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South Australian government selects Blue Sky Venture Capital to manage $50 million VC fund

As the annual SouthStart startup festival kicks off in Adelaide, the state government has announced it has selected Blue Sky Venture Capital to manage its $50 million South Australian Venture Capital Fund (SAVCF).

Dr Elaine Stead, head of venture capital at Blue Sky VC, will lead management of the 15 year fund.

In managing the fund, Blue Sky VC will expand its Adelaide office and appoint dedicated employees to the Fund who will be tasked with identifying startups with high growth potential, and opportunities for co-investment.

Stead said the organisation is excited about applying its VC expertise to help early stage companies realise their full growth potential in the national and international markets.

“Blue Sky understands that a strong and engaged ecosystem is critical to success and we are looking forward to playing an active, hands on role in supporting the dynamic South Australian start-up sector,” she said.

The SAVCF is structured as a co-investment fund, looking to enable the state government to invest alongside private VC funds to grow South Australian startups.

Premier Jay Weatherill said, “The Venture Capital Fund will support our innovative businesses to become more competitive and reach new markets, stimulating economic activity and job creation for our state through government and private sector co-investment.

“This means an additional $50 million in external capital will be made available to support innovative South Australian companies.”

Minister for Innovation, Kyam Maher added that the fund will “turbo charge” VC capital attraction to the state and in turn provide a strong incentive for investors to look at opportunities in the state.

The South Australian government has been steadily working to boost the state’s startup chops and attract new business over the last year.

The Premier last month appointed US entrepreneur Tom Hadju to the role of South Australia’s first Chief Advisor on Innovation, tasking Hajdu with working to lead local collaboration and attracting startup talent to the state.

“Global innovators like Dr Hajdu will continue to support the state government’s work around innovation and ensure we take advantage of major growth opportunities in the digital economy and create the high-tech jobs of tomorrow,” Weatherill said.

“Part of his job will be to disrupt our innovation system, to introduce new ideas and new ways of thinking and utilise his international connections to grow our digital economy.”

The government also allocated $60 million over four years to its Investment Attraction Agency (IASA) in last month’s state budget.

The agency is focused on attracting large companies from both interstate and overseas to either relocate to or expand their operations in South Australia, with a focus on industries including defence, renewable energy and mining, tourism, food, and wine, health and biomedical research, and IT and advanced manufacturing.

Image: Elaine Stead. Source: Supplied.

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