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MassPRIM goes large with venture capital

One major limited partner, the Massachusetts Pension Reserves Investment Management Board, has gone large on pledging capital to venture capital this month.

The pension fund, which had about $59.1 billion under management as of the end of April, approved committing up to $300 million to four venture capital and private equity funds, according to public documents from the board meeting this month.

The board approved committing $200 million to Charlesbank Equity Fund VIII, a middle market-focused private equity fund targeting $1.75 billion, according to the documents.

MassPRIM also committed up to $40 million to Spark Capital Growth Fund to make late-state venture investments in media and technology companies. Spark’s growth fund is expected to target $400 million and will focus on “slightly more mature companies” than the firm’s venture capital funds, according to the MassPRIM documents.

The system committed $35 million to Sofinnova Venture Partners IX, which is targeting $425 million for investments primarily in late-stage clinical drug development companies in the U.S. and Europe, according to the pension documents.

Finally, the system committed $25 million to Ascent Venture Partners VI, which is seeking a total of $150 million for investments in early stage technology companies focused on enterprise information technology, the documents said.

MassPRIM has targeted spending $1.4 billion for private equity commitments this year. The system has already pledged capital to H.I.G. Middle Market LBO Fund II, Vista Equity Partners V, Xenon Private Equity Fund VI, Thoma Bravo Fund XI, Index Ventures VII and Insight Venture Partners Co-investment Fund III.

Prior to the commitments this month, the system had about $1 billion left to spend on private equity and venture capital this year. After this month’s commitments, the system should have about $700 million left to spend.

As of Sept. 30, the system had about $14.6 billion committed to private equity, with a net internal rate of return since inception of 12.96 percent, according to pension documents.

Earlier this year, the system brought on Michael McGirr and Erin McCafferty to join the private equity team. McGirr was a former investment manager in partner investments at Bain Capital, while McCafferty formerly worked as a vice president at Bank of America Capital Advisors.

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