South Australia offers a range of exciting and innovative ready-made investment opportunities for venture capitalists looking to expand their business portfolio.
While many countries around the world are grappling with economic downturns as a result of the coronavirus, South Australia is not just bucking the trend but actually providing new investment opportunities to increase its global business footprint and secure future prosperity for the state and its workers.
Through the Department for Trade and Investment’s Invest In South Australia campaign, the state is offering a number of investment-ready business projects covering key economic growth sectors such as tourism, food, wine and agribusiness, health and medical industries, space, energy and mining.
“While the global impact of COVID-19 has been devastating, here in South Australia we have managed the health and economic challenges of the pandemic well, and by and large have been able to return to business as usual, because of our low level of restrictions compared to most parts of the world,” Minister for Trade and Investment Stephen Patterson says.
“South Australia is ideally placed for growth, where our future-focused industries have access to collaborative innovation hubs, a low cost of doing business and an enviable lifestyle. Our government is focused on driving investment into our key growth sectors by creating an attractive, thriving business ecosystem.
“Having ready-made investment projects featured on the Invest in SA website makes partnerships easy, streamlined and accessible – particularly during a time when international travel and face-to-face business is restricted. It enables potential investors from all around the world, ease of access to all the things they need to know about navigating the South Australian business landscape.”
Current ready-made investment opportunities include the following.
Cellr: first press project
Cellr, a connected packaging solution company, has re-engineered the wine lid, using radio frequency identification (RFID) and near field communication (NFC) to create track and-trace, direct-to-consumer engagement and product authentication.
“As the product goes through the supply chain and gets scanned, the producer gets information back which then engages the marketing platform,” says Cellr director and co-founder Chris Braine.
“It can be done anywhere in time and it’s all about geolocation: so if you’re in the US and scan the bottle of wine, you might be entering a competition to win a surfboard; in the UK it might be an umbrella.
“It’s about customising that journey. A bottle of wine traditionally is just a bottle of wine – the label does all the talking. We have the new message in a bottle effectively, so when you scan either the lid or the label, you start an engaged journey in which the producer can speak to the consumer effectively.”
With 50,000 labels ready for deployment, the focus is on pushing to have the lids manufactured at speed – and finding innovative companies keen to make an early investment.
“We’re looking at investments of between $50,000 to $100,000 and have a cap of 150 investors at the moment,” Braine says.
“The brand gets access to a wine marketing team based in SA, so it’s a bit of an ROI campaign: not only do we deploy the technology but also the campaign activity to go with it, so it’s this whole bundle with a bow on top.
“We’re now chasing those key investors to come along and get the party started.”
CH4 SA: zero methane agriculture – part of the US-based CH4 Global, this project aims to use disruptive technology to revolutionise not just the farming industry but the world.
The technology involves developing a red seaweed (Asparagopsis armata and Asparagopsis taxiformis) aquaculture business to produce feed for ruminant animals (cows, sheep, goats and camels) that has been proven more than 85 per cent effective in reducing methane emissions from these animals.
“The seaweed is a protein which replaces a range of other bioactive and effective compounds farmers feed to their animals, but in the process of interrupting that methane production activity in the stomach, it allows the cow to retain more energy, so a meat cow will make more meat and a dairy cow will produce more milk,” says Dr Adam Main, general manager, CH4 SA.
“So it’s a healthier animal and it has a return on investment for the farmer.”
The company has been granted the first global licence to sell the two species of Asparagopsis with the purpose of reducing methane in ruminant animals, and is now running land-based aquaculture systems with full life cycles of the seaweed species, as well as planning offshore 1ha trials within the Port Lincoln and York Peninsula regions this summer.
Currently at stage two, it is seeking capital expenditure, joint venture partners and off-take customers.
“We’ve been working with the DTI to get word out, as well as seeking investments globally, and we’re just about to launch our second strategic round for $US10 million,” Dr Main says.
“We’re looking for parcels of $US1 million to close out that round before Christmas. In addition, we’re also in the process of looking for innovative ways in a COVID world of getting debt financing going forward.”
Cellular immunotherapies for the treatment of cancer – a spin-out from the Co-operative Research Centre for Cellular Therapies and Manufacturing, Carina Biotech is using advanced technologies to empower the immune system to fight cancer. The technology works by generating a chimeric antigen receptor T (CAR-T) cell, a normal immune cell that is supercharged to locate and powerfully attack the cancer cells.
“It’s a very efficient cancer-killing machine,” says Dr Deborah Rathjen, CEO of Carina Biotech.
“There’s no limit at this point in what kinds of cancers can potentially be developed for. There are already some CAR-T products marketed for the treatment of blood cancers; the treatment of solid cancer types like lung, breast or prostate cancer have had a few more challenges in terms of generating these supercharged CAR-T cells. But Carina has been able to overcome a number of the challenges by engineering the T cells in a pretty special way so they can track the tumour and activate once they have reached their target.”
The company is currently at pre-clinical testing, and is targeting going into clinical trials within the next 12 months. It is seeking direct investment and licencing/partnership opportunities.
“As we move closer to clinical development, next year we will be launching our series A offering where we will be looking for investors for the clinical development of two of our CAR-T therapies,” Dr Rathjen says.
“We’re focused on playing a big role in a future that sees cancer being defeated.”
Pictured, red seaweed.
This article originally appeared in Future Adelaide