First State Super is aiming to invest $250 million in early stage venture capital in the short term, says Richard Brandwiner, the company’s chief investment officer.
The super fund has already put $110 million into Australia’s largest start-up venture capital fund Blackbird ventures but a $250 million target means First State still has more than a $100 million they are looking to invest.
As well as this First State is setting up its own venture capital platform, and is doing diligence on funds to invest in fintech and bioscience. It has also held talks with the CSIRO.
“Our interest at this stage is to effectively build out a platform of partners that are interested in this space,” Mr Brandweiner told the Australian Financial Review.
Brandweiner said super funds started to avoid venture capital earlier this century, after “getting burned”.
But since then, the larger funds have had an awakening. Brandweiner says they realised that “they own a slice of the economy and there are second and third order ramifications for each investment decision they make”.
“From their point of view that idea of deploying capital in ways that keep talent and ideas at home and support the broader economy is a theme we are operating under more broadly” he told the Financial Review.
The venture capital industry has been gaining prominence of late. Bill Ferris, who setup Australia’s first VC firm, was recently named the chair of Innovation Australia.
You can read more at the Financial Review.
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