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Fund_raising

15 Australian venture finance success stories

Start-up ventures typically attract investors in several finance rounds or liquidity events. To illustrate, the table in this article tracks 15 Australian companies that raised venture finance. They include Seek, JB Hifi, Austal, Vision Group and Mincom.

These companies received funding during 1999-2006, a period covered by a survey assessed by PriceWaterhouseCoopers and AVCAL in their 30 page report titled Economic Impact of Private Equity and Venture Capital in Australia 2006.

The table illustrates the use of business finance, equity investment, ASX floats and government grants to achieve in Australia and abroad.

The first column of our table lists each company. The second provides a short profile of venture funding events for that company.

Business

Profile | Sample fund raising events

Wizard

Wizard Home Loans is one of Australia's leading non-bank lenders. Since 1996 it has expanded its product portfolio to include personal loans, car finance and credit cards. It operates over 250 branches in Australia.

2004 - Purchased by GE Capital for approximately A$500 million.

2009 - Sold to Aussie Home Loans, along with its 100 retail outlets and network of 200 brokers.

SEEK

Formed in 1997 SEEK has expanded to New Zealand and the UK.

2005 - listed on ASX

2013 - stock market capitalisation reached $3 billion

Austal

Austal manufactures catamarans and fast ferries with shipyards in Western Australia and Alabama.

1994 - CHAMP investors led syndicate worth $15 million in venture capital.

1998 - Stock market float of Austral. Now with shipyards in Australia, USA and the Philippines.

Pharmaxis

Pharmaxis is a specialist pharmaceutical company that researches, develops and brings to market human therapeutic products to treat chronic respiratory and autoimmune diseases.

2002 - Private funding of $9.6 million.

bCODE

bCODE Mobile Ticketing has developed an SMS text message method for providing tickets for transport, sporting, movies and other events.

2005 - Investment of $5 million by CM Capital and Innovation Capital.

Austar

Austar is an ASX-listed subscription television and broadband internet access provider. It has about 500,000 pay TV subscribers and 50,000 Internet and mobile telephony customers. It employs over 800 people across the Gold Coast, Sydney and Darwin.

2002 - CHAMP and its strategic partner Liberty Global Inc acquired 82% of Austar for $82 million.

2012 - Austar takeover by Foxtel Management Pty Ltd.

JB Hi-fi

JB hi-Fi is a music, DVD and video game retailer with over 60 outlets.

2000 - Purchased by investors and senior management.

Vision Group

Vision Group is an ASX-listed provider of ophthalmic care. It employs about 320 staff in nursing, orthoptics, marketing, administration and finance, including 28 doctor partners and 50 associate and day surgery partners.

2001- Receives private equity investment of $14 million from funds managed by AMP.

CEA Technologies

CEA exports a range of high technology radar surveillance systems and communications systems. About 60-70% of its resources are committed to research and development.

2001 - Deutsche Asset Management invests $11 million.

CogState

CogState technologies are used to quantify the effect of disease and of drugs, devices or other intervention on human subjects participating in clinical trials.

2001 - Receives AusIndustry start grant of $1.4 million.

Mincom

Mincom is a specialist in enterprise asset management.

1997 - formed strategic relationship with Caterpillar, now principal shareholder.

Dynamic Hearing

Dynamic Hearing researches and develops technologies to provide better hearing.

2004 - Further investment of $3 million over 2003/04 by GBS Venture Partners and Nanyang Ventures.

G2 Microsystems

G2 Microsystems designs and manufacturers ultra-low-power Wi-Fi integrated circuits for the asset tracking, wireless sensor and mobile device markets.

2005 - Series a funding of $6million from DB Capital Partners and Starfish Ventures

Intercast & Forge

Intercast & Forge is Australia's largest independent iron foundry group.

2000 - Company formed from Australian assets of BTR, investment led by CHAMP Ventures.

CAP-XX

CAP-XX designs, manufacturers and sells super capacitors for portable electronic devices. R&D is conducted in concert with the CSIRO, CAP-XX is listed on the London Stock-Exchange alternative Investment Market.

2006 - Listed on London Stock Exchange AIM market raising £17 million.

A final word about methodology used in the PriceWaterhouseCoopers and AVCAL report.

The report covers 900 Australian and New Zealand investee companies it says received funds in the 1999-2006 period. The authors of the report sent a questionnaire to 55 Australian private equity ("PE") fund managers. Second, a group of 700 companies that had "received Australian PE funding was identified". After removing companies based outside Australia, a sample of 296 was selected for an online survey run in October-November 2006.


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