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Building on capital ideas

WHILE most venture and seed capital players look for some sort of established entity based around the idea, one player actively avoids this.

Capital Technology managing director Paul Kristensen has built a successful business around building companies to support ideas.

He was a founder of ERG and involved with starting Arbotech and DDD.

Arbotech found fame with its ‘hoverboards’, which were used in the opening ceremony of the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games.

DDD began its life as Xenotech and has been touting its three-dimensional imaging technology to the world. It is now listed on the London Stock Exchange and Mr Kristensen remains its chairman.

Mr Kristensen prefers to find a venture at the idea or even patent stage.

“I invest in inventors and patents and start companies around them,” he said.

“I want to create the management team myself. If you don’t put the foundations in place early on there is a good chance the whole thing can fall over.

“A lot of people starting off companies have very little experience and can structure things badly.

“If there is not the work being done at kindergarten level then you are not going to get people into school.”

Mr Kristensen said he preferred to stay in companies for the long haul.

“I’ve taken companies through to listing and trade sales. I stick with them to the end because that’s where you get the biggest pay off,” he said. “There is no other private equity class than can produce these sort of returns. There are very few people who will invest from day one. Most will invest in start-ups or at a mezzanine level. It is rare for people to invest in bare technology.”

Mr Kristensen is also on the board of Add Venture Capital and is starting to put most of his investments through it.

“WA is a small market. I think venture capital funds have a better time dealing with other venture capitalists than new companies. That’s where people like me and Add Venture Capital come in,” he said.

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