A new investment fund is aiming to raise an initial $50 million from private and institutional investors both here and overseas in order to finance medical, defence and technology devices.
Verde, an early stage venture capital fund, is a joint venture between Terra Rossa Capital and Grey Innovation. It has staff located in Adelaide, Melbourne, Brisbane and Berlin.
Terra Rossa Capital, based in Adelaide, manages venture capital investments in early stage technology companies. It has invested in 11 early stage companies over the past five years.
Its portfolio includes medical technology, contract research organisations, clean technology and industrial engineering projects, all in intellectually property-intensive businesses.
Grey Innovation, based in Melbourne, provides outsourced engineering services to multinational clients in the consumer and automotive electronics markets.
It has since evolved into a technology commercialisation company that has successfully worked on more than 200 projects.
Verde has been established to finance the commercialisation of world-leading medical, defence and technology devices. In doing so, it aims to strengthen Australia’s manufacturing sector.
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According to Dr Jurgen Michaelis, executive director of Verde Capital, there are flaws in the way government funding is distributed.
“Currently, the way funding is allocated to research rather than commercialisation would be akin to funding nothing other than exploration in the mining industry – a lot of drilling but no physical mine or export of goods”, Michaelis says.
“Australia’s innovation in science and engineering is highly regarded… However, translation of this into job creation and benefit to the national economy has often proven elusive.”
According to Michaelis, Verde is aiming to initially raise $50 million from private and institutional investors both here and overseas.
Jefferson Harcourt, Verde co-founder and executive director, says Verde is confident it can provide all the technical, commercial and financial necessities for business success.
In addition to accessing the know-how of experienced fund managers, companies funded by Verde will be exposed to channel partners, research leaders and product development expertise.
“We will be investing in game-changing technologies that have global market potential,” Harcourt says.
“We will also connect companies to our international networks and expert product development teams.”
The strength of the Australian team is complemented by the managers’ personnel in Germany.
The Verde managers also have strong relationships with the research community and access to a range of technologies at various stages of development.
In fact, they have already identified opportunities where they can accelerate development and reduce risk, for immediate investment by the fund.
Technologies currently under evaluation for investment include a device for non-invasive, real-time monitoring to alert diabetics prior to reaching low blood sugar levels, batteries that can be recharged within one minute, and household devices that can provide warnings of approaching bushfires or storms.