Business

Credit Suisse to manage N.C. Innovation Fund

Posted March 15, 2010 1:23 p.m. EDT

— Credit Suisse will manage the new $230 million North Carolina Innovation Fund, N.C. State Treasurer Janet Cowell announced Monday at an event in Durham.

The funds are to be invested in companies that have primary operations in North Carolina.

The fund had been announced initially at being worth a total of $250 million.

Credit Suisse has a large operation in Research Triangle Park where it is in the process of adding about 300 employees, primarily in information technology, to its work force of about  1,000.

The banking conglomerate is based in Switzerland.

In November, Credit Suisse expanded its RTP holdings by 35 acres.

Cowell issued a request for proposals last fall seeking applications from firms to manage the $250 million fund. The money is being drawn from the state’s $66 billion public pension fund.

According to Cowell’s office, the North Carolina Retirement Systems, which is the formal name for the pension fund, is the 10th-largest public pension fund in the U.S. and handles benefits and savings for more than 820,000 North Carolinians.

Investors and entrepreneurs have been quite vocal in recent years in seeking more funding for new and emerging companies. The Innovation Fund was set up under legislation passed by the General Assembly.

Hopefuls wanting to manage the state’s investment had to have “at least $1 billion of total assets under management,” according to the RFP.

In addition to having "at least five years of experience” in direct or co-investments, the winner also must have worked with “25 or more private companies with significant operations in North Carolina.”

The Treasurer also specified a firm with “board private equity investment experience, including multiple industries and multiple investment categories” such as venture capital, growth equity and buyouts.

This isn’t the first time state-related funds have been set aside for private sector investments since Golden LEAF also has backed a venture effort. Golden LEAF uses funds awarded to the state through the national tobacco settlement.