Crucial role for advisers in search for funding

ALONGSIDE the venture capital players are those behind-the-scenes players who advise companies trying to attract venture capital funding.

Some will, on occasion, put funding into the venture, but usually they concentrate on the provision of advisory services.

One of the key advisers in the WA venture capital market is Cyber Research, which acts as an analyst for a number of the venture capital funds.

It is also linked to major US venture capital player the Silicon Valley Bank. Silicon Valley Bank president Larry Lopez is Cyber Research’s chairman.

It works closely with Deutsche Bank and WA’s Foundation Capital.

Cyber Research managing director Ivan Gastavino said his firm provided the technological venture advice to venture capital funds.

“There is not another company that I am aware of that specialises in tech venture advising,” he said.

“We’ve grown companies through from seed funding to public listings, like AmCom Telecommunications and Plexus.

“We have a good handle on building tech ventures and taking them to a global distribution level.”

Mr Gastavino said Cyber Research was similar to Zernike Australia, which takes products from Australia to European distribution channels through its Netherlands-based parent Zernike.

Other major advisers include Poynton Partners director John Poynton, Grange Consulting Group managing director Ian Macliver, Trudo managing director Anthony Wooles and Argonaut Capital executive chairman Charles Fear.

Poynton Partners will take equity positions in ventures as well as providing advice.

Mr Macliver said his company would also take principal positions in ventures.

“We tend to do a lot of capital raising work. We do a lot of work for listed companies and some for unlisted companies,” he said.

“In the unlisted arena the work we do is for companies that either end up listed or go to a trade sale.”

“And in tough markets like the one we have now it is easier to get funding for unlisted ventures than it is for listed ones.”

Accounting firms, such as Ernst & Young, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Deloittes Touche Tohmatsu, offer advisory services to the industry.

Even law firm Freehills’ MainSheet operation is a player in this industry.

Other advisers include Tulip Consulting principal Andrew Rothon and Capital Technologies managing director Paul Kristensen.

Mr Rothon specialises in preparing business plans for companies seeking venture capital funding.

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