April 3rd, 2009

What would you ask CreditSuisse about the Oregon Investment Fund?

Um Oregon Investment Fund?With all the talk about the Oregon Investment Fund (OIF) and the new $100 million entrepreneurial fund that Nedspace and Harvey Mathews are trying to start, I have found myself with a unique—and completely unexpected—opportunity: I get the chance to chat with the folks at CreditSuisse who are in charge of managing the OIF, Friday morning.

For those of you not familiar with the OIF, it was a fund established by the state of Oregon in 2004 to reinvest a portion of the Oregon Public Employee Retirement Fund (OPERF) in Oregon and Pacific Northwest businesses—to the tune of $158 million in potential investment.

Or, according to the OIF:

In 2004, the Oregon Legislature passed HB 3613 that allowed the Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund (“OPERF”) to develop a fund-of-funds strategy specifically to take advantage of the private equity opportunities in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest (“PNW”). Managed by CFIG, the Oregon Investment Fund (“OIF”) commits capital to private equity and venture capital funds (“Underlying Funds”) that will, in turn, invest in companies located in the State of Oregon as well as the PNW.

Comprised of combined commitments of $150mm from OPERF ($100mm in Fund 1 and $50mm in Fund 1A) and approximately $8mm by CreditSuisse ($5mm in Fund 1 and $3mm in Fund 1A), the $158mm, return oriented program seeks to build successful, innovative enterprises for the benefit of its investors by:

  • Fostering the creation and growth of young and maturing companies in Oregon and the PNW
  • Encouraging the development and growth of a vibrant Oregon and PNW private equity community
  • Facilitating public and private partnerships within the State of Oregon

And one of the areas in which CreditSuisse has authority to invest? That’s right, you guessed it: high tech.

The high tech industry represents more than 50 percent of Oregon’s economic output and includes leading semiconductor manufacturers as well as makers of computer components. Semiconductor companies with operations in Oregon include, Intel, ESI and TriQuint, among others. These companies make up 10 percent of the annual semiconductor production in the U.S. Oregon’s computer component companies include digital projector manufacturers, electronic design automation leaders and liquid crystal display (“LCD”) makers. InFocus, Mentor Graphics, Planar Systems and Hewlett-Packard are among the corporations who represent the State’s computer components sector. Each of these companies presents a breeding ground for creative innovation to spur the development of new businesses and a growth economy.

Yeah, I hear you. I don’t see much about open source, Web applications, or Mobile development, either. And “InFocus, Mentor Graphics, Planar Systems and Hewlett-Packard… [presenting] a breeding ground for creative innovation to spur the development of new businesses and a growth economy”? Seriously?

Help… ?

Now, as anyone who has read Silicon Florist can attest, I’m not exactly the sharpest knife in the drawer. So this is where you come in. (See? Dangling preposition. I repeat: not sharp.)

I realize it’s terribly short notice. But I was wondering if I could get some of your input?

What would you like to ask CreditSuisse about the OIF?

Please feel free to comment or ping me on Twitter. I’ll do my best to ask your questions along with my own.

And rest assured, that once I’m done with the interview, I’ll no doubt blather on about it here, as per usual.

Thanks in advance for your assistance.

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5 Responses to “What would you ask CreditSuisse about the Oregon Investment Fund?”

  1. Rick – great opportunity to get in the mix. Here are some questions I would ask them – two groups – first group is about getting investment second group is about their participation in the investment.

    * How do you go about finding investments for the portfolio?
    * How does an entrepreneur get an audience with you?
    * Have you made investments in software companies here in Oregon? If so, who?
    * What are the five criteria you are looking for in a startup to be able to fund them?
    * Are you willing to be a lead investor in a company?

    Companies choose investors based upon the ability to invest capital as well as continued support both financially and strategically. With that in mind..

    * How do you support your investments over time?
    * What strengths do you bring to your investments? For example, networks – partnerships – access to executives.

    …David Abramowski

  2. Don Park says:

    Rick, thanks for opening up the questions to everyone. I would ask about transparency and performance.

    1. What investments in PNW companies have been made so far, and what is the rate of return on those investments in total?

    2. How does the rate of return for investments in PNW companies compare to the rate of return for all the investments made by OPERF?

  3. Rick Turoczy says:

    Thanks guys! Going to close the comments, since I’m running off to the interview.

  4. [...] As I’ve mentioned previously, I recently got the chance to sit down with CreditSuisse to discuss the Oregon Investment Fund. [...]

  5. [...] As I’ve mentioned previously, I recently got the chance to sit down with CreditSuisse to discuss the Oregon Investment Fund. [...]

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