While reading SoutheastTechWire this morning, I was surprised by the headline that Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue has launched a venture capital fund. My first images were of a Governor fitting Partner meetings and startup board meetings in between lobbyist lunches and political battles with his legislature.
That’s not quite the reality, at least I hope not. According to SETW, the Georgia Research Alliance Venture Capital Fund will allow the state to partner with the private sector to provide early-stage financing for businesses formed around intellectual property developed in Georgia’s research universities. The state’s $10 million investment will be matched 3-to-1 by private dollars for a total of $40 million for the fund. See http://gov.georgia.gov/00/press/detail/0,2668,78006749_78013037_102958342,00.html
This is great news for Southeast entrepreneurs leveraging Georgia research, with one caveat. The success of the program will be highly dependent upon private fund management as a venture fund competing for top returns, rather than a government-run program subject to political favors/pressures. I also think the 3-to-1 private match will be contingent upon such insulation from political gaming/inefficiency. A $40M fund is a great start, but it needs to succeed on financial measures to warrant ongoing support/growth. All that said, congrats are due for Governor Perdue taking steps to support Southeast entrepreneurs.