News & Analysis

Aura Group launches $30 million venture fund to target “growth and expansion stage” startups

- May 11, 2016 2 MIN READ

Australian fund management firm Aura Group has announced the launch of a new $30 million Aura Venture Fund through which it will look to “harness the power of the Australian ideas boom.” Taking the form of an Early Stage Venture Capital Limited Partnership (ESVCLP), the fund will look to invest in “growth and expansion stage” businesses.

In announcing the fund, Aura Group brought attention to benefits for investors thanks to tax incentives passed by the Senate last week, highlighting the fact investors will receive a 10 percent non-refundable tax offset that can be used against other assessable income, while all fund returns are tax free.

Calvin Ng, founder and managing director of Aura Group and now general partner of the Aura Venture Fund, said in a statement, “Launching the Aura Venture Fund was the natural next step of progression for Aura Group in regards to our venture capital offering. We have been helping build great Australian businesses for quite some time and the Aura Venture Fund under an ESVCLP structure offers our investors very attractive tax incentives to make investments in innovation.”

According to DealstreetAsia, the launch of the fund comes a few months after a member of Thailand’s wealthy Chearavanonts family picked up an undisclosed minority stake in Aura Group.

Aura’s current portfolio is comprised of 11 investments, with five full of partial exits. The organisation states that the average return within the portfolio is 647 percent, with an average holding period of 2.5 years. Among the currently held investments are Tomizone, Catapult Sports, LoanKit, and Institchu.

ura states that the strategy around its new venture fund revolves around the application of its Aura Investment Doctrine, “shaped through the years of experience we have in this asset class, both as founders and investors.”

This doctrine identifies the key criteria that must be addressed when identifying new opportunities, including engaging with a proven concept, deep assessment of the business environment, ensuring a clear path to profitability, and partnering with a strong management team.

Furthermore, the organisation states, “we believe that by utilising our rich ecosystem of portfolio assets – we are giving ourselves the best opportunity to add real value to a target company. Some people call it nepotism, we call it an unfair advantage.”

The launch of the fund comes after what has been a busy few months for the Australian startup investment landscape, with almost $1 billion in venture capital announced over the last year. New $10 million fund Signal Ventures announced its launch in March, looking to target the seed stage, while four $200 million funds launched in 2015. Female-focused investment network Scale Investors also announced earlier this year that it is looking to raise $25 million for its first closed-end fund, through which it will look to provide up to 20 early stage women-led businesses with funding.

Image: Calvin Ng. Source: AFR.