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First Australian Clean Energy Seed Fund launches

September 2, 2016

Joint media release: CEFC and Artesian Venture Partners.

Artesian Venture Partners today announced the launch of Australia's first Clean Energy Seed Fund. The $20 million seed fund includes a $10 million cornerstone commitment from the new Clean Energy Innovation Fund.  

The Clean Energy Seed Fund - the first of its kind in the Australian clean energy space - will focus on unearthing and financing emerging innovations and startups in clean energy. The $10 million cornerstone commitment is the first project to be financed through the new Clean Energy Innovation Fund, which draws on finance and skills from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).

Funds available through the Clean Energy Seed Fund will be invested in clean energy startups in partnership with established clean energy accelerators. Funds will also be invested in ventures sourced from the broader Australian startup ecosystem, including other incubators, university programs and angel groups.

The Clean Energy Seed Fund will invest at seed, angel and later stage follow on rounds in 30 to 50 startups over its 4 to 5-year investment period. The fund has been designed to appeal to corporate, institutional, high net worth individuals and impact investors looking to gain diversified exposure to Australian clean energy startups.

The fund is seeking registration with Innovation Australia as an early stage venture capital (VC) limited partnership (ESVCLP) to provide investors with tax-free returns and will therefore be compliant with the Significant Investor Visa (SIV) Program.  The seed fund is targeting additional private sector equity investment of up to $10 million to complement the $10 million cornerstone commitment from the Clean Energy Innovation Fund.

As well as targeting high returns for investors, the Clean Energy Seed Fund has a number of key strategic goals which include:

  • Providing opportunities for partners in the seed fund to make larger, later stage investments
  • Increasing the supply of clean energy startups in Australia by investing and collaborating with a range of accelerators, incubators, universities, angel groups, VC firms and corporates
  • Providing 'pull-model' VC support to solve specific problems in the clean energy sector, encouraging greater investment and participation in the early stage clean tech sector and co-investment from a wide range of investors, including high net worth individuals, angel investors, venture capital firms, corporates and institutions

Artesian Managing Partner Jeremy Colless said: "The Clean Energy Seed Fund will target scalable, high growth potential startups, fuelling innovation and creating opportunities in the development of clean technology. It will look across sectors such as the internet of things, energy storage, biofuels, alternative energy generation (solar, wave, geothermal, wind), metering and control, green building and biomaterials, transport technologies, water and waste".

The Clean Energy Innovation Fund became operational on 1 July 2016, with the goal of investing in eligible innovative clean energy projects.

CEFC CEO Oliver Yates said: "We have moved quickly to support innovation in the clean energy sector since the creation of the Innovation Fund. The Clean Energy Seed Fund is set to play an important role in building a vibrant and sustainable early stage clean energy venture pipeline in Australia.  The Seed Fund builds on our ability to accelerate investment across the clean energy sector, channeling finance where it can support the transformation of innovative ideas into business realities. The co-investment fund model employed by Artesian Venture Partners encourages collaboration between a wide range of accelerators, incubators, angel groups and university programs along with the strategic and financial inputs of high net worth individuals, corporate, institutional and impact investors. This will ensure CEFC finance can be used to support innovation in energy efficiency, low emissions and renewable energy technologies that fit within our Investment Mandate for clean energy."

ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht said: "Today marks an exciting milestone for clean energy innovation in Australia as we announce the first project to be funded through the Clean Energy Innovation Fund. ARENA and the CEFC have a long history of successfully working together and the new Fund provides us with an additional way to commercialise innovative clean energy projects. Going forward, the Clean Energy Innovation Fund is well placed to build on the continuing efforts and complementary skills of ARENA and CEFC to accelerate clean energy solutions, emissions reduction and renewable energy technologies."

Artesian Venture Partners (AVP)

Artesian Venture Partners (AVP) is a specialised investment manager with a unique, highly scalable, diversified portfolio approach to early stage venture capital investments, targeting both financial and strategic returns for HNWI, corporates and institutional investors. Artesian's initially applies a smart-beta/diversified strategy to build optionality/pro rata follow on rights and then creates alpha via in-house stock picking expertise deploying larger amounts of capital in growth and pre-IPO opportunities. AVP's approach provides investors with a pipeline of pre-screened and de-risked startup investment opportunities in which to make larger, late-stage investments.  AVP is the investment manager for a number of early stage venture capital limited partnerships including the Sydney Angels Sidecar Fund, BlueChilli Venture Fund, Slingshot Venture Fund, iAccelerate Seed Fund and the ilab Venture Fund. Artesian also is the investment manager for the Australian Venture Capital Fund of Funds (AFOF).

Media release, 2016

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