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PA PSERS backs billionaire Thomas Tull’s holding company with $100 mln

  • Assets under management: $56 bln
  • Private markets allocation: 14.2 pct
  • Whom to contact: Evelyn Tatkovski Williams (evwilliams@pa.gov)
  • Why this is important: PA PSERS made a new commitment under its special-situations allocation

Pennsylvania Public School Employees’ Retirement System is backing a billionaire who formed a holding company to invest in growing businesses.

The system committed $100 million to Thomas Tull’s Tulco, which is targeting $150 million in its second funding round to make four to six investments.

The holding company raised $36.5 million for its second funding round, which launched in July. This is a new relationship for the pension system.

Tull formed Tulco in April 2017 after selling his media production company, Legendary Entertainment, to Dalian Wanda Group for $3.8 billion in 2016. Its catalog included the Dark Knight Trilogy, Godzilla and Jurassic World.

The holding company raised $151.9 million in its initial round, which closed in January 2018.

Tulco targets growth-stage companies in insurance, security, construction, recycling and apparel. The group looks for companies that typically generate negative or no Ebitda but with potential to generate $100 million in revenue within three years, Pennsylvania Public Schools documents said.

The system’s investment office also wants discretion to fund follow-on equity rounds in Tulco up to an additional $300 million, documents said.

Tulco targets investments with cash-on-cash return potential of at least 3x, documents said.

The company is headquartered in Pittsburgh and maintains an office in Pasadena, California. In addition to Tull, senior management includes Martin Willhite and Matthew Devost.

Tulco invested $65 million for a majority stake in FIGS, a medical-scrubs startup founded by Heather Hasson and Trina Spear.

The firm also invested in RoadRunner Recycling, which uses a web-based application to alert small-fleet truck drivers with empty truck beds about hauling routes so they can make additional money.

Tulco also invested in Edgeworth Security, which uses artificial-intelligence-enabled systems for home security.

Action Item: Read more on PA PSERS’s investments: https://bit.ly/2LmcEqB