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Size counts in Perth market

THERE is only a handful of venture capital firms with a permanent on-the-ground presence in Perth.

The largest and best known is Foundation Capital, which has $115 million under management across three funds.

It can invest from $1 million up to $10 million, from early stage technology companies through to fast growing businesses in other industries.

Innovation Capital is a $36 million fund that invests in seed and early stage companies.

It has offices in Perth, Sydney and the US, and is building a portfolio of 10 Australian technology intensive businesses in the medical device, telecommunications, IT, engineering, environmental and biotech sectors.

Its investments include Tinnitech, a medical treatment that emerged from research at Curtin University.

Entrepreneurs in Residence provides seed capital as well as mentoring, managerial and administrative support to Western Australia’s information technology and communications start-up companies.

EiR also offers ‘incubator’ facilities located in the EIR Centre, at Technology Park in Bentley.

It obtained $10 million of funding from the Federal Government’s Building on Information Technology Strengths (BITS) incubator program and has invested in more than a dozen companies.

Two smaller Perth-based players in the venture capital market are currently changing their business, as reported in last week’s WA Business News.

Sydney firm VentureAxess has taken control of Harold Clough-backed TechStart Fund Managers and its venture capital fund Add Venture Capital.

Mr Clough’s TechStart Australia will continue to be run from Perth and will hold its current portfolio of early stage investments.

Another local provider of seed capital is Evandale House Group, which has become the WA representative of the new Copernicus Capital venture capital fund.

Melbourne-based Copernicus has recently launched a prospectus to raise $20 million for investment in ‘early stage’ companies and expanding businesses.

A highly specialised venture capital firm is Australian Stock Exchange listed Medical Corporation Australasia, which invests in healthcare and medical technology businesses in Australia and Asia.

Its chief executive, Eric Tan, was recently appointed chancellor of Curtin University.

ANZ has established a private equity arm in Perth to invest in established businesses seeking extra capital to support their growth.

It would typically invest between $2.5 million and $10 million, for a period of up to five years.

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