Invest Georgia, the state-funded investment program, has received an additional $10 million in the FY 2019 state budget. This brings the program’s total funding up to $40 million available to spur economic activity by investing in Georgia-based venture capital and private equity funds.
“Invest Georgia furthers one of my top priories as governor: building Georgia’s reputation as the best place to start and grow a business so that every Georgian who wants a good job can get a good job right here at home,” said Governor Nathan Deal in a statement. “This money will plant seeds of economic growth that will continue to bear fruit for Georgians long after my time in office has come to an end.”
Invest Georgia, which was instituted by the legislature in 2013 and funded in 2015, is structured as a “fund of funds,” investing directly in investment firms, rather than individual companies. The goal is to generate more local capital for early-stage companies: in 2015, Georgia venture capital deals represented just 1.4 percent of all deals in the U.S. and 86 percent of investors in Georgia deals were located outside the state.
Its initial $20 million has been allocated into six early and growth-stage investment firms including TTV Capital, Mosley Ventures, TechSquare Labs, Engage Ventures and two additional firms still finalizing their capital raises.
“As the state continues to direct resources to Invest Georgia, this capital will have the effect of building confidence not only in Georgia’s startup scene, but will also show the strength of the venture capital system in Georgia,” said Katie Kirkpatrick, chief policy officer for the Metro Atlanta Chamber. “The previous investments have helped attract additional interest and resources from other funds located outside of the state.”
In October 2017, Invest Georgia’s Executive Director Knox Massey said the money allocated from the program — into just three firms at the time — had helped support 36 companies and developed about 800 jobs.
Along with Massey, Invest Georgia’s Board of Directors and a consultancy firm help choose the firms that receive funding. Industries strong in Georgia including health IT, fintech, cybersecurity and SaaS are favored.
Massey says they will largely invest the additional $20 million allocation into funds they have not previously worked with.
The legislature has capped Invest Georgia’s potential allocation at $100 million.