Uniseed’s investment in PERKii is the first from its third and largest $50 million fund launched November 2015 to help commercialise ground-breaking research in Australia, and is made alongside a number of high net-worth investors including those represented by the Brisbane Angels and Melbourne Angels Groups, with the total capital raised being $4 million.
PERKii is designed to help consumers control weight, improve gut health and boost immunity. Using a technology developed by Professor Bhesh Bhandari at the University of Queensland, PERKii delivers one billion live and protected probiotics in an 85 per cent water-based drink that is unique in the Australian beverage market.
PERKii uses microgels (tiny natural beads) to encapsulate probiotics, ensuring their survival through the acidic stomach environment to the lower digestive system where probiotics actually do their work.
This technology allows the delivery of live probiotics using 85 per cent water, with great natural flavours, only 26 calories and just one and a half teaspoons of sugar from apples. No other probiotic drink can boast the use of this cutting-edge technology.
What is the story behind PERKii?
In late 2015, CEO Randy Milne led a series of successful market trials across South-East Queensland and oversaw the start of full-scale production. Following recognition by Woolworth’s start up arm Wstart, PERKii is now stocked in Caltex Woolworths and convenience sites and funds will be used to launch the drink nationally.
Randy joined the company in September 2015 following 10 years of beverage experience at Coca-Cola AMATIL, previously managing global accounts as a National Business Manager. “My vision is to bring something different to the $50 billion dollar probiotic market that hasn’t changed much at all in the last 30 years,” he told Anthill.
“People are more conscious of what they are putting in their bodies and there is a strong movement away from sugar. Our focus is to continue producing an exceptional product that meets consumers growing demand for healthier and more functional beverages.”
This is another notch for Uniseed
Uniseed’s mandate is to facilitate the commercialisation of research partner-generated intellectual property by targeted investment in highly promising technologies.
Uniseed’s investments cover a range of technology sectors. To date, the fund has exited four investments through trade sales; a drug to treat nerve paid (Spinifex Pharmaceuticals acquisition by Novartis for US$200 million up-front plus milestone payments); a drug in development to treat fibrosis (Fibrotech Therapeutics sale to Shire plc for US$75 million up-front plus milestone payments), an IT security technology (Vintela sale to Quest Software Inc. for US$75 million) and a semi-conductor technology (Fultec sale to Bourns Semiconductor Inc) and one investment (Hatchtech) through an asset sale to Dr Reddy’s Laboratories in a deal worth $200 million.
A number of companies in Uniseed’s investment portfolio have products on the market, including Hydrexia, BT Imaging and Smart Sparrow), while other companies are collaborating with leading global companies in their respective fields (Nexgen Plants, Q-Sera, TenasiTech).