I wish to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land we are meeting on, the Whadjuk people of the Noongar nation, and pay my respect to their Elders past and present. And thank you Aboriginal Elder Gail Wynne for welcoming us today.
Thank you Minister Michaelia Cash for welcoming us to your great state, and for launching our new venture today.
Thank you to our special guests for being here today, including Professor Dawn Freshwater, Vice Chancellor of UWA, a great partner and collaborator of CSIRO's.
And congratulations to our Fund managers, the faces of a new kind of investment in Australia that will be pivotal to our future national prosperity. Bill, Phil, Martin, Mike and Mike – what an exciting adventure we're about to start!
The launch of a new investment fund is always exciting, it signals vision, and hope.
But today is not just about another VC fund – this is a new kind of investment fund for Australia.
Venture investing in science is hard, few countries do it well, and most venture funding in Australia is focused away from the lab bench.
Main Sequence Ventures is the next piece of a vision outlined in CSIRO's Strategy 2020 and the Australian Government's National Innovation and Science Agenda, or NISA.
In the two years since this vision was announced – in fact, we're only five weeks short of NISA's two year anniversary – CSIRO has created Data61, Australia's leading data innovation group, and ON, Australia's only sci-tech accelerator, which has graduated more than 200 teams and formed eight new companies, and to our delight even delivered our first IPO.
And so it's a natural fit for CSIRO to be the genesis of this national innovation fund; it's even evident in the finances of the Fund, much of which comes from new value generated by another Australian innovation, WiFi.
In handing responsibility to CSIRO to build the Fund, the Government recognised it would take people with unique experience on both sides of the lab door.
A new breed of founders in whom science and technology run deep.
Main Sequence Ventures
The Fund is designed to mine the gems hidden inside Australia's research organisations and polishing them up for the market, recognising that the best ideas don't always come fully formed and we need to support ideas from benchtop to boom.
It recognises that Australia outperforms many of its OECD peers in science, but we lag woefully in realising the economic potential of these ideas in our own country.
We know innovation is hard – the story from space science to WiFi was not an easy one.
Space science also inspired the name of our fund, because few stars make it to the Main Sequence, but when they do, they burn longer and brighter and power growth for all around them.
Main Sequence Ventures has projected that the first companies into which it is currently making investments will quickly create 60 new jobs as they start-up, with more to follow when they succeed.
And in the five founders celebrated here today, we see the bright future of our best ideas and future prosperity.
From these early stars, we hope to inspire many constellations of success.
The "ON" program has shown how well Team Australia can collaborate.
Working closely with you, our colleagues across Australia's innovation system, will enable Australian Science to re-invent Australia's future.
So I'm delighted to be here with you all today to celebrate the launch of Main Sequence Ventures and together, we will build bright new stars that will fuel cycles of innovation and value creation throughout our nation.