CSIRO-founded deeptech investment fund Main Sequence Ventures has set itself fibres and food as a key area for its venture science model in the third fund.

The Main Sequence Ventures team standing on a staircase

Main Sequence Ventures, the Australia-based investment fund launched by CSIRO, today achieved the first close of its third fund with A$450m ($305m) that included a commitment from the scientific research agency itself.

CSIRO’s contribution to Fund III is the first half of a A$150m commitment previously announced by the federal government programme Australia’s Economic Accelerator.

Hostplus, NGS Super, Australian Ethical Investment, LGT Crestone, Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, Temasek, Daiwa Securities Group and the Grantham Foundation are also among the limited partners.

Main Sequence Ventures now has A$1bn under management. The firm traces its roots back to 2016, when it was known as the CSIRO Innovation Fund I before Main Sequence Ventures made its formal debut six months later. Its first fund closed at A$240m in 2018 and its second fund raised A$330m in 2021.

With these, Main Sequence Ventures has backed 53 startups to date and has collaborated with 28 Australian universities — it backs not only spinouts but also builds companies together with partners in a model it has dubbed venture science. For its venture science programme, Main Sequence aims to focus on food and fibres with the latest fund.

The firm’s portfolio currently has a total value of A$6.8bn.

Mike Zimmerman, a partner at Main Sequence Ventures who previously joined GUV’s Talking Tech Transfer podcast to discuss the Australian commercialisation landscape, says of the new fund: “We embark on an extraordinary journey with this fund, guided by two key imperatives. First, decarbonisation — we want to ensure more translation of climate research into the solutions urgently needed to address our environmental impact. Alongside this, we are advancing critical technologies central to Australia’s national interest including cybersecurity to protect citizens and infrastructure, quantum computing to unlock new possibilities, and advanced semiconductor technology to fuel innovation.

“Our focus remains on big, global challenges that need scientific backing, patient capital and long-term vision to solve. The community we have created around this mission cares deeply about finding and scaling solutions to planetary problems like decarbonisation, feeding a growing population and enabling the next intelligence leap. Thanks to their support, we have the flexibility and fortitude to back and build breakthrough companies grounded in research, and help them actualise their impact for decades to come.”

Thierry Heles

Thierry Heles is the editor of Global University Venturing, host of the Beyond the Breakthrough interview podcast and responsible for the monthly GUV Gazette (sign up here for free).