Australian venture capital firm, OneVentures, today officially launched the OneVentures Innovation and Growth Fund II, seeking to raise $100 million from institutional investors and high net worth individuals over the next 12 months.
The fund will invest in a portfolio of emerging Australian companies with global ambitions across healthcare, education, mobile, media, cloud computing and data, security and privacy, machine learning, sensors and robotics, and food security.
The first OneVentures Innovation Fund, formed as an Early Stage Venture Capital Limited Partnership in 2010, raised $40 million and was supported by $20 million in funding from the Australian Government's Innovation Investment Fund.
The fund was the first in Australia to tap into a growing trend in the Australian market for high net worth individuals and family offices to diversify their investments towards venture capital, filling the gap vacated by institutional investors post-GFC. Since then, OneVentures has closed three co-investment funds securing $30m in additional funding for the portfolio.
“The quality of the portfolio OneVentures has assembled over the past four years is one of the best venture capital portfolios I have seen in Australia,” said Mark Nelson, Executive Chairman of Caledonia and an investor in OneVentures Innovation Fund.
The fund is trading at a premium after only four years and of its eight portfolio companies two are now operating out of Silicon Valley and one out of Boston, reflecting their successful growth into global markets. Smart Sparrow recently closed a $10m financing and Hatchtech over $12.5m for US expansion and US FDA phase three studies respectively.
“OneVentures is demonstrating a capability to do deals of global significance,” said Dr Michelle Deaker, Managing Partner at OneVentures. “Our investors value the technical experience of the partners as well as their proven entrepreneurial and business building experiences in the domestic and international arena. The partners also bring experience and networks of relationships to select highly attractive investment opportunities addressing large global markets, and to manage those investments through to the exit stage.”
Dr Deaker believes there has never been a better time for investors to turn their attention to venture capital. While traditional drivers of the economy such as mining and manufacturing are slowing or moving offshore, innovative technology-based companies hold the key to driving Australian economic growth and many are now succeeding on the global stage.
“While the innovation economy has been building, Australia continues to invest substantial capital in R&D and there has been substantial activity and investment in early stage angel syndicates and incubators. However, there is a dearth of capital available to propel those developing businesses forward with later stage development and expansion capital,” Dr Deaker said.
“This dynamic should create downward pressure on valuations and generate scope for superior returns. We see no reason why Australia’s entrepreneurs, with the assistance of experienced venture capital firms like
OneVentures, cannot compete successfully in global markets. For investors, the fund provides an opportunity to truly diversify a portfolio and gives access to emerging businesses with true breakout potential.”
OneVentures today also announced that Dean Hawkins was joining the firm as a partner.
Mr Hawkins has led international businesses at the forefront of TV, media, broadband, apparel and sports industries for the past 18 years, working in UK, Germany, Holland and Switzerland, including four years as global CFO and board member of Adidas, based in Germany, during which time Adidas grew its market capitalisation from €1.5b to €8b. Since his return to Australia, he has served as chairman of International News Network Ltd (Hong Kong), and non-executive director Ten Network Holdings, Apparel Group, Leighton Contractors and I-Med Australia. As chairman of compression garment company, Skins, he oversaw the expansion of the group sales into 30 countries world-wide including a joint venture in China.
Mr Hawkins commenced his career in investment banking with UBS and was chosen by Global Finance Magazine as one of its “Global Corporate Finance Superstars”. He has also led a number of media organisations, collecting Emmy and BAFTA awards along the way.
Commenting on the appointment, Dr Deaker said: “Mr Hawkins complements the skills of the partners and his experience in both high growth and established businesses will be invaluable for our portfolio companies. M Hawkins brings a new dimension to our team with a strong finance, M&A background and international commercial and cross-border experience. The international experience of our team is showing a marked impact on our portfolio performance as they expand into global markets and prepare for exit.”
A track record of success
OneVentures brings its network, commercial focus and international experience to deliver outcomes for portfolio companies and investors. A few highlights from investments through the OneVentures Innovation Fund include:
• OneVentures portfolio company in e-learning, Smart Sparrow, this month announced it had raised $10 million in a capital to provide for its further expansion into the US
• In 2013, Melbourne-based Hatchtech closed a $12.6m capital raising to fund phase three trials for its proprietary head lice treatment
• Paloma Mobile, based in Sydney and UK, is forming key strategic partnerships with telecommunications companies in the rapidly growing emerging economy telecoms markets such as Indonesia and Malaysia
• OneVentures recently picked up an award for Best Venture Capital deal at the World Vaccine Congress in Washington DC for Vaxxas which acknowledged the deal structure, quality of syndicate and opportunity. The technology behind Vaxxas was awarded Australian Innovation of the year in 2012
• In addition to investments made directly out of the fund, OneVentures has also secured over $30M in co-investments for its portfolio companies, leveraging its network of investors both nationally and internationally.