For Immediate Release
April 22, 2015
Treasurer Cowell Announces Second North Carolina Innovation Fund
$250 million will build on five year success of investing in NC-centered businesses
Charlotte, N.C. – State Treasurer Janet Cowell announced today a second North Carolina Innovation Fund (NCIF), a $250 million commitment to North Carolina-centered companies. Joined by former Bank of America Chair and Chief Executive Officer Hugh McColl, Cowell highlighted the first NC Innovation Fund’s success and recommitted the North Carolina pension fund to achieving a strong rate of return while also investing in North Carolina’s economy and jobs.
“Five years ago, we launched an initiative that we hoped would benefit retired teachers and public employees and the economy of our state. I’m pleased to report we’ve been successful,” Cowell said. “We begin building on that success today by announcing a second Innovation Fund of $250 million that will continue investing in our own backyard.”
Eric Smith, CEO of Brooks Equipment Company, was on hand for the announcement and to share thoughts on the Innovation Fund’s investment in his Charlotte-based company. The first fund is $232 million, of which $185 million has been committed to eight private equity managers and 12 companies through co-investments alongside private equity managers.
Despite the still early age of the Fund, the NCIF portfolio is exhibiting strong performance and a 20 percent internal rate of return (IRR), with three successful exits to date and multiple valuation increases since investment. It is managed by Grosvenor Capital Management’s Charlotte office.
The second Innovation Fund of $250 million will designate around two-thirds to co-investments in diverse industries including growth sectors in North Carolina. One-third of the fund will have a Multi-stage focus: venture, growth, buyout and mezzanine.
The North Carolina Retirement Systems, the formal name for the pension fund, is the tenth largest public pension fund in the country. It provides retirement benefits and savings for more than 900,000 North Carolinians, including teachers, state employees, firefighters, police officers and other public workers. For more information, visit www.nctreasurer.com.