24/09/2008 - 22:00

Yuuwa develops capital plan

24/09/2008 - 22:00

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THREE Perth entrepreneurs have established a $40 million venture capital fund to invest in new technologies.

Yuuwa develops capital plan

THREE Perth entrepreneurs have established a $40 million venture capital fund to invest in new technologies.

Yuuwa Capital was one of three applicants to receive $20 million under the federal government's Innovation Investment Fund, matched by a dollar-for-dollar investment from the private sector.

Matthew Macfarlane, co-founder of Perth-based Web 2.0 start-up Vibe Capital, with 11 years' experience in mergers and acquisitions for various major European companies, is one of Yuuwa Capital's management team.

"Myself, Liddy McCall and James Williams are the team of three who put together that bid, backed by a team at Candor Financial Management," Mr Macfarlane said.

"We're extremely happy to launch a venture capital fund in WA of $40 million to target the innovative sector.

"The focus of our investments will be in IT and communications, so high-tech, and the other sector will be life sciences, which is biotechnology."

James Williams, co-founder of biotech companies, iCeutica Inc and Dimerix is excited about Yuuwa Capital's future.

"There's no doubt it's a huge opportunity, and a huge responsibility frankly, to have this fund,"he said.

Mr Williams has been involved with developing technology and capital raising for his own companies, and is also co-founder of Tessitura with Liddy McCall.

"Liddy and I were introduced to Matthew via our ultimate investor fund when we mentioned the prospect of pulling together a pitch for the IIF license," Mr Williams said.

The three are agreed in terms of strategy.

"We believed if we were to have a successful venture capital fund in Perth we would need to be slightly broader than pure life science," Mr Williams said.

And the mix of experience among the team is an asset for the business.

"I'm a qualified scientist, Liddy's a lawyer and finance person and Matthew's a chartered accountant, and together we've worked across a range of industries and start-ups," Mr Williams said.

Ms McCall, executive director at iCeutica and Dimerix, provides commercialisation support to early biotech companies, and was part of the Corporate Advisory Group at Macquarie Bank.

Both she and Mr Williams have previously been named WA Business News 40under40 Award winners.

"The next step will be negotiating the final terms of the contract with the government," Ms McCall said.

"And you've got to come up with a productive framework because we're working with government for the next 10 years over this fund, so its got to be a long-term relationship that's of benefit to both parties."

And there are already projects in the pipeline.

"We've been involved in start-ups for quite a while so there are people we know who have projects, and there are things coming through," Ms McCall said.

"Hopefully we'll be up and running very early in 2009."

Stone Ridge Ventures investment manager Rob Newman welcomed Yuuwa Capital to the Perth market, despite the obvious competition the new player presented.

"The biggest and most successful ventures need a lot of capital so there is often a combination from other markets, like the US," Mr Newman said.

"Depending on what pops up in the future, you could see our two companies aligned and working together."

The other successful applicants for funding under the IIF were Andover Venture partners and IB Australian Bioscience Fund.

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