Main Sequence announces new AUD250m fund to 'solve the world’s biggest challenges'

Main Sequence, Australia’s deep tech investment fund founded by Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, has raised AUD250m for its second fund. 

The oversubscribed raise was supported by returning investors including Horizons Ventures, Hostplus, Lockheed Martin and Temasek, as well as family offices and private investors from Morgan Stanley Wealth Management and Mutual Trust.  

Investments from Fund II will continue Main Sequence’s mission to solve the world’s biggest problems in health, food, space, and industrial productivity, by turning science and research into breakthrough companies.

Main Sequence is also increasing its focus on science and engineering discoveries that address decarbonisation as part of Fund II, creating more opportunities for scientists to turn research into tangible technology to solve one of the most pressing challenges we face — reversing climate impact. 

This is the second fund from Main Sequence, with the first launched in 2017 and backed by CSIRO. This fund helped build 26 deep tech companies including Myrotia, Kasada, Gilmour Space, Q-CTRL and Baraja.

“Our first fund has helped build some amazing companies that are doing everything from making healthcare more equitable, to revolutionising the way food is produced and increasing industrial productivity. This new fund will help us continue this pivotal work to solve the world’s biggest challenges through investment in science-powered companies,” commented Mike Zimmerman, Partner at Main Sequence. 

“We are grateful for the level of support we've had from existing investors, as well as interest from a wide range of new investors in Australia and abroad. Our progress is a great testament to the impact our founders are having on the world.”

Main Sequence has pioneered a venture science model, which is an approach that starts by identifying a big challenge. It brings together science, people and investment to solve it through company creation. This approach is one of the ways Main Sequence finds and funds companies as part of this new Fund. 

“By taking a venture science approach, which starts by identifying a problem first, and assembling the science capability, team, and investment around it, we’re able to create whole new industries that solve real world issues. It’s an approach that not only ensures we’re fostering a more prosperous future for all but continues to deliver strong returns for our investors. It’s a win-win,” continued Zimmerman. 

CSIRO Chief Executive Dr Larry Marshall congratulated Main Sequence on its expansion.

“Main Sequence was created to help take more amazing Australian science off the lab bench and out into the world to solve real problems by creating jobs and companies that grow our economy,” Dr Marshall says.

“CSIRO collaborates across the entire innovation system, investing significantly in commercialising great science from all Australian universities. We see this commitment continue through Main Sequence’s investments in great companies that have spun out of CSIRO and disrupted markets, including Coviu in telehealth, Emesent in robotics, v2food in alternative protein and RapidAIM in biosecurity.

“As Australia looks to science and technology to grow new industries in the wake of COVID-19, Main Sequence is positioned specifically to drive greater commercialisation of all Australian research that will fuel our economic recovery, and make life better by solving national challenges.”

Main Sequence has identified six challenges it seeks to solve through its Funds including: 

• Feed 10 billion people — planet-proofing the global food system
• Decarbonise the planet — reversing our climate impact 
• Reach humanity scale healthcare — democratising health access for everyone
• Supercharge industrial potential — augmenting our biggest industries
• Enable the next intelligence leap — giving society the tools to adapt to the future
• Bridge the gap to space — unlocking the benefits of space for humanity’s gain

The focused investment in decarbonisation will be led by Main Sequence Partner, Martin Duursma.

“We are entering a transformational and critical decade for addressing climate change globally; Australia has a natural opportunity to develop the solutions that help everyone forge a path to net zero,” says Duursma. “Our ingenuity and deep science background as a nation will be pivotal in building a clean hydrogen industry, adapting heavy industry, decarbonising our energy grids, and developing new ways to capture and sequester carbon. We’re determined to help uncover the scientific discoveries, turn them into real, tangible technologies and accelerate their potential so we can reverse our climate impact and avoid a climate catastrophe.”

David Elia, CEO at Hostplus, says: “We are proud to participate in Main Sequence’s second fund at a time when the companies and technologies it backs have a critical role to play in addressing the complex problems facing the world. The fund’s priorities align strongly with our commitment to investing in nation-building projects and life-changing technologies. This is not just important to us for the societal benefits that will be realised, but also the sustainable and long-term returns that will be generated and which are in the best financial interests of our members.

“Our investment strategy is built for the future and that’s why I am particularly pleased that there is an increased focus on technologies that reduce carbon emissions through which Hostplus will further expand our investments in climate solutions."

Ian Chambers, Head of Wealth Management Australia at Morgan Stanley, says: “Main Sequence’s new Fund provides our Wealth Management clients with unique exposure to new technology, emerging startups and early stage innovations focused on addressing global challenges. Founded by CSIRO, the Fund is underpinned by a research driven approach, investing in organisations driving Australia’s innovation agenda and creating technology solutions with the potential to transform major industries such as healthcare and aerospace, in addition to its focus on sustainability an important priority for many of our clients.”

Jono Gourlay, Head of Wealth at Mutual Trust, says: “Many of our clients are increasingly looking for investments which not only have positive financial returns, but also a positive impact on society or the environment. Main Sequence’s model in creating a collaborative and investible fund has given these clients an exciting opportunity to support ground breaking research and emerging technology, in areas that are important to them.”