Say hello to the Florida Growth Fund, the State of Florida’s very own $250 million venture capital fund.
The fund, created by the Florida Technology and Growth Act and managed on behalf of the Florida Retirement Pension Fund, has a legal mandate to pursue “technology and growth investments,” including everything from Aerospace to Computers to Green Energy to Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices.
The fund will be managed by the private equity firm Hamilton Lane, with special guidance from Bill McCollum, the Florida attorney general; Ash Williams, chief investment officer of the Florida State Board of Administration; and Mario Giannini, CEO of Hamilton Lane.
Unfortunately for Florida retirees, none of the listed managers nor the firm itself appear to have experience in tech. We called and emailed Hamilton Lane asking for more details. (See update below.)
Investing in technology requires specialists. Without them, hard to see this as a smart move.
UPDATE: Good news, grandma. We just got off the phone with Erik Hirsch, Chief Investment Officer at Hamilton Lane. He cleared a few things up.
Investments will take two forms:
- Limited Partnerships with established VC firms, letting the VC partners seek out and close deals on their own
- Co-Investing directly in startups alongside established VCs, but never as the lead investor.
Hamilton Lane will be opening a new office in Florida specifically to work on this project (current offices are in NYC, Philadelphia, Tokyo, London, San Francisco, Singapore, and Tel Aviv).
And Bill McCollum and Ash Williams won’t actually have much to do with the actual management of the fund. That will be delegated and controlled by TBD Hamilton Lane managers with actual venture investing experience.