New money for start-ups

Start-ups in the green-tech, information and communication technology and biotech sectors could soon find it a little easier to obtain investment with the launch of Australia’s largest early stage investment fund by Starfish Ventures.

Once fully subscribed, the Melbourne-based venture capital firm’s Starfish Technology Fund II will have $250 million to invest in primarily Australian technology start-ups, The Australian reports. Investors have already contributed $150 million to the fund.

Green-tech start-ups – already set to receive a big boost in government support under funding promises made by Labor during last year’s election – will be a particular focus of the fund.

But while the amounts sound big, intense competition for funds means most businesses that put their hands up for investment will miss out, according to Starfish Venture’s investment director Malcolm Thornton.

“We would see 400-500 deals we have taken some information or a meeting on, about 90% of which we pass on but we only invest in 1% to 2%,” Thornton told newspaper.

Successful applicants for a share of more than $30 million in funding under the Federal Government’s Commercial Ready and COMET programs were also announced today. 

Big winners under the Commercial Ready scheme include Queensland firm Industrea, which received $2,214,194 to develop a driver safety management system for the mining industry, and Western Australian acquaculture firm Lobster Harvest, which will receive $2,082,237 to build a system to farm Morton Bay Bugs and Tropical Rock Lobsters.

A full list of the grant recipients under the schemes is available on the AusIndustry website.


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