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TMT Ventures Funding Reaches A$70 Million

Telecom New Zealand, Direct Capital and Advent International announced today they have commitments for a total investment of A$70 million (NZ$85 million) in TMT Ventures, a venture capital programme for investment in new growth businesses in the technology, media and telecommunications sectors of New Zealand and Australia.

Telecom initiated TMT Ventures last year and has since introduced major international venture capital and technology sector investors to the Australasian marketplace. The investors include technology companies Lucent and Marconi, fund manager AXA, utilities company Rotorua Energy Trust and entrepreneur Stephen Tindall, founder of the Warehouse.

Auckland based Direct Capital and Advent International, a global venture capital giant, jointly manage TMT Ventures.

TMT Ventures Executive Chairman Ross George said discussions continue with other prospective investors as part of the ongoing programme to raise A$120 million.

“TMT Ventures is unique in this part of the world as a venture capital entity which has both funding and support from major corporate backers and independent professional managers with long experience in technology venture capitalism,” Mr George said.

Mr George said TMT Ventures has access to many very promising new business proposals

“In New Zealand, we are looking now at four specific proposals representing a combined investment of NZ$10 million,” he said.

“We are attracting a strong flow of proposals on both sides of the Tasman and in Australia, TMT Ventures recently invested US$1.25 million along side major U.S. venture capitalists in Redfern Integrated Optics, which designs and manufactures high-end optical equipment for communications networks. The total raised in that round was US$12 million.

Mr George said TMT Ventures expects to make further investments on both sides of the Tasman over the next three months.

Telecom’s General Manager, Business Development John Bell said Telecom is pleased to have introduced this new type of venture capital into the Australasian market.

Mr Bell said TMT Ventures can draw on a large pool of well-informed international venture capitalists who provide a combination of money, business links and partnership opportunities with other American and European investors.

“We have become a catalyst for like-minded corporates and individuals to fund new ventures, some of which will become future leaders in technology, media and telecommunications,” Mr Bell said. “The reason we want to assist is that many of these technologies are profitable in their own right and they grow the overall communications market.”

Mr Bell said involvement in TMT Ventures would provide each of the corporate investors with insights into communications industry trends emerging in Australasia and, on occasions, globally.


Advent International is a leading international private equity investor, with more than US$4.5 billion under management and offices in 16 countries. The firm invests in both early stage venture capital and later-stage private equity opportunities in the U.S., Europe, Asia and Latin America. Advent focuses on high-potential companies in selected growth industries, including telecommunications, media, software, electronics, business services, health care and life sciences. Since its founding in 1984, the firm has invested in over 500 companies, more than 125 of which have completed initial public offerings.

The financing of Redfern Integrated Optics is Advent’s latest investment in the optical sector. Other investments include C Speed, Bookham Technology (LSE:BHM, Nasdaq: BKHM), CVC (merged with Veeco), Optical Coating Laboratory (now a subsidiary of JDS Uniphase) and Valdo Fiber Optics. For more information on Advent, visit


Direct Capital Private Equity is New Zealand's leading venture capitalist. Direct Capital partners in businesses with management groups to maximise growth and enhance shareholder value.

Established in 1994, Direct Capital has made 24 investments totaling NZ$140 million, including over NZ$60 million in the technology sector. It has made numerous investments in Australia and New Zealand and has created liquidity in 12 of those, including 4 IPO's.

Direct Capital's activities range from start-ups to buy-outs and development capital. Direct Capital also manages Carter Holt Harvey Venture capital, a corporate venture fund that invests in new ventures linked to Carter Holt Harvey's core businesses

Direct Capital Private Equity Managing Director Ross George is Executive Chairman of TMT Ventures, Gavin Lonergan Investment Manager and Direct Capital Director Mark Hutton is a TMT Board member.

Press release


International Venture capitalists invest in dynamic Australian optical telecommunications component manufacturer

Sydney, Australia, March 14th, 2001

Redfern Integrated Optics today announced that it has received its first external investment funding in a round led by US-based Advent International that totalled AUD$23.5 million. Tallwood Venture capital and New Zealand-based TMT together with the original investor Redfern Photonics also participated in the round.

Redfern Integrated Optics is an Australian based manufacturer specializing in the fabrication of silica-on-silicon based planar waveguide structures and devices for a variety of commercial applications. The Company employs a proprietary fabrication method that allows integration of photonics and electronics into a single, readily manufacturable monolithic device.

“We are delighted to welcome Advent International, Tallwood Venture capital and TMT Ventures into Redfern Integrated Optics. This new investment will accelerate plans for product development, marketing and on the establishment of a US office and new manufacturing facilities,” said Bruce Board, CEO of Redfern Integrated Optics.

“Manufacturing remains as probably the single largest challenge of the optical components industry,” said Dado Banatao of Tallwood Venture capital. “Although many companies are working on solutions to various parts of this problem, technologies that have the ability to revolutionize the manufacturing of optical componentry are rare.”

“This is a company that has a rare ability to completely change the cost-structure of optical systems and therefore the underlying price of bandwidth,” commented Greg Smitherman, a Partner in Advent International’s Palo Alto, California, office.

“These are the ideal partners for the Company at this time,” said Chris Howells, CEO of Redfern Integrated Optics’ parent company Redfern Photonics Pty Ltd. “With their international reach and strong technical credentials, we look forward to seeing the Company expanding rapidly into the United States and working closely with strategic partners there.”

Redfern Integrated Optics’ new board will include Bruce Board (CEO), Dr. Eric Heyde and Chris Howells (both from the Redfern Photonics Group), Greg Smitherman (Advent) and Dado Banatao (Tallwood).


Redfern Integrated Optics is a manufacturer of silica-on-silicon waveguides with what it believes is a unique ability to integrate monolithically a wide range of active and passive optical components. The Company is located in newly built state-of-the-art facilities in the Australian Technology Park at Eveleigh, in Sydney. Redfern Integrated Optics was established in February 1999 as part of the Redfern Photonics group of companies. It continues to benefit from its proximity to the Redfern Photonics Group and the Australian Photonics Co-operative Research Centre, which is recognized as one of the world’s photonics centers of excellence.

For more information on Redfern Integrated Optics, visit


Headquartered in Sydney, Australia, Redfern Photonics’ principal activity is the investment and commercialization of technology opportunities focused on the Photonics communications industry. Much of this technology is acquired from the Australian Photonics Co-operative Research Centre ( Redfern Photonics’ spin-off companies market a variety of vertically integrated products. These range from Application Specific Optical Fibre, passive & active photonic components for the Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexor (DWDM) market, integrated optical devices (planar lightwave circuits), and RBN GigaWave™ terabit networking platforms for Metropolitan Area Networks.

The technology commercialized by the Redfern Photonics group of companies is critical in enabling future high bandwidth communications, components, systems and networks.

For more information on Redfern Photonics, visit

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