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Odyssey Private Equity Fund 8

During May 2017, Vantage Private Equity Growth 3 committed $7.0m to Odyssey Private Equity Fund 8, a $275m growth capital fund, managed by Sydney, Australia based, Odyssey Private Equity (Odyssey).

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 six investments to date; Adventure Holdings Australia, Mine Site Technologies, Sushi Sushi, Delta Agribusiness, FRANKiE4 and MTB Direct

Adventure Holdings Australia. 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. The terms of the transaction are confidential.

As part of the transaction, Odyssey will acquire a controlling interest in the well known and loved, third – generation Australian outdoor leisure products business. 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.

Andrew Whittaker, General Manager of OZtrail said: “We are proud of what our team has achieved in building OZtrail into what it is today. We made this decision because Odyssey, Vanessa and Glen have demonstrated they are best aligned with our vision and we look forward to drawing on their industry experience and access to funding that will enable growth and opportunities for our extended OZtrail family of staff, suppliers, customers and consumers. We are looking forward to working with experienced operators who have contributed to the success of companies like Greencross Vets, Macpac, Petbarn and Lorna Jane. The Whittaker family involvement will also continue as I am staying with the business to help implement our exciting growth plans.”

On 1 August 2018, AHA acquired Companion Brands a Melbourne-based outdoor and hardware branded products business, which broadens AHA’s product range. AHA Group is now the largest player in the segment.

Companion Brands are a wholesale distributor of outdoor leisure, hardware and industrial products. They specialise in the supply of well known and reputable brands to a wide range of resellers throughout Australia. Many of the company’s products are designed and developed in-house for the Australian market, which have also found acceptance internationally.

Today Adventure Holdings Australia now has the largest range of outdoor camping and leisure products. The focus for Odyssey 8 since the recent acquisition, has been on business integration with a particular focus on the team structure, customer communication and supply chain improvements. The main value creation continues to be revenue growth through new products and new customers.

Mine Site Technologies Global Holdings (MST). During May, Odyssey Fund 8 (OPE8) completed the acquisition of MST Global Holdings.

MST Global (Mine Site Technologies; “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 for over 27 years.

MST is a leading provider of unified communications products, digital infrastructure, real-time tracking and asset management solutions, predominantly in the mining and tunneling sectors.  Miners are driving increasing demand for productivity and safety improvements.  MST’s products enable real-time data capture and online analysis for improved decision making.

In June 2022, Odyssey Private Equity Fund 8 (OPE8) announced that they had sold 100% of the shares in MST to Komatsu Ltd (Komatsu), a leading global organisation, listed on the Japanese stock exchange with a market capitalisation of $33 billion. 

Odyssey Fund 8 acquired MST in 2018 via a Management Buyout, partnering with the existing CEO and CFO to buy the business. Over the past four years, Odyssey Private Equity and the management team have positioned MST to be a global leader in the digital technology used in the underground mining space. This was as a result of several strategic initiatives implemented by Odyssey and the management team, including: 

  • Significantly investing in MST’s product suite and technology roadmap, incorporating the latest technologies, while continuing to provide unique solutions to customers operating in harsh environments; 
  • Developing and launching a software suite, including a “digital twin” of an underground mine to provide customers with important operating functionality, increasing MST’s recurring revenue; 
  • Maintaining regular dialogue with the key global buyer universe to maximise strategic value while preparing for exit. 

The sale of MST, completed on 1 July 2022, delivered a strong return for OPE8 investors, including VPEG3 across a 4-year holding period. The transaction was completed on 1 July 2022, with VPEG3’s share of the sale proceeds distributed to VPEG3 later that month.

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 with four 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 Private Equity Fund 8 announced an investment in MTB Direct, a leading online store 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.

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.

Odyssey’s strategy for value-creation includes:

  • Further growth in new customers
  • Expansion of the product range
  • Investment in a range of new digital Platforms, and
  • International expansion.

View VPEG3’s Private Equity Portfolio