MassPRIM bets on Polaris Partners debut growth fund

  • Commits to Polaris’s first equity fund
  • Polaris invests in tech, biotech and healthcare
  • MassPRIM continues focus on lower-mid market

Massachusetts Pension Reserves Investment Management Board committed $35 million to venture-capital firm Polaris Partners’ first growth equity fund, which is targeting $175 million.

Polaris’s debut growth equity fund will target buyouts of lower-middle-market software and technology-enabled services companies in North America.

MassPRIM does not generally invest in first-time funds, but the existing Polaris relationship adds a level of comfort, said a source familiar with the pension fund. It has invested in four Polaris funds and added Polaris to its co-investment-manager bench.

Polaris is one of the most active VC firms based in Massachusetts, investing in technology, biotech and healthcare. It was founded in 1996 and has more than $4.3 billion of assets under management.

MassPRIM has been steadily increasing investments in the lower-middle markets. The Polaris equity fund will give it access to platform companies that can be transformed into larger businesses through add-ons, MassPRIM documents show.

Bryce Youngren will lead the first growth fund. Youngren has worked at Polaris for 16 years and focuses on later-stage investments. He represents Polaris on the boards of Baxter, Cardlytics, Cityworks, Dealer Spike and others.

Previously, Youngren worked at Great Hill Partners, Willis Stein & Partners in Chicago, Bear Stearns’s technology investment banking group in New York, and George K. Baum & Co in Kansas City, according to his LinkedIn account.

Polaris Partners did not return calls for this article.