Australian venture capital and buyout funds are more optimistic than they have been for a while, says Katherine Woodthorpe, chief executive of the Australian Private Equity & Venture Capital Association Ltd.

“The general mood is better than it has been in the last couple of years,” says Woodthorpe, referring to the association’s conference this month.

“But the fund raising environment is very difficult,” she says.

There are about 50 leveraged buyout funds operating in Australia which manage about $20 billion, Woodthorpe says.

Australia’s venture capital is in transition as older managers who needed to raise funds in 2008 and 2009 have in some cases failed. New venture capitalists are taking their place, says Woodthorpe.

There are 12 active venture capital funds in Australia out of 16 funds in total. The funds manage about $2 billion.

“The Government spends a fortune on research and development but does nothing to support it,” says Woodthorpe.

The Australian Government spends about $7 billion a year on research and $80 million commercialising it, she says.


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