A principal consultant from JANA Investment Advisers has left to become a partner and portfolio manager in a start-up Australasian venture capital firm.

Alistair McCreadie has left JANA after three-and-a-half years as a hedge funds and fixed interest principal, to build Melbourne-based venture capital firm RedFire Investments. As one of four partners who jointly own the business, McCreadie said his specific responsibilities will fall to managing the investment portfolio, but as it is still only early days, the four partners are “doing a bit of everything”. McCreadie joined RedFire as a partner in October – three months after it was founded. He resigned from JANA in February but has been working out a notice period until his departure last fortnight. The other three partners are Geoff Drucker, a director of strategic communications agency DYDX, Gordon Crosbie-Walsh, managing director of Webb Capital Markets, and Suren Chandrajit, who has experience in business start-ups. The former fixed interest funds and hedge funds principal consultant said he has been interested in private equity for some years, and it’s only grown over time. As for the recent move to RedFire, McCreadie said: “It was just a matter of, the time is right to make that change”. Prior to his JANA position, McCreadie had private equity experience as a senior analyst at ABN AMRO where he was involved in structuring the finances for leveraged buyouts. RedFire Investments is a venture capital firm “focussing on earlier stage businesses with a focus on environmental and technology businesses”, McCreadie said. He described it as “;an Australasian company…a key part of the strategy is to develop the Asia focus”. RedFire already has an office in Singapore. The Asia presence would encourage not only a bigger pool of capital to fund businesses, but also provided a platform for the businesses backed by RedFire to move into Asia – a deliberate difference from the more traditional business expansion focus into the United States. McCreadie was in the process of putting together the first fund for institutional investors, with an expected launch about three months away. In the meantime, shareholders – both Australian and Asian-based – have funded the investments to date. JANA has not yet replaced McCreadie, according to executive director John Coombe.

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