Christopher Adams

The Business Herald’s markets and banking reporter.

Fund to invest in local tech

A new venture capital fund with backing from NZ and Taiwan targets US$100m.

Franceska Banga says the fund will be important for New Zealand's growth-stage investment sector. Photo / Sarah Ivey
Franceska Banga says the fund will be important for New Zealand's growth-stage investment sector. Photo / Sarah Ivey

A new investment fund supported by government-backed venture capital funds in New Zealand and Taiwan has raised US$75 million ($89.2 million), of which at least US$35 million will be invested into local technology companies.

The GRC SinoGreen Fund III is overseen by a group of venture capitalists including Kiwi Tony Bishop and his team at the Auckland branch of GRC Managers, formerly known as Pan Pacific Capital.

After hitting its first close of US$75 million last week the fund's managers are pushing towards reaching a final target of more than US$100 million.

The New Zealand Venture Investment Fund (NZVIF) has committed US$20 million, while its Taiwanese counterpart the National Development Fund has invested the same amount and the balance has come from international institutions.

"The terms of NZVIF's commitment means that at least US$35 million will be invested into New Zealand originating technology companies," said NZVIF chief executive Franceska Banga.

"If the fund reaches its US$100 million target it will be one of the larger venture capital funds supported by NZVIF. That gives it the capacity to make the larger investments which are needed for growing companies looking at offshore expansion."

Bishop said the fund could potentially top out at US$150 million.

"Our investment targets are technology-centric private companies with unique strength and substantial growth opportunities, including New Zealand originated technology companies which will benefit from the growing markets in China."

Bishop said the fund was evaluating five investment opportunities in New Zealand, which he could not name because of confidentiality agreements. There was potential for it to invest in many more local firms.

Bishop said sectors the fund would focus on included energy and resource efficiency, energy storage, agritech, medical devices, data analytics and cloud computing.

GRC Managers, which has offices in Taipei and Beijing, will oversee investments into Taiwanese firms.

"Our big asset is being able to help New Zealand companies move into the greater China markets," he said.

Banga said it would be an important fund for this country's growth-stage investment sector.

"GRC Managers has strong networks and access in the technology sectors including a direct relationship with Industrial Technology Research Institute in Hsinchu, which has played a major role in the development of Taiwan's high-tech sector, and research facilities in China."

New fund
First close: US$75m
Final target: More than US$100m
NZVIF commitment: US$20m

- NZ Herald

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