Telstra's superannuation fund just invested $35 million in a startup incubator and early investor

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Telstra’s superannuation arm has announced a $35 million investment into an organisation that provides early stage funding and incubation for startups.

IP Group, while headquartered in London, provides financial and expertise for early stage startups arising from research out of 8 Australian universities — University of Adelaide, Australian National University, the University of Melbourne, Monash University, UNSW, the University of Queensland, the University of Sydney and the University of Western Australia.

“We’ll be supporting promising opportunities in the fields of healthcare, technology, cleantech and biotech based on scientific research and aiming to turn these into outstanding returns for our members,” said TelstraSuper chief investment officer Graeme Miller.

The move comes after super startup Spaceship gained much publicity this year for promising to put millennials’ retirement savings into high-growth tech companies like Facebook, Google and Apple.

TelstraSuper’s $35 million contribution goes towards a planned 10-year $200 million pot to develop intellectual property from the tertiary education sector up to “investment-grade” companies.

“Unlike traditional private market investments which draw down capital over time, this investment has been immediately deployed into a well-diversified and seasoned portfolio of innovative companies through the purchase of listed shares via an institutional placement,” Miller said.

“It will also provide capital to the best and brightest at Australian universities to commercialise their world-leading research.”

TelstraSuper claims to be Australia’s largest corporate superannuation fund, with more than 98,000 members and over $19 billion under management at the end of March. The fund serves current and former Telstra staff.

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