Hoosiers Hope for a VC Windfall

The Hoosier State is making a $70 million bet that more venture capital will come home to Indiana.

A coalition of institutional investors last week announced a $72 million fund-of-funds that will invest in other venture capital firms nationwide, but will encourage direct investments back into Indiana life sciences opportunities.

The Indiana Future Fund is clearly a win for Indiana’s life sciences industry. The fund was organized by BioCrossroads, Central Indiana’s life sciences initiative, which is named after the state motto, “The crossroads of America.”

A spokesperson says that the fund-of-funds structure will help insulate institutional investors from making direct investments in venture prospects, which tend to carry a higher risk profile for investors than is tolerable for some.

The Indiana Future Fund is managed by Credit Suisse First Boston (CSFB). investors include Eli Lilly and Co., Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Indiana University, Indiana University Foundation, Purdue University, Ball State University Foundation, American United Life Insurance Co., Indiana State University Foundation and Guidant Corp. Indiana’s public pensions, the Public Employees Retirement Fund and the Teachers Retirement Fund invested, as well.

CSFB says it has already sought interest in participation from the VC community and anticipates making investments beginning in late 2003.

“It’s often been said that Indiana has a wealth of intellectual property in the life sciences, but we’ve lacked the capital to bring ideas to market here,” says David Johnson, a BioCrossroads spokesman. “This announcement is the first step toward changing all that.”

University representatives say that the fund shows Indiana is a fertile ground for life sciences growth.

“As home to the nation’s second largest medical school, Indiana University has been on the cutting-edge of improving human health,” says IU president Adam Herbert. “This fund is key to tapping into the economic potential of our research efforts, and contributing to Indiana’s economic health in the process.”

Email Alastair Goldfisher