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Ipernica eyes investor base

Alternative capital raising platform, the Australian Small Scale Offerings Board, has signed up Australian Securities Exchange-listed Ipernica Ltd as its second Western Australian accredited member.

Originally spun-out of the University of Western Australia, West Perth-based Ipernica provides commercialisation and intellectual property services to research institutions and corporations.

The company is chaired by Ross Norgard, with director of IP Commercialisation in the Office of R&D of Curtin University, Conrad Crisafulli, holding a position on the board as nonexecutive director.

Ipernica managing director Graham Griffiths said the association between the two entities would provide WA-based small and emerging companies with the opportunity to raise capital outside the traditional venture capital route, in order to bring their innovations to market.

He said the partnership was particularly timely given the federal government's recent budget decision to end the Commercial Ready grants scheme.

"That's a $700 million gap over four years that just been dropped...

it will enhance the value of this sort of platform now there's not that sort of capital readily available, and makes it more valuable for early stage companies," Mr Griffiths told WA Business News.

Companies that engage ASSOB have access to its network of about 6,500 investors based in Australia and overseas, including the UK, Europe, Singapore and Hong Kong.

ASSOB managing director Brookes McTavish said companies could raise up to $5 million a year through the platform, and do not have to give up a substantial interest to venture capital.

"Encouraging VC investment in the early stages is very difficult," she said.

"The ASSOB investors are a different profile.

They're not VC, they're not at arm's length, and they're not expecting return on investment from dividends - they're expecting [it] from growth." Ipernica joins Mt Lawleybased Enhance Equity as WA's only accredited members of ASSOB, which has 26 members nationwide.

ASSOB has 18 WA clients on its books and is currently appointed to act on $25 million to $30 million of capital raisings for WA-based companies.

These include: Live Technologies, founded by WA's 2006 inventor of the year, Roland Butcher, which raised $600,000; software developer Firmware Technologies, which raised $1.3 million through ASSOB; and Noble Mineral Resources Ltd, which raised about $400,000.

ASSOB will also be cohosting a pitching competition in Perth on July 11, giving early stage businesses and projects an opportunity to communicate their investment opportunity before an expert panel and an audience of investors.

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