Monday, May 16, 2022

UniSuper Gives $75 Million to Early Stage VC Uniseed

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Pension fund UniSuper will invest $75 million in pioneering venture capital fund Uniseed early in its first step into VC.

Uniseed is the country’s oldest commercialization fund, founded in 2000. It is jointly owned by the Universities of Melbourne, Queensland, Sydney, New South Wales and the CSIRO, and supports research and engineering ventures developed by these five partners.

About half of all patents are created by research organizations in Australia.

Under the deal, UniSuper has pledged $75 million to Uniseed to cover existing projects as well as new projects in emerging industries such as biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, quantum computing and green energy. The investment represents 0.07% of the $106 billion in member funds that UniSuper manages.

Among the startups Uniseed has supported, recent exits include sold power-monitoring startup Aurtra acquired by Schneider Electric, plastics firm TenasiTech sold to Canadian thermoplastics supplier RTP Co. In 2015, UniSeed-backed neuropathic pain treatment startup Spinifex was acquired by Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis International for A$267 million.

Uniseed’s CEO Peter Devine said UniSuper’s investment will unlock greater engagement with Australia’s growing innovation and startup sector.

“UniSuper is one of Australia’s largest and most respected and innovative super-funds, and the capital at its disposal will go a long way toward enabling us to seize the opportunities presented by the brilliant minds of the best research organizations from Australia,” he said.

“This is another step Uniseed is taking to facilitate the commercialization of Australian research. Today’s emerging start-ups are tomorrow’s tech and health giants, and with funding from UniSuper we can get on board at the very early stages of these journeys.”

John Pearce, Chief Investment Officer of UniSuper, says Uniseed was a natural and logical choice for the pension fund.

“UniSuper has always championed Australian thinkers, creators and researchers. Uniseed is at the forefront of new start-ups and technologies,” he says.

“This is an excellent opportunity for UniSuper to actively participate in the development and commercialization of research and technology that will shape the future. We look forward to seeing this investment flourish and grow over time.”

The investments will contribute to UniSuper’s sustainable investment options.

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