$20m NT venture capital fund launched

A $20 million venture capital fund has been set up by the Northern Territory government and the Paspalis Corporation to support local innovation.

The territory government is committing $10 million to the fund through its Local Jobs Fund, which is being matched by NT-based startup investor Paspalis.

Up to $5 million of investment will be made in companies in industries such as advanced manufacturing, logistics and defence, technology, mining and exploration, space and primary industries.

The Northern Territory’s Investment Commissioner will join the Paspalis Investment Committee to represent the government’s stake.

Other members of the investment committee are chief executive Harley Paroulakis, chief financial officer Matt Bell, corporate counsel Jennifer Yeo, and senior investment manager Geoff Thomas.

Northern Territory Chief Minister Eva Lawler said the new co-investment fund would help generate jobs and develop local innovative businesses.

“We’ve seen a strong track record from Paspalis over the last five years, and we’re looking forward to continuing working with them to diversify our economy and create more local jobs,” Ms Lawler said.

Mr Paroulakis said in a statement that the co-investment fund will be invested “on a dollar-for-dollar basis into high growth companies that meet both our company and the government’s investment criteria”.

Paspalis operates the Darwin Innovation Hub and founded the territory’s first venture capital fund in 2018. The firm now has an investment portfolio worth $30 million and has an additional $20 million in cash to invest across six funds.

In addition to the NT government, Paspalis is also partnered with the investment arm of the Singaporean government’s Defence Science and Technology Agency Cap Vista and SEEDS Capital, the investment arm of Enterprise Singapore. It also works with global venture capital firms 500 Startups and Wavemaker.

Charles Darwin University spinout and additive manufacturing firm SPEE3D is among the companies that have received investment from Paspalis.

Paspalis has also invested in American drone manufacturer Blueflite, Singapore-based quantum gravimeter firm Atomionics, and Aliena a Singapore-based company developing electric propulsion engines to enable small satellites to fly closer to Earth, which all have operations in the territory.

“Through our investments in centres of excellence like Singapore, we have been able to develop a network of high-quality co-investment partners and angel investors. We have positioned the Northern Territory as an industrial sandbox for global innovation companies,” Mr Paroulakis said.

He also said “Paspalis is open for business, and we welcome any funding inquiries from exciting companies with strong leadership looking to do business in the Northern Territory”.

At the start of March, the NT government released a draft drone industry strategy and announced $100,000 in seed funding to establish a drone technology innovation cluster.

 

Source: Brandon How – Contains minor edits.