An independent econometric analysis of the “Innovation Investment Fund” Programme (IIF) of the Australian Commonwealth Government: findings and implications
Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research (Australia)
An analysis of the firms funded by the IIF programme indicates that the programme is well focused and has provided material and relevant support to a significant number of early-stage enterprises from Australia’s science base. IIF supported portfolio firms are more likely to be early-stage investments, to be in receipt of follow-on finance, and to achieve a successful exit than comparator firms outside the IIF programme. However these supported firms are also more likely to fail than comparator firms in part because the programme focuses on genuinely early-stage and therefore risky firms. The programme has raised substantial finance for young and new knowledge based firms that would not have been available in the absence of this scheme. None the less, the VC funds supported have largely made modest returns which would not by itself attract long term private investment interest in Australia’s high technology entrepreneurs. The IIF Programme while important is unlikely to engender by itself a viable and flourishing VC industry in Australia. Thus, the objectives imposed on the programme are overly ambitious and do not reflect fully the highly challenging environment for early-stage VC investment across the developed world.
In 2010 Professor Gordon Murray and his colleagues Professor Marc Cowling and Dr Weixi Liu were contracted by the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research to undertake an econometric analysis of the Innovation Investment Fund (IIF) program.