birkill. The firm has offices in Sydney and Brisbane, Australia and Boston, USA.

Deaker founded two IT companies, the second company, E Com Industries, survived the Tech crash in 2000, and went on to become a leading Australian gift card and store value provider that was acquired in December 2005 by UK Retail Decisions for over $30m in cash.

She has subsequently mentored, invested in, raised capital for and provided investment management services to a number of young companies including AdGent 007 (San Francisco), BuzzNumbers (Sydney), Datacastle (Seattle) and Mi-Pay (London).

Kelly left a career in medicine at Sydney's Garvan Institute to co-found Gemini Genomics in 1997, which is still the largest biotech listing on Nasdaq. He lead the company as CEO through to its listing and subsequent merger with Sequenom at which point the company was valued at more than $US250m.

He then co-founded a number of companies including Agamatrix, a medical devices company (Boston) and Mears Technologies, a smart silicon company (Boston), before returning to head Orchid Cellmark which he took from a market cap of $US30m to over $US300m in 18 months. He was most recently CEO of Medcentre Holdings, a Latin American pharmaceutical marketing company.

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Birkill is billed as "one of Australia's leading commercialisation managers." Following an early career developing and commercialising ornamental, aquatic and forestry plants she spent five years in various executive roles at UniQuest, The University of Queensland's commercialisation company.

Since 2005 she has been CEO of i.lab Incubator, the launch pad for many successful Queensland technology companies including Liquid Animation, Mooter Media (ASX: MMZ), Codesion (formerly CVSDude), Ephox, RedFlow Energy and Charm Health.

OneVentures says it is looking for companies it can own a share of, help build, add value to and springboard into larger global markets through its strong offshore networks.

Deaker said companies that approach the Fund should have significant competitive advantage, an active R&D programme, global application, understand their market well and have a market of a size where the Fund's capital can be applied to grow a strong, sustainable and highly viable business.

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