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$60 million for science and IT startups

Startup funding.

Kim Carr, Minister for Innovation.

Kim Carr, Minister for Innovation, has announced $60 million in venture capital funding for Australian startups working in medical research, internet and media technology, and IT.

Speaking at the Money, Markets and Talent conference in Sydney, Carr explained how the fund managers play a key role in helping startups get products to market.

“We are rightly proud of our ingenuity,” said Carr in his speech.

“We are less adept at turning it to profit. The pathway from a good idea to a good outcome is rarely straightforward, particularly for high-risk emerging industries,” he continued.

“It is known as the valley of death – and it claims many victims in Australia.”

The funding is being parcelled out to three fund managers – Carnegie Venture Capital, MCRF, and Southern Cross Venture Partners.

Carnegie is getting the lion’s share of government money – $40 million – with a mandate for investing in early-state Australian companies in the fields of life sciences and IT.

The MCRF fund is focused on investing in medical research companies, and has $20 million backing it. Southern Cross gets the remaining $20 million and will focus on funding IT, telecoms, ‘clean’ technology and material startups.

During his keynote, Carr claimed the investments being made through the Commercialisation Australia initiative provide a lifeline for early stage businesses.

“It provides a roadmap through the Valley of Death, linking firms to mentors, networks and government programs,” added Carr.

“It also equips them for the journey, with the seed funds they need to compete in the private equity market.”

The taxpayer coin for this initiative is coming from the Innovation Investment Fund.

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