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Local Tech Wire, WRAL.com

DURHAM, N.C. – will manage the new $230 million North Carolina Innovation Fund.

N.C. State Treasurer Janet Cowell announced the selection Monday at the Golden Belt Campus.

“North Carolina is a good investment,” Cowell said. “As we look globally for opportunities to achieve a high rate of return for our pensioners, we need to be diligent in looking into the possibilities that are in our own backyard.”

Credit Suisse will be looking for investments in “high impact, high growth areas,” Cowell told a crowd that included UNC system President Erskine Bowles.

Bowles noted that investments in areas of nanotechnology, biotech, clean technology and information and financial services could be made in North Carolina firms.

The funds are to be invested in companies that have primary operations in North Carolina. ()

Cowell launched the fund on her own initiative, according to the Treasurer’s office.

As part of the deal, Credit Suisse will invest “a minimum of 1 percent” of its own funds alongside North Carolina, said Heather Franco, deputy director of communications.

Credit Suisse also will designate a lead in Raleigh to work with the Treasurer’s office, she added.

Cowell also expects Credit Suisse will seek partners and syndicates for investments in order to leverage the $230 million.

The fund had been announced initially at being worth a total of $250 million.

Credit Suisse has a large operation in Research Triangle Park. It is in the process of adding some 300 employees, primarily in information technology, to its RTP work force of some 1,000 people.

The banking conglomerate is based in Switzerland.

In November, Credit Suisse expanded its RTP holdings by another 35 acres.

Cowell issued a request for proposal last fall seeking applications from firms to manage the fund. The money is being drawn from the state’s $66 billion public pension fund. According to Cowell, Credit Suisse was chosen as the manager after a review of eight responses to the RFP.

According to Cowell’s office, the North Carolina Retirement Systems, which is the formal name for the pension fund, is the 10th largest public pension fund in the U.S. and handles benefits and savings for more than 820,000 North Carolinians.

Investors and entrepreneurs have been quite vocal in recent years in seeking more funding for new and emerging companies.

The terms of the RFP were pretty high. For example, hopefuls wanting to manage the state’s investment must have “at least $1 billion of total assets under management,” according to the RFP.

In addition to having ‘at least five years of experience” in direct or co-investments, the winner also must have worked with “25 or more private companies with significant operations in North Carolina.”

The Treasurer also stipulated that the firm have “broad private equity investment experience, including multiple industries and multiple investment categories” such as venture capital, growth equity and buyouts.