Fund backer nurtures our own
THE key financial backer of the TransTasman Collaboration Fund — and indeed the main investor in Uniseed and Murdoch University’s commercialisation arm — is the West Australian superannuation fund Westscheme, which has about $ 3 billion under management.
South Australian financial services group Statewide is the other backer.
Westscheme chief executive Howard Rosario says that after six years’ experience investing in high- end research and development, his company ‘‘ believes in the excellence of Australian innovation and research’’.
For Westscheme, supporting the commercialisation of Australian research means that projects can be nurtured in an investment framework that, while being disciplined, is appropriately sensitive to the aspirations of researchers.’’
Westscheme has committed $ 54.2 million to the commercialisation of Australian research and has a further $ 190 million in funds earmarked for selected R & D investments, he says.
Westscheme took a portfolio construction approach to diversify sources of risk and return, and its adherence to process has to date produced positive returns for its members.
Rosario says many potential financial backers aren’t interested in commercialising R & D ‘‘ because the J- curve effect is very strong; it’s high risk because you have to invest money for a long time before you see a return’’.