RedFire Investments in Australia has launched its first venture capital fund. It hopes to raise A$70 million for investment in the environmental and technology sectors in Australia.

It is a 10-year, closed-end fund with a three- to four-year investment period. RedFire currently has A$10 million in commitments from Asian investors. The fund targets annual returns of more than 20%. On the basis of raising the target sum, the fund would then invest in approximately 15 investments, taking a 20%-40% stake in each. 80% of investments will be in Australia with the remainder located in Asia.

The fees include a 2% annual management fee and a 30% performance fee after a preferred return of 12% calculated not on the fundÆs marked-to-market net asset value revaluations but on cash realised.

RedFire was set up in 2007 acting as an adviser to venture capital start-ups for which the firm would take a 20%-40% stake.

ôInvestment opportunities now are good due to the absence of capital from the credit crunch,ö says Alistair McCreadie, one of the co-founders of RedFire. ôOf course, that does also make it harder for us to raise capital too. A lot of the firms we plan to invest in are developing cost-saving technology, and therefore we think that with the right investment now, they can thrive well in an environment where their customers are looking to find ways to cut costs operationally.ö

McCreadie was previously the head of research for the domestic and global bond markets as well as hedge fund markets at Jana Investment Advisers in Australia.

There are three other principals at RedFire: Gordon Crosbie-Walsh, who was formerly managing director and head of Hong Kong equities for Deutsche Bank; Suren Chandrajit, an entrepreneur and venture capital investor who founded and sold an online gaming business in Australia; Geoff Drucker, who is a marketing strategist and is currently managing director of DYDX, an Australian strategic marketing and communications company.

RedFireÆs chairman is Lin Ho Kee. He has been involved for many years in venture capital and private equity as the founder of Mulberry Asia Fund, chairman and co-founder of Sanctuary Asset Management. He was previously the chairman of UBS (East Asia) and the first ever non-Swiss member of the UBS Group executive board in Zurich.