University of Michigan backs Harris Barton’s new co-invest fund

  • Commits $10 mln to Barton effort
  • Former 49er co-founded ill-fated HRJ Capital in 1999
  • Barton has backed at least seven VC deals since 2010

H. Barton Co-Invest Fund II is earmarked to make direct investments in early-stage companies backed by sponsors that have demonstrated “an ability to identify high potential investment opportunities,” according to University of Michigan documents.

The co-investment fund had raised at least $46.3 million as of September 29, according to a Form D filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. A December 19 Form D filing for the same fund indicates Barton’s firm, H. Barton Asset Management, set a $40 million target.

University of Michigan invested in an earlier Barton fund as well. The endowment committed $20 million to H. Barton Venture Select Fund in 2012. It is not clear how that investment has performed. A University of Michigan spokesperson declined to provide additional information about either commitment.

After a 10-year career as a right tackle for the San Francisco 49ers, Barton and former teammate Ronnie Lott founded venture capital fund-of-funds manager HRJ Capital (originally known as Champion Ventures) in 1999. Hall of Fame quarterback and real estate investor Joe Montana also worked for the firm from 2003 through 2005.

In 2008, HRJ Capital defaulted on a $68.9 million loan from Silicon Valley Bank, which eventually led to an agreement that had Capital Dynamics assume management of the firm and repay a portion of the defaulted loan. Barton became a managing director at Capital Dynamics. He left the firm in 2010 to focus on angel investing.

CrunchBase names Barton as an investor in seven deals since 2010, including TeamSnap’s $7.5 million Series B funding in February and Loop Commerce’s $7.2 million Series A funding last year. Barton has also provided seed funding for, Parastructure, Sparks and TaxJar.

Executives at H. Barton Asset Management did not respond to several requests for comments.

In addition to its commitment to Barton’s co-investment fund, the University of Michigan also disclosed that it finalized three re-ups to private equity and venture capital funds totaling roughly $63 million in June and July.

The endowment’s largest commitment, 22 million euros ($28 million), went to Altor IV, a Swedish private equity fund that will invest in middle-market companies in the Nordic region.

University of Michigan also closed two commitments to other funds, allocating $25 million to Stripes Group’s SG Growth Partners III and $10 million for IDG Capital Partners fourth China Venture Capital Fund.

The Board of Regents oversees an investment portfolio that was valued at $9.5 billion as of May 31. The portfolio had a 12.6 percent allocation to private equity as of that date, according to University of Michigan documents.