Georgia’s state-run venture capital fund expects to allocate the first $10 million it received from the state by the end of the year, the fund’s executive director said Thursday.
Knox Massey of Invest Georgia told a Georgia Senate study committee he is in “deep discussions” with two investment funds and in conversations with two others. Invest Georgia already has committee $3 million of the state’s initial $10 million investment, Atlanta-based venture capital firm TTV Capital
“Georgia’s venture and private equity funds are an unrecognized economic asset,” Massey said. “Private capital helps create jobs … and foster entrepreneurship and economic development.”
The General Assembly passed legislation in 2013 creating Invest Georgia, a priority project of Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle. But lawmakers didn’t put any money into the VC fund until 2014, and it took Invest Georgia until 2015 to hire Massey, put together a board and bring on a consultant to help it determine which investments to make.
Massey said Invest Georgia has talked to representatives of 22 early- and growth-stage companies during the last year, all of which are active in Georgia. Besides that pipeline, another 30 out-of-state VC funds are active in the state, he said.
“We like their participation,” he said of the out-of-state funds. “But we have to keep an eye on their activity.”
Massey said Invest Georgia received a second $10 million installment from the General Assembly this year. The fund will start to invest that money next year, he said.
The study committee was created to look for ways to increase venture capital investment in Georgia, which lags far behind tech industry leaders California, New York and Massachusetts.