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OneVentures: investing and shaping local potential

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Publication Date: 
November 2020
Case study from: Industry Innovation and Science Australia annual reports

Dr Michelle Deaker incorporated OneVentures in Sydney in late 2006. Its first raising as a fund launched in 2009 at the height of the global financial crisis.

The tough economic environment did not hamper OneVentures’ efforts. Dr Paul Kelly and Ms Anne Marie Birkill joined the firm in 2010. This lead to the firm’s first fund established that year utilising the Early Stage Venture Capital limited Partnerships (ESVCLP).

The first OneVentures fund launch saw the establishment of the ‘OneVentures Innovation Fund I’. It also saw $20 million committed to catalyse this fund from the Commonwealth Government’s Innovation and Investment Fund.

OneVentures currently manages 20 active investments across four established funds:

  • Innovation
  •  Innovation & Growth
  • Healthcare
  • 1V Venture Credit.

It has a committed capital of more than $408 million.

The fund has approximately 200 investors. Investors are both wholesale and institutional.

Over the past decade the firm has invested in 25 companies, with 19 currently active.

OneVentures has the vision to continue investing and shaping local potential. It particularly sees this in the healthcare and technology sectors.

Part of their ethos is to have a global impact on healthcare. They want to do this by building a healthy local ecosystem where they translate scientific products to commercially viable game changers. This creates highly skilled positions within the Australian market to retain domestic talent. It will also attract the best international talent to our shores.

The company has grown from its three co-founders to a team of 15. It has offices in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

Through their investments they have also boosted local job opportunities. They have dedicated facilities and operations offshore in the United States to support the commercialisation of their investee products.

Vaxxas is a revolutionary needle-free vaccination delivery product. OneVentures seeded it from a University lab bench. Vaxxas was a high-risk investment. It had limited proof of concept, a small University research team in Queensland, and production at a microscopic scale.

OneVentures committed an equity investment. It formed a company with an initial work plan of $15 million which involved two other investment companies.

Dr Paul Kelly, co-founder of OneVentures Funds believes that the ESVCLPs provide an additional incentive. This increases appeal amongst investors due to the tax benefits. It also provides a more sustainable venture capital landscape within Australia.

Dr Kelly sees the ESVCLP as a lifeline for these innovative, game changing companies like Vaxxas.

“Without the ESVCLP, access to capital would be lot more difficult for highrisk earlystage ventures and companies like Vaxxas wouldn’t exist.”

“Technologies and opportunities like this would either not attract financing or would be financed offshore, and there would be fewer ‘Vaxxas’ funded—it would be a very barren Australian environment for early-stage companies.”

Vaxxas has gone from the lab-bench and according to Dr Kelly is now on the “cusp of being a game changer in vaccine delivery—it is an Australian success story.”

Vaxxas success has catapulted OneVentures into the global spotlight. It demonstrated their expertise and capabilities in transitioning an early stage lab bench technology to realise its global potential.

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