The CSIRO Innovation Fund

The CSIRO Innovation Fund will invest in start-up and spin off companies, and SMEs engaged in the translation of research generated in the publicly funded research sector.

CSIRO is establishing an innovation fund to invest in the development of early stage technology opportunities from the public research sector. This initiative is part of the Australian Government’s National Innovation and Science Agenda .

The Fund will operate under the name Main Sequence Ventures. It is intended to help improve the translation of publicly funded research into commercial outcomes and stimulate innovation in Australia. This will help successful business to grow – boosting Australia’s productivity and exports, and generating jobs through increased commercialisation of research outcomes, particularly in priority sectors of the Australian economy.

Commercialising early stage innovations

We're working to get Australia's great science to market, improving our commercial outcomes and stimulating innovation in Australia.

Working with us

The purpose of the CSIRO Innovation Fund is to invest in start-up and spin off companies, and SMEs engaged in the translation of research generated in the publicly funded research sector.

The CSIRO Innovation Fund will comprise a commitment of $70 million in government funding, $30 million revenue from CSIRO's WLAN programme and additional private sector investment, with a target total value of $200 million.

Our Fund will have a unique value proposition to investors and potential investment opportunities.

It is expected to:

  • be open to investment proposals from CSIRO, Australian universities, other Australian publicly funded research agencies, and their partners including SMEs
  • focus on proposals that bring forward the commercialisation of 'deep technology' across government-aligned national industry priorities as currently articulated through the Industry Growth Centres
  • invest for both commercial return and national benefit
  • focus its investment toward companies establishing themselves and with most assets in Australia during their formative years.

The intent is that funding will be provided without co-investment where necessary to kick start very early stage proposals and to address the initial 'Death Valley Curve' in pre-seed and seed funding, but co-investment will be encouraged.

Investment by the Fund

The CSIRO Innovation Fund will be driven by its investment thesis, aiming to back exceptional founders building massively scalable science and technology businesses that solve real problems.

The Fund’s mission is to be a company builder and value creator. Its investment strategy will include:

  • backing the best entrepreneurial founders
  • focusing largely on early stage deal creation
  • focusing on the under-served research community
  • focusing on scalable science and technology solutions to real problems
  • reducing risk through discipline and teamwork
  • enhancing portfolio performance through close working relationships with other funds.

The Fund will be open to investment proposals that deliver outcomes to a wide variety of industries. It will focus on success factors defined by the investment strategy, regardless of the industry category.

Approaching the Fund

The Fund will have a simple process for receiving proposals and more information on that will be available shortly. It is anticipated that the Fund will commence operations in mid-2017.

Please see the CSIRO Innovation Fund Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

Our team: Managing Director

Bill Bartee

Bill Bartee is a veteran venture-capitalist who was appointed Managing Director of the Fund following an extensive recruitment process. Bill has an impressive track record in the venture industry, assisting disruptive, innovative companies grow. Prior to joining the CSIRO Innovation Fund, Bill was co-founder, MD and venture partner of Blackbird Ventures, a venture firm that invests in Australian companies wanting to be the best in the world. Bill was also a co-founder of Southern Cross Venture Partners and the CEO of Mantara, a company that made high performance, content-based message routing systems.

Our team

Phil Morle

Phil Morle joined the Investment Management Team in June, 2017. Prior to this, Phil was the founder of Australia’s first Silicon Valley style incubator, Pollenizer, and played an instrumental role in developing the start-up ecosystem across the Asia Pacific region. He has also advised some of the world’s biggest organisations on practical ways to deliver new growth and the cultural change that is required to get there. Phil served as CEO and Director of Pollenizer from 2008-2017, during which time over 20 start-ups were founded, including Spreets, which went from inception to sale to Yahoo!7 for $40M in under 12 months. Further portfolio companies included LawPath, HiveXchange, Hey You, Spot, Mezo and CohortIQ.

Our team

Mike Zimmerman

Mike Zimmerman joined Main Sequence Ventures in June, 2017.  Mike has extensive start-up operating and investing experience in both Australia and the US, including founder/CEO at BuildingIQ, a leading energy management SaaS business based on technology created at CSIRO.  He was previously a General Partner at Technology Venture Partners, a venture capital firm managing $200M and investing in global companies originating in Australia, and an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Altos Ventures in Silicon Valley.   Mike is also a mentor and angel investor working with start-ups from CSIRO’s ON Program, Telstra’s Muru-D and H2 Ventures, and serves on the Investment Committee of Queensland State Treasury's Advance Co-Investment Fund.

Australia's innovation catalyst

The CSIRO Innovation Fund, along with ON, Australia's national innovation accelerator , are key initiatives under CSIRO's Strategy 2020. These intensive, hands-on operations are focused on deal creation and lifting scientists' abilities in the fundamentals of customer first, product market fit and value creation by innovation.

ON: accelerating innovation


BiomarX have identified a new non-invasive diagnostic test that can detect the presence of endometrial cancer.



A natural feed additive from seaweed that dramatically reduces livestock methane emissions and increases production.


Kebari™: The ultra-low gluten barley

Kebari™ barley is an ultra-low gluten barley that can be used to make food and beverages suitable for people with coeliac disease and people who are gluten intolerant.

Kebari™: The ultra-low gluten barley

The National Innovation and Science Agenda

NISA promotional banner
The National Innovation and Science Agenda


Please note that CSIRO does not presently hold an Australian financial services licence and has a limited authorisation under the licence of a third party to provide certain general financial product advice to wholesale clients in connection with the CSIRO Innovation Fund. By providing the information on this website relating to the CSIRO Innovation Fund, CSIRO is not intending to, and is not, providing financial product advice. Nothing in this document is intended to provide, or imply, any recommendation or opinion about an investment in any financial product. CSIRO recommends that prospective investors in financial products consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions relating to any financial product.

Contact us to learn more about working with the CSIRO Innovation Fund

Submit your enquiry with our online contact form.