Pappas Capital, a Durham-based investor in early-stage life sciences companies, has appointed Karen LeVert as venture partner.

She will help expand the firm’s Specialized Fund Management business – which handles customized investments for third parties – by focusing on opportunities in agricultural and related technologies, the company said.

LeVert is an entrepreneur who has specialized in advancing early stage technologies from university research labs to commercialization. She most recently co-founded two independent innovation businesses, Southeast TechInventures, Inc. (STI) and AgTechInventures, LLC (AgTI). Both are located in Durham.

“Karen is a highly accomplished entrepreneur whose significant experience… will be invaluable as we expand our Specialized Fund Management business and diversity our exposure to all sectors of the life sciences industry,” said Art Pappas, CEO and managing partner of Pappas Capital. “We are excited by the tremendous investment opportunity agricultural technology presents, particularly in North Carolina, and look forward to harnessing Karen’s skillsets as we seek to develop innovative investment solutions customized to meet the strategic needs of our investors.”

LeVert has more than 25 years of leadership experience in executive management, start-ups and technology commercialization, according to Pappas Capital. Before founding STI and AgTI, she launched and sold a franchise bioremediation company and co-founded a Silicon Valley software business.

LeVert began her career with a Fortune-500 insurance company. She has a BBA in information technology from Eastern Michigan University and an MBA from the University of Dayton.

Both she and Art Pappas are members of the North Carolina Biotechnology Center’s Board of Directors, where Pappas is past chairman and currently serves on the executive committee.

“I’m pleased to join Pappas Capital…,” LeVert said. “I know, first-hand, the challenges entrepreneurs face in receiving initial funding and I’m pleased to partner with Pappas to help fill a market need by sourcing and executing on investments in early stage companies that have potential to change the world.”

Pappas founded Pappas Capital in 1994 to invest in life science companies focused on biotechnology, biopharmaceuticals, drug delivery, medical devices and related ventures.

The company invests in start-ups in the United States and Canada. It has raised more than $540 million and guided the launch and development of more than 85 businesses. Pappas Capital also works with academic institutions to accelerate development of their scientific discoveries through its Translational Medicine Research Initiative.

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