29  April, 2022

Australian Investment Council announces Investing for Growth Award winners


SYDNEY: The Australian Investment Council has announced the winners of its 2021 Investing for Growth Awards, at a gala cocktail event at the Four Seasons Sydney.

After delays in the event in 2021 due to the ongoing challenges of the pandemic, tickets to the awards were sold-out with more than 200 private equity, venture capital and private credit fund managers and advisers to the industry in attendance. Robyn Denholm, chair of Tesla and an operating partner at Blackbird Ventures was guest presenter at the event.

The Investing for Growth Awards are presented to firms within the private capital industry who have made an outstanding contribution to the industry through investments that have demonstrated the real value of private capital investment and who have promoted diversity and inclusion, grown businesses and driven innovation.

Jonathan Kelly, Interim CEO of the Australian Council said: “In a year of unprecedented challenges, we have seen some strong results for private capital investors and the positive contribution their investments have made to jobs and the economy across all industry sectors.

“These awards recognise the significant role that Australia’s $37 billion private capital industry plays in creating jobs and new businesses and building a more innovative economy for our country’s future growth.

“The Council received a large number of high calibre award nominations and we thank all the firms that took the time to nominate for the 2021 awards,” Mr Kelly said.

Investing for Growth Award Winners for 2021 are set out below.






Venture Capital Investment


Brandon Capital


Longas Technologies

Corporate Venture Capital (Inaugural award)


Reinventure Group



Small-Cap Investment Under $100MN


Quadrant Private Equity


Adore Beauty

Mid-Cap Investment $100-$250MN


Allegro Funds


Best & Less

Upper Mid-Cap Investment $250- $500MN


NEXT Capital


Lynch Group

Leadership in Diversity & Inclusion




Michael Hirshorn Award


Brandon Capital


Longas Technologies

Firm of the Year


Allegro Funds


More about the Investing for Growth Awards

Venture Capital Investment Award

Brandon Capital worked closely with the founders of Longas Technologies prior to formation of the business, and then developed significant operational synergies to create a company that has become one of the fastest growing tech start-ups in their industry. Longas has developed Morphoseq, a disruptive technology designed to dramatically improve the performance of industry-standard next generation DNA sequencing (NGS) platforms, by increasing effective DNA sequence read lengths, with benefits in accuracy and cost efficiency. Morphoseq effectively converts the current short read DNA sequencers found in most laboratories around the world into virtual ‘long read’ DNA sequencers without the need for additional hardware and at a reduced cost.

Corporate Venture Capital Award

Through the investment in Coinbase, Reinventure Group demonstrated clear strategic value and significant financial returns to the CVC and LP investors, negotiated deals with major end-users or other industry players and increased sales or output levels during the investment period. Coinbase Global, Inc., known as Coinbase, is an American company that operates a cryptocurrency exchange platform. Coinbase was founded in June 2012 by Brian Armstrong, a former Airbnb engineer. Armstrong enrolled in the Y Combinator startup incubator program and received a $150,000 investment. Fred Ehrsam, a former Goldman Sachs trader, later joined as a co-founder.

Small Cap Investment under $100 million

Quadrant Private Equity grew product formats, lines and customer segments and led a broad push to drive innovation with new products targeting different customer needs. Adore Beauty was founded in 2000 by Kate Morris and has grown to become the largest pureplay online beauty retailer in Australia. Kate Morris started the business as Australia’s first beauty ecommerce site from a garage and began by partnering with local Australian brands and eventually signed Adore’s first international brand, Clarins, in 2006. In 2014, Adore was one of the first pureplay online retailers globally to sign a distribution contract with Estee Lauder Brands

Mid Cap Investment between $100 and $250 million

During the acquisition of Best & Less, Allegro Funds appointed a new management team and undertook a comprehensive overhaul of the business’s market approach, supply chain, and product portfolio. Best & Less is an Australian retailer of clothing and household linens. As of 2020, Best & Less has 246 stores as well as an online platform across two brands; Best & Less in Australia and Postie in New Zealand.

Upper-Mid Cap Investment between $250 and $500 million

NEXT Capital partnered with Lynch Group’s management to significantly expand the businesses offerings. Lynch Group is a vertically integrated value-added wholesaler and grower of fresh flowers and potted plants in both Australia and China. The business has strong positions in both markets; being the largest wholesaler of floral and potted products to Australian supermarkets and a leading grower of premium flowers with a rapidly growing wholesale platform in China.

Leadership in Diversity and Inclusion

The OneVentures team is comprised of 50% gender balance, with the investment team comprising of 70% women. At a portfolio level, diversity is a matter that is always considered during the due diligence process and is discussed at all stages of the company’s lifecycle.

Michael Hirshorn Award

This award is presented in memory of Michael Hirshorn, a private capital investment industry pioneer who was a co-founder of Cochlear and served as its CEO for many years. The Michael Hirshorn Award honours a private capital backed company whose products or services have been instrumental in delivering direct positive community impact. This year’s award went to Brandon Capital for their investment in Longas. This investment demonstrated patient partnership with university researchers, resilient commitment over five years to build the business and put a game changing technology in the hands of an operator who can continue the journey to make a profound impact on healthcare at a global level.

Firm of the Year

Allegro Funds has actively contributed to the advancement of the industry, from generating market leading returns, to launching new funds and engaging with SME businesses, government and industry peers in a wide range of different settings. The firm has also over many years demonstrated their commitment to building a successful long-term private capital investment profession taking a lead role in many of the Australian Investment Council’s education programs and government policy and advocacy initiatives, alongside an important and enduring contribution to a range of philanthropic causes.

For an interview with Jonathan Kelly, Interim CEO of the Australian Investment Council, please contact:

Robyn Tolhurst
Public Affairs Manager
E: [email protected]o | M: +61 436 388 919

About the Australian Investment Council:

The Australian Investment Council is the voice of private capital in Australia. Private capital investment has played a central role in the growth and expansion of thousands of businesses, which together represent a multi-billion-dollar contribution to the Australian economy. Our members are the standard-bearers of the professional investment community in Australia and include: private equity, venture capital, corporate venture capital, private credit funds, family offices, institutional investors such as superannuation and sovereign wealth funds, as well as leading financial, legal and commercial advisers.