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University of Melbourne launches investment funds

The University of Melbourne has established two new major investment funds, in partnership with Breakthrough Victoria and Tanarra Capital.

The $115 million investment funds are dedicated to supporting Melbourne's researchers to turn their discoveries into commercial reality.

The $15 million University of Melbourne Genesis Pre-Seed Fund, established in conjunction with Breakthrough Victoria, will provide funding for early-stage research, ideas and new technologies and will facilitate access to university networks and mentoring to create seed-fund-ready companies.

Up to 20% of this funding can be invested in social purpose ventures.

Meanwhile, the $100 million Tin Alley Ventures Fund, led by Tanarra Capital, will invest in high-potential university-affiliated start-ups, providing support from the seed stage through to pre-IPO and will engage the university's alumni and supporters to help investee companies reach their full potential.

A large portion of the net profit will be invested in university research, early-stage commercialisation, and social enterprises.

Both funds will be open to university students, university-affiliated organisations and alumni to further enrich the research innovation and commercialisation ecosystem across the university's precincts.

"Universities have a social responsibility to make a difference in the world, and one way we do this is through translating our research into public good," University of Melbourne vice-chancellor professor Duncan Maskell said.

"Our two new funds will play a critical role in supporting researchers to take more risks, to be creative in their thinking and accelerate the possibilities to take research discoveries from an idea to market."

The investment in these funds to give full support to academics to translate their research into commercial outcomes which will create jobs and contribute to the economy, while actively improving people's lives, Maskell added.

Victorian treasurer Tim Pallas said: "Victorian researchers and innovators lead the world in so many areas, and we're making sure they have the best chance to turn great ideas into great businesses."

"Breakthrough Victoria is matching brilliance and inspiration with commercial support and investment in sectors ranging from health to advanced manufacturing - growing jobs and building the economy."

Breakthrough Victoria chair John Brumby added: "The creation of the Genesis Pre-Seed Fund with the University of Melbourne will amplify and accelerate the support for commercialisation of important research from the University of Melbourne.

"The Genesis Pre-Seed Fund reinforces Breakthrough Victoria's strategy to support investment so that research with strong commercial potential does not falter during the early stages."

Meanwhile, Tanarra Capital founder and chief executive John Wylie said: "This is one of the most exciting things we've ever done and we're so proud to be partnering with the University of Melbourne in doing this."

"We know the potential, the people and the smarts are there, so this is about lighting the match and making it really come to life."

The fund is intended to be open to Melbourne University students and alumni later this year.

Read more: University of MelbourneBreakthrough VictoriaTanarra CapitalDuncan MaskellJohn BrumbyJohn WylieTim Pallas