Home Funding & Finance Former i.lab CEO joins OneVentures investment team

Former i.lab CEO joins OneVentures investment team


Long-time Anthill supporter and former CEO of Queensland-based i.lab Incubator Anne-Marie Birkill, has taken up partnership of the new Sydney-based venture capital fund OneVentures, which launched on 22 March. She will manage the Fund alongside fellow entrepreneurs Dr Michell Deaker and Dr Paul Kelly.

The venture capital fund will focus on the clean technology, life sciences and new media/IT&T sectors and will offer elligible companies access to $40 million of growth capital. This is comprised of $20m from the Government’s Innovation Investment Fund program and $20m of matched capital from lead investor and underwriter BBY Limited.

Prospective investee companies should have a significant competitive advantage, an active Research and Development (R&D) program, have global application, a good understanding of their market, and for the market to be of adequate size to allow the Fund’s investment to grow the business. Companies in the commercialisation phase are preferable, as this is where the OneVentures team feels that it can contribute the most value.

The team’s vast experience as successful entrepreneurs and business builders is seen as key to realising a premium return for the fund. As Managing Partner Dr Deaker explains: “successful entrepreneurs make great mentors”.

Birkill is therefore a well-placed partner as one of Australia’s leading commercialisation managers with a respectable background of working with hundreds of early-stage technology entrepreneurs and assisting many successful Queensland technology companies while at i.lab.

Dr Deaker and Dr Kelly also bring a wealth of knowledge and achievement to the team, with extensive backgrounds in capital raising, mentoring, commercialisation and the biotech and technology industries.

The new partnership is also a first for the Australian market, with two out of the three founding partners being women. Given that very few Australian women are high-level venture capitalists, this is seen as a crucial step in diversifying Australia’s venture capital landscape.

The launch of the Fund is considered timely, as the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) has reduced the availability of capital for early-stage high-technology companies.

As Glenn Rosewall, Managing Director of key private limited partner BBY, explains, “The Fund provides a unique opportunity for investors to place their capital effectively in key technology sectors in a ‘vintage’ year when very little new funding will be available in the market.”

OneVenture’s available capital is therefore well positioned to invest in highly prospective companies and grow them in line with market recovery.