Local News

Venture Capital Firm Aurora Funds Expands To S.C.

Posted October 25, 2006

— The

Aurora Funds’

latest investment is not in another portfolio company but in itself.

Aurora, an early-stage fund with $250 million under management, said Tuesday that it is adding Adrian Wilson, co-founder of The Trelys Funds, as a general partner. Trelys is based in Columbia, S.C.

Trelys, a four-year-old firm, has some $22 million under management, its fund being fully invested among eight firms. BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina is the largest institutional investor in Trelys.

The move is designed to help Aurora expand its presence in South Carolina. Aurora was founded in 1994.

The move comes after a shakeup at Trelys. Larry Wilson, who co-founded Trelys, recently said he was leaving Trelys to join Pequot Ventures. (The Wilsons are not related.) Robert Fletcher, another principal in Trelys, is also leaving the firm.

Adrian Wilson will open an office for Aurora in Columbia and continue oversight with Trelys with back-office support from Aurora. Trelys will remain an independent entity.

"During recent planning efforts, we recognized start-up activity that was a result of aggressive research programs at the Clemson International Center for Automotive Research and The University of South Carolina's Innovista research initiative and its focus on hydrogen fuel cells,” said Jeff Clark, who co-founded Aurora along with Scott Albert. “In addition, biomed and drug discovery efforts at (the Medical University of South Carolina) are also creating opportunities in the life sciences area."

"We realized that we needed the very best person we could find to fully take advantage of these promising opportunities,” he added. “Adrian brings a wealth of experience and credibility to the Aurora team. His location, involvement and efforts in South Carolina create a competitive advantage for Aurora in terms of deal flow that is unmatched by any other venture capital firm."

Aurora and Trelys have worked together closely in the past, having invested in four different companies together.

"I am excited about the Trelys-Aurora combination," Adrian Wilson said in a statement. "With a much larger amount of capital, a talented and deep team consisting of six full-time investment professionals and a strategy that is almost identical to Trelys, Aurora is well positioned to provide greater access to capital and management expertise for emerging early stage companies and to achieve significant financial returns for its investors."

Adrian Wilson, a graduate of Davidson College, earned his MBA in business at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Aurora is one of the more prominent early-stage venture firms in the Southeast, having invested in more than 60 companies.

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