Australian startups working in the advanced materials and manufacturing sectors now have new funding opportunities available, with private investment firm Manifex announcing the opening of its second round of investment funding.
Established in 2014, the evergreen investment firm has been working in partnership with incubator VCAMM, the Victorian Centre for Advanced Materials Manufacturing, to investigate investment opportunities.
Manifex works by establishing relationships with companies incubated at VCAMM early on, carefully choosing when to step in with ongoing commercial investment during the commercialisation process.
Iain Ralph, previously of VCAMM and now founder and managing director of Manifex, says the company’s Asian and local investors are keen to find new opportunities for investment.
“Australia has some great minds and great opportunities for advanced manufacturing. Manifex and its investors have a knowledge and passion for new product businesses and I believe that with the injection of appropriate early stage investment to qualified ventures, Australia will realise substantial economic dividends,” Ralph says.
High tech manufacturing startups are often forgotten when we talk about startups, but VCAMM’s success stories show that the sector is ripe for growth.
Cytomatix, a VCAMM company that received funding from Manifex in its first investment round, is working in the global transplant market, which is valued at more than $1.5 billion. Cytomatix works in stem cell therapeutics, offering a scalable solution to bone marrow transplantation using 3D expansion technology – mass production of stem cells to be delivered to hospitals, oncology departments, and transplant centres.
Another VCAMM company, Circa Group, has “developed the world’s first continuous process for the manufacture of an important and highly flexible molecule from waste platform.” The company is currently working with researchers to develop and license applications for the molecule, including a bio-solvent and a dairy flavour or sweetener, and estimates that the molecule can be used in a range of multi-billion dollar markets.
Ralph highlighted the role VCAMM has played in the development of these companies.
“Manifex will continue to look for high growth technology venture investment opportunities. We maintain an ongoing relationship with VCAMM and its associated network of research institutions and projects for this purpose. Of course, VCAMM is continuing its mission to incubate opportunities and is a great resource for technological innovators in Victoria.”