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New funds due for local debut

TWO new venture capital-type funds are due to debut on the WA stage soon.

Trudo managing director Anthony Wooles is only days away from launching an as-yet-unnamed $50 million fund that will be targeting much larger deals than the main players in WA.

Foundation Capital, WA’s largest venture capital player, has a maximum deal size of $10 million and Mr Wooles said he would be chasing bigger deals than that.

“We’ll be looking to identify opportunities, add value and exit,” he said.

Argonaut Capital also is planning to create its own venture capital-type fund, although this will be a fund without the constraints of most venture capitalists.

Argonaut executive chairman Charles Fear said he was looking to create a crossover value fund that would target private companies going to the initial public offering stage and, potentially, some small listed companies looking for extra capital.

It is understood it will be a closed fund operating on a three to five-year lifespan.

Mr Fear is believed to be seeking to raise up to $40 million for the fund.

“Venture capitalists are usually prohibited from playing in listed markets by their charters,” he said.

“Venture capitalists are well capitalised at the moment and don’t have a lot to spend their money on. On the other side we have the big fund managers who concentrate on the top 150 listed companies.

“I can see the values of a crossover fund that applies venture capital methodologies to companies coming up to an initial public offering stage.”

Mr Fear said a lot of WA companies suffered because they were not under the immediate gaze of the big fund players, who are largely based in Sydney and Melbourne.

“I think there are great opportunities for people to bring capital to the table to help companies that are not in the main fund centres to grow,” he said.

“We’ll be looking for solid, well managed industrial companies that need growth or investment capital.”

Mr Fear said the fund would need to get a good track record.

“We have some good people that want to come on board from the management side,” he said.

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