Southern Cross raises $170 million to fund Australian innovators

Southern Cross Ventures Partners is an early stage venture firm that aims to bring Australian innovations to Silicon Valley. It has raised A$170 million, A$30 million shy of its final target.

Southern Cross Ventures Partners, an Australian early-stage venture capital firm, has raised A$170 million ($140 million), just shy of the A$200 million target it hopes to reach by September.

Australian venture capital has been eclipsed by the many headlines covering multi-billion dollar buyout offers for the airline Qantas and department store Coles. On the other spectrum of the private equity world, Southern Cross is an example of how early stage funds may appeal to some firms.

Bob Christiansen, founder and managing director, said people are starting to look at early stage venture capital firms that aspire to build businesses that can be scaled, and Southern Cross’ office in Silicon Valley is aimed at bringing Australian innovation to the world.

Christiansen said the fund Southern Cross had raised to date is “now of a scale that represents critical mass for a credible venture investors in the global market.”

Southern Cross has also launched a new office in North Sydney to supplement operations in Brisbane and Silicon Valley to focus on technology-related investments across the Australia and New Zealand research, innovation and entrepreneurial sectors.

Recent commitments came from Australian LPs Industry Funds Management and Sun Super, both multi-industry superannuation funds. Macquarie Fund Management, a fund of funds manager, invested last year.

Judith Smith, a senior investment manager at IFM’s private equity division said the superannuation fund’s decision to invest in Southern Cross fund reflected a continued and growing interest in early stage venture capital in Australia.