Queensland start-ups are to benefit from a new $10 million early stage investment fund.
The fund is a joint initiative of the ilab incubator based at The University of Queensland’s (UQ) Long Pocket site, and Artesian Capital Management.
Minister for Science, Information Technology, Innovation and the Arts Ian Walker described ilab as one of Queensland’s success stories.
“It has incubated more than 100 start-up companies since 2000, helping them raise more than $70 million in grant and investment capital to fund their growth, and generating nearly 400 technology jobs,” Mr Walker said.
ilab operates as a Division of UQ’s commercialisation arm, UniQuest.
The new $10 million fund will provide much-needed support for early stage high tech companies which often struggle to raise sufficient investment to get their innovations to market.
Mr Walker said the Queensland Government had committed to continue funding ilab until 2019 and it was this commitment that led to Australian licensed fund manager Artesian Capital Management’s interest in establishing a $10 million early stage investment fund.
“One of the big issues for our start-ups is getting that all-important early stage support to assist them in developing into investment-ready companies,” he said.
The fund, expected to begin operating this year, has been formalised through a Heads of Agreement. Artesian will act as the fund manager and ilab will select and guide the start-up companies through its operational programs, facilities and mentor networks.
UQ Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Peter Høj congratulated the Government and Artesian on their support.
“This signifies strong confidence in the future impact of Queensland’s emerging innovators,” he said.
Artesian Venture Partners Managing Principal Mr Jeremy Colless said ilab had developed robust processes for attracting, screening and mentoring some of the best young businesses in Queensland, and it was positive to see the incubator expanding its expertise to regional Queensland as well.
“With that pedigree, ilab is producing start-ups that are developing a steady stream of highly scalable businesses that are attractive to investors,” Mr Colless said.
“As a result of ilab’s successes and expansion, we are excited to be building a $10 million tax-effective fund to invest in ilab’s start-ups at all critical stages of their development. This will provide important support to Queensland’s early stage start-up businesses, as well as unparalleled opportunities to invest in the burgeoning Queensland tech start-up community.”
UniQuest CEO Dr Dean Moss said the funding agreement was a strong endorsement of the ilab program and UniQuest’s commitment to cultivating innovation.
“It is a way to further bolster Queensland-based innovation and continue to source and guide these early stage companies through the difficult initial business validation stages and subsequently helping them look to global markets,” Dr Moss said.