Success stories

AVCAL – Starfish Ventures Wins Best Early Stage Award At 2012 Awards: Success Stories

Starfish Ventures takes out title at 2012 AVCAL Awards

By Michelle Hammond
Friday, 21 September 2012

Starfish Ventures won Best Early Stage Award at the 2012 Australian Private Equity & Venture Capital Association Awards, recognised for its work with software company Quickcomm.


AVCAL, established in 1992, acts as a representative for those in the private equity and venture capital industry. Earlier this week, AVCAL announced the 2012 winners of its annual awards.


Among the winners was Melbourne-based venture capital firm Starfish Ventures, recognised for its work with Australian-founded telecom expense software company Quickcomm.


Acquired by Vodafone in 2010, Quickcomm’s solutions are used by the likes of Siemens, Kraft, Merrill Lynch and Johnson & Johnson. The company is currently headquartered in New York.


Starfish Ventures, founded by John Dyson and Michael Panaccio, won Best Early Stage Award for Quickcomm, after investing just over $4 million in the company back in 2006.


“We put some money to work and then worked very closely with the senior management team. We stayed on the board until [2010] when we sold to Vodafone,” Dyson told StartupSmart.


According to Dyson, Quickcomm should be regarded as an Australian start-up success story.


“It’s a really good story about an Australian technology company, which was basically started by two founders who went out and raised capital,” he says.


“The two founders saw an opportunity to transform from a consultancy into a product business.”


“They had great success in winning Australia-based clients… [and were also] able to win some international clients. They then went into the US market.”


“If you’re going to be a technology company in Australia, this is a great way to do it. Start with a good base in Australia… and use that to build a base in the US.”


Other award winners included Equity Partners, which won Best Expansion Stage Award for sportswear brand Skins, and BTF Limited, which won the inaugural Michael Hirshorn Award.


This award honours a private equity or venture capital-backed company whose products or services have been instrumental in doing public good and delivering to the community.


Based in Sydney, BTF provides the world’s most precise reference standards for microbiological testing.


BTF’s unique technology enables it to dispense precise numbers of biological particles and to preserve the dispensed articles, giving them an extended shelf life.


This technology is used to make precise reference samples for analytical laboratories to use in the quality control of their testing processes.


In 2007, BTF was acquired by bioMérieux, a world leader in industrial microbiology. BTF’s products are now distributed worldwide by bioMérieux.


According to AVCAL chief executive Dr Katherine Woodthorpe, the award to BTF recognises the company’s achievements in producing biological controls to deliver safe drinking water.


“BTF’s science is now helping people right around the globe access safe drinking water so it is a very worthy recipient of this new award,” Woodthorpe said in a statement.

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