When John Cambier shows up at the Money & Markets forum today, he should wear a bull’s-eye on the back of his suit.

After all, a lot of hungry entrepreneurs and venture capitalists in dire need of partners for their syndicates are looking for money. And Cambier, an avid triathlete, is not going to run away from them He has capital to work with – and he plans to use it.

“We’re already out there establishing relationships,” says Cambier, who is the director of the MCNC Research and Development’s New Venture fund. “My phone is already ringing.”

As part of the reorganization of MCNC into two companies (MCNC RDI and MCNC, which handles networking and supercomputing), a venture fund was established to help drive economic growth in North Carolina.

Dave Rizzo, the chief executive officer of MCNC, set up the $25 million fund with proceeds in MCNC’s endowment left over from its Cronos spinout and ensuing mega-sale to JDS Uniphase. Of that money, 40 percent is set aside for seed investments. The remainder goes to later-stage, most likely syndication deals.

The New Ventures fund represents a cash infusion into a market that’s about as lifeless as the primetime lineup on MSNBC.

As a result, Cambier already is getting requests from both sides — entrepreneurs who can’t find any of the few remaining angels who are willing to invest and the established firms such as Intersouth and Aurora, which want more partners for syndications in later rounds.

“We are well positioned,” Cambier says.

He’s looking to make seed investments of $50,000 to $500,000. Later stage will range from $500,000 to $1.5 million. And he’s getting help from Rizzo (former head of Osprey Systems), Mary Walker (the former CEO of Home Director who knows how to raise capital and is the new vice president of business development for MCNC RDI) and an advisory board. Cambier says he expects to draw on the host of “personal connections” he, his budding team of two other people, the MCNC management and the board can bring.

Walker is just as ready to go as Cambier, saying enthusiastically, “Hey, we’re open for business.”

Rizzo wants MCNC to spur economic development around the state, not just RTP, so Cambier is going to be busy traveling to universities look for tech transfer opportunities. He also will be on the lookout for startups that show promise. And he will keep an eye on MCNC technology R&D.

“It’s a little early to speculate,” he said when asked about possible investments at MCNC. “But I do see a lot of opportunities in networking and wireless.”

While a new face as a venture capitalist, Cambier is not a rookie when it comes to fund raising, spinning out companies, dealing with legal issues and protecting intellectual property. He has spent the past eight years at MCNC in a variety of roles, from handling paperwork to dealing with contracts and then helping spinout three companies, including Cronos and Unitive.

“Having been here for eight years, I’m all techie but the degree,” he says with a smile. Cambier earned a BA in international relations at Michigan State and joined the staff at MCNC when a group of engineers working on a big federal contract needed help handling the paperwork.

“They decided it was cheaper to get a green-behind-the-ears kid than use an $80,000 engineer,” Cambier says.

Over the years he moved up the ladder and earned an MBA from Kenan-Flagler Business School at UNC Chapel Hill. His experience generated a great deal of institutional memory and expertise that Rizzo decided to capitalize on when the venture fund was created.

“John has a deep understanding of the technology work that goes on here,” Rizzo said. “He also has dealt with patent protection and technology transfers. I felt all that was very important.

“I wanted to build the team around him because he has the financing experience and the commitment.”

Cambier worked on winning federal contracts to support MCNC’s research efforts and met with VCs often as they checked out MCNC for potential technology investments. While he has not been on the other side as a VC in reviewing and deciding on where to place investments, Rizzo said he was not worried about that.

“I certainly have been on the receiving end of venture capital, and there are enough people who will touch anything that’s brought to the table,” he explained. “What John brings is that deep institutional knowledge.”