Mark Carnegie plans second fund

M.H. Carnegie & Co. wants to raise as much as $300 million in 2014.

One of Australia’s most celebrated venture capitalists, Mark Carnegie, is seeking to raise a second fund next year that will have equity capital of between $250 million and $300 million.

M.H. Carnegie & Co., based in the Sydney suburb of Paddington, was founded in 2010. Mark Carnegie split with former partner John Wylie following Lazard’s takeover of Carnegie, Wylie & Co. in 2007. He still advises on corporate transactions.

No return figures have been disclosed on Carnegie’s current investments. The firm raised $170 million for venture capital investments. It has another fund of about $65 million for investments in distressed pubs and marinas in Sydney and Townsville.

The 16-person firm invests up to $5 million in start-up health and life sciences, web and technology companies that have not broken even or even generated cash. Carnegie also invests in profitable companies with a $15 million investment per business, including food and agricultural companies.

Carnegie’s portfolio companies include consumer products and services aggregator One Big Switch and asset management software company Assetic. The firm analyses about 150 business plans a quarter.  

Mike Traill, who helped start Macquarie Group’s private equity unit, former Sunsuper chief executive Don Luke and Apostle Asset Management founder Karyn West are advisors to Carnegie. The firm can also call on adman John Singleton and the executive chairman of Macquarie Radio Network’s executive chairman Russell Tate for advice.

Carnegie was among three funds that received $100 million from the Australian government that has to be matched dollar for dollar by private sector investors. Carnegie Innovation Fund No. 2 LP received $40 million under the Venture Australia Innovation Fund, which was started by the Howard government. The venture capital industry is hopeful it will continue under the new Liberal government.