The Week Ahead: First Investments for Russia Direct Investment Fund

MONDAY 19 MARCH

Venture Capital Forum Canada Hosts Funding Platform for Start-up Companies

The week kicks off with the first day of the three day Venture Capital Forum Canada hosted by the French Chamber of Commerce in Canada.

The forum takes place at the Hôtel Intercontinental
 Montréal. Prominent speakers over the three days include Jean-René Halde,
 president
 and CEO
 business development
 Bank of Canada and Alain Leclair
, chairman of EMERGENCE, a seeding platform dedicated to French emerging managers. Other highlights include a networking breakfast between American, Canadian and French funds.

In 2011, there were over 200 participants at the forum, including twenty start-up companies and 38 international investors. Over 100 Canadian companies have been financed since the forum started eight years ago.

Activity in Canada’s venture capital market grew in 2011, with the highest level of venture funds invested in four years. According to Canada’s Venture Capital & Private Equity Association and research partner Thomson Reuters, venture capital invested across Canada totalled $1.5 billion in 2011, up 34% from the year before. Disbursement levels were the highest since 2008, but remained well shy of the $2.1 billion invested in 2007.

For further details see French Chamber of Commerce in Canada website.

TUESDAY 20 MARCH

Florida State Board of Administration Trustees Quarterly Board Meeting

The $154 billion Florida State Board of Administration (SBA) trustees quarterly board meeting will take place at 1.00 pm at the Cabinet Meeting Room, Lower Level, The Capitol, Tallahassee, Florida.

The meeting with the trustees will discuss general SBA operations and investments of trust funds. A copy of the agenda may be obtained by contacting Diane Bruce, State Board of Administration on diane.bruce@sbafla.com.

The SBA has recently appointed two new hires to lead its private equity program, replacing Jim Treanor, who left last August as head of private equity. Trent Webster has been appointed senior investment officer, strategic investment and private equity. Webster joined the SBA in 1997 and has worked in the international equities, domestic equities and strategic investments asset classes. John Bradley has been promoted to the newly created position of director of private equity. Bradley joined SBA in 2000 and most recently held the position of portfolio manager, where he was responsible for the sourcing and monitoring of buyout and venture capital investments in the private equity portfolio.

The SBA’s private equity investments currently represent approximately 4.6% respectively of the Florida Retirement System’s $126 billion portfolio. During Fiscal Year 2010- 11, the internal rate of return for private equity was 18.1%.

THURSDAY 22 MARCH

BVCA Promotes MENA

The British Venture Capital Association (BVCA) is hosting a forum on Private Equity & Venture Capital in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) on Thursday. The BVCA is working in partnership with the MENA Private Equity Association (MENAPEA) to bring together general partners from Western Europe and MENA along with institutional investors and specialist service providers.

The forum will provide an overview of those regions most affected by political upheaval but will also focus on the growth prospects of the markets in the wider Gulf region which have, to a certain extent, been sheltered from the political changes, says the BVCA. Private equity firms are especially optimistic about the prospects of hot sectors in the region such as health care, education, consumer goods, oil and gas, all of which are thought to benefit from government spending plans and regulatory changes. Firms are also seeking to invest in industries such as railways, toll-ways, ports and utilities, which are set to attract billions in capital spending, according to the BVCA.

The forum will also focus on the rising demand for SME funding and support for entrepreneurs. The MENA region has also historically provided a source of capital for European private equity funds ,and sovereign wealth funds in the region have been high on the priority list of the most established firms to speak to when fundraising. The forum will look at whether this trend is set to continue. The BVCA will be working with MENAPEA and with Citi, Debevoise & Plimpton, Greenpark Capital and KPMG to invite key individuals.

For more information see the BVCA website.

ALSO IN THE COMING WEEK

Maiden Deals for Russia Direct Investment Fund

The $10 billion Russia Direct Investment Fund has plans to announce three deals in the next week. The deals will be the first for the fund, which was created in June 2011 and funded with $10 billion from the Russian government over the next five years. The fund has been designed to co-invest with international private equity investors in an effort to attract investment to Russia.

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