Odyssey Private Equity Fund 8

In March 2017, VPEG2 committed $7.5m to Odyssey Private Equity Fund 8, a $275m growth capital fund, managed by Sydney, Australia based, Odyssey Private Equity (Odyssey)

In late April 2017, VPEG2 subsequently increased its total commitment to Odyssey Private Equity Fund 8 to $8.0m

Odyssey was established in early 2017 by Gareth Banks, Jonathan Kelly and Paul Readdy, former CHAMP Ventures directors, as well as George Penklis, a co-founder and former partner of Quadrant Private Equity.

Odyssey’s partners bring a wealth of experience, drawn from more than 50 private equity investments completed during their careers.

The partners have successfully invested across a broad range of industry sectors, including consumer products, retail, financial services, industrial products and services, equipment rental, distribution, aged care, manufacturing and building products.

Managing Partner, George Penklis said: “The formation of Odyssey was driven by a number of factors. The timing was right for the team, which has a solid performance track record. The market segment is attractive, with strong deal flow and a history of strong returns for investors.”

The fund will invest in leading, mid-sized growth companies in Australia and New Zealand that have the potential to be future leaders in their market segment.

Odyssey is targeting expansion capital, replacement capital and management buy-out opportunities across a broad range of industry sectors in Australia and New Zealand.  The fund will invest in both control and minority equity positions.

The fund will typically invest between $15m and $40m of equity, in private businesses with enterprise values up to $100m. Odyssey will also target larger opportunities through co-investment with Odyssey’s investors.

Odyssey Fund 8 has completed five investments to date; Oztrail, Mine Site Technologies, Sushi Sushi, Delta Agribusiness, FRANKiE4 and MTB Direct

OZtrail. On 4 December 2017, LE Whittaker and Sons Pty Ltd (OZtrail) announced that its shareholders had reached an agreement to enter into a transaction with a consortium led by Odyssey Private Equity (Odyssey), Vanessa Garrard and Dr Glen Richards. As part of the transaction, Odyssey will acquire a controlling interest in the well known and loved, third – generation Australian outdoor leisure products business. The acquisition of OZtrail was complted during January 2018.

Founded in 1989, the Business has a strong track record of product innovation and growth through retailers both domestically and internationally, including in over 9 countries. Following the transaction, Oztrail will continue to operate out of its Brisbane Head Office located in the TradeCoast precinct.

During July 2018, Odyssey Fund 8 investee, Adventure Holdings Australia (AHA) acquired Primus Australia Pty Ltd trading as Companion Brands (Companion).

Companion is a key wholesale distributor in the Australian market, distributing products to over 3,400 outlets across leisure, hardware, auto and outdoor categories. It will provide an array of complimentary product categories to AHA’s existing portfolio including camping fridges, gas hot water systems and 4 x 4 equipment. Companion also sells to international markets such as New Zealand, USA, UK, Scandinavia, Europe, Middle East and South Africa.

Mine Site Technologies. During June 2018, Odyssey Private Equity Fund 8 completed the acquisition of Mine Site Technologies (MST), a leading provider of unified communication products.

MST provides fit for purpose hardware combined with smart software solutions to support productivity and safety processes in underground mines and tunnels, as well as surface mining. MST has been developing, manufacturing, deploying and supporting mine and tunnel communication systems over 27 years.

Data and communication networks in general business and society are the essential backbone to support systems that deliver business value.  MST’s digital platforms are specifically engineered for the underground environment to enable and support a large range of productivity and safety systems at any mining operation, as well as tunneling projects.

With over 600 technology deployments worldwide, MST’s underground digital networks and IoT platforms are embedded in many mines’ production and safety processes. The systems enable voice and data communications, tracking and tagging of personnel and vehicles, emergency evacuation warning, and proximity detection systems/collision avoidance.  This core data is then further analysed and reported on to better manage time and attendance, asset utilisation, production measurement, emergency mustering, remote blasting and geotechnical and environmental monitoring.

In addition, MST subsidiary Nixon Communications provides specialist surface radio and networking services throughout Australia.

Sushi Sushi. On 4 April 2019, Odyssey Fund 8 completed an investment in Sushi Sushi a vertically-integrated food business that supplies sushi and other Japanese-inspired healthy convenience foods through 140 company-owned and franchised stores and commercial sales channels throughout Australia. The company is headquartered in Melbourne and has a state-of-the-art processing facility located in Mount Waverley, Victoria, along withfour warehouses and distribution centres in Perth, Brisbane and Melbourne and more than 1300 staff.

Odyssey were attracted to the investment due to a shifting of Australians eating habits, into a well-balanced diet of nutritional, fresh food as well as affordability along with the company’s management team. Additionally, the growth in demand for sushi and Japanese inspired food more generally is being driven by consumers’ demand for healthy and convenient meals.

Odyssey have a strong understanding of Sushi Sushi’s fresh food convenience model that is highly flexible, providing the business with the ability to grow into segments beyond that of other quick service restaurant businesses. The company has the capability to grow its store presence into smaller locations and traditional shopping centre environments as well as high street locations, hospitals, petrol and convenience stores, airports and sporting events.

Delta Agribusiness. During April 2019, Odyssey Fund 8 invested in Delta Agribusiness, a leading provider of independent rural services and the retail of agricultural inputs operating through 28 locations across regional New South Wales and Southern Queensland.

Delta Ag provides agronomy advice to farmers, sells farm inputs such as fertilisers, crop protection products, seed and general merchandise, and also provides livestock and grain advisory and marketing. The Group employs over 230 people and encompasses Lachlan Fertilizers Rural at Grenfell and Cowra.

Delta Ag operates a full service business model, and provides a key supportive role to its many clients via its unique technical and advisory offerings. With a growing network of over 40 highly experienced Farm advisors and Agronomy specialists with a combined 300 years of service to the industry, the Delta Ag group is widely recognized as the leaders in technical services to rural producers in the southern New South Wales region.

FRANKiE4. On 15 July 2019 Odyssey Fund 8 announced that they had acquired a significant minority stake in FRANKiE4 alongside the company’s founder shareholders.

FRANKiE4 is a leading and award-winning women’s supportive footwear label with a difference. Founded in 2011 by podiatrists and a physiotherapist, FRANKiE4’s unique designs and patented support technologies enhance customers’ foot, lower limb and overall health. FRANKiE4 combines a knowledge of biomechanics with a sense of style, to deliver great footwear that women feel comfortable in and love to wear.

FRANKiE4 markets across all of its national distribution channels including online, pop-up and concept stores, and an expanding network of retail and allied health stockists across Australia and New Zealand.

MTB Direct. On 2 March 2021, Odyssey Fund 8 completed the investment in MTB Direct, a leading online marketplace for mountain bike parts, riding apparel and accessories.

Founded in 2012 by three passionate mountain bike riders, MTB Direct has grown to become Australia’s leading pure play online destination for mountain bike products, knowledge and connection. The business focuses on providing a high-quality customer experience to mountain bike riders from beginner to expert, with its extensive range of products appealing to customers who appreciate the convenience and flexibility of online shopping.

Odyssey’s key strategic factors behind this investment include the market opportunity to further grow new customers whilst retaining previous business, the expansion of product range, investment in new digital initiatives and the exploration of international opportunities for expansion.

MTB Direct has achieved strong sales growth over recent years driven by the increasing popularity of cycling, and particularly mountain biking, alongside the continued shift of consumers to the online channel.

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